It took just over 4 hours by train to get from Zurich to Paris Gare de Lyons station. We were joined at Basel by a lovely young man from Holland and his bike, who had just cycled there from Amsterdam. He offered to lead us out from Gare de Lyons across Paris to Gare du Nord as he was also taking the Eurostar to London. I was very keen to cycle after him, though strangely Andy did not take to that idea. I should have brought him home and introduced him to Pauline, with his impeccable manners, lovely legs, she would have liked him.
Anyway instead we had a beer in the warm Parisian sunshine and then took the final ride of the trip, across Paris. We have done this many times but this was a full adrenaline experience, police cordons, car drivers arguing with each other at junctions, bike paths full of parked cars, dogs, toddlers and glass. I loved it!
The transfer to East Coast train was a bit tight because of a delay on the Eurostar but we made it on time in York where Catherine picked us up in the van. Home before 10pm. And a lovely peaceful sleep, aah.
So the trip is over, my thanks to many kind and friendly people across Europe who were keen to chat, help or just pass the time of day. Thanks also to patient car drivers even in Italy who don’t respond with machismo to the sight of bikes on the road, and made this a pretty safe ride on the whole. Thanks to The Guardian’s sports writers for keeping me updated with transfer news on my lovely new Guardian phone link thing (farewell Torres and welcome back Super Mario, ho ho) and to Paul Mason’s weekly articles for making me think (when the revolution comes we should put him in charge). And thanks to those of you adding posts to our blog, though we did not respond directly they were encouraging and very welcome: it was a long time to be away and I really appreciated you keeping an eye on us.
Favourite place? Padua
Happy but Tearful moment? Getting to the top of the Sesstriere for me, and I think Andy had something in his eyes when we reached Lake Constance (Bodensee).
Track of the day for yesterday:
When I get back to Blighty by Paul Heaton and Jacquie Abbot
Social comment with some mischief from the album I listened to the most on the trip. Includes more on tax avoidance so sorry if any of you are Phil Collins’ fans. Go and listen to the track.
Track for today:
Our Love by Gregory Porter
Look away now as this is just for Andy to thank him for planning, mapping and navigating the trip, and for being the best of companions. If it wasn’t for him I would never set off on a bike anywhere.