France wins the World Cup!
Back on the Road

July 16-17

What happened…

Stephanie writes:

I woke up to a deflated air mattress but it was fine because I was so tired that I didn’t even notice, there was still honking all through the night in celebration of the win of the World Cup which I thought was kinda cool because of the context it was in. We went downstairs and had oatmeal with Anne-Sophie, while eating breakfast we decided that since it was so nice here and we couldn’t find a cheap train to Paris tomorrow that we’d stay an extra night with Sophie and Louisa so we could do some catching up. We found out that there’s a decathlon which is virtually a European MEC just up the hill from their house where there was also a little mall with a grocery store. I didn’t realize how steep the hill was until we were climbing it and it was pretty long, and the whole ride was straight up, a 160 meter climb. On the way up we saw Douglas drive past us in the garage truck, he waved at us and let us go through the small one way part of the road first which was super nice. When we finally reached the top of the hill, we had arrived at the decathlon so we parked our bikes and headed inside. It was enormous!! We had trouble finding what we were looking for because of how big it was but once we got into it, we found most stuff pretty easily, Amanda found a bathing suit and we found one of the ultra compact bags for me that Amanda uses for a shower bag, when she bought hers in Canada it was 45$ so we were expecting a nasty price especially because were in France for such a small bag, turns out the ones here were way cheaper, mine was 2€ so an awesome find to say the least! Since I’d been using Andrews coat for the last couple nights, we also found a down jacket for me for only 20€ super weird how cheap it was, I got a seat cover (which I found out Amanda and Andrew just call condoms) and a headlamp for when campsites dont have any lighting. Andrew was kind of disappointed in that place because it was more so clothing than equipment but I liked it and Amanda got a new shirt alongside her bathing suit. After shopping at decathlon, we went over to the mall and had lunch inside a little boulangerie and then I stayed with the bags and Amanda and Andrew went shopping inside the grocery store which was super high security, all bags had to be put into plastics bags that they sealed so you couldn’t put anything in them and all drinks had stickers put onto them so that they’d know they were yours! After they finished grocery shopping and we put everything into the panniers, we’d heard that there was a circus at the mall so we went to check it out. There were lots of animals but the ones that stuck out to me were the camels, one had one hump and the other had two, the little white miniature horses with long manes, the all black horses and the ZEBRAS! Luckily, because the whole ride to decathlon was uphill, that meant that the ride home was down but Andrew wanted to try a different way back which didn’t work out so we had to go back up from the way he’d suggested that was all unpaved so it was really rough but we finally made it back and we were super hot. When we got back, Anne-Sophie and Louisa were setting up to play music in the backyard, we joined in, Andrew played the violin for a bit, Amanda showed me a little on the guitar and then Andrew played on the guitar because he was having trouble keeping up to Sophie on her guitar. They had super pretty voices and it was so cool to learn some french songs to sing along with them. Their cats, Mr. Moustache and the other anti social one I don’t remember its name, had to stay inside because there was a wild black cat that liked to hang around their backyard and they often fought. About a half hour into playing music, Douglas got home and then him and Louisa started making food so Amanda went in and helped with dinner, they had all kinds of drinks for us and they made the most amazing home made onion rings ever. They told us that they were vegan but they also ate animal byproducts which makes them vegetarian but insisted they were vegan, that was kinda confusing but also just funny. Dinner was so so so nice in their backyard and we found out that there isn’t a “right way” to take the baguette, Anne-Sophie cut it whereas Douglas and Louisa ripped it. I got to translate for everyone and it was surprisingly super fun. After dinner and cleanup, we took a Polaroid picture together because they take one with all of their warm shower guests, even though we were only their second guests. After cleaning up and packing most of the stuff, we said goodnight and goodbye because of how early we had to get up to get to Paris.

