Day No. 2: Pain aux Chocolat
After staying at a random campsite close to the Eurotunnel I headed to Alencon next to Le Man to stay with my aunt and her family. I had a great time at her house, catching up with my young cousins and meeting the many animals living with them (namely 2 dogs + a stray one we found on the street the day after I arrived, 3 kittens, 3 cats, 4 goats and 10 chickens, including one that would escape her coup daily and wonder around the property, acting quite possessed!).
You can meet some of them below:
Pain aux chocolat biker style:
They have much better bike magazines in Europe…
La Rochelle, nothing short of a couple hotspot, was one of the most romantic places I’d ever been to. (INSTANTLY MADE ME MISS MY BEAUTIFUL GIRLFRIEND!). It was a coastal city with many old cobbled streets and beautiful ports, like the Old Port in the city centre and the marina at les Minimes. Culture and arts also seemed to be part of everyday life as I came across theatres and market stalls in many places . Despite being in such a special place I opted for japanese sushi instead of traditional french food, as I was missing my bae and couldn’t stand eating out in a romantic restaurant by myself. (Yes, I’m soppy, get over it!)
This had become a somewhat recurring incident, but once again I managed to drop my bike at the top of a hill in grass covered ditch at the side of the road. You only realise how heavy your bike is when you have to pick it up, especially with all the travel gear! Fortunately a friendly farmer gave me a hand, but this wasn’t the only incident that would test the friendliness of the unfairly stereotyped ‘rude’ French people!
Later that day, as I was riding down a narrow single road bend on the side of a hill and decided to take it a little wide so I could see around the corner better. At the same time I thought: “I better not go over the edge and down a hill or I’ll get hurt”. Now the golden rule of motorcycling is… look where you want to go. I guess I shouldn’t have stared over the edge of the hill, because that’s exactly where I went.
Bike upside down, I was thrown into a bush, but thankfully there was lots of foliage and it wasn’t as steep as it had seemed at first. Of course, it was impossible for me to pick up the fully geared upside down bike, especially as it was on a 30-40 degree incline. I didn’t have much water left but I immediately emptied everything I had on the bike as I didn’t want to risk anything melting or catching fire.
Fortunately, after a short jog to find the closest house to get some help, I ended up at a french woman’s house and managed to sign that I needed a bucket of water, which was duly offered. Turns out the French are friendlier than you think. Dumping more water on the bike seemed to help as it cooled down but now I needed to get it out of the ditch. So I went back and used the trusty old Google translate to speak to the woman, who then invited her whole family over to help. Her husband, his friend and 3 children arrived 20 minutes later and we pulled it out… It was a lucky day as everything seemed to be working with just a little dent in the tank and a couple of scratches here and there. I had a beer and chilled with her family for a little bit, so she offered me to stay at the house for the night, but not wanting to wear out my welcome, I ended up just finding a close campsite run by a friendly German guy who had a pool and a bar… good enough for me.