It sometimes amazes me that anything gets done in France so regularly is everything closed. Not only is everything but the largest of corporate businesses closed from 1200 ‘til 1400 each day, but also they seem to be closed on ‘insert whichever day it is you happen to be passing through that town and particularly need to use that shop`. The techno-savviness of the nation has also proven to be less than reliable. Here’s a quick 101 crash course for any French people reading this: imprimer ≠ photocopier, & le cybercafé ≠ kebab house avec “le weefee”. What a nightmare. On my penultimate day in France I did a 40km round trip from Barr to Molsheim to find an internet café which didn’t exist. It was a bit like playing the French TV show La Cartes aux Trésors, only there wasn’t any treasure, and I was on a push bike not in a helicopter. In the end I was able to locate a boutique in the local supermarket who kindly let me print off some maps. Twice now I have broken a four year record of not eating chez McDo in order to use their free internet facilities. Their fries tasted alright actually. Probably give the “fillet-O-fish” a miss next time.
Darkness fell that night before I was able to find anywhere to pitch up. I asked someone if he knew a spot. He said sure follow me (I trusted this geezer from the outset) and so I did back to his place where supposedly I would be able to crash on the balcony or outside in the garden. His wife threw a wobbly (never saw her just heard her), and said it wasn’t gonna work. Apparently the landlady (who lived above them) had gone mental over an empty cardboard box left in garden and had informed the agency and they were already on their first warning. If a cardboard box could have that effect, then I hate to think what the sight of a giant green slug-tent plus eyesore-velocipede would have had. The same guy then proposed I stay on a local building site but warned that I had to be gone before 0600. ‘Nah mate, you’re alright. Thanks n all but I reckon I’ll go find some place else. Cheers yea.’ I ended up doing my first bit of stealth camping out of necessity rather than choice: under a tree/in a bush, no tent, just sleeping bag with groundsheet and inflatable roll mat. Surpringsly I got a really good night’s sleep. I woke up around 6ish or something to take a whizz and saw the most amazing colours in the sky from the fast approaching sunrise. Then got a couple more hours kip in =] Note to self: Must.Wake.Up.Earlier….