Spain - Day 24 : Smelling on the bus
Besides our usual smell from not showering for three days, we caused some other odors. Eating only baguettes for three weeks is not good for your 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 causing it.
The bus drove over minor roads and a few bits of highway for 4 hours. 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 a bar that had stayed open just for them. The bus driver, who didn't care about people, simply said that it was an error by the people that made his schedule. He could have known he would have needed to drive an average of 200 km/h to arrive on time. Using 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 an excellent 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 a Buddhist monk. He was wearing a wide white sweater and white jeans and had a bald head. He also had all sorts of philosophical conversations with the man beside 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 to 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 on the bus, the Buddhist monk was grumpy because the bus was late. While hitchhiking, we once took the bus back from Paris. Then it took 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 that 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 goodbye to each other, we needed to depart quickly so I could race towards the train station. Bram would cycle home from Breda and arrive 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 transferred 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 and discovered I had lost 6 kilos. Bram had lost only 2, but he also had fewer to lose. As I write this, a week has passed since we returned 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