Catching the train was easy. The hotel was opposite the station. Our bikes had a slot booked. The train station manager accompanied us across the tracks to the right platform. Train arrived, we got on, our booked slot which was marked in several languages “bicycles only” but was filled with about 10 very large suitcases. Passengers looked the other way. We had a four hour journey and the bikes could not block the doors as we were only the third stop. Duncan had to remove all the bags, load on the bikes and then pile the bags back on. Another cyclist got on at a later stop and so it all had to be redone again, result below.
Easy, smooth (294 kph) 4 hour train ride to Paris. Mostly wheatbelt and while Rick says the French are great producers of wheat, producing more than Australia apparently, the country is flat and by all accounts, rather boring. We have made a note not to ride this route in the future.
Getting out of the station wasn’t so easy, lifts and barriers involved. Close, warm and polluted air hit us immediately. Planned route all on official cycle paths but these aren’t fluid and unfortunately taxi drivers believe they are entitled to cut into the paths as and when they feel like it with no regard for cyclists. Julie is always singing the praises of French drivers – no more. As San Sebastián isn’t in Spain, Paris is not in France as clearly Parisians are a different nationality to the rest of the country. We didn’t experience this behaviour last time in France but that was in rural locations.
In order of polite drivers, it’s Spain, Portugal, France. The Spanish drivers without doubt are the best we have encountered anywhere. They need applauding for their patience, tolerance and support (cheering, waving, honking). Their attitude towards us everywhere was the same. Fantastic.
In addition, some of you may recall France had a big world win recently and had been out celebrating. We have never seen, nor ridden over so much broken glass before. It was everywhere. Below is the route and some of the easier to take photos and more pleasant bits of the truly worst 17km of the entire trip for Julie – hates traffic!
Now in a quiet, back street hotel. After Duncan has finished working we will be walking to the Louvre. We had a lovely bistro meal out last night and will try and do the same tonight. It’s the Eurostar back to the UK and train to Melton Mowbray tomorrow. Another day, another adventure!