I think I’ve snapped out of my initial snobbishness towards France. I always find that initial shock of change difficult. Besides, this was Spain we were talking about – SPAIN – and I was leaving it.
I woke up this morning having decided to give France another chance and it did not let me down. It all started when I checked out from my hotel. The receptionist handed me a lily of the valley and explained that the French, on May 1, traditionally give them to people to celebrate spring. What a wonderful way to start the day!
The sun was just rising, I could see the snow-capped Pyrenees to the south, I crossed the River Basse, and I was off pedaling to Narbonne in the east. And everything smelled so nice! What is that smell? I kept asking myself. Everything smells like jasmine.
At first I thought my head was just getting to me. I was feeling happy and optimistic. But I kept sniffing at the air and smelling jasmine. I took deep breaths. It felt so good. Of course, I thought. France is the land of perfumes. It must smell good. Eventually I stopped by the side of the road, determined to discover the source of the smell. I thought it might be the little white flowers scattered among the grass. But it wasn’t. Then I noticed trees on both sides of the road full of yellow flowers. I smelled them. It was them! I took a small branch and placed it in my handlebar bag along with my lily of the valley.
I’ve been reluctant to pee by the side of the road since I entered France yesterday. (more…)