To get from location to location, Mike took us around on his yellow 500cc Yamaha T‑Max, my first time on a motorcycle. It was a sensational feeling to be moving so freely in the open air, even in a London winter (you can see early morning condensation on his windshield in some shots and the windows of some cars). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t now considering a bike for my next vehicle.
I thought I’d have to keep holding onto the side rails to prevent myself from falling off, but quickly realized it wasn’t necessary, as I felt stable at every turn and on every bump. The physics still baffle me.
One advantage of using the bike is that you don’t have to pay a congestion charge, something used by the administration of London to discourage traffic and fund the transportation system. Otherwise, it’s an £8 fee when entering the downtown-ish area on a weekday between 7am and 6pm (and a £150 fine if you drive through without paying). Also, you can weave between the gaps in cars and make your way to the head of traffic lines.
Europe 2010 travel diaries
- France: Arrival
- France: Day 3, Chartres
- The Partisan
- France: Day 5, Chartres
- Baby Scary Party
- France: Day 6, Paris
- Call me McNgangus
- France: Day 7, Rochefort-en-Terre
- France: Day 8, La Roche-Bernard
- France: Day 9, Rochefort-en-Terre
- UK Detour: Day 10, Chartres to London
- UK Detour: Day 11, London
- A passenger in London
- UK Detour: Day 12, London
- UK Detour: Day 13, London to Ullapool
- UK Detour: Day 14, Ullapool
- UK Detour: Day 15, Ullapool
- UK Detour: Day 16, Ullapool
- France: Day 18, Paris
- France: Day 19, Chartres + Paris
Mike was between jobs, so I got to shadow him without being too intrusive. That not only meant I got to check out his favourite haunts, but meet more important people in his life.
At one point, I had to withdraw some cash (since Mike had previously lied to me about my credit card not working), and it was strange to suddenly find three different kinds of currency in my wallet.
Continue reading “UK Detour, Day 11: London”…
On my last day in Rochefort-en-Terre, I receive an e‑mail asking for support for my Wu Wei theme. This isn’t uncommon; earlier this year, Wu Wei was chosen to be part of the official WordPress.com repository, and I’ve been flooded with such e‑mails since. What stood out about this one, from a Michael Harvey, was the fact that he was in London, read from my blog that I was in France, and offered to show me around if I happened to be stopping by.
I told him it’d be lovely if I could go, but I’ve no place to stay, as I’d only planned on going to France. On a whim of his own, he offers to let me stay with him, and tells me I’d feel at home as they have two cats.
For a while I turn this idea over in my head, as there’s most certainly a risk involved in living with someone you’ve never met, least of all whether or not you’d even get along. Eventually, I decide that I couldn’t give up on the chance to see more of Europe. Fate opened a door, and I only had to step through. I couldn’t say no.
And so, armed with a ticket for the EuroStar and a box of assorted macaroons (one of the specialties in Chartres) for my new host, I set off for London.
In Chartres, waiting for the train to Paris — Gare Montparnasse.
Continue reading “UK Detour: Day 10, Chartres to London”…
It’s so nice to be accepted into another family, and to be able to live the way they do for a bit. You get a taste of someone else’s life and habits. That’s when a trip is more than just a visit to a different place, and becomes an experience.
And on our last day in Rochefort-en-Terre, there were still things to do and dishes to eat.
Cleaning the mussels for steaming in white wine and onions. This is how Frédéric won Misun’s heart.
Continue reading “France: Day 9, Rochefort-en-Terre”…
La Roche-Bernard is a small commune 30km due south of Rochefort en Terre, with about the same population. It’s said that the town has more boats than people; the rich leave their vessels in the port until they have a few weeks of vacation, and take off from here after arriving by car or train.
It was originally a viking colony, taken up as a fort because it controls access to the river that runs through it. The hills above are still pockmarked with stone walls and canons on the hills above.
La Vilaine is the main river running through La Roche-Bernard, flowing out into the Atlantic Ocean.
Continue reading “France, Day 8: La Roche-Bernard”…