I said goodbye to my old flatmate Jo and her friend Lou yesterday. They’ve been with me all the way since I left London on May 31st and I’ve really appreciated the company in the first few days on the road. So, I’m on my own from now on… well, not really. You make new friends pretty fast when you’re cycling through places…
Cycled the 20 miles or so back to central Paris. Temperature must have been 30+ degrees which is fantastic for the tanlines, but super thirsty work even doing that relatively low mileage. I better get used to riding in that kind of heat though, as there are going to be much warmer places than Paris for me to deal with during this 7 Continents World Cycle!
I’d organised to meet up with a lady called Claire in Paris. I had contacted her for the first time just 2 days previously on a website called “WarmShowers” – it’s not as dodgy as it sounds. It’s actually going to be a real lifeline for me over the coming months and years. It’s a website that puts people who are cycling through a country in touch with local people in the area who are happy to put them up for a night or two. It’s amazing. I like a bit of camping, but given the choice, I’d much rather stay with local people – for me, it’s more interesting, more enjoyable and you meet some fascinating, super generous people.
I had hosted two French students through “WarmShowers” in my London flat earlier in the year, but this was my first taste of staying at someone else’s house. So, I could have stayed on my own in a hotel room/tent or this is was my WarmShowers experience: I was given a super friendly welcome in a new city, taken to the nearest post office to post a package back home to my sister, introduced to a fascinating guy called Stephane who sells top-notch bread that he takes round town on a bike, enjoyed a picnic by the Seine, watched people do Salsa dancing and juggle fire by the river.
I was given my own set of house keys to come and go as I wished, given some great advice on what places I should go next and who I could stay with, given some invaluable advice on where I could get vaccinations on a Saturday in town, given advice on where I could go in town to find some parts for my bike…AND given a sticker of a local cycle club to put on my bike as a nice souvenir smile emoticon.
WarmShowers, Claire and Stephane, what a great way to see new places and meet new people. I will be writing a lot more posts about WarmShowers over the coming weeks and months – it’s really not as dodgy as it sounds. Honest! In fact, if last night was anything to go by, it’s going to introduce me to a whole load of really fascinating, big-hearted, friendly people. Hopefully!