Well as most of you probably know we are now back in Oz and back into the same old boring routine. I will blame a lack of good Wi-Fi access in Paris and a dodgy SD card for a delay in updating the blog
Anyhow when we last left you we were on our way to Luxembourg and into the last week of the trip. The journey south would take us through a region of Germany known as the Eifel. This area was once the center of some major volcanic activity but is now known for its hiking and cycling trails. It would turn out that we could pretty much cover the last two days of riding exclusively on bike paths. The scenery along the way did not disappoint.
Making our way into the town of Gerolstein, our stop for the night, I managed to get up and really personal with some of the famous German wildlife that had been so abundant throughout this leg of the trip.
Yes I had taken a number of hits to the face in southern France from cicadas however a wasp sting to the groin raised the bar on intimate insect interaction. Picture me, legs spread eagled at a café table in downtown Gerolstein applying a cold bottle of coke to my nether region in order to sooth the pain, ohhhh the humanity!
Soldiering on, with pain that would have left the average man hospitalized, we set forth the following day to ride the last 80 odd kilometres to Luxembourg City. The heat that had followed us for most of our trip was present yet again as we crossed the German border mid-afternoon. Now I mentioned 80 odd kilometres just before which would have been the case if we’d have followed the road. After first being swept up in riding on a beautiful converted rail line we found ourselves at the top of one of the many hills that makes up the Luxembourg landscape.
Again just like the Euro Velo 15 sign posts to the city suddenly became scarce. It was looking good for a while when after another hot and sweaty climb we found ourselves at the towers for radio Luxembourg, the city tantalisingly close on the horizon.
But as has been the case all too often the signs mess with you. Another 20 kilometres later stuck between a corn and turnip fields the GPS was now showing we were closer to Germany instead of our intended target. Well two more major climbs, another 20 or so kilometres and a stop for 2 litres of magic elixir for Vikki (coke) we found ourselves at the campground. Hot, sweaty and just plain tired, we settled into the parks café/bar for the next three hours before heading to bed to watch a fast approaching electrical storm.
After a bit of a sleep-in the next morning, it was off into the city for some sightseeing and then on to a TGV at 6pm for Paris.
You know when you’re getting to the end of a trip when you find yourselves sitting in a train station for a train that’s another 5 hours off instead of exploring the surroundings. I’m sure Luxembourg City has a lot more to offer than a park lined chasm and mall in the middle of town, but we were content to sit in a station somehow willing the day to speed forward. On to the train finally and after another 2 hours we find ourselves in the middle of Paris.
8:30pm and it was onto the bikes for one last 10km ride to the camp site. The most direct route would see us make our way through downtown Paris to the roundabout at the Arc de Triumph.
From here it was a pleasant ride though the massive inner city park the Bois de Boulogne via Allee de Longchamp. Along the way we were greeted by many of the very friendly locals. Now for those of you who lead a sheltered life and this includes my wife, the locals I mentioned usually come out at night, have work wear that is, how shall we say, revealing and tend to use a lot of makeup. They sang for me, showed their flexibility and were eager to share their, hospitality! Well for the last four months Vikki has sat pretty close to my back wheel. On this occasion she showed all the skill of a well drilled team persuiter with what I swear was no more than the thickness of a playing card being between her front wheel and my rear, ha! She must have been afraid that I would be drawn by their “magnatisma”.
Our last four days in Paris were spent washing, cleaning camping gear and sightseeing. Having been here before in 2006 we had seen pretty much all the usual tourist spots that is, except for the Palace of Versailles. Last time around I was voted down four to one to go and see this iconic marvel which showcases the extravagance of the French monarchy just before its downfall. What do I hear you ask could possibly eclipse this cultural jewel, Euro Disney! Yes that’s right Euro Disney! It wasn’t enough to have seen Disneyland or Disneyworld already. Anyhow I had my wish granted and we were on our way. Having pre-booked and doubled checked to see if the was going to be any ticket fiasco like at the Colosseum, we arrived at the site to find half of the world had also decided to do the same thing on the same day. I must say that despite the over two hours spent waiting in the que, the many children that were in attendance were incredibly well behaved. I put this down to strict parenting skills that culture vulture parents must possess or, more likely, a freely available new form of children’s tranquiliser that has just been released in Europe.
It turns out that those tranquilisers mentioned earlier must have been administered to my bike whilst we were out. Check out the relaxed state of my rear wheel that was only discovered when giving it it’s only wash at the very end. Now I know where exactly that click click clickity bloody clicking noise has been coming from.
With the Palace done and the night time lightshow at the Eifel Tower under our belts our thoughts turned to packing. Determined not to have needed the assistance of a Yak team and Sherpa like our last trip to Charles de Gaul airport, we set about finding the least stressful way of getting there. Lucky for us a €10 note to the campground shuttle bus driver did the trick and with only one changeover we found ourselves at CDG. Well after many sleepless hours on planes we are now back and into living out our old boring lives.
Thanks to all of you who’ve been following this blog and thanks to those of you who sent us messages along the way, greatly appreciated. A big thanks also must go to those who have donated to Youthcare. We appear to have raised just over $1,000.00 and whilst a little short of the intended mark it will certainly go a long way to changing the lives of homeless youth on the Fraser Coast. For those of you who have been having difficulty donating, this issue has now been fixed and the site should remain up for roughly three more weeks.
Until our next journey it’s by from Vikki (Donkey)and it’s by from Neale(Grumpy).