We're back in the States! And we have been for 2 weeks. It takes some time after a trip like this to get around to the final post. I think it's partly because after you make the final post, it feels like it's actually over. We had such an amazing time- experiencing so much new, meeting people we'll always remember, trying to document and explain what we were experiencing- we didn't want it to end. So we don't want to admit there will be a final post.
This isn't the final post. As we work our way through the 7,000 pictures and videos we took over the last 3 months, finding gems we overlooked when we were without a computer to sort through the pictures, we'll keep posting and telling stories about our journey.
Canals- flat, beautiful, traffic-free. We love canals. They were once used for shipping goods, but are now almost exclusively used for recreation boats.
During the one week we spent in Paris, we visited The Louvre, saw the Eiffel Tower, took the user-friendly and inexpensive subway system all around the city, walked up to the Sacre Coeur, hung out with our most wonderful bike tourist hosts, found (and ate) gluten-free crepes... We were glad to have a full week off the bikes to explore the city and relax.
We stayed with Warm Showers hosts in France who own an organic dairy farm. They told us (in French, Jen translating) that after an incredibly wet spring, they past couple months had been very dry. So dry that they had to start feeding their cows, who usually spend the day on pasture eating grass, the hay they'd put up for the winter. Well, we spent the next few days in rain gear. Which we didn't mind because we knew our hosts, and their cows, were happy.
Upon arriving at the ocean on the coast of France, we just had to chest bump.
One of our favorite places to "stealth camp" is right on a bike trail. Although there's inevitably a 6am rider who bikes past before we've taken the tent down.
This Liegeradfuzzi (German for "recumbent bike freak") loves his coffee. T-shirt courtesy of the wonderful folks at HP Velotechnik, the company that makes our recumbents.
After a cold, wet day, we biked into a town with 5 campgrounds. At the first one, a teenage boy told us (in French, Jen translating) that the owner wasn't there, so we wouldn't be able to get a shower key. But he told us about a little cafe in town. After being turned away from another campground that only does event camping, we finally found this gem. They guy running the campground/cafe welcomed us in, sopping wet, and helped build a fire in the fireplace just for us to get warm and dry. They were incredibly welcoming and generous, even letting us cook our dinner in their kitchen! More than we could have expected biking into this small French town.
Sometimes you really need to stop and make a mid-day cup of coffee.
Kids love recumbents. It's true in the U.S. It's true in France. I'm beginning to think it's true everywhere.
Maybe we should get sponsored by a coffee company next time...