Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Much to little sleep

Sunday, 25th of September. Leaving the bed was easy, but staying awake became a problem. Nice night, starry sky, but after my experience on my way to Baltimore I'm fastidious… A special experience, although I didn't really understand why we had to come so early, it had to do with the tides, as far as I understand, but I didn't noticed something special there. The Mont Saint-Michel is definitely worth seeing, but it's so extremely touristic (on a usual day you are not able to go but shuffled by the masses) and therefore curious, similar to the Cliff of Moher – a big road leads to it and in front of Mont Saint-Michel there's a big parking place. Indeed they are planning to build a bridge instead of the road. Fortunately so early in the morning there are only a few people, so it's really quiet and peaceful. To me it was mainly a very nice walk, also nice to climb the stairs and so on, but then the big tiredness came over me, so I was sitting there, eyes closed and became very cold, until we drove back with the car to have some breakfast at the youth hostel.
Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy (Manche), France at night. Photo taken by Benh LIEU SONG, see

Then I went on my bike, but I was extremely slow, and became more and more tired. Once again the day would become very sunny and warm. Once again I started to sweat. I couldn't find my sunglasses this morning, but this time I'm sure it wasn't my fault, it must have fallen out of my bag somehow. I laboured along for some kilometres, every uphill so little it could be I felt so intense, I was always in my smallest gears, I wasn't able to do different. I realized I wouldn't be able to do today's stage and tried to figure out how to go on: Go to Caen by train? (Next train station was still 20 kilometres away, I had to learn) Quit the tour? (Wouldn't this be somehow extreme?) I had to find an internet connection (or a public phone) to agree with my today's host and also to learn about the train possibilities and other alternatives. It was pretty hard to think and not to become desperate… When arriving in Saint-James after maybe 20 kilometres I asked some people in a café about an internet café or other ways to connect to the internet – once again it was very difficult to communicate, what was very frustrating in this situation. The men agreed that there used to be an internet café in this village, but it's closed on Sunday.

I must have looked very bad – suddenly a man addressed to me and offered, I could use his computer at home. He had called his wife before, I had seen him using his phone but had no idea this had to do with me. I was really glad – a gleam of hope. I left my bike at the café and drove with Olivier in his car to his house and family. Olivier and his family, too, were so friendly, so helpful. Not only let me use the computer, but also offered something to drink and to eat – Valerie, Olivier's wife makes a fantastic chocolate cookie! After a while sitting on the computer and became more and more cold I realized that it wouldn't help to go by train – I just needed a bed, so the only thing to do next would be looking for a hotel and fall asleep. When I told this to Olivier, who came from time to time to see how I was, he just said: “Hmhm” and left the room, and when he came back, he once again had talked to his wife, and now he offered me to stay, I could use the little daughter's room… So unbelievable! So helpful! So trustful! I didn't know what to say, this helped so much, I was glad, so happy, now I could relax. They showed me the room, the bath and then the family left the house, and I went to bed and I was fast asleep until they came back some hours later.

I was able to do some better route planning this day and I also spend much time talking with Olivier, who was glad to be able to practice his English (Valerie only speaks French). Olivier was also very interested in the idea of couchsurfing, especially because this could be a way for him to better his English – currently he is only able to practice during a weekly phone call with a teacher and when he's visiting other countries. So maybe I made a new couchsurfer… It was so relaxed, such a nice atmosphere. This is one of my most important and special experiences I had on my tour – taking a stranger and make her feel at home. I just can say many, many thanks – mercy, mercy, mercy! Many thanks for your trust, for your faith and for being so friendly and open. I felt so welcome… I hope, we stay in touch, and I would love to host you in Bamberg. Olivier, you are a real friend, much love to you and your family.

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