Having a beautiful view on a small little river, thoughts about the last few days cross my mind. What would be worth sharing with the world (read: friends and family – no illusion my blog has millions of visitors)? Quickly I came to the conclusion that so many things happen on even one day, that it’s impossible to share it all. Not to mention that reading about it isn’t the same as experiencing itself.
Yet, I’ll try to keep the blog interesting and give an impression of my day-to-day cycling life. Any feedback or special requests? Let me know!
Before I forget, if you wish to give me a call or send a text message, you can reach me via +31 6 559 323 88. Whatsapp is still working via my regular phone number.
To keep up with the questioning system, today I answer three of them again.
How do I spend my time besides cycling?
Time is going really fast actually. I never have the feeling that I’m bored, or that I’ve got ‘time left over’. Cycling takes up quite a big part of my day. As I’m not going that fast and I take breaks quite often.
Those breaks mostly take longer than expected. Needless to say, I like to talk. Even in France I manage to get around with the basics and I always go with the flow when meeting people along the way.
Besides chitchatting my way through, I enjoy reading my routeboekje (route booklet?). It’s actually one of my favourite things to do. Not because I’m planning where to go tomorrow (after day 3 – Achilles accident – I’ve learned the hard way to not set any goals but just go with the pedals), but to read about the nice tracks and special facts. Little did I know that in a couple of days I will pass the Bourgogne, famous for some of the best wines. Oh yesss, for sure that I will need to take an extra day off over there. No doubt about that.
Clearly, managing the day-to-day household takes some time as well. Staying warm until bedtime is one of the things I’m working on every day. I figured that I have a couple of options to make it into my sleeping bag feeling warm.
1) Jumping jacks. I actually started off with push-ups – I simply want to be as strong as any man crossing my path 😉 – but the cold surface and wet hands are no good.
2) Putting on all the clothing I have. Me running around like an Eskimo is effective. Until the moment I need to take them off and switch into my pyjamas. Brrrrr.
3) Checking the tire-situation of my bike. Do they need some extra air? I only have a small pump so it does get me warm. Only downside, I cannot get to do this task every evening.
4) Last resort: once every couple of days I try to stay warm inside somewhere. Whether it is a friendly family where I get to stay in their garden or at a local restaurant/pub. Oh and don’t get yourself thinking “Oh she’s on a budget and still goes to a restaurant…”. I order the cheapest drink on the menu, mostly an espresso, and sit through with that one single drink the whole evening. From time to time I’m wondering where the days have gone of me spending money on food & drinks like a little queen in Amsterdam? I guess I will go slighty back into that routine, when I’ve got a job again. Anybody who wants to help me out?
Are you ready for some extra cheesiness? I spend a lot of time getting happy from the smallest things such as speaking two phrases of Spanish in the morning or being kissed good morning by a cute one-year-old at one of the places where I’ve got to stay on their property. That my slices of cheese exactly match the slices of my bread put a smile on my face. That I’ve managed to keep my sleeping bad dry in the morning (as promised, more about the camping gear in another blog article) makes me feel proud of myself haha.
In the end, I’ve noticed how time becomes less important over time. Ironic that I need time to get lost in time. After a week of trial and error of how to spend and especially divide my time on the things I want to do, it starts to go naturally. My body begins to get tired around 16:30h, so my eyes start to look for a place to sleep. My belly is starting to be hungry, so I take a break. My mind feels like having some inspirational talks, so I’ll take more time in villages to meet people. Words for this blog are popping up, so I’ll start to write. Only during the night, time is not passing that naturally yet. Many times, I wake up totally awake in the middle of the night, with the result of hardly getting out of bed in the morning. Although I also start to get used to the rhythm of the night.
How’s the budget going?
Since the whole Achilles-incident took quite some money out of my wallet, there is even less budget than before. Where do I cut costs? Food or sleeping? I’ve decided to try to tackle both of them.
