Saturday, February 22, 2014

It's the Little Things

Thanks to my sister Sarah, we are staying a week in Paris before Billy returns to the United States.  Paris is amazing.  We're doing all the things I've always dreamed of doing here with Billy.  The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower??  Take it or leave it!  But waking up to this:

Being together again is just the best!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Castle Country

First things first!  The bike shop in Tours had a whole range of contraptions with two wheels.  After we wiped our drool off of the race bikes and asked about their rentals, they rolled out this lime green dream.  I couldn't stop laughing at the thought of Billy riding with upright handlebars and pedals with no clips...  Haha!  Seeing this clunker, at least, gave me hope that I might in a million years be able to keep up with him.  We laughed all the way home.  It was so good to be back on bikes with Billy.  I've seriously missed riding with him so much.

As soon as we got home we started planning day trips to the nearest castles to our east and west.  We spent the next three weeks exploring castle country on a beautiful bike route that spans from Nevers to Nantes.  The well-marked La Loire à Vêlo signs kept us pedaling in the correct general direction AND on the right route (for the most part - ha!).

Chenonceau is the one in the bottom right.
We narrowed our desired destinations down to lunch in Montlouis (round trip 30km/20mi), crepes and castle tour in Amboise (30km there only), Valentine's day lunch in Villandry (20km/13mi there only), and a half day to check out Chateau Chenonceau (heeding warnings about the hilliness of the route to Chenonceau we opted for the train).  Actually, Montlouis turned out to be the only place close enough to do a there-and-back (the only restraint being how long we could stay in the saddle if you know what I mean...).

Don't those seats look comfortable?!
Thankfully, all of these locations were conveniently served by the SNCF (a local train which is a cross between Amtrak and BART).  I was really amazed to discover that, apart from Villandry, train lines picked up five minutes walking from most of these castles and stopped service smack dab in the middle of beautiful downtown Tours.

Even though we took the train to Chenonceau, we still took our bikes with us that day and it's a good thing we did because our train back was delayed.  So, that evening, instead of freezing our butts off at the (outdoor) station, we made our way east past Chateau Chissay and went all the way to Mont Richard and back (another 20km/13mi).  So, just as a side note, yeah...  No banks in these parts.  Not even an ATM.  Do all those people bank in Tours?  Off shore accounts?  Shoe box under their bed?  We may never know.

Almost as awesome as being back on the bikes and taking trains through the scenic Loire River Valley were the looks we got when we told people that we have been riding our bikes to these places.  Haha!  Priceless.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Footage is Fun!

Oh my goodness!  I finally get to share some rare footage of me in the wild!  Haha...  Billy took this video during our game against Rennes Etudiants Club on Feburary 9th.  Rennes is the capital of Brittany (far northwest France) and Tours is the capital of Pays de la Loire (central northwest France), so it's kinda like a regional rivalry...  This team is so fun to play against because, even though they aren't very tall, they are dynamic and energetic and go after every ball.  Here are a few clips Billy caught from our match against them: 

I'm jersey #11 and wearing a white headband.

Haha - did you like that premature celebration??  This game (which we lost in four sets (22-25, 17-25, 25-13, 18-25)) marked a five week break from league matches.  So, after a little Spring break action, we got back in the gym full throttle this week.

Our next official match is away on March 23rd against Vie au Grand Air de St Maur (a suburb outside of Paris).  Hopefully by then my ankles (yes - still sore!) will feel better and I'll be jump serving again.

Here is a link to our standings if you're interested:
We are Reveil Sportif de Saint-Cyr.

It's really hard to believe we only have five matches left...  to WIN!  :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Standing On The Shore

"I have crossed oceans of time to find you."  So, I thought of this, but then I googled it to make sure no one else had thought of it first and sure enough...  Dracula beat me to it!

Billy and I at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris

Being here in France to play volleyball has been a wonderful experience, but being away from Billy has been a practically unbearable sacrifice, making the last six months of my life so bittersweet...  

It has been exactly 180 days since I last saw Billy.  I'm excited to share everything about this place with the part of me that has been missing for so long.