Monday, 19 July 2010

Sens, France - Fields of Gold

Did you hear the one about the Scotswoman who went into a bar and asked to use the Internet? Well, I was led along a dark corridor to a toilet around the back and I thought, surely they don't keep their computer in there! A simple problem of translation.

This last week I have cycled across the Ardenne through fields of wheat that stretch to the horizons under big, blue skies. This may sound a bit boring but it's not at all. I have been on the move early as the morning sun casts a golden light over the golden fields; there is a cool breeze; I have the quiet back roads to myself; it's a kind of meditation. Every now and then I pass through a sleepy village. At one village, Pierrepont, I stopped to eat breakfast. There were no cars, there was no activity except the occasional local shuffling back and forward to collect their baguette and the only sound was the creeky door of the boulangerie each time somebody went out or in. Soon I passed into the Champagne region with its rows of vines, funny shaped tractors and pretty little villages.

A few days ago I cycled for the day with Walter. He is riding his tandem from Germany to Bordeaux - his wife is joining him halfway. Walter had two great pieces of German wisdom to share. One is 'the first one, is the last one' meaning that the person who focusses only on winning, misses out on so many more important things, that he really loses. The second is that beer is a good isotonic drink after a day's cycle - not so sure about that one, Walter. The day after I passed through a small town called le Ferte Gaucher and was invited into the home of an elderly couple for coffee. Monsuier is a retired farmer, he bought the farm from his parents and renovated it, adding bedrooms. It is 12km to the east of town. Now he keeps a small vegetable patch. He is very proud of the flowers in his garden but disappointed that recent rain finished the blooms early. He enjoys the Tour de France and was excited that it passed through the touwn this year. Many cyclists pass their way but never anybody from Scotland before. He doesn't speak English so I hope that you're impressed that I gleaned all this in French.

Yesterday I crossed the Seine, today I'm on the banks of the Yonne and tomorrow I'll begin heading west along another great French river. So hopefully my next blog will be all about my journey along the Loire.

Don't forget to visit my Flickr site with new photos loaded and my Justgiving page.


  1. Hi Pauline Enjoying the blog especially the info about where you are and who you meet. Unfortunately the weather is rather wet in Edinburgh. Mickey

  2. Hi Pauline,
    Glad things are going well. This will come as no surprise but I'm with Walter regarding the beer after a long day in the saddle! Well even after a short day in the saddle would be good for me!
    May the road be easy beneath your wheels.

  3. Hi,
    Glad to hear about your travels and nothing too dangerous apart from a rogue peacock to pester you! Hope you continue to enjoy the sights and write such graphic stories to keep us entertained.
    We are all doing well in Porty. Envious of your freedom to travel on a brilliant mode of transport.
    Cath and Doug

  4. Hi Pauline,
    Back in sunny Algarve, and enjoying reading about your adventure!
    love Karen & Jess x

  5. Pauline
    We are back home again, another excellent blog and brilliant photos can't wait to meet up with you in Portugal in Sept/Oct.
    Love Mum & Dougie xx

  6. Hi Pauline, I never thought you could reach Bordeaux without drinking beer ;). CHAPEAU!
    I wish you all the best for your following journey. Also good wishes from Bärbel.
    We arrived well at our holiday-capmsite. In 2 weeks we'll go back to Germany by bike.
    I'll keep on watching your blog.

    See you in Germany,