Vegetarianism and Triathlons…

Posted by on 17, Jun 2015 in 2015 - Iberia and Morocco, Morocco, North Africa, Taffy

Vegetarianism and Triathlons…

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‎Back in Europe we are doing much more cycling than Morocco, we finished the Ecovia Lateral going both ways from Spain to the most South Westerly point in Europe, a barely signposted 251 km (x2) cycle route which is occasionally fantastic  (the salt pans, beautiful cliffs and beaches, gorgeous little villages) and sometimes really scary (walking down a railway line, cycling through a knee high river and cycling on, as we were told by the locals, ‘Europe’s most dangerous road’ ( we wore our helmets for once, though the way some of the Portuguese drive I think all that would do is aid in our identification as there wouldn’t be much left in tact after they’d hit you the speed they’re going) . It’s very hilly for us (20% in places) and very windy towards the Cape but quite an achievement, and one we won’t repeat in a hurry!

We moved on through Portugal stopping at Evora – gorgeous and Salamanca in Spain- even more gorgeous, with the bonus of a Veggie Tapas Bar too!  before heading up to Bordeaux.

We’ve stayed before in Bordeaux at a nice campsite about 10kms out of the city. Sadly we picked the rugby semi finals weekend and the campsite was full of supporters who were by and large really well behaved, once you got used to the brass band and the flags. Our problem though came on the second night when a new group of men turned up and lit their BBQ just before the time the campsite insist you are Silent, a very early 10pm. By 10:30 they were well and truly pissed and were shouting so loudly I’m surprised their ear drums weren’t bleeding. They were in one of the wooden chalets you can hire and had come on to the pitch next to us for their BBQ. So, nothing for it I thought, I’ll have to go and have a word!  

I’m used to ‘having a word’ and over the years have had some interesting experiences. We’ve learned it’s best to have a shifty out of the window to size up the noisemakers before entering the lions den having once gone around to a caravan next door to us in Germany who were making a huge racket at midnight and walking into a group of guys, one of whom was about 7 feet tall, built like a brick sxxx house and naturally enough was in charge.   Once you’re seen it’s no good turning round and heading back to the van, so I marched up this man mountain and asked his knee caps if he’d mind keeping it down a bit. Our experience has been that the response is always “of course” and ‎”Sorry” and man mountain was no different, so when I stepped out of Taffy in Bordeaux and saw a group of about 30 guys, 2 of which were naked, one peeing on the trees, one on the road, a flying  coffin and 60 pairs of eyes all looking at me I thought, Ha! No 7 foot guys, result!   After they’d offered me a steak, some beer and free tickets to the semi finals they confessed it was a stag night and the coffin was some traditional thing, though quite why it needed throwing around the camp site I couldn’t fathom.   They said they’d take the noise back to their chalet shortly when the last of the sausages had been charcoaled to death and they were really sorry about the noise.   

Next day Linda refused to pay for that night as she quite rightly pointed out, people peeing on your site and running naked around Taffy was not really “The quiet and idyllic family campsite ” that they advertised. The French manager instead of apologising had a strop and threw us off the campsite which was odd, because we were at the checkout and leaving.  

Our final French stop was sniffed out by Linda’s Spidey sense super power, alcohol detection.  Epernay – the home of Champagne and not quite what we expected, the region seems too small to produce enough champagne of for Linda let alone the world,  but as you get 4000 bottles of wine per hectare I suppose it doesn’t have to be that big. (Linda was busy working out how big our garden was at home when we were told this). We visited the Mercier Champagne house which had a petit train tour (Linda had to be strapped in to stop her running off)  of 1km of their 18km of cellars and a free tasting which was really interesting.  ‎There are 5000 champagne houses in this region and we made a bold attempt at visiting them all but were drunk in charge of a tandem after 3 so had to stop. Great fun though, and a blurry ride home too.

We’re now back in Belgium and have just cycled to Antwerp for the day – another gorgeous city – and have decided that we can no longer be veggies.   We have eaten so many flies today (I caught one huge one between my teeth like a circus ‘catch the bullet’ act) that ‎when we got to Antwerp we hardly had room for a waffle! But we managed to squeeze one in.

It’s a really lovely city and we walked for miles and miles around it, window shopping and admiring the stunning buildings.   In fact we had to have a rest before cycling home we’d walked so far. Obviously the rest involved a bottle of wine so we’ve now decided that we have invented a new Triathlon sport Cycle 50, walk 10 and drink 5.   It’s a sport that could catch on….. ‎

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