At Colmar railway station...
At Colmar railway station…

 

It’s been 7 years since that crazy backpacking trip across Europe happened, good amount of time spent in France following the riders competing in Tour de France. With an intention to spend some quality time with my husband, I had decided to learn a new sport, of which I had absolutely no clue about – Cycling!

Despite having an option to explore the country on my own, I decided to accompany hubby while he enjoyed the sport and watched Alberto Contador, Mark Cavendish & Lance Armstrong in live action up close. I relentlessly took photographs with my then brand new Nikon D90 while hubby wrote about the event for a news publication back home.

With kids in the picture now, will I be able to do a repeat of our Tour de France experience? Am not sure! It was an exciting one month, reaching places a night in advance to be able to watch the race next morning. But, it wasn’t easy standing out in the rain and heat trying to pick up the finer nuances of a new sport. There were times when we walked over 20 km in the hills, braved cold winds (under 5 degrees Celsius) for hours, stood in continuous drizzle for over 2 hours – all for catching a glimpse of these amazing athletes who were pushing themselves beyond their limits to win. I can never forget the bemused looks on people’s face as they watched us standing there with an Indian flag. With no Indian team on the race, that stumped look was justified which lead us to give an interview for a local French television channel! All of it was fun but tiring. I can’t even begin to imagine how the riders brave it all, 23 days in a row, every year!

It’s that time of the year again, when every evening the TV room rings with words like peleton, yellow jersey, France, etc., The bird’s eye view of the locations the race is taking the riders through, reminds us of our trip in 2009, familiar sights bringing smiles to our face.

p-flag
The feeling of holding our flag on foreign land … overwhelming!

 

Tour de France, the annual bicycle event is primarily held in France but also touches the neighboring countries briefly. We had enjoyed traveling across France and neighborhood, visiting places like Montpellier( the city which gave us parachute), Lyon, Nice, Mont Ventoux (pronounced Mo-Vontoo!), Annecy, Bourg-St Maurice (Ski resorts haven with Mont Blanc in background – utterly beautiful), Colmar (The city where Francois Bartholdi, designer the Statue of Liberty, was born), Pyrenees, Andorra, Monaco and of course the fashion hub Paris. How we could not understand why French wrote more syllables only to keep them silent while speaking them out! How we loved our long walks, the impeccable transport system, the baguettes, cheese, pickled olives and fresh fruits. All of it was so lovely.

Amidst all clamor (contributed by TV, husband and kids) I can’t help wonder, while the ‘me’ then wanted to spend quality time and sportingly grow my relationship with my husband; the same ‘me’ today craves for some me-time and quality sleep! How things change, hence priorities.

Hubby still aspires to travel to France during the Tdf and follow the riders. I would love to go back too and watch the race 1 or 2 days as a family activity. I surely do not have the stamina to travel and reach places every single day! What I don’t mind doing however, is sitting in a cozy bistro / cafe observing people walking on the cobbled pathways, read a book, sip a hot coffee and munch on some warm cake. Probably learn some French baking too, while hubby watch the race along with our two kids teaching them all about the sport. Well, if wishes could come true, that simply!

The 103th edition of Tour de France, started on 2 July and will culminate in Paris on 24th July. The race comprises of 21 stages and will travel through some breath taking sights from Andorra, Mont-Saint-Michel, Utah beach, Angers, Berne, Montpellier, Pau Megeve, Chantilly etc. In India, you get live coverage on the television. Enjoy 🙂

Tour De France
Tour De France

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