Friday, August 25, 2006

Annual French Cycling Holiday

An early start, with just a slice of the first home-grown apple pie of the season for breakfast. Getting to Cambridge station, I just miss a very early train, the next one to King's X is delayed, so catch on for Liverpool St. instead, which gets me in with plenty of time to walk.

At the Eurostar check-in I get the usual "travelling while bearded" hassle, so the equally suspicious looking guy doing the security spends absolutely ages looking at my bike repair bits, camping cutlery set and reading glasses case, and swabbing my bag down for gas chromatography.

By that stage, breakfast is a distant memory, and the packed lunch has repacked to the bottom of the bag — so I go wild at the sandwich bar.

As my coach is all the way at the front of the train, I wear, rather than carry the big rucksack, and just sling it in the rack at the end of the coach, without sipping up the panel that covers all the gear. Mistake - the buckle on the belly-band snap must have caught on the rack, because it was stripped off by the time I tried to sling the pack on on the platform at Gare du Nord, and by the time I managed to scramble back into the coach, there was no sign.

Paris is bright and hot, not cool as per the forecasts I checked, and so by the time I've slogged all the way down St Denis, I'm soaked from the inside. This year I'm in room 34, and once the power is back, the lift working and the fire alarm in the hotel silenced, I can actually have a bath. If I keep one foot pushing the plug down into the hole, that is.

Seine at evening

Seine at evening

I go for a stroll, but I'm not very hungry, so wander through C&A's, finding that where they used to have silk shirts they now do polyester viscose (ugh!), and then pick up some juice at the Franprix next door to the hotel to have with a little bit of the packed lunch.

Charente Waterways

No comments :