Trip dist: 67 km. Trip time: 3 hrs, 50 min. Tot dist: 3513 kms.
Ack. Wanted to see the castle at Fontainebleau before departure (Paris is so close by now I could afford to waste two or three hours in the morning), but it turned it was closed on Tuesdays, like apparently most museums in France. This was a bit unexpected since I figured they'd close on Mondays like the rest of Europe. Oh well. Will have to wait as a day-trip from Paris, then.
The ride was not particularly exciting. When I arrived in Paris, though, it took me a full 3 hours to find a hotel (all the Youth Hostels were overbooked), and very expensive and overpriced (i.e. the cost not reflecting the quality) at that. Oh well. At least it had a TV, super important because Italy plays Germany today in World Cup semifinals. Yeah, I'm timing the bike arrivals around the games, silly I know, but Italy has come so far... It is 7:00 p.m. here and I can afford only about 1 hour of internet before the game...
Anyway, called up Dorothee and Edwin, a friend I met in Lisbon 5 minutes before departure to Sintra, precisely as I was filming the (in)famous "See you in Istambul!" video/movie, and with whom I'd been in touch with by email ever since. Dorothee, as you know, I had met in Barcelona about a month back. They seemed both quite happy to hear from me, and the plans for meet up were made immediately and without wasting any time: Dorothee is departing for Biarritz on business tomorrow, but will be back on Friday and will call for meet up then, while Edwin immediately asked where I was watching the game and invited me to see it over at the apartment of his friend Emilio's, a fellow countryman of mine from Mexico. This, of course, I gladly accepted: like many things, it is so much more fun to watch soccer in good company.
Great news from cyberspace as well: Patrick, fellow cyclist from Great Britain that I told you about, is currently in Paris (it seems that his bike frame broke and he's travelling around a bit for fun while he waits for his replacement, and he just arrived here today)!! The email asks me to meet him...ack, 3 hours ago. Unfortunately I arrived into Paris a bit too late for this now, but a quick phone call fixes everything, and I'll be seeing him tomorrow instead. Can't wait. :)
Neat, how suddenly friends converge in one spot unexpectedly, eh? Changes everything.
Edwin, by the way, also offered to keep my bike at his parent's house while I visit Paris and entreated me to stay at his apartment while he stays at his girlfriend's house for a few days ("Pity," he said, "you already paid for the hotel tonight. You should've called me earlier."). Wow! Can you believe it?!? Can you imagine the kind of trust that is required, to make such an offer to a stranger you know only from a few emails, a random blog, and 5 minutes of conversation? I'm sure if he knew me a bit better he would think twice about allowing me anywhere within 10 meters from his kitchen....my culinary and house-keeping skills have been known to involve some rather...exciting...pyrotechnics in the past...(it's hereditary, by the way ;)). But, kidding aside, this was, of course, a most unexpectedly kind offer. What a sweetie.
I think it was Edwin's fellow Frenchman Jean-Paul Sartre, who said "L'enfer, c'est les autres" (hell is other people). Well, maybe so, but heaven....is other people also.