Sunday, 15 August 2010

Paris and, er, Hertfordshire

Another fantastic week spent in Paris. Actually only five days, but it seemed like longer as we packed a lot in.

Partly because we made good use of the Velib' (free bike) system - only €5 for a week's riding, as long as you redock your bike at one of the many stations each half hour. Many docking stations all over the place, unless you're actually looking for them that is. Then they all cunningly skulk into hiding.

We rode out to the Bois de Vincennes (which I had only previously visited during the marathon) along the Canal St Martin and also up the Champs Elysees - those Tour de France boys would find it much harder up the cobbles on hire bikes.

We went to some museums, including seeing some Monet (his lilies are much larger than I'd realised) and Rodin's Thinker and The Kiss. The Paris Plages was also on (where they close the road by the Seine and ship in some sand to make a pseudo beach by the river).

The cemetary at Montmartre was really cool, though not quite as striking as the one at Pere Lachaise. It did have a very cute chat de la cimetiere though.And of course I had some lovely runs along the Seine, round the park at the base of the Eiffel Tower and through the Tuileries. And we went on the cheesy big wheel and a big swing chair fariground ride thing near the Louvre. So, five days of being easily pleased zipped by with us both permanently grinning like idiots.

Then yesterday I did the Herts Stroller, which was an LDWA 54 miler in Hertfordshire. It was weird because it didn't feel like an ultra: it was just like any other LDWA event, only longer. All the usual elements of (8 pages of) instructions, well-stocked checkpoints, hills, mud, rain, sun, woods, fields, footbridges, stiles, kissing gates, lostness, views, great company. Heather and I sauntered round in a little under 12 hours. The only thing that made it different from other LDWA events was the last hour or so being in the dark with headtorches. A top day out.

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