May 08, 2009 GMT
On the move again

There's a stage in packing when you know you've forgotten something. You know, because everything fits, and you're really tempted to throw your hands in the air and shout “Yes!” I packed. It all fitted. I looked around, and couldn't see anything else. I took my topbox downstairs, and stashed the random bits of toolage under the seat.
“You know you've got a whole load of maps through in the living room, don't you?” said Mum.
Bugger.

I've spent the last two weeks at my parents', just outside Paris. It's been less relaxing than I would have liked, as the first six days or so were spent at the computer, eight hours a day, typing up my chapters for Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot, then dealing with the (sometimes rather bizarre) queries the editors had about the Northern England and Scotland stuff I researched & wrote a couple of months ago. I dealt with that just in time for Tim (my boyfriend) to make it over for 48 hours, and now suddenly it's time to go again.

Staying here has been lovely but odd, especially as I don't have a home of my own at the moment. It almost feels like I've stepped back in time: days of work interspersed with time spent roaming the countryside, dinner with the parents, familiar shops and places and faces. But at the same time plenty has changed, and I can't forget that it's been nearly ten years since I last spent any time here. Checking out details of a hostel near Fort William, I saw photos of Glen Nevis, and was reminded of how much I love the Scottish scenery, the wildness that you just don't get here. With no idea where I'll eventually end up being based, I think there'll always be something I miss about wherever I'm not; it's just a matter of finding the best balance.

So tomorrow morning I head east towards Germany. I'm not expecting to make it to the border in one day: not only am I taking the scenic route, but the chances of me leaving at a sensible time are slim to none, and I don't want to rush. Besides, there is definite appeal to spending my first proper night travelling somewhere I at least speak the language! Although I'm not expecting any real likelihood of difficulty until at least Slovakia (which I still know very little about, incidentally, it seems to be generally ignored!). The hardest thing for me will be to take it easy – I'm not very good at going slowly, not in terms of riding but in terms of covering ground. My intention is never to ride beyond dinner-time, and I think sticking to that will be an excellent move towards enforced relaxation! Walking around Paris with Tim I realised it had been months since we enjoyed a day off together, even before I left for France – what is it that always takes up the time? Who knows, but whatever it is, it's definitely time to take a step back from it.

Posted by Laura Bennitt at May 08, 2009 10:08 PM GMT
 
 

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