Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Friday, 23th of September. Good sleep, good morning, still amazing, full of new energy and curious for the new day… When arriving in France at Roscoff harbour it was bright sunshine – so warm, I didn't needed my long sleeved shirt, I needed my sunglasses and suncream! During the last weeks I sometimes had thought I was maybe to late with my tour, so cycling time was over, but here in France it was just best late summer. Switching back to the right side of the street wasn't a problem, it's just the other routine, and now I can do both… Everything felt so much more like home,the landscape, the weather – I can't really explain.

But what's a real problem in France is the signing. If there's a system (and I don't think so) I don't get it. It's not that they give you some orientation by naming the next bigger cities or villages. When you leave the direct, big ways, which usually leads into motorways, they just name the next village, but sometimes they stop before arriving and name some other village close to where you are… Usually they say nothing about the distances. And what makes it more worse is that my map is also not good, wrong map scale, justified for car drivers, but it was the best I could get on the ferry. It doesn't tell anything about the smaller villages, so I can't make a connection between signs and map. And I also had to learn that the people who made my map had their own understanding of which roads are important to show, they don't orientated themselves on types of streets, so sometimes the route I follow end on my map but goes on in reality.

I needed some time to figure out these things, had to make some detours and also had to learn that most French people don't speak English or another foreign language. So I ask them in English the others answer in French and then I do what they have told me respective they do what I have asked them – it's surprising this works! But nevertheless I feel a little bit lost and much more thrown back on my own resources. Every time I cross a bigger village or town it's really difficult to find back my route, they stop signing and naming the roads name/number! So all this takes lots of time… Morlaix for example is a really worth seeing town, but without the help of a local I would have lost my way…
Morlaix (Brittany, France); Place des Otages, Viaduc. This photo was taken by fafner, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Morlaix_Viaduc.jpg

France is hilly. Acceptable hilly, but hilly, so cycling is demanding. Here in France within this fantastic weather I really become aware that I do challenging sports all the time. I didn't felt so when I was in Ireland. There it was just fighting with nature powers. Here I'm only fighting with myself. Cycling the small roads is just great. Less traffic, familiar landscape, very relaxed, all this remembers me a lot of all the one or two day tours I did with Klaus. This whole France experience is just godsend.

But as one can imagine, the cycling took lots of time and it was also a long distance – in the end I had cycled 140 kilometres when I reached the city limit of Saint-Brieuc. It was night cycling for the last hour. I stopped a car to ask for the directions to my host's place, and instead of giving directions, the kind young woman told me to follow her – she guided me with her car until I was at my goal. It wasn't that far, but once again I couldn't believe how friendly and helpful people act to me!

Then I met Sylvain, my couchsurfing host for this night, and it was such a nice welcome. After taking a shower I felt so relaxed, so awake, so positive… It was fun to talk with him. Sylvain was just lovely, so cute, very committed in giving me a good time and also so sweet in being a newbie, as I had the pleasure to be his first couchsurfer. I was curious about the differences between the couchsurfing groups vegetarians and gay vegetarians – he's a member of both. Maybe one can imagine what my pervert fantasy imagined… I would have loved to stay longer and spend much more time together as he is very easy going, curious and positive, but I had to go on my bike and he had to learn for an exam. Really hope to meet him again…

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