Beautiful British Columbia
Getting Ready for Paris

July 14-15, 2018

After a hiatus from blogging and being incredibly behind we’re going to pick up where we left off last month in France. Here is goes …

After spending time with friends, we spent a few more days exploring the coast of France, joining the festivities of France winning the World Cup and heading off to Paris.

What happened…

Andrew writes:I think Stephanie does a great job summing up the day(s). Thanks!

Stephanie writes:
We woke up and packed everything up from the lighthouse campground and had a fairly nice short ride, as we got to the path along the waterfront we saw a sign for kitesurfing lessons and decided to go check it out. The beach was beautiful and there were people wind surfing and kite surfing all the way down the beach. We decided we wanted to hang out at the beach and have another later back day and decided to look for a campground, lucky for us, there was one literally across the street from the beach! We checked in and only put up one tent because you pay by the tent. We threw most of our stuff into the tent and headed down to the beach with our chairs, towels and some music. Once we got down to the beach and all set up, we took a walk down to the water to see if we wanted to go in. As we were lurking slowly into the water, Amanda ran full speed, threw her hat up in the air and splashed us as we were going in!!! Once we were all the way in, we saw all the little crabs that were sitting on the shoreline. After we went into the water, Amanda and I walked all the way down to the end of the beach and the whole time we were at the beach we only found two pieces of beach glass!! On our way back to Andrew we saw a pickup truck and it was then that we realized that it was the first one we’d seen since we got to Europe. After the walk we went back to the campground and charged all our electronics and had dinner. After dinner we walked back across the street to watch the sunset, it was so pretty!! While we were watching the sunset, some girl came by on a horse, she was doing the walk Amanda and I did but higher up because the water had come in. Just before we left we saw some guy who’d been taking his time getting his way up the beach, he had a metal detector and was looking for little hidden treasures. Once we got back we all had to climb into the one tent. Once it got all quiet you could hear the waves, and that made it a little nicer being crammed into the tent.

We woke up at our beachside campsite and packed up to get to the point of Cherbourg. As we went on the hills got steeper and steeper. Along the way we stopped at a little cafe to get some France Long Johns. We kept riding until we realized we weren’t going to make it to the point so we switched our route down a beautiful tree covered path where my favourite picture from the trip was taken, we the went down the hill to a little waterfall and then turned around. After turning around we tried going back another way. The hills were extremely steep and they only got harder until we reached the peak. Once we got to the peak we reconnected to to path we took to get there and stopped at the cafe again. This time we got some chocolate croissants (pain au chocolat). We then rode back along the waterfront (mostly) and into the heart of Cherbourg.

