Friday, July 23, 2010
Postcards from le Tour
It's been a long, hot, delightful 2-1/2 weeks, capped by a cold and rainy climb of the largest peak in the Pyrenees, but I am making my way back to la vie ordinaire (my friend Jayne can correct my appalling French later), which includes my blog.
The charming country roads and villages, tiny cities, elegant chateaux and crumbling Norman ruins were wonderful. The bike racing was an interesting sideline, and during the early part of the race, provided frequent glimpses of my TV boyfriend (or more accurately, my Tour de France TV boyfriend), Fabian Cancellara. Yes, that's him in the photo, pedalling his head off. And here are the rest of my vacation photos, carefully shot for your viewing pleasure. (Oh, that frame in the background is just the outside of our TV - you can ignore that.)
It seems surprising, but it was actually rather like a series of miniature vacations, watching the action taped by my long-suffering and indulgent husband in 3-hour blocks every evening after work. I'd work a normal day, come home, pour a glass of wine, and immerse myself in the scenery and, almost as an afterthought, the racing. Even if you don't dive into (or off the) deep end as I do, you may want to drop in for a few episodes next year. The roads through the Alps are narrow and winding, with sheer drops down some sides and patches of bright snow down others, and all are lined with positively crazy people who've clearly camped out for days or maybe even weeks to be in position. Some of them run alongside the riders, waving - or wearing - flags, bizarre wigs and even more bizarre costumes. There are signs, most of which my limited French prevented me from translating, though the British cycling expert who has very good French was able to hint at the meaning of one that was particularly uncomplimentary to President Sarcosi. The roads twisting through the flatlands are gloriously brightened by fields - acre upon astonishing acre - of sunflowers, and beautifully flowing fields of lavender...one can hardly imagine what it must be to breathe the fragrant air. And when the race rises into the heights of the Pyrenees, history seems to come alive. Every historical novel I've ever read suddenly seems to have touched on the endless Medieval struggles for primacy between France and Spain, with powers like England and the lowland countries playing their own roles. In more modern times, the voice of the Basque people in Spain is ever more audible. Watching the racing, it's clear that the EU has in no way dimished national or regional loyalty, and it has removed not one single nutty supporter of this or that flag or cause. It's lovely.
And all kidding aside, I MISSED you guys. Though I've only been writing this blog since the beginning of the year, the return to disciplined writing has been more satisfying than I ever imagined. The generosity of your reading, sharing thoughts and comments, and most unexpected of all, development of new and nurturing of long-treasured friendships has been breathtaking.
And while I've been away I've kept notes of all the things I want to share with you. There's big news on the turtle nest front. I've been helping with the concept of a "Best of Our Blogs" collection with The Surly Writer (whose editorial skills are considerable) and our pal Suldog. My dear friend Katie is bound for Africa (again) and this time, my young son is going along, too...so. There is much to discuss, and I promise to dive in as soon as Le Tour passes under L'Arc de Triomphe.
Thank you for being patient, for staying tuned, for reading, and for sending your affectionate greetings.
Posted by Angela Christensen