Been out riding our bikes through the French countryside near our camping ground at Chateau l'Eperviere in Gigny-sur-Saone. It's in the Bourgogne. Beautiful day after a couple of wet ones. I've been trying to drink in the sensations again. I'm not given to description but this is it. Spreading, enormous fields of sunflowers, barley, corn, wheat - lots of it harvested and now the fields are dotted with round bales of hay. Cows in the meadows; families of cattle it seems. Maybe I don't get out in the countryside enough at home, but I'm not used to seeing the bull amongst the cows and calves. Makes for a pleasant vista for the cyclists, us.
There are also the tiny ancient villages through which we cycle. They all have their ancient church at the centre and their village squares with monuments to local saints and those lost in the wars. Old stone houses with wells out the front, now often full of flowers. Reminiscent of my English childhood days spent at my uncle Charlie's farm, where at five, I learned to ride a two-wheeler and first experienced the wind through my hair and that feeling of speed. Pervading all is a sweet wet smell of hay. Probably a bit of manure too, but I quite like it.
Sensational. We stayed at this place in 2010 early in that trip through France and England. So glad we returned to Gigny-sur-Saone. Have a bit of a lump in my throat right now, given we're just seven days shy of having to get back to Munich, sell back our bikes to hopefully get half price for them. The day after that we must return our 'camping car'. Don't want to. However, I will be glad to connect with my own shower and toilet. (Let me just say, I don't like having to deal with the ablutions of men, other than my husband, in these unisex 'sanitaires'. Can never get used to men pissing in front of women as they do here. Find it disgusting and sexist. Men can whip it out along the road, whenever the urge takes them. They wouldn't take kindly to a squatting female though. Sorry.)
Anyway, I am very grateful for the opportunity to travel as we do, and for a working life that enables us, as Australians, to take Long Service Leave for a few extra weeks whilst still being paid. Lucky country.
On another note, I was really concerned about my bike. It was scraping and clanking and eventually the handlebars seized almost completely. Great for riding in a straight line but a bugger when you need to go around a corner. Had a brilliant idea this morning. Asked at reception here if they had any oil. They did. Presto, new bike. Amazing what a bit of oil can achieve. Wish it would do the same for my arthritic hands.
So here's to France, WD40 - oil - and a non-ironic adventure filled final week in Europe.
Note: rather than being due to the end of a brilliant holiday, my melancholia could be the result of having run out of Harmony Menopause tablets. Just saying.
Cycled about 30 k today. Have done several hundred kilometres since we picked up our bikes in Munich what now seems like months ago.