South West France
I use bicycle as a means of transport the fact that is 120% it clan transport add more value. Few years ago in the Tour d’Afrique I was so supprsed to see the dude who was hit by track and his elbow bone out of the skin, insisting to mark the ground where the accident took place so he can come back and resume from there, exactly point. It hard to understand this, is this madness or insanity?, moral, principle or discipline?
As I’m forced to save the few days remain on my Schengen visa, I had to hop on the train from Paris to Bordeaux. Though the situation is clear enough but still I felt unsatisfied with my own decision. I can now start to understand that dude who want the ground to be marked though I’m not certain if is moral or principal.
And so Paris fall back rather quick, the tourist and expensive city. Pulling people with it architecture, food, wines and many other things which fascinate people. I was luck to be hosted with Angelica and Eric, Half Tanzania and half French family,
Bordeaux, weather change dramatical it is family heat, nights and mornings are not cold as it was further north which make it hard to catch up with day momentum. In the north I manage to get out of tent around 8:30-9:00am , I peak up my cycling speed around 1pm as the sun remain I will pedal till 9pm. The first night in Bordeaux hang my hammock in the urban park I raised up with sun which was horizon at 7am. The morning was clear with fresh air, this is real energizing weather.
There is cycling path of quite long distant which wonder into pine forest and the small beach town. Though hot the ocean breeze make it ease, blue sky with crystal clear ocean made cycling here to be such exceptional after long time into crowded cities.
At certain point there was quite a long sand dune, there was lot f tourist so I decide to carry on but the dune cover huge area.
I lock the bike in the pine tree and hike the dune which reward the effort with stunning view of ocean and sand beaches. The coast seem to be wild but there is lots of caravan camping full of tourist. To find camp I just had to carry my panniers and bike into sand. The effort was rewarding enough as the beach give amazing view of sun down and clear night sky a rare view in Europe so far.
At Urrugne there was home with fantastic host, nice home close to the ocean and the begin of Pyrenees mountains. Touring cyclists, Jan and Ingrid tought me a lot about basik people and their county. Proud though it country without severity between France and Spain, offering other linguistic diversity in Europe with ration to Welsh, Garlic and possibly Irish. Though due to complex politics seem hard to preserve these threatened diversity.
First day in Spain prove to be total different culture and country in Europe and later I will come to thing the Mediterenian countries are in between big distinctive regions. With casual observation seem like in mediterenia there is lot of influence from Middle East (Arabia) with evidence on culture, traditions as well as geographical. But at the same time it is Europe in general.
Social life is that of tropic, family/social tire is that one of desert life. Language is used in the fullest here, folks talk ofter loudly. People start conversation every where, this conversation can be very simple but of amazing emotion and intimacy. I think if you are not from here or spend good amount of time you may end up be a listener like me. As I ask directions, information is given with such enthusiasm but I had to pay close attention because it ease to loose track. If in Latin I experience that child amazement of being a black man on bike here it twice though everything is cut short due to the size of knowledge and understand.
In Madrid for visa application the structure of embassies is different of simplicity and unpredictable atmosphere. At Morocco consulate as welcomed with cheerful Arab man asked if I was footballer. I was instructed to search for visa room in the crowded building full of cigarette smoke. Visa man looked quite relaxed and seem like he never miss his 5 prays per day. He was kind and he maintain personal contact rather than professional one. After he consult his superior with sympathy he told me that I will need later from my government or ambassador. Thanks for Tanzania embassy in Paris for quick respond. Though when I had everything the working time was over the visa man took time to sort me out. No work behind the counter, he just type down the visa information ask me to verify and print out, Salaam alekhum!
At Mauritania embassy I couldn’t predict as there was no expression apart of filling long forms it seem like payment was what is important though it will take 5 days to process. It is most expensive visa fro 2 months, 93 Euros. Lucky after long wait it was granted.
In the waiting time I got ride to visit the peninsula country of Portugal which became impossible to cycle through. It is the country I wanted to see for long time, apart of my fascination on it history with the great contribution to awake of Western Europe the other reasons were more pressing feelings than facts.
As I arrive in Lisbon and through all my few nights stay the feelings were that of randevour. As it immense contribution goes, I think the county has many to offer for the insight of human social development, growth and sustainability. If previously I was blindly convinced that Portuguese succeed Spanish, I found out I was wrong. It hard for Spanish to master Portuguese tough as it is for French to master English. Though borrow a lot from Latin Portuguese also carry lot of Endo-Europia remnant which makes it hard to be masted even to their colonies such as Brazil , Angola, etc.
From Madrid it is about 600km before set foot into mother continent, Allah Akhbar! In this last stretch I am looking forward to share with a friend, Nelson Santos; trans Americans cyclist and only person I know who attempt to descend might Amazon river with self built pedaling craft. Ambitious adventure was terminated with life threat from Brazilian drug deal who will take him as self employed dealer. We support each other in the juggle of Bolivia last year;