Once we arrived in the centre of Cherbourg, it was crazy packed, people coming from all over to watch the World Cup on the big screen with everyone else. We got in contact with our warm showers hosts and found out that they wouldn’t be home for us to drop off our things and shower meaning we had to find a place for the bikes while we watched the game. The first entrance we came to said that we couldn’t bring in our bikes or park them by the exit so we moved onto the next entrance to see what we could do there. The lady security officer said we could leave our bikes there but as soon as we parked them in front of the emergency vehicle the male security guard made us move them up onto the sidewalk. We got them parked on the sidewalk and locked them all up and proceeded to take out all our valuables just in case. As we were securing our things we saw how no liquids or compressed bottles were allowed in, only water bottles if you took the caps off. After we secured the bikes, all the cafe workers started moving their chairs and tables out of the secured zone and stacking them around our bikes which made them extra secure. We made sure we didn’t have any liquids and then Amanda and I went in while Andrew taught a class before the game started. Amanda and I walked around and got her a drink, we finally got rid of her Thai money that she accidentally took as change in Rouen. We saw some man walking around with his bike and wondered why we couldn’t bring in ours, we weren’t upset though because of how secure they were with our placement. We got a layout of everything and then went back to find Andrew. Once we found Andrew they got beers again(they were the only vendor open on the whole square). When the game started everything was insane, people were so happy to be there and they’re all so enthusiastic about the sport, everyone was so passionate it was awesome!! It was even more unbelievable and just happy whenever France scored!! People throwing their expensive beers up in the air, colour bombs going off in white blue and red, streamers flying through the air, balloons in the France colours everywhere. Everyone had flags and was screaming, it looked like it was raining beer every time as they chanted “qui ne chanter pas n’est pas français”! I also found it so cool how when Croatia scored that they didn’t boo, kind of like they were humbled, they weren’t disrespectful in anyway whatsoever. As the game went on, each goal got more and more enthusiastic, crazy and intense!! As we went to and from place to place in the square, we saw a man in a striped shirt with his son and wife, he kept sneaking over alone to our bikes and snooping around looking for things. There were certain people who’d also brought their dogs which I thought was a bit cruel, it was so loud, hot, crowded, and frantic that all the dogs were panting, shaking and some crying as they sat between their owners legs. A few people passed out from heat stroke and had to go to the hospital. One girl that was right next to the jumbo screen was carried over to the medical tent by a bunch of her friends!! Just before the game ended, some guy came over and started talking to us and said that he wanted to golf and try out Amanda’s camera, since he was speaking half French and half English we pretended we didn’t quite understand and just showed him pictures on it, we never actually let him hold it and eventually he gave up and walked away. The final count down was so ecstatic and just gave you a happy good genuine feeling that words can’t even begin to describe it was too pure!!! When the count down ended everything was insane, it was downpour in beer, colour bombs everywhere, flags coming out of nowhere, streamers and things flying everywhere! They were all chanting “qui ne chanter pas n’est pas Français!”, then the music started playing and songs like ‘We are The Champions’ we’re playing and everyone was singing along and screaming the English songs! Then one guy climbed the fountain and went all the way to the top, after he climbed it, another girl climbed up and started leading some chants and cheers. After that, lots of people were climbing it and it’s started to get out of hand and look dangerous, they were all waving flags and splashing the water from the fountain on to the crowd which I thought was pretty fun and everyone loved it, gathering around the fountain to get splashed. We then went off to the side to watch our bikes as people started leaving while still watching the celebration. Some older coloured super drunk man started flirting with Amanda and he smelt overly strong of puke! Then some boat mechanics came over and started talking to me, the first one was was some bald 36 year old and the other one was a 24 year old guy with some awesome overalls and sun hat. Andrew went and sat in the shade, Amanda went to the bathroom to get away from the smelly guy and I stayed with the bikes. The boat mechanics came over and introduced themselves and asked my name, quickly to realize that French isn’t my first language and then the bald guy asked how old I was and then looked super surprised and walked away. Then the guy with the overalls came back and started talking to me in his best English even though I told him I could speak French he kept talking to me about this book that I should read that would change my life. I tried asking what the name of the book is in both English and French but I never got the name of the book unfortunately. He kept talking to me and then asked me how old I was and then when I told him he kept denying it. He asked again and I said it in French and he kept saying “Are you sure you’re 16?”. Then he said sorry, it’s because I’m 16 and then went back to talking with his boat mechanic friends. Then the vomit smelling guy started talking to me and it was VERY ineligibly telling me how much he loves Canada whilst pounding his chest. Then the guy in the striped shirt came back as I was leaning on the fence holding up the bikes and started rifling through the stuff RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!!! Then the overalls guy came back and started yelling at him and said they were his bikes and that he needed to leave and stood in between me and the striped shirt guy and kept yelling in French until he left, then he turned around and said sorry made sure I was okay and walked away again. I was absolutely terrified by what just happened but I was so happy he came back and saw what was happening and knew it was my stuff. As we were about to leave, some guys started screaming and arguing and then they were both pulling at some guy and then some woman stepped between them and was telling them to stop and then one guy punched her in the face!!! It started getting scary and then some other guys stepped in and started hitting the guy that hit the woman and then the guy in the overalls got knocked down too! After that it kind of stopped, security stepped in, of course they still had their cigarettes in their mouths the whole time. Then as we were trying to leave, some guy started yelling at a guy running away and then he caught up to him and punched him to the ground, proceeded to take the bag he was holding and then he ran away too, the guy on the ground had a bloody nose and mouth and left a blood puddle behind when he stood up. At that point we realized we should leave before it got anymore dangerous. We got our bikes out and packed and rode out of the square just to a little place with benches just across the little river to eat dinner. We got all set up and watched people go by as we ate. There were people in their cars honking, holding flags out the window, singing, screaming just having a good time enjoying the moment. Everyone walking by was singing and it was indescribable just how happy the whole thing was it just made me happy to be there. Some kids were sitting next to us and asked to have some water so Amanda let them have some from her water bottle. Then we saw people dropping fire crackers from the top of the parking garage and the energy didn’t die down at all!!! Everyone was just happy the whole time.

Once we finished dinner we went out to look for the warm showers house, initially, we accidentally passed their house because all the numbers on the houses were actually out of order so Andrew phoned them and they guided us with the help of landmarks. The entire ride to the warm showers house, everyone was still honking and super energetic and excited about the World Cup, there were some little girls running down the sidewalks celebrating and high fiving everyone who passed, including us! Once we finally arrived at the house, we brought all out stuff through to the backyard and met the hosts. Anne-Sophie, the girl whose name was on the warm shower profile works with autistic kids, Louisa is Anne-Sophie’s best friend who was at the moment unemployed and Louisa’s husband, Douglas (pronounced doo-glass) was a local garbage man. They gave us a quick house tour, the water closet was downstairs containing only a toilet and the bathroom with the shower/bath and sink were upstairs. All of us got weird looks for washing our hands after using the bathroom which I gotcha was a little strange. Once we got all our stuff into our room, which was Douglas’ art room we went to have showers in the bathroom only to find out once again, there are no locks on their bathroom door. Once we finally got all done and ready for bed and had laid down it was 11:30pm and we could still hear people honking their horns in celebration of their winning the World Cup which was a pretty awesome way to end the night!!

Amanda writes: What an amazing couple of days. Since we arrived in Europe 10 days ago this is the first time it is the three of us as we had planned initially. Learning to get into a groove as a team was new terrain for us and I think the first few days was great. We played our route by ear only trying to ensure we were in a bigger town for the World Cup game. France made it to the final game and we wanted to be part of the festivities. We began by continuing to cycle down the Coast with a goal of the very Eastern tip of this part of the Country to see some waves and maybe surf. After a day of riding we realized we wouldn’t have enough time to make it and instead we just rode along some nice coastal roads and checked out some beaches and waterfalls.

We arrived in Cherbourg with time to spare to set ourselves up for the World Cup game at the central plaza. We were joined by thousands of French people and a big screen TV to watch the game. We were lucky enough to find a spot beside a security check to store our bikes. The security crew helped us lock up the bikes and then essentially surround them with barriers and chairs so no one could touch them. We still kept an eye on them but we felt pretty secure about them. We found ourselves a beverage and settled in for the fun. It was such an incredible event to be part of and our timing was so lucky. France hadn’t won a World Cup event in 20 years. We enjoyed things so much.

The aerial view of our sightseeing day:

Today’s Flickr Photographs

Beautiful British Columbia
Getting Ready for Paris