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…)
I had it all planned out in my head. Today’s blog post would be titled, “Vive la France!” with an exclamation point at the end, of course. When I saw the sign indicating I was crossing into France, I might give a little cry with tears then right about it in the post, then I’d take a picture of the sign and post it too, with me feeling all glorious and triumphant.
But Spain was having none of it and neither was France.
I always check the weather reports the night before and the morning of a cycle. Always. I want to know what to expect; partly to know what to wear and partly because if I know to expect bad weather I’m mentally prepared for it.
I checked the weather reports as always for Girona, Spain, my starting point, and Perpignan, France, my destination for the day. Both cities were to have partially cloudy mornings and it would drizzle in the afternoon in Perpignan. I’d want to try to get there early, I thought. Might as well avoid the drizzle if I can. I also checked the wind. I could have sworn I checked both cities and that they both had very minimal wind today. I was relieved. I now suspect that I checked the wind in Girona only. (more…)