I already downsized on the number of showers (why do campsites charge extra for this in the first place?) and now I’m totally skipping the campsites. This was the plan in the first place but in order to get some relaxed nights of sleep I started off with the safe option of a campsite. Now I’m already ‘wild camping’ for a couple of nights. Actually it is not that wild yet, since I got invited to stay at people’s garden up until now. They are not the type of garden you see in the Netherlands. These gardens are wild, green, serene and quiet, big enough to set up 100 tents like mine. Again, I do not complain and I’m very thankful for all the hospitality. Another confirmation that there are a lot of warm-hearted people around.
I needed to ice my Achilles twice a day, for at least the first three days after the incident. But what to do without a freezer and a tight budget? Exactly, I’ve bought food bags out of the supermarket freezer. I used it throughout the day to ice my Achilles and ate it once defrosted by the sun. I’ve started off with peas, went to shrimps and then went for a mix of red fruit as a dessert. The last one I tried was a Mediterranean vegetable mix. Actually this one surprised me the most and I truly liked it.
I also saw many mushrooms along the way today. It got my thinking I should do some self study about eatable mushrooms. I don’t want to die and I also prefer to not get high while cycling, which might result in serious accidents as well (you see, I’m such a responsible person). Anybody recommendations for good websites about these tasty veggies?
Where did the bike take you since last time?
Day 6: Nancy – Bayon. 50,4 km. My Achilles still hurts and I was pushing it the last 20 km. Yet I noticed, when going to the supermarket without my bags I didn’t feel any pain. Being inventive of losing some extra weight is more than welcome. More about that later on again.
Day 7: Bayon – Bainville. 10,9 km. Started the day as a day off to give my Achilles some extra time to heal again. Just went looking for a spot to wild camp. Met a friendly guy on the road and he offered me to stay in his garden. All thanks to Google Translate. When arrived, I’ve got welcomed by his family. Later on, one of his daughters joined for dinner as she was the only one who spoke English. Little did I know that her visit wasn’t planned and her parents called her with the specific request to come over to serve as our translator. She drove 50+ km to join us. Such a nice thing to do. Oh and the entire dinner (four courses) was made with vegetables and fruits out of their own garden. Result: a super happy me! 🙂
Day 8: Bainville – niemandsland between Girancourt & Ransey. 50,3 km. Cycled pain free for nearly the entire track. What a relief. Hope it stays this way. It was cold and misty in the morning, sunny and sweaty in the afternoon. I’ve even cycled without a t-shirt. I actually felt quite awkward pretending to be one of those #firgirls in my sports bra. Yet my urge of somehow supporting gender equality and initiatives such as #freethenipple, I decided to neglect my feeling of shame and just enjoy the sun on my skin. The surprised and smiley faces of drivers passing by doubled the fun actually.
Day 9 – today : Girancourt/Ransey – Chemilly. 75,1 km. Did feel my Achilles in the morning, which put my mood down and the level of worries up. I like to believe that I’m getting more patient over time. But I’m not really acting upon my thoughts of wanting myself to be patient. Pushed it in the morning, resulting in a nice amount of kilometers today, but also with a slightly irritated Achilles again. Will I ever learn? Taking a more relaxed day tomorrow again. Positive note: the route was very pretty again and I just shared lovely conversations while eating freshly picked chestnuts at another friendly family.
- At the places where I got invited for breakfast, they didn’t use plates. Why use one if you can also just clean the plastic table cloth afterwards? It fits with the level of my current household. No plates, no chopping board etc. Just a spork, a pan, pocket knife and a little stove. Life can be pretty simple.
- Tried a new fruit: mirabelle. A tasty type of plum I must say. Both the marmelade and the fresh one made my tastebuds happy.
- I found two other alternatives for talking to myself. 1) I talk to the animals around. The last couple of days the cows started to turn their heads when I passed by. Now I have the double amount of audience (I already got used to the people-in-the-car watching part). Better make use of it. The conversations with them feel good, although a bit one sided from time to time. 2) Shut the f* up. Although I got lucky to enjoy some free protein snacks, I still prefer not to eat all kinds of little insects while cycling. I guess I’ve got to learn the hard way again…