A hop, skip, train jump away
Trip Start Apr 11, 2012
34Trip End Oct 10, 2012
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There were no porters/conductors to ask questions as apparently the French don't employ people to manage/assist passengers anymore. Maybe I just have an outdated view of how trains operate, but I sort of thought there would be someone, if not on the platform, at least on the train
The train wasn't busy, so we jammed the bikes into the aisle of a first class carriage until one of the passengers objected and told the Austin girl (the only one who knew any French among us) that we had to put them in 2nd class. It turns out that there was a small space where the seats fold up, but there had been some youths sitting in those seats with headphones in, so this irritated passenger made them move for us. Ok...so now we had three bikes jammed into a tiny spot somehow, so we started to question why the need for a 10 euro fee per bike. I could have ridden the train for free actually, as I never saw any train officials...they really do operate by the honor system here in France, I guess. A small thing I noticed too: all announcements on the train were in French. This is a major country for tourism, isn't it? Maybe a little in English, maybe even Chinese as well?? Just an idea...
My companions had both served two and a half years each in Guatemala for the Peace Corps and were liberal Texans
Well, I have now spent two days in Bordeaux, browsed through a mall and a huge supermarket (very aggressive grocery shoppers!), walked about an open-air antiques market, ridden around large parts of the city, seen the major sights and done some people watching. I don't know what else I could do here, but I hope I am not falling into a tourist routine of seeing a few sites and peeling out for the next place. I guess I could try some wine, but I am staying off alcohol for this trip for my tolerance is apparently all gone and anything I drink doesn't relax me, it just goes straight to my head. Not like I would pretend to have any clue about wine anyhow...just not my thing.
So, tomorrow it is off to the Pyrenees for some enjoyable riding. I will be setting up a base camp at either a campground or a couchsurfing location and setting out on the road bike for beautiful, steep, and popular cycling routes in some actual mountains. This is why I brought the road bike instead of a more traditional big-tired touring bike, so I should be in for some fun. I will be on the French side of the Pyrenees for at least a week before I hook the trailer back up and head to San Sebastian and the start of some Spain riding. Barcelona is likely to follow and I will probably leave for Italy right after. Too much to see, too little time...