For a second when I saw this sign I thought I had gone the wrong way, but then I realised that I am actually terribly close to Spain.
I did not quite get it, but the mountains I’ve been seeing at the background of my pictures over the past two days should have been a clue. Getting into Biarritz meant climbing was back. I don’t know why but I thought that keeping snug t the coast would have kept me out of mountain’s way. Not so, Biarritz hardly has any flat surface and it’s not the cyclist paradise I’ve been used to for the last couple of weeks.
In saying that the ride was short and, while peppered with small and medium showers, it was not taxing enough to get me at my destination soaking wet or overly tired. It was enough however to confirm that the back wheel needs a great deal of TLC and perhaps, to preserve my sanity in the next continent, replacing.
I am not sure I was going to stop in Biarritz beyond getting the servicing to the bicycle done. It would have been a mistake not to do so. It is a gorgeous town and the walk we took last night around the ocean front showed me how awesome nature can be as well as how cleverly these folks have married the coast with the architecture of the city. The feel of the city is remarkably alive considering that we are probably the furthest away from the high season as it gets in these parts. Anyway, I’m staying two days hosted by some friends I had not seen in a very very long time.
Lorenzo, Ramona and I go way back. I met Ramona first when she came to Edinburgh in the mid nineties to refine her english, being that at the time she was in the languages business. Lorenzo, on the other hand, I have known since I was ten or there about.
For those of you that have known me in the last twenty years it might be difficult to believe that I was once a member of a swimming team. Lorenzo was there too and we did spend a brief moment of the evening remembering the long lasting scars that hundred of thousands of lanes of training have left on our minds and on our bodies.
The news of their presence in Biarritz came to me as a surprise curtesy of another Ramona, this being Lorenzo’s sister and also fellow inmate of the the same swimming team. Ramona and I have a great deal of shared history in and outside the swimming team and I regret we have not kept more in touch in the past twenty years. Yet another of those things to set right in years to come.
Lorenzo and Ramona have been in Biarritz for almost four years, after the conclusion of a successful and yet quite draining experience as restaurateurs in Nonantola near Modena. Lorenzo is a great cook and he made a delicious pasta e fagioli last night, my wine choice got his blessing (Phew, not being a great connoisseur, I was worried), and we had a great evening filled with the usual Italian setting the world to right, but also peppered with the shared experience of emigrants. It is quite interesting to talk to other people that have had the same experiences, the same excitements and the same frustrations with both the adoptive and native countries
Today it’s off to get the bike righted and then, as they are off work, to do something else yet to be decided. Tomorrow it’s on the road again and it will be au revoir France and hola Espana.
UPDATE – 19:07
Gone to Decathlon and:
- Got the back wheel fixed
- Got 4 sets of break pads
- Got a nice new rain cover, quite expensive one (which means it will never rain again)
Tonight menu: Polenta, sausage and ribs casserole, porcini mushroom, pasta e fagioli frittes.