So I'm in Paris now, and covered the distance between Brussels and Paris in around 3 hours. The same trip on the bicycle would have probably taken me around 3-6 days so you could say I made pretty good time. As you may have figured out, I've stopped travelling via bicycle. The reason for this is pretty simple really: While in Brussels some bugger stole my bike.
Now I have to admit as well, I wasn't really heartbroken by the theft of the bike. I had gotten pretty sick of cycling everywhere and needing to figure out the way between every single destination, so a better word to describe my emotional state after finding the bike gone would probably be 'ecstatic' (I think I may have even done a little dance). It didn't help as well that my bike's tire became punctured 20kms out of Brussels which left me the task of finding a bike repair shop somewhere in Brussels and replacing both inner and outer tires. Much, much too much work in my opinion.
This also adds an item to the list of things I've had stolen from me during my travels, most of which were taken because I left the items out in the open in the hope that people wouldn't take them (I find distrust to be too time consuming and energy wasting most of the time, and with most of my belongings to take the steps which are apparently necessary to protect them from other people).
The list includes:
- 1 x Camera stolen from the front bag of my bike in Amsterdam
- 1 x The front bag of my bike stolen from my bike on a separate occasion in Amsterdam
- 2 x Shoes (Or you could say a pair) stolen off the back of my bike outside the Bibliotheek in Rotterdam (I hope a homeless person or like took the shoes and will be able to make good use of them, or at least sell them for drug money)
- The bike itself stolen from outside the front of a youth hostel in Brussels where I had locked it and hidden it behind a cargo container
As you can see, all the items were stolen because I left them lying around in plain (Or not so plain view) on the street. You'd think I would have learnt after the first time.
As I now am not limited to travelling in a linear fashion by the bicycle, this gives me more options as far as destinations are concerned and a lot more flexibility. Cycling was a great experience, but I've got to say I prefer not being limited by that particular rule I had made for myself.
Now that cycling is out of the picture it looks like the name of the game might be hitchhiking. I successfully hitchhiked from Brussels to to Paris and only had to wait around 20 minutes before I was picked up by a German painter named Herbert who was happy to take me the whole 300 odd kilometers to Paris. Being German as well he didn't seem to understand that highways outside of Germany have speed limits, thus we made very good time. Thanks also to http://www.wikihitch.com/ which told me which street to wait on with my cardboard sign for best effect as well as the Brussels Use-It (http://www.use-it.be/) for providing the cardboard and permanent marker.
I'm currently staying with a couch-surfer (http://www.couchsurfing.com) here in Paris, which means I'm not paying the outrageous rates that the hostels here are asking. The person I've been staying with has been pretty cool as well, which is good. At this stage I think I'll probably be leaving Paris tomorrow though to where and via what form of transport I haven't yet decided. I plan to make in the direction of St Jean Pied de Port though, so that I can finally start on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella.
Apart from that, not much else to say. I'm still healthy, Paris is expensive and I've got to get rid of some of the books I seem to be accumulating (Not so much a problem when riding, more of a problem when walking).