I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is have a coffee and sometimes if I’m lucky and found some the day before, a croissant or pain chocolat. I need this routine of writing first thing in the morning since Annalyn Lavey sent me a wonderful book that changed my life.
After having my “first breakfast” I usually pack everything, get the Flaca ready and start my journey of riding unknown lands and roads. This time I was heading north after stopping in Rennes on a city camping cause my bed was broken and needed a Decathlon to change it for a brand new one. I must say I love my new bed.
I missed the ocean every time I get into deep land territory. This time I didn’t expect what I was going to discover. I had Mount Saint Michel in mind cause all my friends and family were recommending it with such an enthusiasm that I could not miss it being so close. On my way to the north of France I stopped on a lake to take a picture and a smily old man came to me speaking french. We were talking for a bit and then we both continue our own paths. I was riding my moto on a dusty road following the lake when a fence stopped me and drawn my hopes of continuing in that lovely road. Suddenly the old man appeared again, this time riding his bicycle, he stopped next to me and said “bonjour” one more time, but this time his hand suddenly started to touch my leg and dangerously approach to my privates. I started to scream "NE NE NE”… the old man quickly took his hand off my near ding-dong area and polite and disappointed started to ride his bike with the last “bonjour” ever. Who was going to tell me that the first flirting experience of the trip was going to be this one… FAIL. For the next couple or hours I was feeling kind of dirty… but laughing about it.
Old-man forgotten, I arrived to an incredible little town, with a castle. I was expecting to find a princess but they were none so I continued my trip up North. The ocean was waiting for me and I could not wait longer.
On my way to St. Michel I had to pass by St. Malo, my uncle Luis only had nice words about that little town so I decided to give it a try. My expectations were low as I’m trying to avoid big or touristic places, but what I was going to encounter blew up my mind.
The "Intra-muros" left me with no words. I was astonished by the beauty of the architecture. A town frozen in time for 500 years, you could smell history, the only thing that can get you out of place are the herds of zombie tourist with cheap cameras trying to freeze low quality memories in time. I decided to stay after having some mussels & fries at Intra-Muros, when riding my moto around the touristic trap. No campings close to the city so I decided that it was the time to try Airbnb and sleep in a bed after long weeks of camping. I met Catherine, she offered me a place to sleep with no time and for a reasonable price. It was nice to speak to someone even with my poor french and her poor english, but the place was very very nice, and the feeling of a bedroom made me feel extremely good. I had the chance to store my bags at her place and put on my “special" outfit (pants and shirt) and have a walk around town. The city gave me one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The water was like a mirror and even clearer than the sky. I will always be thankful for those little moments.
Next day, before packing I met Catherine “bis”, a friend of my host that came to leave the cat at home. We were talking for a while and she told me nice places to go, and some to avoid. I thank her for that as I discovered extraordinary little towns on my way to her recommendations.
And then Saint Michel…
For the first time, I tried to ride the Flaca off-road. I knew that I followed the normal road, the herds of zombie tourist will ruin my visit to such a wonderful place, so I aimed the mount in the far horizon and tried to get to it not touching any asphalt... and I did it.
I was closer to it than most of the photo-zombies that paid 20 Euros to look at the horizon and be driven by a bus to the surroundings of the Mount. I was also alone.
It’s so beautiful that you can’t stop to look a it. There used to be a little sand road to get you to the Mount and it is said that the tides grow faster than the gallop of a horse, so it was an extraordinary strategy to drawn enemies and also being isolated for most of the day back in those sanguinary times. What was my surprise that this never happens anymore with such frequency as the French government built a highway for a bunch of ultra-expensive touristic buses, a theme park at the entrance with a parking for 1 million picture-hungry people that cost you the price of a trip to the moon. They ruined the place, so now it’s full of CAT machines trying to fix what they fucked up. Really sad to see what the excess of ambition and crowds of “lonely planet users" with cheap cameras can do to nature. Something that it’s been like that for centuries, we destroy in less than a decade. Bravo France.
Once I fully enjoyed the Mount for free and alone I decided to look for a camping near it. My surprise was that they let me stay inside the theme park for 10 Euros. With the best sunrise I’ve had so far, a free breakfast that I got sneaking into a Hotel buffet and a lonely pitch with not even one tent around me. WIN.
Next day I continued my trip to Normandi. I had in mind stoping at Etretat cause Catherine told me that it was worth visiting. It was true. But before arriving I saw a lonely road with a little sign informing of a near lighthouse. I took the road and suddenly I was in a meadow that ended in super high cliffs, with bunkers from the WW2 and a beautiful lighthouse. Again alone.. but this time for just a half an hour.
I started looking for a place to put my tent, but the wind was really strong and the crowds of tourist kicked me out, so I went to Etretat where I found a municipal camping for 7 Euros. Beautiful spot and amazing little town. Also very touristic, but I was so amazed by the beauty of the beach and my experience in the meadows that I happily stayed for 1 night.
Next day, the clouds and rain made me drive to Dieppe, where I decided to stay for 2 nights in an Airbnb house. It was the perfect moment to work on my videos, writing and calm down a little bit. I chose Dieppe cause I didn't like it at all. Sorry pekus, but it was awful compared to the places that I’ve seen along the way. I had the feeling that it was a dangerous city since I arrived. Lots of weird looking people and a semi-stolen bike at the front of the apartment made me nervous. That night I had a pizza downstairs and without saying anything the guys at the pizza place told me that the Flaca could stay the night inside cause the neighborhood was not very safe. Thanks Le Royal Pizza for that. I slept like a baby, and the Flaca too.
After two days at “home" I decided that it was the moment of leaving France. Now… aiming to Belgium to do my third country. Next stop… Mons.
What can I say after 2 weeks in France. It’s been almost a hundred lessons learnt everyday. Like my brother from another mother David Sanchez said to me, this is like growing up. I’m in the childhood period of the trip and will grow up to a point that my routines, my fails and wins will give me confidence and experience that will make me mature and more aware of everything, maybe better, maybe different, but for me and the Flaca it's going to be a long journey.
I loved le France, I hated le France, I hated myself too and loved me like never before. It’s been a couple of weeks of ups and downs, of doing this right and that wrong. I’m living the time of my life tho and I always have that in mind. Without the clouds the sun is not that beautiful, so everything should be appreciated, the bad and the good.
France it’s been a test-country. I have learnt a lot. Javier Colorado, a friend and neighbor that it’s been riding his bike around the globe for 2 years now has his own rules that he writes down when learning something about his trip, and I’ve been trying to get mines too. Maybe they are not rules yet but attitudes that I must follow. This are the ones from France:
#1: Calm down. Eyes up.
#2: If you really need something, and you see it. Get it. You might not find it again.
#3: Trust your instinct, it’s much better than following your doubts, even when you were wrong.
#4: Don’t you ever order anything that needs ice-cubes. French people don’t know what that is.
I will be always thankful to France and the lessons learnt. I’ve had an amazing time in the country with a lot of contrasts and experiences that are making my trip much much better now.
I’m saying “Au revoir" to "oh la la" and very excited for the things to come.
Bonjour or Hallo Belgique !! You will be my next place to discover. Please be nice with the weather…
Until the next one, thanks a lot for reading, supporting and being with me along the way.