Always the world had seemed very large for me, distant countries, cities of mystical names, remotes and I enhoyed with fantasies imagine the people over there, the streets, their daily lives …. traveling by bicycle all suddenly seems much more near, like if I could have the world in one hand. These are days in wich we are cicling 70 to 90 kms and although we don´t travel to more than 15-20km/h, looking at the map seems that we move at a dizzying speed.
Suddendly we realize , already France has gone!!! not more France to pass by!!!. Just yesterday we were enjoying a pizza in Italy and talking with people easily because we speak a different language but we understand without problems.
France first surprised us by not being as expensive as we expected. In large supermarkets are the same prices as in Spain, but we had change one thing…. the coffes, those can sometimes almost double the price but, as it has not been the third of the cold than in Spain, we don´t need to go anywhere to recover the life in the frozen hands and feet completely.
Now, since we left Figueres the weather has softened and made us much more easy and tasty everyday.
The constant on the coast was the wind, what has made us to pass hard times. But we decided to avoid the national roads and take secondary ones where we only had to fight the wind and not also the trucks that mixed with the side-wind make us almost lost the balane each time they pass near of us.
Guided by locals we have found beautiful places on the coast where the pink flamingos spend their days foraging for food in the lakes, which filled with all kinds of birds, really sight to see!!. Guided by local people and escaping the trucks we had discovered that in France there are many “green-ways” for bicycles and many of the water-cannals have adapted ways in which anyone can travel hundreds of miles without seeing a single car. Letting the people change our ways and withouth any problem cycling more miles we have crossed medieval villages preserved as in the ancient times, also French-style villages with large wooden windows and narrow terraces, elegant as its people who seems to love to take coffee on terraces, to drink wine and to eat cheese. Among them, advancing, we have been crossing the Mediterranean side of this country: croassants, white horses, plains, lakes and sea, birds and vines, especially vines …. with eternal vineyards we were talking our way of life today. Want to know what the vineyards has told us?….
We saw the vines to grow in its natural state, seem baobas or olive trees, in the sense that each has a proper and so different shape and formof the rest, so peculiar and beautiful that one could spend hours admiring its beauty. The farmer only helps them grow and then reap the rewards when the time comes.
Then came the time to know the ones which have lived and grown in fields created to be harvested by machines and not any more by human hands (which are most common today). An unnatural life . The vineyards have lost their uniqueness and grow all like one that is constantly repeated, seem to have been crucified. Guided by external hands have become something that is profitable but has lost its natural beauty, its own personality, its difference from the rest. Seems to grow only to enrich his master, he has studied them for years and knows how to guide and manipulate them from childhood to get the most benefit from them. They are no longer alive and beautiful vines growing naturally in their own way and not have their own life because they have no choice, almost invisible nets lead from the beginining. Its aim is to produce for the benefit of another, who manipulates and waters themand at the same time. Looking at them I wonder if they are conscious of been manipulated, of the impossibility of choice, or if instead they believe to be free because they never knew any other form or state.
It was interesting in France cycling and meeting the people who always have given us their kind hospitality and helped to better understanding the place through which we passed. The European hospitality in these lands has nothing to do, of course, with the Muslim countries, Africa or Asia. Here the natural and spontaneous meeting doesn´t exist, there is fear of the strange, curious people look at you from a distance and, if your look crosses his, this will depart to avoid the encounter. Thus, adapting to the environment we have our unique and rewarding way to find and has been on the Internet. Couchsurfing.com and Warmshowers.org, two pages where people offer a space, a shower, a meeting of the traveler. The meet someone who lives here so openly offers its space to a stranger, ensures you’ll find someone different, special and interesting. This has been in all cases, we have opened houses, floors, roofs and peculiar simple people, full of life and desire to share and change a little this world of fear and focused on you and what you need.
We have heard from his lips the words that we have heard in Spain from others about what is the reality in these countries, what are tired and it’s time to rethink things.
It is the way “plantyourself” project is traveling with us in Europe, then will be an environmental project but in this land is a message of encouragement to stop, look at the reality, stand on what you do not want and changing today, now, turn this wonderful world we live on what is full of good people like you and I want to live peaceful, happy and at peace. The rest are added to those hands that bind us watered and manipulating our roads in a very subtle but ultimately completely transforms and stops to be who we really are.