We woke up super super early to catch the train to get to Paris but luckily the ride from Louisa and Anne-Sophie’s house was under 5 minutes to get to the station, as per usual, we had to unload the bikes to get them onto the train and we just sat down in a nice little cube so we were all together. We didn’t realize there were actually assigned seats until about half way through the stops, some people got on and told us we were in their spots. Andrew went to find where our seats were and unfortunately there were some scary looking guys in the seats. Andrew asked them to leave and they said no so then he told them to leave and they started yelling and swearing at him (in French) until they just gave up and left so we went and sat down. They were really mean to their dog and it was super sad but I was scared to make eye contact with them so I just left it. Amanda was a little bit stressed about arriving because we booked our hotel as we were on the train! The station that we got off at was the one we took when we initially got here to go to Rouen. It was so busy that we just walked out bikes to the hotel. When we got there, they wouldn’t let us check in because our room wasn’t ready, we also saw a family go in and ask to check in but their room was given away because they were supposed to check in the day before, were pretty sure that we got their room and felt kinda bad. Since we couldn’t check in, the lady said she felt bad and that she could hold our bags so we took off all the bags except the handlebar bags aka dork bags and lunch bag. So after the lady at the front desk told us that we had to wait, we went out and found a nearby park, it was pretty small so we had some trouble finding a good spot in the shade but once we did, there were lots of very sketchy looking people around us so we locked up the bikes even though they were right in front of us we didn’t have much food so it was a pretty simple and also pretty french lunch, a couple baguettes, some cheeses, meats and jam and Nutella. Once everything was all ready and set up for lunch, between 5-8 guys all in fancy suits came and set up very close to us and all pulled out what looked like metal bocci balls from their bags, each of them had their own set of 3 or 4 balls that were all slightly different in design or colour so that you could tell them apart. Andrew said it wasn’t bocci ball, it had another name but to me it looked almost identical to bocci other than the balls, the way they played looked pretty similar. They were still playing when we left but we had to go back and get wifi because Amanda had a class to teach. We rode back and when we went in, they said our room was ready so Andrew and I brought everything up and Amanda said she was fine to just teach her class in the lobby because it was quiet down there and we’d be unpacking upstairs. Andrew and I got everything into the room and mostly unpacked and then Amanda came up mid class because someone downstairs had started yelling at the clerk at the front. Then once Amanda was comfortable and good teaching her class, we were all quiet when all of a sudden there was a knock on the door, first thought was it’s fine, someone probably just has the wrong room. Before Andrew or me could even stand up, some guy barged into our room and when Andrew looked very angry and concerned, the guy just put his hands up and said “it’s okay it’s okay it’s okay” and came into our room and proceeded to go into our bathroom, he kinda let the door close behind him and we all just looked at each other in confusion. Seconds later he walked out of the bathroom thumbs up and then left. We had no idea what had happened but it was honestly so funny because that actually just happened to us, we didn’t even know if he was some kind of maintenance guy! Once Amanda was done teaching her classes, we walked over to a boulangerie and to the Carrefour to load up on some food. After grocery shopping we relaxed a little more and then Andrew kept nagging us about how we’re in Paris and we shouldn’t have any days off in Paris so we went on what was supposed to be a short walk. We ended up going over the lock bridge and I found out that it isn’t just ONE lock bridge, there’s multiple bridges that have locks on them. We walked past Notre Dame and the Louvre and when the sun started setting we walked along the river and could see the Eiffel Tower! We found this little food town and we got crepes and kept exploring, there are street performers absolutely everywhere doing all kinds of different things including many artists selling their work or drawing and painting portraits for people. By the time we were done eating we were exhausted and took the underground back. By the time we got back to the hotel we were so tired and were ready to go to bed but mom wanted to FaceTime so we talked for a good half hour before I got to sleep in my own bed. I’m in Paris!

Amanda writes: After the game yesterday we made our way to our warm showers host. A lovely threesome of people who were new hosts and became so to meet people. They spoke some English and with the help of Stephanie as our translator we had some nice chats. They were musicians and so we pulled out some guitars and sang a bit. They were so chill and allowed us to stay another night so we could get ourselves ready for our trip to Paris. It was so nice to see Stephanie just fold right into the social environment that is new for her. Complete strangers who welcome you into their home, share their food and shelter and just share stories. Stephanie translated French for us, played the guitar and was just awesome. Definitely a proud Aunt moment. I also love seeing Andrew socialize so well with his love for music. He’s a keeper.

After recharging with our hosts we set off for the train station and headed back to Paris to do the proper sightseeing. Our planning of accommodations was a bit stressful and really we only managed to secure something as we traveled on the train. The warm showers hosts we had hoped to stay with in Paris had another family there so we had to find a hotel which was way over budget. Andrew worked hard at it and while it was not my style, he got the job done. In hindsight I think I was stressed out about the last minute booking because we had Stephanie with us. It’s her first time to Paris and it should be awesome! If it were just Andrew and I we could sleep in an alley and if we got mugged and killed, okay we asked for it. But we had Stephanie with us and it stressed me out; huge! We checked into our cozy hotel and went straight out for some sightseeing. We figured we should try and see as much as we could in as little time as we could because Paris can be pretty pricey. So our first night we walked about and it turned out to be quite a long walk and beautiful. We saw the locks bridge, Notre Dame and a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. We were all pretty excited to be here and the next few days were going to be fun!

Andrew writes:It was great playing tour guide for Stephanie, and also getting to re-visit the Louvre. I skipped out on the Eifel Tower and Notre Dame. It was nice having an air-conditioned hotel room to come back to every day, but I think it had bed bugs as my legs, and Stephanie’s legs have some bites and are very itchy.

Android Photographs

davStephanie checking out the camel in a shopping mall parking lot; bizarre!

Zebra? Painted horse? Confusing.

Flickr Photographs

France wins the World Cup!
Back on the Road