Pete and Julia Dolan from New Zealand, cycle from Birkenhead (near Liverpool) England, to Barcelona, Spain, via France and Portugal. Pete's 85 year old Dad tags along for two weeks, (also cycling!) following the Loire River from Orleans to Nantes in France.
Thursday, November 1, 2018
31st October (rain, cloudy, cold) 0 km
Had the best sleep on the tour last night and was very
surprised to hear Julia say that it was 8.30am. Even when I do sleep well,
which isn’t that often, I never sleep that late. I think it’s because we don’t
have curtains in our bedroom, only blinds, which of course let light in through
the sides. My sleep from an early age was never very good as I never wanted to
miss out on anything and it always seemed such a waste of time. Of course as I
have aged, probably prematurely because of a lack of it, I do realise the
importance of it. The curtains in this apartment are long and prevent any light
from seeping in. I have often made fun of Julia and the fact that she can sleep
so well anywhere, when in reality, I envy that ability.
The view from our balcony
Outside it was miserable. We have already decided to stay
another day here, just for fact that we knew this front was going to dump some
rain today. It’s supposed to clear up tomorrow so fingers crossed.We enjoy camping but with the hotels being so
cheap down here, it doesn’t make any sense to camp – and it’s a lot of effort
to find a campground that’s open.
Ju here – We have faced many trials on this trip, but today
was indeed a torturous one for us.Faced
with torrential rain beating on our windows, we were at least safely tucked up
against the elements.Luckily we woke
late as we knew we didn’t have much food to see us through the day.We had breakfast sorted, although only cereal
as we had eaten all the bread last night.A milky coffee and a custard square followed to keep the wolves at
bay.But as the morning wore on, the
worry set in.Between us we had only one
custard square.I could see Pete’s eyes
flicking towards it with increasing frequency, so broke the tension by
suggesting we have another coffee and split the custard square between us.
Pete accepted this offer eagerly – I think he was worried I
would expect him to do the gallant thing and let me have the whole lot.That demolished, we were now faced with the
stark realisation there was nothing left in the larder.Who would break first?
We turned on the news to distract us from our hunger pangs
and couldn’t help draw parallels between our situation and that faced by Asia
Bibi, the Pakistani woman who has been on Death Row for ten years for insulting
the Prophet Mohammed.She too was
confined to one small room for most of those ten years and starved to within an
inch of her life.Ok I know we have more
than one small room, but just remember, there are two of us.We took comfort that she somehow managed to
survive, struggled on, and has now been pardoned.But still the rain tormented us with it’s
We saw our plight had been recognised with the headline
“Migrants stranded in Southern Europe” and felt hope that we weren’t in this thing
alone.However, with so many others in
the same predicament, would that mean we would have to wait longer for aid to
be flown in to us?We realised if we
wanted food, we would have to be the ones to get it, so started to kit up for
the trek to the supermarket.But just as
we did that, the sun actually broke through and we safely made it to the
supermarket and back without a drop falling on us.But no sooner had we finished devouring our
lunch, than the rain started again – good job we got a lot of supplies!
This is what happens when we can't get outside - sad isn't it?
Pete here -It was
well after lunchtime when we finally stuck our heads out of the apartment to
venture to the local supermarket, about a km away. Confined within four walls
was slightly more comfortable than being confined within the tent, for which we
were grateful. And we are grateful, for everything in our lives. I, for one was
grateful that the walk was only a km long and that it was an Intermarche, which
is a well stocked supermarket, able to provide us with our usual requirements.
I was very grateful today that they had Guinness, as I just fancied one.
As we walked in the main doors, we were greeted with a smile
and a ‘Hello” by a thirty something well-dressed male. That’s unusual I
thought. And unusual, it turned out to be. Upon completion of our little
outing, we were met by “Mr Smiley” on the way out. He stood directly in our
path and began to ask us to give to his charity.Now I realise that there are millions of kids
starving around the world and people living in poverty everywhere, but I don’t
agree with those trying to coerce money out of people who have just been
shopping, in an effort to make them feel guilty and that is what they are
doing. In these days of charities calling up to request money for this, that
and the other, if we give to them all, would that allow us to stand in
supermarkets, with a smile, after giving all our money away and look for
charity? There will always be others who are less fortunate, however, that is
how it has been since the beginning of time. Look at Jesus, he fed the 5000 and
look what he got for that. I’m sure if he’d been confronted at a local
supermarket nowadays, there would be no way he’d be giving that bottle of Prosecco
and that sliced loaf to anyone.
Just so there is no confusion on how guilty this bloke
actually made me feel. The mushroom, onion, courgette and cheese omelette went
down nicely, as did the coffee with a nice bit o’cake. The day slipped away and
before we knew it, darkness had set in, that is now about 6pm. Spent the final
hours with a drink, followed by coffee and watching a Clint Eastwood movie on
tele, from 2008, not bad either, although because we joined it part way
through, we have no idea what it was called. Hit the hay about 10.30pm
desperately hoping that we would not be confined to barracks again.