Friday, 2 September 2016

20 kms through the Champagne; Chatillon to Epernay

The morning after the evening with the champagne
I'm noticing that September is here.                The sun is rising later and later....
                          ...and when it rises, it takes longer for it do muster its force.,
sink-wash clothes drying on metal wire used to hold up champagne vines ;-)

my abode for the night
Since I'm in the 'hood, I think I might as well visit the Pope !
Hello? anybody home?

Hide and seek?
There he is. Pope Urban II.
Pope Urban II (Let's have a CRUSADE!) behind bars

All I can think is CHAMPAGNE

I wonder why ?

Yes, Google Maps tricked me AGAIN. Bumpy Ride !

And then all of a sudden I am in Epernay.

The strangest thing is that when I roll into town, Epernay reminds me of Vancouver.  NO, NO, the two are totally unalike.

I know someone who has eaten here

But when I barrel down from the surrounding hills towards the city centre, the poor pavement almost causes me to wipe out.  So I curse LOUD and GRAB my handlebars HARD. Only a few minutes later, I pass a dozen middle aged people with that sleeping-pill expression in their faces as they wait for the 10 cars in front of them to finally get to enter the traffic circle.  

These names ring a bell somehow
But what really drives it home, are slow processions of the same people in cars passing in front of my eyes when I try to cross a road with the bike to get onto the lot of the supermarket. An endless creeping procession of dumb metal cages. But here they are, previously bearers or sperm donors responsible for France's new generation, now sitting in a metal cage, moving at the pace of a snail and looking at the world with the expression of a cow that has just been killed by a big metal bolt shot through it's head (Oh, you didn't know? HOW did you think they killed the beef that'll be on your plate tonight?), the expression being "I am CERTAIN that there was something that makes my remaining days worth living, but right now, for the life of me, I can NOT remember what it was".

Maybe too much affluence is bad for the brain?????  It definitely is bad for the soul !

Unfortunately I don't see much of Epernay.  The lunch I have at Le Progres is VERY UNDERWHELMING.

My salad Nicoise. Notice the pitted olives?  NO NO NO ! Olives loose their flavour as soon as you take the pit out !
Problem is, I only checked TripAdvisor afterwards and a few French people actually commented along the lines of this place bringing Shame on the French eating culture.  Gotta LOVE people with attitude ;-)

I send off my translation around 6 pm, but given the good manners of my patent attorney clients, I now have to live in fear until midnight that they might just send me a correction suggestion and expect me to finish it today. That's what they did yesterday but I just told them that this translator is no longer a spring chicken and no longer works after midnight.  Let's hope they got the message.

Today is also September 2nd.  It's the sixth anniversary of the death of Grandma's husband and my friend Joachim.   He is greatly missed.  I've never met a truly unselfish Gentleman in the basic meaning of the words, except him.  The man was funny, warm, and a stickler for principles of human conduct. (O.K. there was someone else ;-)  You couldn't help liking and respecting him in whatever he did. (There definitely was someone else ;-)  Anyhu, this was the bit in calling Grandma today that I wasn't looking forward to.  But she just said "It's not like we can bring him back", to which I replied "Nope otherwise we'd both be hard at work".  (And I'd be doing double duty ;-)

When I mention to Grandma where I am and that I'll soon be cycling through the Ardennes Mountains, she starts singing a tune that she used to sing with the other children in school. "Da oben im Ardennerwald, da oben weht der Wind so kalt" (Up there in the Ardenne forest, the wind blows so cold).

After doing so TWICE during the day, I manage not to forget the key in my room overnight, which is a good thing, because there is no-one at the reception between 10 pm and 7 am.  ????
It's too early to check out, so I go for a walk.
A good and not so little friend of mine will appreciate this one ;-)

Time to pack, check out, and head EAST !

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