Monaco Travel Blog› entry 84 of 86 › view all entries
With the coast the ride became a nightmare to say the least. Its built up and for a start the italians would never let me use their toilets unless we would by coffee. Because I ended up having to go into so many places to ask, and was constantly turned away we fell out with the italians all together as we sarcastically thanked them for their friendlyness and praised their hospitallity. But that was not the only problem: sleeping became difficult as there wasn't much room for our tent and then the rain began again.
Exhausted we decided to check into a campsite in san remo. Its posh but the lady proudly proclaimed she would give us a discount and cut the price from 29 euro to 20. 20 Euro to pitch a tent!!! "Can we please have it cheaper?" I asked. For once, to my big surprise, Daren actually got embarresed about me and began making excuses about having had a long day etc for my behaviour.
The next morning it rained heavily. As we packed down and I eventually realized we'd forgotten all about my broken gearcable, we must have looked very stressed and pittyable. So stressed so Ruth and Alfie, a brittish couple in a tiny caravan invited us over for tea. And then one of those nice travel tings unfolded as we stayed in their caravan for 12 hours, talking about anything and everything. Daren had gotten over his embarresment about me and got the lady to allow us to move our tent underneath some covered terraces, still for 15 euro and we stayed the night.
Eventually we reached Monacco in hammering rain. Soaked we stood under a coffe tent trying to put off riding on. I noticed the mothers and fathers looking angry, probably because their kids had dragged them out for an hour in the rain. We had to ride up, out of Monacco and past Nice in the rain. As we did, darkness began to settle around us, the carlights reflections in the puddles blinded us and the road was windy. Doorways seemed to be the only option but Daren has roughed it in this part of europe before and obviously we would'nt be welcome. So we rode on. On a particular narrow section in a dark tunnel I caught my pannier on something and it split. Gaffa tape and plastic bags are magic when riding round the world, but even with a fixed bag the situation was bad. There were either houses or cliffs everywhere and nowhere to sleep. So it came, that just outside monacco, in the most expensive area of France we checked into a hotel. In our three weeks in France we spent only 2 nights in hotels, 3 nights with relatives and the rest on the road. However the morning after i felt guilty, having spent three days money on one night, and fell into a dark mood. In my diary I wrote:
'As we left, riding into more grey clouds I feet somewhat what an alkoholic must feel like after he's had a drink. The night before the room seemed the only option, I had a million excuses for why we should spend the 50 euro and i didn't think any further. Now i wish we'd sleept in a doorway.... The trip isn't going as planned! It is proving incredibly expensive, although we wildcamp so much and do huge detours for LIDL's and it takes longer. What should have taken 6 days is now going to take ten...'
But then came a brilliant biketrack. I raced, ringing my bell at families who just can't help themselves and stroll along the bike lanes. I overtook older lycraclad men, left Daren behind and raced all the way across Nice. I left my bad mood behind too. Aggression is excellent fuel for riding!
It got even better when we, shortly after Nice, finaly left the coast and began climbing inland. Space opened around us. Houses and people were left behind. Noise, beeping cars and cramped conditions wre exchanged withoakforests, cliffs, a lonely windy road and even a donkey sanctuary. Mental as well as physical space opened up around us.
'Sleept in a forrest clearing. Probaby one of those clearings Gaudi had taken inspiration from for his magnificent cathedral in Barcelona. It was just a row of trees each side of and ancient track, with branches meeting and intertwining high above us in beautiful arches. Their dry leaves sheltered us from the icy night rain and from the frost...'