A short cycle through western Europe (Part 6)…

Farewell to our cycles…

The rain had continued. It wasn’t particularly windy, so the drops just kind of casually fell to the ground around us, but it had been persistent. By the time we got to the end of our ride we were well ready to set up tent and get dry. And then finally we were there- Charleville.

imag0053The camp site wasn’t open for arrivals for another hour or so, so we indulged on some frites at the café outside. By the time it was, thankfully, the sun had come out, so we made a little washing line to hang out the wetter of our items.

We didn’t know anything about Charleville, other than what we’d read on the signs on the way in. Another pleasant surprise was that this was the home of my favourite poet- Arthur Rimbaud; and the town was quite proud of the fact. When we ventured in for a look see we found it to be a really pretty place. The main square’s perimeter was lined with quaint cream buildings. Inside it there was a nice, old colourful carousel spinning around, filling the area with melodic French carnival music; as well as a couple of crépe stalls and many happy kids running about. All the people seemed happy, kind of pleased that the sun was once again out.

dscf7191We spent a few days staying there. The camp site was very accommodating. And the town was also great for busking, us earning over 50 euros in an hour on one occasion. And there was plenty of sightseeing to do around the river. But we were also planning the next part of our trip.

One place we were determined to visit during our trip was Spain, and in particular, Barcelona. Adri had family there and it had been a while since she’d seen them. And I was keen to meet them also. But we weren’t going to make it there on the bikes; we just didn’t have enough money to last that long, and Rags was still becoming more and more uneasy in his box. So, sad as it was, we had to think of something else. Public transport. In particular- trains. And we definitely wouldn’t be able to take the tricycle and trailer on them. So, we had to get rid of them somehow.

dscf7193We’d spent quite an amount of money on all our equipment, hundreds and hundreds of pounds. But we weren’t too fussed about that; both the cycles, the trailer, the tools, all the camping stuff, it was only meant for this trip; we hadn’t planned on keeping it afterwards. We actually hadn’t really given much thought to what we were going to do afterwards at all, just find some live-in work, I guess. So in order to get a quick sale we set our asking price very low. We put all our belongings in the tent and got both the tricycle and the bicycle, along with Rags’ box and the trailer, all shined up and looking tidy. Then we locked them up outside the train station with a sign saying: “A vendre 100 euros.”

That evening we got a text from a lady who was interested, which we deciphered through google translate. And then later on she came and gave us the money. She only actually wanted the bike and trailer, to carry food back from her allotment on the river; but it was an all in arrangement, so she took the trike and the box as well. We helped her carry it down to her cellar, and stuffed it in through the small, wooden door at the entrance. And then that was it, we were free of it all, and feeling much lighter because of it; with an extra hundred quid in our pocket.

dscf7196We distributed most of our camping gear out to the various campers in the camp site, of which they were glad to accept. Everything was still in good nick and good to use. But we couldn’t use it any more, not being able to carry much on our backs. We managed to whittle all our belongs down to just 3 bags and the guitar. And then early the next day we packed up and headed over to the train station, leaving the tent outside Rimbaud’s house along the way.

We spent a couple of days in Paris before going to Spain. It was another place we were both interested in seeing. And we made a point of having a day of “honeymoon” activity whilst we were there, indulging on rum and cigars by the Seine, and a romantic meal in one of the cheap, but slightly fancy restaurants.

The next day we boarded the TGV high speed train, which galloped across the entire country, down to the Mediterranean, and across to Barcelona…

Enjoy this story? Then you might like my book, ‘At Home in the Bushes’. It’s about a year I spent cycling, wild-camping & busking around Britain. You can order your copy for £10 now!

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