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Day 1 : Cycling through Paris
The first train leaving from Lommel would depart at 7:30. Our plan was to get to Brioude today, where we had stopped last vacation. My alarm went off at 5:45. I quickly put on all my clothes and cycled to Bram. He had packed waterproof trousers but not a jacket, because he thought it would be too heavy. Just before we left, he removed his waterproof trousers and replaced them with a coat. Time would tell if that was a smart decision. During our ride to Lommel, Bram kept feeling he had forgotten something. He had been feeling like that the entire week..
In Lommel, we tried to find the train station. After some searching, we found a weathered sign indicating 'station' and soon after found the 'station street'. After getting on the train, we rode from Lommel to Antwerp and from there via Kortrijk to Lille, in France. Everything still went according to plan. We had too little time in Antwerp to buy tickets for the next train, which we had already predicted.
There were five Belgians on the train from Lille to Paris. They looked like they were also going on a cycling vacation. However, there was something strange about their equipment. They weren't real cyclists, and all their gear was new. One of them had gone before, but it was the first time for all the others. They planned to cycle a part of the route 'Along old roads' made by the FIS. The highest mountain on their trip was only 250 meters.
The Belgians also needed to travel from Gare-du-Nord station to Gare-Lyon. We planned on doing that by subway, not that that went well last time, but cycling through Paris seemed even worse. They claimed to know the way and suggested we would follow them. It was a lot less stressful than taking the subway, fortunately. One of them had a horn on his bike. When a cute Parisian lady cycled by he blew it. She moved her arm to her handlebars and to everyone's surprise honked back. We couldn't stop laughing. Via the Place-de-la-Bastille we arrived at Gare-Lyon.
Before we could buy tickets, we needed to stand in line for over an hour. When I looked at Bram, who was guarding the bikes, I saw he was checking his phone. He would do that often this vacation because he hoped someone would message him. Finally, we got tickets to travel from Paris to Clermont-Ferrand. From there, it was only one more train ride to Brioude, where we took the same campsite as in May.
I wanted to pitch my tent, but couldn't find my pegs. Because it was dark, I couldn't see anything. They certainly weren't in my panniers and I wasn't 100% if I had packed them. Instead, I used some rocks to secure my tent. Bram finally figured out what he had forgotten: his cycling shorts.
Distance cycled : 30 km.
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