Spain - Day 24 : Smelling in the bus
Besides the normal smell radiating from us because we hadn't showered in three days we caused some more. Eating only baguettes for three weeks is not good for you intestines. While biking it wasn't that bad but after sitting for 7 hours we were unstoppable. The first time I let one fly Bram nearly died of the smell. We were both dying from laughing and the tears were rolling down our faces but we needed to stay quiet because otherwise everyone would know we were the one causing it.
The bus drove for 4 hours, over small roads and a few bits of highway. The other people we were supposed to pick up were apparently close to Paris? Around 2:30, while it was raining like crazy, we stopped. We picked the other people up. They were angry because the bus was supposed to arrive two hours ago. They had been waiting in bar that had stayed upon just for them. The bus driver, who didn't care about people, simply said that it was an error by the people making his schedule. He could have known he would have needed to drive an average of 200 km/h to arrive on time. On my GPS I noticed we had moved only 200 kilometers north.
In the middle of the night we stopped at a gas station. There we got a good opportunity to inspect the other passengers. There was a man with the same face as our friend Stefan. There also was one that looked like Buddhist monk. He was wearing a wide white sweater, white jeans and had a bold head. He also had all sorts of philosophical conversations with the man next to him. We went out to walk around a bit. After getting back in we saw someone hopping around. He was so strange he must belong to our bus. After he was done he started doing all sorts of made up yoga exercises. The borstcrawl on dry land was the best.
My three week old beard
Around 6 in the morning we stopped again. I had been hungry for the past 12 hours. During the previous stop we had bought a pack of chocolate cookies, as that had the best price to calorie ratio. Here there was no food. We were still 200 kilometers from Paris. We wouldn't stop for breakfast until 9. The highway stores were all super expensive. After 15 minutes we found the best solution, two baguettes and a bit of cheese. On a curb near the bus we ate everything. So far the return journey had been going well, we didn't want to let the bus out of our sight now.
After a while the other passengers returned as well. 'Stefan' asked where we had been. We told him we had been in Spain. Then came 'the question about cycling vacation'. Every year there was a default question we would continuously get after saying where we had cycled. This year it was 'Where in Spain?'. We told him we had cycled from north to south and back. Then he asked how long that had taken us. We told him we had been cycling for three weeks. He looked confused and said 'but then I don't understand something... how far did you cycle each day?.' It took several minutes before he understood how far we had cycled.
Back in the bus the Buddhist monk was grumpy because the bus was late. While hitchhiking we once had taken the bus back from Paris. Then it had taken 5 hours. It was 9:30 right now, so we would be back in Breda around 2:30. Then I still needed to cycle 65 to get back home, shower and shave, so I could go to work in the local supermarket at 6.
After Paris and around Brussels traffic was slow. In Belgium we also needed to stop twice to let people out. The expected time of arrival became later and later. Eventually, after much waiting, we arrived at 15:45. While other people were saying goodby to each other we needed to quickly depart so I could race towards the train station. Bram would cycle home from Breda and arrived home around 18:15.
As fast as I could I bought a ticket to Eindhoven. The train to Tilburg, which lies along the way home, left in 3 minutes. When it arrived I couldn't find a cart for bikes. I asked the conductor who told me it was the last one. That one was closed so I jumped in the one in front of it. As soon as the train departed she came to check on me. She asked why I hadn't taken the local train. I thought 'because this is the only way to be sure I arrive in Eindhoven on time'. In Tilburg I transfered and arrived in Eindhoven around 16:30. From there I needed to cycle another 12 km to get home. Now I cycled over a familiar section of road I noticed my tires were pretty soft. I got home a little after 17:00. I quickly showered, put on clean clothes, shaved and ate. Then I switched bikes and headed off to work for 2 hours.
As soon as Bram got home he took an 'after' picture. Before leaving he had already taken a 'before' photo.
Bram before and after cycling vacation
Back home I weighed myself, I had lost 6 kilos. Bram had lost 2, but he also had had fewer to lose. By now a week has passed since we got back and I finally feel rested, in the meantime I have also gained 2 kilos.
The route of day 24
Distance cycled (Bram) : 61.23 km