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Wine & Pizza

by Tara

We left to cycle the last bit of the canal into Nantes today. As we rounded our first corner the path abruptly stopped. A man operating a nearby lock laughed at us and said there were two ways to Nantes from there—swim across the lake, or take a very convoluted path to a different branch of the canal. Having had our fill of the canals we decided to stick to the roads the rest of the way in. We didn't mind the hills at all, it felt great to be back out in the world!

We rode as far as we could on back roads in the direction of Nantes but took to the highway for the last stretch. We were just a few miles out when we saw a sign for McDonalds. Neither of us likes McDonalds. Even so, we always get excited when we come across one now because they are sure to have free wifi and employees who don't care how long you stay. We ordered ice cream, got out the laptop and discovered that their wireless network was down. Oh France.

A bit frustrated we packed up and headed into Nantes. We were about to head down the shoulder of the bustling highway when to our delight we noticed there was a cycle path running along it. We would have been content with bike lane on the main road but this was a completely separate path only for cyclists and people on mopeds, and went directly into Nantes! Sweet! We took the smooth, paved route all the way into the city.

Nantes Ents

We quickly found an SFR store (the reason for cycling into Nantes proper) and I spent the next three hours with unhelpful representatives negotiating our still broken internet situation. They spent forty minutes obviously annoyed and openly frustrated with my audacity for wanting to exchange their broken device. They begrudgingly investigated it as if it were an object from outer space the likes of which had never been seen that might be slightly dangerous. The final conclusion after forty minutes was that it was indeed broken.

Unfortunately, after a couple more hours in what felt like the trenches, I still did not get what I wanted. We let the French wookie win and bought a new one. Thus ends the saga of securing mobile internet so Tyler can work. This is the last country we will spend enough time in to warrant it.

Tyler fiddled with the camera, guarded the bikes and read while waiting.

Nantes Leaf Weird French Lady

We quickly left and sat down at a cafe for even more ice cream to help ease my nerves. After enjoying our treat we left the city with relief to make for the coast south of us. Along the way we stopped at a grocery store and a group of kids on bikes came to ogle us and our gear. They thought my green bike was "hyper beau" and thought Tyler's GPS mount was insanely cool. They saw our iPods and were absolutely dumbstruck, thinking we even had power outlets on our bikes! We laughed and told them how it worked, and they bombarded us with fun questions until we cycled off to follow the signs we had seen for the local municipal campsite.

We arrived at the community campsite only to find that it was full, and closed for the night. We were amazingly composed when we biked away, tired and ready to be home for the night. It can sometimes require a lot of composure to remain calm when you're tired and looking for a place to sleep.

Things ended well; we found a secluded bike path with woods on one side, and set up camp right off the road in the clearing next to a picnic table. We weren't very well hidden from the bike path but it was late and we were going to leave early.

Tyler fired up our oven and baked a delicious frozen pizza while we both downed healthy swigs of from our first bottle of French wine (a Bordeaux). We definitely need to incorporate more pizza and wine into our lives! Stressful, yes, but all in all, it was another good day.

Also, check out this cockroach we saw on the road!

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Actually Tara it is a Stag Beetle (le lucane cerf-volant) Lucanus cervus - perhaps the most magnificent of the big European beetles, this is a male. They are locally common, but more and more threatened, as they require standing dead wood in which they can spend 3-5 years as a larva. As a consequence they are protected in both France and Britain. They are very heavy and males are most often seen climbing a wall in the evening in order to launch themselves in search of females during May to August.

Wish we could put that one in our bug jar!

Love Dad.
Posted by Tony on June 14th, 2009 at 2:47 PM
Wow! Thanks, Tony! Did you and the kids have fun looking that up or did you just happen to know all that?
Posted by Tara on June 15th, 2009 at 3:14 AM
It all started in May this year in my father's living room in Florida where I had the distinct displeasure of meeting a cockroach face to face in the recliner at 2:00 am. Knowing that it wasn't a cockroach of any sort, and being "homeschoolers" with kids who love bugs, I could not resist looking it up and filling you in on the details. I didn't know this before but now I do. Thank you so much for letting us travel and learn with you every day.

Posted by Tony on June 16th, 2009 at 6:37 PM