Wednesday, July 13, 2011

10. Bike and Errands, Dinan

Tomorrow is BASTILLE DAY, huge holiday celebration in France, so all businesses will be closed. To get ready, we bought an extra baguette today at the boulangerie, and Lynn’s been buying ingredients for chicken and ratatouille she will prepare tomorrow. On the other hand, I have been playing bicycles. Today, I finally got out of town to see what I could see. The bike is not happy on the big cobblestones around our neighborhood, a mountain bike would be better, but the road bike is what I have, so it will work out. My goal was to ride to St. Malo on the “Vois Verte”… greenway cycling routes they’ve developed on old railroad right of ways. However, you can’t get there from here! Nobody knows where they are, especially cyclists I asked on the road, or at Dinan’s cycle shop. So, I decided to search em out.

Riding out past Port Dinan, I headed along the routes pointed by the signs toward St. Malo. On one climb, I somehow extended my rear derailleur into the spokes of the rear wheel while under stress…snapped off two spokes! The wheel was shot for hard use, so I repaired what I could and limped back to Dinan. While I was repairing on the roadside, a classic French cyclist stopped to see if I needed help: lean as a whippet, upright 3-speed bike, trimmed beard, street clothes… and he’d been riding fast! We spoke a bit in my awful French and his much-better English. (Turns out he doesn’t have much use for Lance Armstrong). This is just another example of the graciousness and friendliness we’ve been shown by everyone we’ve encountered this trip. Folks who rage about rude French folks may have used an unfriendly or discourteous approach themselves. Anyhow, I rode back to town and visited the bike shop I’d located the day before. The guy fixed me up in about ½ hour, 25 euros later I was back in business but with a trashed shift mechanism. Went back to our apartment, where I worked on the bike using a clothesline as my workstand. I think I’m good for long miles tomorrow to celebrate the Bastille.
While I was biking, Lynn explored the flea market that comes to the square outside our apartment every Wednesday. It was scenic, but not very worthwhile for her, so no purchases. Then she took off to explore some streets we’d not tried yet, and found one leading to a section of the outer wall of Dinan we’d not seen yet, with the best big section of Chateau/castle and bridges and moat ever. It’s right behind the tourist information office...who knew? We’ve been in that office several times and never walked back there! Beautiful old stuff, and the wind was whipping the flags like an old painting. It was a beautiful sight. She took me back there when I returned from biking. Cool sights! AND, just down the hill from this section of castle wall, we found a huge children’s park we’d walked through a few days ago. It’s all starting to jell together for us now after 4 days of walking around this place.

Lynn’s off now visiting the boulangerie (butcher shop) to talk with our friendly local butcher and get some chicken, and to do a couple of other little errands. We really like our boulangier, he and his wife are so friendly and welcoming. Lynn likes the chance to meet people while doing regular things, as here in Dinan most folks are really receptive to talking to you in French. It’s wonderful practice for her, but you can’t just strike up conversations with people on the street, as they consider that too familiar and rude. Business errands are a perfect way to meet people.

A guy came to the door today to fix our phone/Internet connection which has been down ever since we arrived. He sure didn’t LOOK like an official repairman! Anyhow, the problem is in the wiring inside the premises, so big hassle over who is to pay for the repair…not us for sure, but the repair won’t happen till Friday, the day AFTER Bastille Day. SO, we’ll just have to visit our local pub (again) and use their wifi setup to post these pics and comments! Oh, BTW: HISTORY WAS MADE last night at this very pub! I was able to do some work for my job and sign some necessary Orders via the internet, using the system we invented for handling emergencies and domestic violence injunctions electronically…it was the first intercontinental Palm Beach County Order signing by internet!
See ya later, Lynn’s here.
PIC captions: First attempt at biking the cobbles.
                      Chateau de Dinan.
CLICK here for all photos and vids:
2011 Dinan and Paris French Adventure

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