Saturday, September 18, 2010

Farewell Europe....Hello Utah!

It's 6:30 a.m. here in Paris and we are leaving for home in just a few hours.  I woke a little early to get in a last run, but I had a small wreck on my bike ride yesterday and landed hard on, the run this morning was too painful on the hip to keep going.  Oh well, it'll heal after a day of flying and I'll get in a perfect run tomorrow in my good ol' Utah mountains. 
Had an awesome bike ride yesterday!  Left around 6:30 a.m. (as soon as there was just enough light to see where I was going) and pretty much just followed the river Seine for the entire ride, which ended up being almost 5 hours long.  I headed out through all the sights of the city and just kept the river in view and eventually was able to get onto a really gorgeous river trail that was unbelievable.  I was always surrounded by buildings, houses, people, etc. This city is huge! I guess I made it to the suburbs, but never out to the countryside.  After about 90 minutes of one direction, I turned around and went to the other side of the city on the river.  Ended up in Bolougna and was riding the opposite direction of some big bike race.  Fun to watch all the cyclists riding hard and not feeling the need to join in....just spectate as I rode the other way.  I was really glad our hotel is right by the Eiffel Tower...figured that is one monument that even I can locate when trying to make my way back to my home base!  Not the best sense of direction do I employ! 
After my fabulous ride I hurried and got ready and met Nichole and Kristin at the Concord and we went up to MontMarte and up to the Sacre Coeur Cathedral.  It was a beautiful day and a really impressive sight! So many people in Paris!  Everywhere we went was jam packed.  But I didn't mind because I think it is fun when a lot of people are together and happy!  There were street performers everywhere and just an overall mood of goodness. 
Out of all my travels, I think the most memorable experiences I always seem to have are the ones where I am running (or cycling in this case).  It just feels like I get a better sense of the lay of the land, the people that are living there, the sights, sounds, just all seems to impact me more when I am completely engaged as I am moving.  I feel really bad for people that can't or don't get out and move!  It just seems like everything is clearer, happier, stronger...just better when I get out and move everyday! are a few things of note on this trip:
#1:  Everyone smokes here in Europe! I have developed a sore throat, hacking cough and headaches every day from all the crap in the air. Did these people not receive the memo that smoking ain't the best thing for you?  Did I mention....EVERYONE smokes here?
#2: There are no drinking fountains to be found...ANYWHERE in Europe!  No one drinks water. It is a rare commodity that you have to buy from the sidewalk shops, airports, train stations, etc. No water fountain will be taken for granted by me again.
But, here is the reason why no one drinks water here....
#3: You must PAY to use the bathroom...everywhere!  So, why would you WANT to drink a lot of water when you are going to have to go on a treasure hunt to find a bathroom...and then have to pay to use it?
Just smoke and that will fix your water and bathroom problem!  These Europeans have it figured out!
#4:  It would really suck to be a disabled person in Europe! It would be impossible to use their mass transit (especially the Metros) as there are very few elevators and the entry to most of these systems are too small, steep and demanding to be used by anyone in a wheelchair or otherwise disabled. My hat goes off to those people. And, it makes me just that more grateful for a body that will allow me to do everything I am doing.
How blessed I am.

I have to go get the rest of my luggage put together before we haul our bike box and the rest of our "crap" down into the Parisian Metro system to head to the airport.  Yes...we are too cheap to pay for a taxi here in Paris.  We used one to get us from Prague to the airport, but it is too expensive here. Plus, it is just too awesome an experience to haul that huge ol' box down the stairs, up the stairs, across the road, back down more stairs, onto one metro train (amidst a packed tram car and curious or downright nasty looks), then back up more stairs, and onto another tram and then jostle our way to the airport.  Why would we want a calm and luxurious ride to the airport when we could be having WAY more fun with the opportunity to enjoy the aforementioned experience??
Like my dad always says...and with which I agree whole heartedly...
"An uneventful trip is soon forgotten"
So true Dad!
When I get back home I will write down more memories from each city...Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and Paris.
And, more details about my race.

Until then,
p.s. Less than 3 weeks til Kona. Guess I should start getting ready for it....

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