After a long flight from Montreal, I reach the city of lights. My friend Roman is waiting there for me to enjoy some holidays. How good it feels to be in Europe again! I particularly enjoy french food. Every morning is a delight thanks to the bakery products from the croissant to the pain au chocolat… Next to eating, we take time to visit on the greatest world museums, the Louvre. It’s so big that it makes you become dizzy, and after some hours Roman gets grumpy. Nevertheless, I can build up my knowledge of mideastern cultures, compare objects I saw in Turkmenistan or again be impressed in front of the gigantic 19th century crowning ceremony of Napoleon.
Another impressive visit was the palace of Versaille, south of Paris. I’ve rarely seen so much gold and decorations at one place. The gardens are truly impressive, but after having had the world as garden for one year, it feels weird to seen nature imprisoned in such blocks.
After these days of resting, it’s time to move on. While Roman is on his way to the TGV to go back to Basel, I’m getting ready to start the last step of the trip…
I actually got a new gear system from Tout Terrain, but I can’t even mount it properly on the
bicycle. After visiting one of the rare parisian cycling shops, I decide to let it be and continue with one gear.
Crossing the french countryside let me discover pretty, hilly landscapes. I always manage to find nice tent spots. Once I hide behind a little forest, where honeybees are housed. Just before putting the tent, I had the visit of two friendly beekeepers. They told me where to buy their honey, and so I had the pleasure to taste very local production, direct from the neighbour!
After getting to Troy, I loose my patience of driving in single-gear and decide to switch (again) to the train. The good thing is that I can visit the little city properly (it’s really a fancy place!) and enjoy the warmth of a cheap hotel (temperatures now reach the freezing point during night).
The train ride goes without too many troubles… well, for french standard. I book my ticket in advance, then stand next to the rails. First problem: The train doesn’t appear on the schedule. Was it cancelled? Did it never exist? After asking the staff, who had to search in their programs, it seems that they just forgot to write it down. Pfiu…
Second trouble when the train arrives: Even though it’s written on my ticket and on the schedule, there is no bicycle compartment. Good thing is that the controller is laid-back and lets met take it with me. I block six seats with the bike, but at least it’s here.
Third trouble in Belfort: The regional train to reach Mulhouse is full, but the train track is blocked by a car. We wait one hour until they finally do something about it, after one hour 30 minutes the first train goes out of the station. I wait for the next train to be less squeezed : total time loss – one hour 50 minutes. At least they didn’t strike. I love France for many aspects, but exactly this kind of things make me happy to be born in Switzerland instead!
Back to Basel!
After spending a night in the camping of Altkirch, to be sure that I won’t be late on the date I gave to people, my last day ride is really laid-back. I take time to rest and enjoy landscapes, and even so I arrive too early in Basel. After waiting for two hours a little further than my arrival point, I move on. A little delegation of friends are waiting for me at the exact same point I started the trip on 11th of Juli 2015, 15 months ago. I cross the line of toilet paper they tied for me: That’s it, the end of a big story. I’m happy and sad at the same time. I can’t wait to tell people about the adventures, the fears and discoveries. But first comes what I dreamt for a while now: A good rest.