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Viva España!

When you cross ...... it will be better

· Behind the scenes

Reflections after 1655 km...

On a Monday morning, when I biked in the pouring rain, still north of Rouen, I was very happy to find a village pub where I warmed and dried between 11 and 2 pm. I watched a group of elderly men drinking and refilling every 10 minutes. (They can drink in the country side!) They developed a good laugh and we chatted about the weather. They told me ’When you cross the Seine, the weather will be better’.

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A few days later I found a Bar-Tabac (after two villages with no single shop or anything) to warm and dry from another day of rain and spend my lunchtime. Wet and with a packed bike you have an easy conversation, that ended: ‘When you cross the Loire, the sun will shine...’


While the news showed Paris and the rest of France inundated my kind hosts in the Cognac region, told me that ‘It is always warmer, on the south side of the Gironde’.

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In Les Landes, south of Bordeaux it was indeed blue and dry but cold, and I was told: ‘Once you crossed the Pyrenees it will be warmer...'

Today is my first full day in Spain, from San Sebastien to Ormaiztegi. It was the coldest and wettest day so far! And when a large truck just hits a puddle on the road next to you while it overtakes you, that you ask yourself, 'why do I do this?'

Last week I had a week off from farmers and biking to reset my head from French to Spanish in a week-course in San Sebastian. It was a great experience with very kind help from my teachers who had seen my site and read my blog and adapted the conversation to my needs: cerdos, vacas, ovejas, sostenibilidad, granjeros, but also all these ‘terrible times of verbs’ in Spanish. He hecho mucho, but my head exploded the first days.

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Today was my first test my Spanish. Nagore Kortajarena, from the Bask farmer organisation EHNE, kindly organised a meeting with a beef farmer and a sheep (cheese) farmer (see the farmer slider). It was amazing, interesting , but also frustrating to I miss so much of the stories they told. It’s constantly trying to ‘catch words’ and invent a storyline in between. Sometimes successful; sometime getting hopelessly lost. But all the time experiencing a kind willingness to help me understand.

I hope that in the next weeks, the weather and my Spanish will improve together.

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I hope it will be dry by tomorrow.....