Abandoning Paradise

Chapter Four     Crossing France

Finding Le Havre

Arriving in Le Havre

When I started out to cross Europe on a scooter I was advised it was suicide.  I'm now in Le Havre and I can safely say the traverse was successful albeit with a bit of damage to me and quite a bit of stuff lost in the crash. Amazingly, Haximoto does not appear to be any the worse for it. Where the box was torn off is ugly but that wasn't stock anyway.

It was two hundred and forty plus kilometers from Le Mans to Le Havre so it was a long day on the road but determination wins.  I'm about a kilometer from where the ferries depart and it's about five or six hours for crossing the English Channel so I will definitely be in England tomorrow.  There's only one ferry and it departs at 17 o'clock so I guess I will be screwing around a bit in Le Havre yet.  I will get over to the port as early as possible as I don't want the faintest chance of missing the ferry.

The previous article about Le Mans was the highlight of the day but touring is its own reward.  It's been fairly difficult but it's still been an extraordinary experience. There's plenty of time for thinking on a journey which runs usually between 45-60 mph. There was no radio and I couldn't even light a cigarette so there were no distractions from driving and appreciating all around me.  I really wasn't thinking of writing a book going into this but I am now and the blog articles are the starting point for it.

The drive from Portsmouth to Edinburgh is about seven hundred kilometers and I only have a couple of days to do it if I'm to play for Cat on Thursday which I very much want to do.  I also want to visit lefty Unplugged on the way up there but who knows if he would even want that.

So I may not be able to report tomorrow or a report will come very late but I will almost certainly be in England by tomorrow night.

Le Havre in the Morning

There was quite a bit of life on the street outside the hotel in the evening but the street is only just awakening now.

While I've heard it said many times that the French are arrogant, in only two cases in my experience has that been true.  The way I look at it is the other way around, that Italians and particularly Greeks are decidedly un-arrogant.  Here is a lovely man I met in a sandwicherie this morning and he didn't care at all if I spoke French.

There was once a sign on the way into Hillsboro, Ohio, and it read 'Home of Six Hundred Happy People and a Few Old Soreheads.' France looks to me like a very large version of Hillsboro.

How about the train for a slick way to get to work.  America has some pretty slick sci-fi subways too, it just needs more of them.  The buses are the coolest, tho.  They're very tall with huge windows and there are stretch buses all over the place.  Greece is the hands-down best at being green but everywhere I've seen here takes it very seriously.  (There is only one nuclear reactor in Greece and it's for research rather than power generation.)

Despite the tariff on the hotel, this seems to be a fairly seedy part of town.  I had also heard it said that France is quite dirty but this is the first time I have seen any evidence of it.  Everywhere else I've seen has been immaculate, so much so that throwing a cigarette butt on the ground would be really offensive.

As with anywhere else, seagulls are flying rats and they really work this street.  I saw them multiple times flying directly over the sidewalk as they covered the entire street looking for breakfast.  They're vicious bastards too as one landed after another had already staked a claim to some food and the new arrival chewed hell out of the other one to chase it away.  Those are big beaks, you don't want to be bitten by a seagull.

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