Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Welcome to Stuttgart. You can tell you’re in Germany because every 3rd car is a Mercedes, a BMW, or a Volkswagen. Stuttgart is not such a small town, and at the moment carries no charisma what so ever. But that can always change after the first day. I haven’t tried too hard yet, but it seems that the urban sprawl may be difficult to escape. Today I had a look at the road course, and given to the state of the roads being closed the daily traffic was most handily dealt with. In the coming days when I seek roads not on the course, the traffic may be a more trying problem. 3 days remain before the start of the 2007 road world championships.
Bennecourt to Paris
Monday, September 24, 2007
France isn’t so bad. Riding amongst the splendor of small town France makes you realize how different the world is from what you already know. I’m fairly confident that most of those who are born in Bennecourt don’t stray too far from it for the rest of their lives. I’m not the one saying there’s anything wrong with a lifestyle like that, being the one looking in on it’s just an interesting experience. When you’re going from place to place you tend to get the big picture but miss the stuff that makes it a culture. And I will be the one to tell you that there’s way too much going on to express the truth of the matter.
Contrary to popular belief and my own proclamation the French are well versed in English and as friendly as anyone, although they’re a proud people and expect you to respect their customs and mantra like it was your own. They’re really not altogether different than someone living in the US.
While staying in Bennecourt I didn’t do “anything” except train… although a tour of the local castle was made. Apparently all the castles in France are still intact, because every ride I went on I found a fresh one. I guess there was a massive one fairly close, but I wasn’t in the mood to go walking through a bunch of even older stuff when every building you affix your eyes to is as old as most of the stones on the ground. The one I toured wasn’t anything you wouldn’t expect in a castle. It had a mote thing, a big complex thing and a tower thing situated atop this rock stuff that looked like Calcite or something. The stairs up to the tower thing were carved up through the calcite making a cavern thing.
When the week or so of living in France came to an end it was over to Paris for my flight to Stuttgart via the Orly airport. In France, as all of Europe, the use of railroads is fairly popular. The rail from Bennecourt to Paris was superb, although I only took it part way. I found that should I decide to go all the way to the airport I would need to transfer 4 times… So on the train ride to Paris I decided the next step was not going to be a transfer to a train but to a taxi… which turned out to be a good idea ‘cause there’s stuff in Paris that is worth at least a glance. I wasn’t sure what part of town the airport and the train station were located but as soon as I got in the taxi I was blown away by Paris. It was more captivating than any city I’ve ever been in besides perhaps New York. And this was via taxi, looking out the window where busses roll through. There’s this road in Paris that has no lanes, quite perplexing really, that goes by stuff that looks important and probably have famous names. Of course this was all in a 10 minute window as we made our way to the Orly airport. Fortunately I turned my head quick enough to see the Ifle Tower disappear behind a building. I barely made my flight, arriving just over 3 hours before takeoff.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
It’s beginning to feel a lot like… Fall, everywhere you go.... The first day here it was so hot that you could’ve delighted in the fig fields as they do in Spain. But the next day it was cold in the morning, during the day, in the afternoon and throughout the night. I’m not a hater of fall; I actually find it quite pleasant. A bit cool in the morning with more mild temperatures throughout the day just help to shake up the current pattern of life… which always get’s bleak after a long summer or… a long winter (changing of seasons). I know it seems strange, but I find the arrival of fall from summer a more welcome change than that of summer from spring. I guess the reasoning behind that’s not so hard to figure out.
In the last 4-5 days, whatever it’s been, I’ve been riding in and around the trivial town of Bennecourt. I’m not sure if it’d be considered a suburb of Paris or Bonniers or if Bonniers is a suburb of Paris or if it’s just a court of Benne… Alas, if nothing else it’s a town on a river that 70 km earlier ran through Paris. Regardless, the charm of the town and the surrounding area rivals any area and the riding is superb. Every time you get on a nice little road going in one direction a turn onto another road in another direction is insight… & it goes on like that from little town to little road to little town… castle/canal/cathedral/cobble road/skyrock.