So after spending an entire day on the train I was able to work on quite a few pictures to upload to the website. It may put you on picture overload, but here they are none the less. Separated by country. I’m in Nuremburg right now, because I decided to skip Frankfurt after seeing that the only two hostels I had listed which were very close to the train station were both in the red light district and while walking to the second I was offered to come inside and see something great…no thanks Frankfurt I’ll take my chances somewhere else. I guess I’ll have to have a true Frankfurt frankfurter some other time. So back onto the train for another couple hours to Nurembourg, which so far seem very nice. If I can get Oma’s contact information I’ll try and stop by to see her while I’m here too.
And I’ll leave you today with a funny Mitch Hedberg one liner.
“My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.”
Wow so my lifelong dream to see the Tour de France is now complete. I was at the first turn no more than 50 yards from the starting line to watch the beginning of the first stage of the Pyrenees in Toulouse France. The crowd was bustling with enthusiasm, fans from all over the world drape their flags over the barriers to the route and show their enthusiasm for their fellow countrymen competing, camera men everywhere and people pressed in to find a spot to catch a glimpse of the riders as they go by. They have a parade of the sponsors about an hour or more before the beginning of the race with all sorts of schwag or vendor trash being handed out to everyone.
Right now I’m back in Paris couchsurfing for three days with Nils a German that is subletting a place in the suburbs and has been a great host.
[qt:http://travelingbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/LeTourdeFrance.mov http://travelingbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/Tourlogo.JPG 480 240]
[qt:http://travelingbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/FootofthePyrenees.mov http://travelingbeard.com/wp-content/uploads/pyrenees-poster.jpg 480 240]
On Beards —
The reaction for the most part is the same. Strange looks, whispers, rude youths hollering out as I walk by. These are par for the course of a true beardman. That said there are those experiences that make up in spades for them. In Edinburgh a young spanish couple had a boy no more than 3 or 4 years old who they couldn’t get to stop pointing, jumping, and yelling, “Barba, barba, barba, grande barba!” In ireland on the walk to Wicklow an older gent cycling past shouted a reassuring, “Magnificent beard!” In Scotland walking to YWAM the first night a young lady leaned out of an apartment window above the street to shout an enthusiastic, “Great beard!” In Paris walking through the tunnels for the Metro a deaf guy even motioned “huge beard” to his girlfriend and then pointed in my direction for her to turn and see. (That’s the first time I’ve seen beard signed, but it’s fairly obvious when you see it.) I actually appreciate it that a dad leaned down to his daughter to point out the giant beard on that guy(at least that’s what I imagine he said as she looked up after) Though I think so far my favorite was while riding the Metro in Paris a young boy about 2 or 2 and a half looking over his dad’s shoulder actually reached out to touch the beard as his dad was taking a seat. He continued to be mesmerized by it during the entire ride and when he got off I gave him a little wave and he waved back. I guess back in regular life I’m so used to being around familiar people that I forget what an oddity it is to have a ginormous beard. I will say one thing by and large that among the bearded there is great commraderie and recognition. You feel an instant kinship or link with fellow beardmen (I suppose you would beard women too, but I’ve been fortunate so far to avoid that particular meeting). I’ve even had the beardless say that my ginormous beard made me more approachable and accessible to talk with upon initial contact, which I would have thought it would have an opposite affect. So there you have it, my observations on beards while traveling and otherwise.
I also have a few pictures from Paris too and one last one from Scotland.
Well the metro was about all of Paris that I got to see yesterday as I zipped back and forth trying to find a hostel that wasn’t all booked up. After 4-5 hours of riding the rails and looking hither and yon I finally gave up and just got a hotel room. Not as pricey as Belfast, but still not what I would have preferred. I had to stay in Paris last night because the train I had hoped to catch to Toulouse was all booked up as well because of the French Holiday on the 14th. Apparently everyone in France heads south and so it’s a very busy time. Everyone has been very nice so far and very accommodating to English so the language barrier has been less of a worry. I still have my phrase book though and try as much as I can. Today I think I will see the Eiffel Tower and a bit of the area since my train to Toulouse doesn’t leave until 10:30 tonight.