The sleepy seaside village of Ares has been beautiful. How quickly we become creatures of habit. Over the week here, it’s our custom to take an evening stroll by the waters edge to watch the tilting marooned boats magically lift themselves upon the rising tide of shiny tin metal ripples, created as the last of the sun falls across the water.
At Le Pasture Caravan Park, “Special rates for Velos!” we fall asleep each night to the sound of acorns falling like stones on the roofs of the amenities block. Perhaps there are pesky squirrels in the trees throwing them at each other? In the mornings I’m greeted with a hearty “Bonjour” from Miriam at the boulangerie when I go in to get one of her steaming hot fresh baguettes and the best pain aux raisin we have ever eaten.
The autumn nights are growing increasingly cold and frosty now and it’s time to make a move. I’m getting itchy feet. Having serviced, cleaned and polished the bikes, they sit there looking at me quizingly as if to say “What’s keeping you?”
So much of who I am and what I do is about cycling that I tend to take it for grated. However, not being able to cycle in the middle of a touring cycle adventure has been cause for thought. It’s the case that some decisions in life come quickly and easily, while others are made only after much pondering and some degree of anguish. A quick spin around Ares reluctantly helped me resolve the issue and make a decision. My arm and shoulder are not right. Sure, I could continue to ride one handed, but that’s dangerous and not a real option when cycle touring. The call of the Camino will be answered another time.
Therese and I discussed possible options: Pull the plug, Therese keep cycling without me, head to warmer weather without our bikes. Its a wonderful and liberating experience, because essentially we are talking about freedom, what else we might do or where else we might travel, what a privilege.
It’s surprising how quickly you can change tack. Suddenly we are excited and hurriedly working on plan B. Somewhere warm South East Asia. Thailand to begin with, then perhaps Laos or Burma who knows?
Au revoir Ares! All packed up I cycled off slowly and literally single handedly into Bordeaux. We packed up the bikes in our hotel room, organised for Seven Seas Shipping to pick them up. The Vivente’s are going cruising without us, on a slow boat back to Australia.
Our bicycles have been our home and life these last few months and saying goodbye to them is hard, but strangely liberating all at once. Suddenly we are unencumbered.
Therese and I will take the train to Paris, then fly to tropical Thailand. I expect a few weeks lazing by a beach somewhere will improve my condition.
We are already looking at possible cycling options in Asia, maybe riding local bamboo bicycles.