Paris to Bretigny-sur-Orge
Sunday 5 October
Against my friends advice, I decided to begin my journey by cycling out of Paris. I’m glad I did, as it was one of the easiest days of my journey so far. I had planned a short trip, just to get used to the bike, and carrying a load… and used to French traffic… Which is extremely tame compared to Indonesian roads. There are cycle paths everywhere – What a wonderful country! I really should have learnt the meanings of some French road signs, too… But it was all OK for a first day. I was relying on Google navigate, which caused some confusion at the roundabouts, several of which I went around several times… But once out of the city of Paris, and through the suburbs, it was all downhill (and on cycle paths), to Bretigny-sur-Orge, where I was to spend the night,
I joined CouchSurfing a while ago, and had mostly hosted until now, and my first night of my pilgrimage, I was to be the guest – and what a wonderful introduction to the French hospitality! I was a little lost coming into the village, and after circling for almost an hour, I called to say I was lost. My hosts came to find me, walking me to their delightful warm home and family of 5 kids, all very keen to meet the strange foreigner and practice their English. They had the washing machine ready to go, and offered a very welcome hot shower, before I was treated to a wonderful dinner which included a delicious plum tart made from fruits from the garden, and what I was to learn was the ubiquitous fromage course, served at every meal in every home I was to visit. Heaven. Oh… And wine – heaven with virgins, if you’re into that sort of thing. Prior to going to bed, all of the children (excluding the baby), came to say good night in English – the youngest particularly proud of her accomplishment – it was just like a scene form The sound of Music, without the matching curtain outfits.