Back in to the buggy

For the first time this year, we dragged ourselves to the beach in Les Hemmes, France in the early days of July. It has been a hectic spring, with moving ourselves and friends, going to Finland and such, that we actually did not manage to catch a coef before this July. My dear.

It was such a nice feeling to get a taste of the sea breeze after the hot, suffocating city air. Though the sun had turned some of our friends already into lobsters, as they were making their way into happy tipsiness. Waffle attacked our load, and built the buggies ready for the following day.

Soon enough the hippie feels of the true Les Hemmes lured Waffle too among the rest of us. Guitars were brought out. Some songs with non-printable lyrics were sang until the beer quota for the night had been dealt with. All of us headed to our own abodes to sleep for the night. The wind next day was promised to be steady and mild.

I had not been driving a buggy for 2 years, ever since my wrist broke, by a freak accident caused by unseen moment of stupidity. Partially because of the pain, partially because I am a chicken with things related to getting back to saddle. Calm steady wind was good news to me! (The scared chicken side of me did not agree).

The morning came, Waffle and I made it a late one in our extremely comfy trailer. Everybody else in their tents or cars were up well before us. We ended up exploiting the situation, since the early birds had the coffee and breakfast ready and we just hopped from bed to table. Feel slightly bad about it.

Soon enough I had to face the realities and drag my buggy onto the sand. The beach was as close to perfect as it ever gets. The water had been minding its own business down in the sea for quite a while, so the beach was dry, smooth and firm. Buggy people were understandably very excited and most of them swooshed away with the wind in nanoseconds.

The wind wasn’t too brutal. Quite some of the people were dragging out their absolute biggest sails. To me Waffle dag out the 4 meter, as I was insisting I would definitely, absolutely not drive a 5. I was fairly scared while pulling up the harness and pressing down the helmet. My hands were shaking. At that moment I knew I was not gonna chicken out, I was gonna drive.

I soon had the kite hanging up in the air, and my butt wavering over the seat of the buggy. And surprisingly I was driving. I managed to figure out the direction of the wind and was off. It was such a leap over my barrier of fear, that I broke into tears.

I was heading to the seaside, and at some point I realized there was no recollection in my head of how to turn around.  Which was kind of a problem, since I was approaching the sea at some speed.  Thankfully the nature has given us something called muscle memory, which kicked in and I managed to safe myself from drowning, and headed for the dune again. Then I still had the task to figure out stopping. I managed, I didn’t kill anyone and didn’t hit a dune. I would call that a raging success!

As I had gotten the feels for it, I kept going to do some lines just to have it sinking in, getting myself feeling secure in driving again. And of course enjoying the wind and the smooth beach. Two years it took for me to get back to this point.

It was definitely a great feeling to get back into the buggy. Such a barrier I had built between me and driving. Now the easy wind and good wide beach made me confident enough to climb over it. I was proud of myself. Waffle was proud of me, running and shouting all over the beach like a mad man. Such a happy day!

The wind was dying towards the evening so we got our excuse to leave the beach and hit the roads before traffic jams.  Monday would be a working day again so getting home at a humane hour was a good idea.

 

 

 

 

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What happened in October

November is usually the depressingly boring month, when the autumn really sets in, turning everything into grey, wet and cold misery. Then the nature goes to sleep, sun does not want to rise anymore and people are getting ill and depressed. At the same time the wheels of the economy are starting to spin faster after the summer break. That is usually a bad combination, and unnatural, in my humble opinion.

The starting of my October was not quite that depressing, or business-wheely. It started of with a birthday hike. Our dear German friend from Karhunkierros was getting older, and she had had the wonderful idea of hiking a part of the famous Mullerthal trail accompanied by hiking people. For us that was also a wonderful opportunity to get together with more or less the same group with which we hiked the most important hike of my life. Oh the nostalgia and the pretty memories! We should start doing that more often!

The planned hike started from Mullerthal and looped back via Larochette, 37 km of Luxembourgish countryside for us to hike in 2 days. We drove to Mullerthal in pouring rain. The weather didn’t get much better when it was time to get going on foot. So we all ended up looking more or less like walking tents in our rain gear.

The first day took our convoy through a beautiful valley all the way to Larochette. By the time we got there the rain had more or less ended and our wet convoy of hikers was able to get their feet dry. The evening was starting to turn a little bit moist though; Someone had brought some absinthe, and the store of the camping had a good supply of beer. We were able to get our birthday girl, and more importantly, the rest of the group, nicely tipsy. Soon there were plenty of inappropriate German jokes and out of focus pool games around.

The return hike to the car began in the late morning and was sturdily hangoverish. The convoy was walking less than straight, but everybody seemed to be pleased with the small party we had had the night before, I certainly was. We crossed quite a bit of beautiful Luxembourgian countryside with rain and wind on our backs.

The ending part of the trail took us to a wooden path that was extremely slippery after a couple of days of rain. On every second step someone was almost dropping off to greet the bushes. Soon we started to see more and more people, we were approaching the very popular bit of the famous stone formations, waterfalls and bridges, which many people obviously want to see.

Soon after that we found the cars, packed all the wet hikers into them, and drove home. For us it was a bath awaiting accompanied by some good wine.

