Saturday, April 14, 2018

Bicycles and Sunshine

Yes, I noticed that it has been more than a week and a half since I posted. As Mark Zuckerberg has said numerous times when testifying before Congress, "Sorry."
Even now, I'm not feeling especially inspired to write a blog post, but I'll fill you in a bit on our life.
We've had some temperamental weather here in Aix en Provence. All the cushions for the outdoor furniture are stacked up behind metal chairs to keep them from blowing away in the high winds. And we've seen our first thunderstorm plus a lot of steady rain.
The bad weather has been beneficial to me as I have been working steadily to jump through all the necessary hoops to begin a new online teaching job. Lots of quizzes, studying and mock classes, which I'm hopefully at the end of. Waiting on a background check.
We aren't spending more money than I had anticipated in France, but I'm making less money. I didn't get any classes to teach for the one college where I work, but I have gotten one class every semester at the other. Still, some unexpected bills mean I need to find a way to earn more, thus the latest online job, which will hopefully make up the difference.
But, a lack of money didn't keep us from one of the objects we consider a necessity while living in France.
We made a foray to Burgundy, France, about a 4-hour drive, to buy new bikes.
You may be wondering, don't they sell bikes in Aix en Provence? And, I'm sure they do. But we wanted nice bikes at a low price.
Long ago, when Earl and I took a bike tour of Provence, we rented hybrid bikes from a company called Bourgogne Randonnees. They delivered bikes to us in Avignon and picked them up at the end of our trip in Aix en Provence. The bikes were topnotch.

So Earl contacted the bike shop, and they had two used bikes that were just our size. Mine, of course, was much smaller than Earl's. They offered them for 200 Euros each. The Gitanes bikes are 27-speed with shifters on the handlebars. They're so simple, even I can figure them out.
We left Aix around 7 a.m. after a thunderstorm-filled night, driving on the wet roads. Getting out of Aix was the hardest part, but then we took the freeway almost the whole ride, and our credit card can vouch for that since we had a 24-Euro toll on the first leg and a 12-Euro toll on the second leg.
The amazing thing, as we left the sunny south of France and its rain clouds behind was that we actually found glorious sunshine in Beaune, France, a town in Burgundy.
We worried we wouldn't get to the bike shop before lunch, and if we didn't arrive before noon, the shop would be closed until 2 or 2:30 for lunch. We pulled up around 11:30 a.m. and the two owners, Cedric and Florian pulled out the bikes they had set aside for us.
Look how much taller Earl's bike seat is than mine!
They let us try the bikes during lunch hour, so we rode along a path around the ancient walls of the city before  bumping over some cobblestones and locking up the bikes. We needed lunch too.
Ouch, those cobblestones on the bike tires, but oh the blue sky.
We ate outside, even though the owners thought it too chilly, but the sun warmed us and we ended up taking off our coats while we ate. 
We took a selfie in front of this fountain.

Here's the square with the fountain. 
Earl had a velouté soup, that's a cream soup with lots of vegetables, then a chicken burger, which is basically a chicken sandwich. I had a salad with ham and tartine of vegetables(vegetables cooked in a foil packet). There was zucchini, eggplant, radish, and not sure what that yellow round thing was. Plus a baked potato with a sauce. Yes, that probably cancelled out the benefits of all those vegetables.
Oh, did I forget the bread with cheese on it? That's part of a salad too, right?
We walked around Beaune some after lunch then rode the bikes a few miles. Earl was impressed with the bikes. He had feared they would be in worse shape since they had been rentals. But the tires had good tread on them. The gears all changed smoothly and the mechanics of the bike appeared to be great. We gladly paid them for the bikes and two helmets.

Happily rolling the bike to the car
Once we removed the front tires, we were able to fit the bikes in the hatchback of the car and drove four hours back to Aix.
Unfortunately, we left behind the clear skies as we headed south.
The South of France is supposed to be the sunny part. 
But for nearly an hour, a rainbow shone in the sky, sometimes pale, sometimes intense as if leading us back to our current home in Aix en Provence.


John Phillips said...

Oooolalalala! Love the new-to-you velos. Sorry you didn't get more cycle time in Bourgogne, but who cares once the sun comes back out & you get to bike all over Provence! Jealous here...again. John P.

Anonymous said...

You're going to have so much fun riding around! Great purchase!

Paulita said...

John, Thanks. I know that biking is a big passion for you. We're going to make the most of biking in France while we can.
Francetaste, Yes, maybe we'll even ride to Carcassonne!

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