Trip Start Apr 11, 2012
34Trip End Oct 10, 2012
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Where I stayed
With my trip planning out of the way, I set off to see the sights in Lille (Wikipedia is great!). Luckily, I had gotten a hotel in the middle of the city, so it ended up being a long walk about town
Following this, I took a stroll over to Grand Place, the large plaza in the center of town. Somehow, it still impresses me to see buildings everywhere around me that have obviously been built before even the 1950s...haha, yes yes, I know, they are much older than that.
Then was the Citadelle, which is a huge fortress complex built in the 17th century. It is in the middle of a large park, so you can walk all the way around it, but it is still an active military installation, so no going in. Wikipedia says that it is a NATO installation and there are supposedly some Americans stationed there...all about who you know, I guess. The whole place is shaped like a five-pointed star, but it is really massive, and they appear to have sacrificed innumerable bricks in its construction. I am still somewhat surprised that they were able to build the whole thing in just a few years...that's a real stimulus project
The weather was kind enough to not rain on me until I was returning to the hotel, but the high winds that accompanied the rain proceeded to invert and destroy my little umbrella :( I saw it happen to several other people though, so at least my misery knows company. Somehow, it did not leave enough of an impression on me, for after returning to the hotel and reading other cyclists' touring stories, I returned to the train station and got a refund. Why pay money to travel, when I have my bike, I asked...after all, it is only 600 miles to Bordeaux. Stupid, perhaps, but then, I am the one riding his bicycle on vacation.