For my 55th birthday, I wore my Kenyan Fair Trade bike earrings and rode 55 km, mostly along roads that passed through wheat, corn, barley, and sunflower fields.
I took this photo of my earrings with my bike early in the day as we rode through a forest once reserved for the king and his chevaliers to hunt wild boar and deer.
I am not sure when we will have wifi access again, so I'm going to make some other short posts about recent days. I plan to go back later and add a bit more for each day.
On the 4th of July, we again rode through many fields of grain and through many villages. The temperatures were in the mid 80's for most of the day.
In the afternoon after our group ride I headed into the nearby town of Nemours on my own to see the sites. Since it was Monday, everything including the Tourist Office was closed. But I did walk around the medieval castle and find my way into the cathedral where I took this picture of my 4th of July firecracker earrings, a gift from my flyfishing friend, Bob. Bob is enjoying a stint as an Episcopal minister, so I though he might enjoy seeing his gift on display with the saints du Gatinais.
July 5th was another warm day. We arrived at the Seine River in the afternoon around 2 o'clock (called 14 heures,here), hours before our boat arrived. We wandered the streets of the village of Saint Mammes in search of beer and/or ice cream. Finally, at 3 o'clock, one of our group discovered one bar that was open. I had a great time practicing my French with the bartender and her friend. They were very friendly and willing to let me search for words.
I wore my Schrader valve earrings, shown here on a Leffe bear bottle. The French do not make beer, but they do import it. Our Dutch guide says that this Belgian beer is the best in the world, and he should know: he's cycled through Europe, across North America, through the Amazon, even up to the base camp of Mt. Everest.
What is a Schrader valve? The part of a bicycle inner tube that allows the air to enter but not leave.
In the evening, my husband John and I rode 3 km to the nearby medieval town of Moret sur Loing where we saw the spot we wished we visited earlier--this waterfall, once used in tanning leather, but now the perfect place to cool off at the end of a biking day.
My son is working this summer in summer stock in North Carolina. He told me that the challenge of living, working, and partying with the same people 24/7 is the most difficult part of his life right now. "An introvert needs time alone." This was his comment after 20 days of 13 hour workdays without a day off.
My situation is nothing like that. But riding, eating, and relaxing with a group of 20 people makes it difficult to find time to sit and reflect quietly. My personal space is my bunk. There air is hot and still, and I cannot sit up straight in it. This morning I got up at 6:15, and came up on deck to spend a little time alone.
People are beginning to join me, and conversation distracts. Off to enjoy another day!