September 16, 2014

Bikes, Planes, Boats and Trains

Here is a picture of what I have spent much of my day looking at.


Papillon (my bike, if anyone doesn't recognize the name) and I have spent the day going almost nowhere, slowly. My plans are changing dramatically and I believe that my bike tour is finished. If for no other reason traffic to get out of Nice is a bear. Also, my Paris to Nice tour does sound like it finishes in Nice, yes? My ambition, motivation and legs certainly think so.


Notice anything odd about that last photo? The answer will appear below.

This is a beautiful old city to explore. Slowly to explore.


The harbor is surrounded by colorful buildings, what I have seen of the harbor is small and full of big luxury boats.



So, what was odd about that photo? There are almost no plane trails in the sky. Almost no jets. That is because Air France is on a week-long strike. I have, or might have, or hoped to have had, two flights during that week. One from Nice to Paris. Over 60% of the flights out of Nice were cancelled yesterday and today. Happily for me, Roy gave me a heads-up about the strike two days ago and I immediately bought a TGV ticket to Paris.

Simple enough, if added expense, but... the TGV is the fast train, and it requires that all bikes be in bags. Not boxes, bags. I have a bike bag, and I like it, but it is, of course, in my hotel in Paris. And neither the Decathlon here nor any of the bike stores have bike bags. So I bought a motorcycle bag, the kind used to protect motos from weather. Also bought 10 meters of bubble wrap, and a large role of packing tape. Finally at the 2€ store, I bought two red, 100% synthetic belts, with which I hope to fashion a strap. If I arrive at the train station very early I will be able to pack my bag on or near the platform, minimizing lugging it around.

And what about that plane I am supposed to be on back to Boston. I know, if you have to be stranded, Paris is a great place to be. But still.... all fingers remain crossed please, that it flies. If not, Roy has humorously suggested a boat out of LeHavre. Bigger than those I showed you above.

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12 comments:

  1. Sarah here - there was no option to reserve a bike spot on the tgv? You can't do it online, but in person it's quite painless (as long as there's space).

    Nice looks lovely, and much less crowded than I always picture it.

    Oh, and if you're stranded in Paris you can cat sit for us ;-)

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      As best I understand (and a TGV guy on the phone confirmed) in the summer, there is 1 daily train that permits bikes to roll on. But summer is gone, and so is that train! I think the beaches are less crowded also because summer is gone.

      Though for me, it is warmer, the sun is hotter and the air is drier, than we ever have in chilly grey, damp New England.

      Yes, thank you! I would love to cat sit if stranded in Paris:-)

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  2. The blue blue Mediterranean. Seems that ralaxing afterward and soaking in the accomplishment is as much as doing the accomplishment. Brings the journey full circle. It is nice that you are sharing that with us (even though we didn't do the hard part). I can't wait to hear what is next in store for you, darn strikes, but your weather and clears skies look fabulous. You are having R&R in Nice-Côte d'Azur - pinch yourself, it is real. Enjoy!

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    1. It is just beautiful to be here and I will do my best with your good directions! Pinch, pinch, pinch:-)

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  3. Good luck with the train/plane, Suze. If you need any help just let me know.

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  4. Gee. Poor you. Stranded in Nice, surrounded by blue sky and gorgeous blue waters. You could be in the Berkshires where it has been in the low 40's in the AM. Only kidding. Hope you are able to manage to drag yourself out of Paris and back to the US. Roy's idea of an ocean sail sounds pretty good to me. Whatever, Suze, I have loved my wonderful trip through France. Bon Voyage mon ami.

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    1. Tough, isn't it? So, maybe I should think about that boat ... have never been on a trans-Atlantic liner!

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  5. After such a successful bike trip, it is harsh to be stymied by motorised transport on the way home. A circular tour next time?

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    1. I suppose if I added a kayak section for the Atlantic ... strap the bike on the front:-) More seriously, the SNCF should let me on the train, the bike bag will be weird, but still a bike bag. It is the plane from Paris to Boston that is now the question. But yes, a circular tour does sound good....just don't send me back up the Alps!

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  6. Nice sounds super! If no flights from Paris to Boston, you could take the train to London and fly from there... I look forward to your report on Nice for my trip there next year.

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    1. Hi Kenneth,

      It will be fun to talk Nice! Roy suggested a boat from LeHavre, now a London idea. If they strike my plane, which I am hoping they will not, probably I will sit tight in Paris until AF flies me for free. I am hopeful about getting on my plane, but most of ths week it hasbeen cancelled. In any case, see you soon.

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