1,000km

by Paul
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So today I reached 1,000km in total, I did my first 100km day, and I had my first crash. Talk about milestones. I’m currently in Dole, and getting so close to the Swiss boarder I can smell the cheese.

I spent last night in Chalon-Sur-Saone, and I can confidently say that it’s been the best town yet. I arrived and saw people. Not just a person walking home with a baguette, actual groups of people interacting and looking like they enjoyed it. It’s a strange thing to say, but it’s been a regular theme and one of the most unexpected parts of my trip so far; every small town in France has been absolutely deserted and devoid of any atmosphere. It’s been really depressing. But in Chalon-sur-Saone there were shops, and most of them were actually open. Some of them even looked like they had customers. I had to get a piece of this, so after setting up my tent I rode back in to town and sat down amongst the crowds with a beer. But before that I visited the photography museum and had a look at the very first photograph ever taken, which was pretty amazing. Amazing in the sense that it genuinely looked like a piece of toilet paper after the first wipe. Sure the late Mr Niepce invented the first ever camera, but hadn’t the dude heard of Instagram filters? Seriously.

Anyway, while I was enjoying my beer I thought I’d Google some info about the places I’ll be visiting/ have visited. It seems each of these little towns is very proud of one particular part of their history. Chalon-sur-Saone obviously had the photography history and museum, which is cool, but the town I’m in tonight – Dole – was apparently made famous back in the 16th century by some guy who decided he was a werewolf and started eating children. That’s it. That’s all I could find out about the place. So in the end he was burned to death for his sins, and of course that part came up as a link, so I clicked on it. Before you know it I’m reading about all the different ways to execute someone by burning and the waitress comes over, sees my phone, and freaks out. I found it pretty hard to get served after that, but did you know they used to pour molten lead in people’s ears as a method of execution? What the hell is wrong with us.

But really, the town was beautiful and the atmosphere was great. There were crowds of people in a square in front of the main cathedral where all the restaurants had combined seating. There was a guy playing guitar in the street, and there was a hum and excitement in the air that I’ve been craving (expecting) since day one, but only experienced in Paris.

I started today still with a bit of a buzz from last night, and I carried it with me as I managed to ride out 105km with relative ease. I feel like I’m back to my pre heat-exhaustion fitness levels, and I really enjoyed the ride today. Unfortunately I didn’t get to experience much of Dole, though, as I arrived just before 7pm and it was raining. But the werewolf guy is long dead so what was I gonna do anyway?

The main photo is from the photography museum. I don’t know what relevance it had to photography, but I sure am glad I didn’t ride 1,000km on that bad boy.

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