Today kicks off summertime in Europe. May 1 is European labour Day, and since it falls on a Tuesday this year many are taking the Monday off to make a “bridge” (un pont) to the holiday (and if the holiday fell on a Wednesday, and you took both Monday and Tuesday off, that is known as…. un aqueduc).
This weekend is essentially the French equivalent to Canada’s May 2-4 long weekend, with hordes of winter weary workers clamouring for an easy escape from the rigours of life in Paris. We too want a fix of green but did not want to travoel too far, so we are off to Normandy along with about a million or so residents of la région parisienne . It’s not for nothing that it’s known as the 21st arrondissement.
We thought we’d be clever and escape crowds by taking our bikes on the train so we can pedal back to Paris via the uber-pretty Seine river valley. The train part was shockingly easy. Every one of the 20+ cars on this train have 2 bike “parking spots” (more like hanging spots) so getting our bikes on board was a doddle compared to the TGV.
Unfortunately, the weather gods didn’t get the email about this weekend being the start of vacation season. Or maybe they did, but realizing all kinds of austerity-conscious people are staying closer to home this year they kindly decided to make us vacationers feel like we’re in the exotic English countryside instead of just the department next door.
On the bright side, we’ll have no problems keeping hydrated!