Sunday, July 24, 2011

Five Weeks Down

5 Weeks down, 10 to go – we are a third of the way through our trip. I’m happy with that because it’s not half way which means the majority is still to come. Everyone said it would go really fast but honestly it hasn’t. Every day is filled with so much to see and do. And we’re never rushed, it’s just that we’re generally up and about by 10 at the latest and often not home again until 10pm. Although we miss TV and books and it’s a constant battle between wifi and power supply, these things mean we have no choice but to explore and experience.

I keep a very tidy house because if I didn’t, tent life would become unbearable. I need to at least know where to find everything. But it takes me two minutes to clean my whole house and it takes Courtney (in all honesty it’s usually him) 2 minutes to rinse the dishes.

I do the majority of the tent putting up and taking down. It’s only fair, because Courts does all the riding, but in keeping with the honesty thing it’s also just because I’m faster at it and anyone who knows Courts knows how easily he gets distracted. I’d put money on the fact I could have the tent down and bike packed in the time it takes him to get dressed and brush his hair. Actually, that would be an unfair bet because I’ve done it before. Bless him.

In the tent, everything has it’s place. Kind of. Food goes in one corner, our sleeping mats go side by side lengthways along the door, and the back wall is lined with 4 of our 5 bags/cases – a pannier full of clothes, a bag that fits our two toilet bags and the first aid kit, the tank bag that contains all our valuables and a second pannier that contains everything else. Our helmets sit on top somewhere and the rest of our gear lives in the awning of the tent. None of our clothes get folded and nothing has an exact home. But the organized chaos is our little piece of the world – other than the suitcase that marks our place in Monty and Nurse B’s spare room, it’s the only home we have, our little tent.

I was thinking the other day how nice it will be the next time we go camping post-Europe. Despite looking forward to the luxuries of home, it would be nice to be back in our little tent temporarily. But then I remember the panniers and bags belong to the bike hire people and our little (big) bike isn’t really ours. At least the tent is.

Courts favourite stop so far has been Galway, mine San Sebastian. We both loved Beauvoir and wish we had time to explore Bordeaux. France is awesome. We both think London was the best city, although Barcelona is coming up close behind and I did really like Dublin. As much as I looked forward to Paris, we both thought it was overrated, although I think it would grow on me if I had more time there.

If I did the trip again, I’d go back to all the same places, except I’d swap Benicassim and FiberFIB for Madrid and Sonisphere. I wish I’d had longer in Beauvoir, we both do, and in Sant Mateu. If we weren’t pinned down by the time between San Fermin and Wacken, I’d spent more time in Spain.

The small towns we stop in during long rides are the best parts of the trip. San Fermin was definitely the craziest fun. BioParc was probably the best attraction, although Courts would probably challenge it with the Guiness factory. Eddie Rockets still holds the crown for best food. Courts is yet to find a paella that’s better than the one he had at home. We love Sangria. The Squirrels in Hyde Park would be the best free thing we’ve done, if you don’t count to 2 pounds we paid for peanuts to feed them.

We’re heading back into France next so we’ll have to swap our Si’s for Oui’s and our Gracias’ for Merci’s. Courts is very excited about Amsterdam and then of course Wacken which is only a week and a half away now. I’m unsure if we’ll make it to the Pont du Gard which will suck if we don’t, and I’m thinking our trip to Prague will be more adventurous than planned (or unplanned as the case may be). The thing I’m most looking forward to now is the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany, when we get to Italy. But that’s ages away, we’re onto a very Courtney leg of the trip now, it’s going to be a goodun.

Penelope_nz's Barcelona, Spain photoset Penelope_nz's Barcelona, Spain photoset