I find it appropriate to title my second dispatch episode 2 not only as a catch phrase but also informative. Yes this word is used to order ice cream in France, instead of the American version of scoops. When Kelli pointed this out while we where walking through Paris, I completely lost it. But I was trying to figure out how to say that in French and how I was going to tell the guys at work (for those of you who don’t work in the fire service ice cream is less of a dessert and more of a commodity when you screw up). So when I come back instead of saying, “Let’s get ice cream”, I’ll be using the French version and order iced boules instead (Mike and Melissa you should probably start the HR paper work now. Anticipate having to write an SOG on ice cream). Enough on Iced boules.
Paris was amazing. I was truly surprised by how much I enjoyed roaming around the city and seeing both new and old sites. I was expecting the French attitude that we had encountered last time. I was pleasantly surprised to find a kind and forgiving attitude towards the American tourist who did not speak French. Not being able to speak or understand much of the language makes you feel inept, especially when you run across all kinds of people who know 3 languages fluently. It does make a difference where you live in relation to other countries but I still feel lazy when it comes to this aspect especially when I have family in the Holland. Kelli and I have already decided to learn French (although as Kelli sits to edit this post, she doubts there will be serious follow through) together when we get back so… Hillary we’re looking towards you for help in navigating this language. I have been surprised by how much we have enjoyed the French culture and lifestyle. It’s way laid back which we both appreciate immensely. As far as the riding goes, it has something to be desired. Navigating our way out of Paris was interesting to say the least. Luckily it was on a Sunday, so the roads were a little less congested but not by much. Trying to navigate a headset mounted GPS, dodging glass, pedestrians and double stone streets, not to mention the unmarked roads put my navigation skills to the test. My partner was right behind me and showed a lot of grace and patients through the ordeal. Loading our bikes up that morning I could not believe how much stuff we had brought with us (too much!!!!!) (Although as Kelli sits to edit this post, she realizes the folly in not bringing nice shoes and some clothing that could have at least passed for “an attempt at grooming” being made back in Paris). But we made it out in one piece thanks to the big guy up stairs and started our “journey” down the Seine. To call it a journey is to put it mildly, navigating through suburbs that looked like they could have been a sister city of Gresham, OR to dirt single track that would be fun on a mountain bike but less than ideal on overloaded touring bikes.
We made it into Muellan 40 miles out of Paris and luckily ran into a campground on the road that we were on. We found a campsite pitched our tent and proceeded to cool down by shower and lots of water. Kelli and I both had the what -have- we- gotten- ourselves- into look, I was studying our mileage and realizing that there was no way we were going to be able to make it to Chamonix in time to watch the tour our make it to the Rhine route on time. We decided that we would have to train some sections (as Kelli sits to edit this post she thanks every SNCF transportation crew, employee and engineer for maintaining and running trains along this route) and after the second day of even hotter weather we decided to jump on a train from Sens to Dijon.
Dijon was a great stop not only did we get a first class hotel that catered to cyclists and a jacuzzi, we also really enjoyed the town. It had the right feel to it, we found a great restaurant (Marco Polo) with an amazing hostess that enjoyed giving to American tourist a hard time while trying to communicate. In Dijon it seemed that the locals wanted to help you understand and speak the language which we both appreciated instead of them switching right to english. We had a great stay in Dijon and plan on going back there for sure, maybe starting our tour in Dijon next time instead of Paris. Dropping the mic for now be back soon and thanks for following!!!