At Deezer, second week. What a warm welcome, and what a nice team. I felt at home and at ease from day one, and am very much looking forward to spending a great time here. Max is in Germany, the Tour is in its last week and the canicule is back in Paris. We might have found an apartment to rent, air pollution is still a massive bummer, and the first weekend at Maupertuis is already spent. Back to old habits, the new way. Now rolling with my Red Arrow™ through Paris' streets from our temporary but startling apartment at Bastille, and listening to more music then ever. Back to work.
It's Tour de France, it's 100 years Maillot Jaune. It's time to show my son (and my dad) what it means to see a stage live, I mean in real life. Today we drove all the way on beautiful N6 to Chalon-sur-Saône, a two-hour ride right into the final of this year's stage 7. We had our bicycles to move fast, and avoid the traffic. And we had time, because that's all you need for the Tour de France. Watching the Tour de France live basically means waiting. And more waiting. And waiting even more. I'm glad that tired and hungry Max managed to wait until the riders flew by for a couple of seconds, right on the Quai and exactly 75 meters before the finish line. Doing a sprint stage right at the arrival isn't ideal, but when you drive 4 hours to see it then you also want that screen that you only get close to the finish line. That screen actually broke down about 20 minutes before the finish, making it a true analog experience... which has its charm as well. Next time I'd like to just spend the day somewhere nowhere along the road, similar to what we did in 2013 on the Col de la Madelaine, and have the circus come to you rather then the other way around. Adam, it's time for you to return to France to make this happen asap!
(Internet is) Back in the country! Beautiful summer, construction work with Dad and helper Max, and Tour de France—it's the best time to be in our cottage. Work on improving the house advances, slowly but surely. Electricity and plastering works are on this week's menu, accompanied by the Tour de France on Eurosport through my mobile satelite kit. Friday we're going to head to Chalon-sur-Saône to see the thing in real life, it'll be dad's and Max's first Tour de France stage ever. Big up to Free for an almost instantly reconnecting my line and sending the Freebox Crystal (as bland as Crystal Pepsi), suddenly making this place feel less remote. Which is good and bad.
Back in Europe! A decent run of 36 hours uptime started on early 5am ET and ended on late Tuesday 11pm CET. I probably had two power naps of a dozen minutes or so each, but it helped to align with my new timezone right away. My daily alarm clock called Max woke me up today, 7.20am, like everyday. Charming.
Monday, our last day in Pittsburgh, was busy! Our packed pallet got finally picked up, fingers crossed for its way over the ocean and into France. Our remaining belongings got either squeezed into a couple of boxes and backpacks, or donated, or recycled, or trashed. We had a last s̶u̶p̶p̶e̶r̶ lunch at Everyday Noodles, managed to squeeze everything (including my boxed bicycle) into our helpful Lyft. Check-in also went great, just like boarding and getting into Europe. Dad welcomed us at the airport and here we are, inside European summer 2019!
24 more hours until we'll be in the air back to Europe. The last weekend here in town and our now almost empty apartment is over. Kennywood and Thomas Town with Max, goodbye sessions with our friends. The pallet with most of our stuff is packed and wrapped and waiting for pickup on the driveway, Max's last day at Shady Lane School is over. There's a ton of stuff I'm going to miss, surely more than I'm capable of listing next:
- Air - the fresh air of Squirrel Hill and the smelly air down at the rivers due to the nearby coke plants
- Beer - Delicious IPA and family at It's Doggin' It, the Independant Brewery or most other places
- Food - East End Food Coop, Everyday Noodles, Choolah's, the Five Points bakery, Cold Brew, Pickles, ...
- People - relaxed, open and always motivated to chat and connect
- Sports - Goaltimate, Soccer (haha), Ultimate, the Dirty Dozen
- Traffic - Built-in priority on all intersections with my bike, as long as I don't put my feet on the ground
- Weather - an ideal spring and summer so far: sunny, hot and every now and then a strong but short rain
See you in Europe!