We are in the process of preparing for our return to France.

  • We are looking for places to sleep in between Madrid and Paris (we only need a little corner of land to pitch the tent!). If you can help us out, please follow this link.

  • We already have a couple of conferences lined up along the way. To see the schedule, follow this link. We would be happy to met with you!

We are also looking for an apartment in Paris or the surrounding area, starting in mid-May 2010. Any help or suggestions would be most welcome!

On home turf

So much has happened in such a short time!

When we arrived in St Maurice de Beynost, Didier my uncle greeted us warmly and emotionally. First stop – first surprise: he had invited Christiane and Robert, as well as Monique, who have all been following our adventure since the since the beginning, but whom we had never met. As soon as we arrived, they told us that the mayor was waiting to take a picture with us at 7:30. We biked over to the town hall and there were at least 30 people there waiting to hear about our trip. The mayor himself was in full regalia, including the medal of recognition of the town.

The next step was amazing. The sun was out in full force, and the Jura was warm and welcoming as we rode up the through the Ain valley. In Chemilla and Cézia, I rediscovered my childhood and there was another surprise waiting for us. Marie France and Raymond came from Savoie to meet us with Josette and Louis (all 4 of the great aunts and uncles). It was a great family reunion that night.

The sun stayed with us all along the jurassian plateau, across the Vouglans Lake, and through the great spruce forests. On the Grandvaux plateau, I recognized the roads that I used to train on when I was younger. Some had changed, and others not. It felt like coming home. Although my perception of distance was a little different 20 years ago…. As we rode into Saint Laurent, we heard two children calling out to Sara. Yes, there were more people here to meet us - all the kids from the elementary school that we were planning to visit the next morning. Michèle and Denis were there and welcomed us with open arms, and so were Lydie, Schani, and my friend Guillaume – all of whom made it a wonderful evening of reunions.

Friday we were almost overcome with emotion when we arrived at the community centre. More than 100 students were waiting for us, and they all clapped and shouted encouragement, just like at the end of ski race. They really enjoyed the presentation and we answered lots of questions. We got to see the work they had done while we were gone – thanks to the teachers for all their involvement.

Saturday night we shared our stories in at a more intimate gathering in the St Laurent town hall. My parents were there, my grandmother, and by great aunt and uncle, whom we hadn’t seen in a long time, and who surprised us by coming to the presentation. Rémy was also there, one of our webmasters, along with a number of other people.

The next step took us to Foncine Le Haut, with Francoise and Guy. My brother Nicolas and his partner Céline came to meet us and everyone tried out the bikes. We got to bike up a steep hill on unloaded bikes… and Sara even got to try out a bike with electric assistance!

We’ve spent two days in Chaon with Nicolas. We got to babysit Paulin, our nephew, a smiling little boy. We had a great time with him.

Next up, we’re heading towards Lons Le Saunier, where my grandmothers are waiting for us. It’s been really amazing getting the chance to spend so much time with our loved ones.

Sébastien

[Drapeau de France Heather | Le 05-05-2010 12:45 | Add a comment]

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