Monday, July 26, 2010

More Delights from the Roach Motel...and Beyond

We were so excited to be moving to a better room! alas the extra two and a half feet of space is fully occupied by an additional twin bed. 
Undoubtedly so they can squeeze another 50 euros out of the room. There is space in the room for our luggage. Or us. Not both. And we’re not sure if there are bugs in this room too. But there is no hot water. And no nightstands - there’s no room!  just a niche in the wall next to the bed.
I stand in the shower for five minutes, naked and freezing, waiting for the water to warm up. I finally crawl into bed weeping and shivering. Major melt down.  Wally figures out that the hot and cold have been plumbed backwards - my hero - and I finally get a hot shower. Hunched over like a crab, because the shower is designed for the same twisted midget who uses the hairdryer. I did mention that you have to crouch to use the hairdryer because the cord is soooooooo short?
At breakfast here at the Roach Hotel you may have coffee (eventually - this is France after all) stale croissants, do-it-yourself toast, delicious yoghurt with canned fruit cocktail, but if you want an espresso you have to pony up 2 euros ten. In cash. Up front. Apparently they know their clientele. But its the last morning here, and we are off to Bordeaux! 
A bus takes us via the back roads to Bordeaux. This country could use a few more highways - how does anyone get anywhere? Or maybe it’s the B&R scenic route. I prefer seeing it on a bike.

We go thru dozens of tiny villages, thru huge fields of sunflowers and pastures with big rolls of hay. There must be a more direct route but the driver refuses to take it. I am heartily sick of bus transfers.
It’s not the typical B&R trip. Not the same bonding, the same sharing of tales from the trail. And I’m trying to figure out why.
The cycling is harder and longer - less time together.  Less down time to talk about the funny things that happened to us that day, to hear what our fellow travelers found beautiful or astonishing. 

And because the Tour route changes every year, B&R does not have the relationships in the area we are visiting that make their trips so rich. They’re not here for the fabulous hotels, the rich culture, the tiny picturesque roads, the people who have lived here since before time began and are happy to show it to you. They are here for the Tour. And as happy as I am to be leaving the Roach Motel, leaving the crowds and the tackiness, I suddenly realize that everyone is moving. The Tour is moving, so so are the crazy mad cyclists, the caravans, the other cycling tour companies, and altho we will be in a nicer hotel, the carnival is coming with us.

But B&R does lots of trips in Bordeaux (take one!) the roads are smaller the hills not as steep - we are in heaven.

I finally figures out the photo thing and before we leave Lourdes, the Catholic Disneyland, you have to see the souvenir shops selling only religious items...
 A Tabac that sells Rosaries and Virgin Mary statues. Go figure. And the wheelchair parade... heartbreaking. Cheerier thoughts to come.

1 comment:

  1. You are on fire blogging about this trip, Jill. If you don't already know how funny these posts are you will when you get home and have some distance.

    Tory and I picked more cherry tomatoes this afternoon. Yum. Thank you.