Our trip through France has been kind of slow, as the days got hotter and the sun hits strong. It was after leaving the champagne region we found out the importance of siesta time. So now when the day is at its hottest, around 13-16 we find a place under the shadows and rest for some hours until we feel ready to continue.
I feel as the more south we drove the better it got, I don't know exactly why, there's a feeling of belonging here. The people are warm and friendly, the fragrances of the flowers are delightful, the landscapes are so beautiful (I love the arid, bushy lands!) and there's so much history. It may also be the French blood I have in me.
Here we've been meeting other long distance bikers, mostly couples like us, taking an adventure holiday. Only one couple had e-bikes though and we were following more or less the same route so we kept meeting each other. They were from Holland.
Belgian people visiting France seem to be the only people who notice our Flyer bikes, they know about the brand, they are impressed by them and how far we can bike with them. They really are the perfect stereotype; people with money (most of them working in banks) who bike, drinks good beer and eat really good chocolate. Oh, those belgians....what a life.
Back to France now; there is one little annoying detail, opening and closing hours! It's really hard to tell when something is open or closed because apparently different villages have their own hours and French cooks like to relax. Most of the time it seems everything is closed. Sometimes it's a holy day, sometimes it's a free bank day, sometimes we have no freeking idea day. Sometimes it's just not even a special day, but they close early anyway. And of course we always get there by the time they have closed and wont open again until several hours. So we've been getting good at taking the opportunity to buy whatever we get our hands of vegan products in stores so that we always have something in our bags to make a little picnic, which is anyways more affordable than eating out, but it's heavy for our bikes. If you haven't guessed it by now, you haven't read this blog; we buy hummus. We've also been buying olives, tomatoes and bread becaude that seems to be the thing here and it's local and delicious.
By now we've been trying to follow the "Chemin Saint Jaques de Compostell", also known as "Camino de Santiago" in Spanish (or as Asbjørn says it: "Camino sant jac compostello santiago". which is one of the biggest piligrim routes in Europe, with several routes starting in different places in France, Spain and Portugal taking you all the way to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, north west of Spain. My cousin from Argentina, who has biked around Europe, had told me about taking this route. But because the route for bikers is not very well marked and the signs are difficult to see (sometimes they are not even there), it has been a challenge trying to follow this. We decided we'd like to make our own route: the camino of saint Asbjørn and Magdalena! We will draw it down for you when our trip is done.
Getting "lost" at some point was the best experience for us. The compostela road and the crappy GPS we got took us back and forth several times, and one very hot sunny day we got fed up and decided to go with our guts and forget all about that awful route. That's when all these magical things happened. First we met a dutch girl on a motorbike going back home after a long time of traveling around, she was a young free spirit with a big heart. Then we had a siesta and a local picnic with hummus, olives and tomatoes, then we met several strange curious animals, like a grasshopper who wanted to greet us and seemed to like our hair, then a long green snake that passed right under me, and at last we found an airbnb at the most beautiful house in Niort owned by a very inspirational woman.
Now we just arrived to Spain, relaxing for a few days. We still got some beautiful places to show you by the west coast of France, which we fell in love with. Sadly we got a little accident with our iPad, so it looks as it'll have to wait a little bit more.