As Americans, we generally respond to the glance down a French patrician nose by adjusting our clothes, touching our hair and checking that we don’t have toothpaste in the corner of our mouths. And it doesn’t have to be the aristocracy either. We’ll let any Frenchman make us feel like the peasants he surely believes we are.
Today’s ride was like sweat yoga, except it lasted for more than 6 hours. We left our hotel north of Leon early, and what was supposed to take 3 hours, required 4 stops to cool down and drink water. In what is another far superior French highway invention, the toll road lay by.
This little slice of heaven will have AC, multiple cafeterias, some sort of Art exhibition, and you’ll be able to learn a new skill on your trip.
Cooking, Acupuncture, a new language? It’s all there. A place where you can tell the French know coffee by the 20 auto-coffee machines that spits out a latte that puts Starbucks to shame.
And they sell traditional French mime clothes too. Did I buy one of these at a gas station? Yes. Yes I did. When I came walking back to the bike smiling broadly carrying my new gas station attire Jeff asked where I thought I might put this acquisition.
‘You’ve done more shopping on this trip than I’ve done in a year. Now you’re buying clothes in gas stations. How are we getting all this home on the plane?’
I shook my head. Does he know who he’s married to?
‘Collapsible suitcase in the side pannier. What? Do you think I’m an amateur?’
He knows better than to mess with my packing skills. And bonus!
‘When I bought it, apparently I didn’t do it right, so that lady at the counter started shouting at me in French.’
Jeff knows better than to question my glee at this experience. But, I couldn’t help smiling when she did this. She didn’t realize that everyone had been too nice to me since crossing the border from Spain on Saturday. I had been waiting for this moment,
When I said aloud ‘Ah, there it is.’ She just said ‘Bah! Americans!’ And waved me away from the counter. If she had spit on the ground it would have been even better.
We made to to Colmar, where we will stay for two nights before the final push to Heidelberg. I’d almost made it out of France before being dressed down as the peasant I will always be. I’m so glad that didn’t happen.