The next weekend it was time to teach some basics of kiting to our dear friends Maria and Bram, who we have met via my Dutch lessons. One Friday we sent them off to Les Hemmes with their camper van and children. We would be coming after them on Friday.

That weekend turned out to be full of surprises.  First one being, that the camping we have started to use, was closed for the whole winter.  We had sent our friends there to find a closed gate and felt very bad about it. They had to go look for another campsite for the night.

On Saturday we arrived too, and got a confirmation of the camping really being closed. Another set of our dear friends, Maarten and Yvan, had found us another camping and even reserved a spot. Lovely people those guys! So we managed to focus on the more important tasks at hand, socializing over a beer with buggiers that is.

There was of course eventually a time for the beach too. The beach was perfect, I realized and felt immediately sorry for myself, since my wrist would not allow me to kite or drive at all. But the weather was nice, I had a chair, a camera and a good book with me, so the beach life would not be that bad.

By the time Maria and Bram joined the group we had already built our buggies and enjoyed a very buggier-like portion of beer, thanks to our dear friend Maarten. It was definitely time to drag ourselves to the beach. We set camp and Waffle started teaching.

Waffle’s day turned out to be hectic. There were two adults to be instructed and their kids to entertain. He was driving our tandem up and down the beach all day long, with too low wind and massive kites and kind yelling at him to go either faster or slower. If he wasn’t driving he was teaching people to fly a kite. I was ruminating my own misery of not being allowed to even touch a kite (I did though, do not tell Waffle).

That teaching resulted to the next surprise of the day. Bram was incredibly talented. Waffle shoved bigger and bigger kites into his hands and he didn’t die. Soon Bram found himself in a buggy with the kite and sure enough, he drove! He found the correct wind direction very easily and managed to drive some very impressive lines. Either Waffle is getting great at teaching or Bram is phenomenal.

The following day the wind was completely gone. Other activities needed to be invented. Since there were kids and all, we decided to go see the seals. As usual, to see them we had to drive through the makeshift refugee camp, The Jungle. Driving through that place is always an experience. To the kids it left quite an impression for sure.

At the shore we saw quite some seals. Apparently very contempt and happy seals. I have never seen them so relaxed before. They were just floating around with the current and socializing with the other blobbers. It was great to end that weekend like that, watching something so beautiful.

After that my October became a little bit more business-wheely. I had to stop my Dutch lessons (still getting my diploma though, with 89% score!) and get to work. So it finally started. My new challenge in working life. I work in the EU quarter in Brussels, right in the middle of EU politics. Which is surprisingly lot of fun. The job is interesting and the people are great, finally I am happy to be working again!

But I do spend a lot of time on the road. It is not the optimal journey to work from Rupelmonde to Brussels, especially as I am for the time being refusing to drive to the center on my own. That is why I haven’t been writing too much lately, at least in English, so sorry about that. I just haven’t had the time. But I’ll try to get it going again.

We do have some things coming up. Waffle is doing his No Alcohol November and we are going to Mallorca for a getaway weekend. There is another set of Finnish Beer Festival coming up and of course, Christmas is here pretty soon. I am happy to announce, that we’ll be spending it in Finland!

How is autumn getting along there, where ever you are?

An Anniversary and Random Thoughts

First of all, before getting into mumbling over the happenings of the weekend, I want to thank you guys, my readers! There are now over a hundred of you, following me! I think that is quite a bunch! I am so happy to know, that I manage to somehow entertain so many of you! I hope to do so also in the future, please tell me to shut up if I don’t.

Well into the porridge of today, the weekend came and the Les Hemmes part of Waffle’s birthday was there to be tackled. I was still feeling ill on Friday, so our take off was postponed to Saturday. We also left the buggies home for wind related reasons. It felt weird to be driving to Les Hemmes without the trailer hanging along. The plan was just to go there, hang around, feed beers to people and just have a fill up on the hippie atmosphere.

That we achieved, strolling on the beach, sipping on our beers and chatting around with people. Though Waffle did most of the chatting, since it was mainly French people around. I sat in my slowly deflating inflatable sofa and enjoyed the wind on my face. Came evening, and the beer kept flowing and the guitar was softly keeping everybody awake. It was almost morning when we finally crawled towards our tent.

As I woke up, Sunday was already eager to tell Waffle, that he had had a good amount of birthday drinks; the sleeping bag next to me was quietly moaning. Waffle pushed some painkillers down his throat and soon there were only some eye bags reminding us of yesterday. We left to hunt down a French bakery, to find some breakfast. It was our anniversary. We have now been together for 2 years. Still going strong, no end in sight. So we deserved some buttery French goodies.

In the hunt for those goodies we ended up all the way to Wissant, which was completely cut off from the world by a running competition. All the roads to Wissant were closed, and of course, since it is France, there is no warnings about the occurrence anywhere. After hitting a couple of the road blocks we made it to the center and to the bakery right before the closing time.

After our breakfast it was time to take Waffles hangover out to the sea air. There was a nice small loop of a walk leaving from Cap Blanc Nez and we decided to do that. The air above the English Channel was clear and we could admire the white cliffs of England, from the white cliffs of France. It was probably the clearest I have ever seen them.

By the way, imagine the first person ever, to wander around the norther coast of France. If it was a normal cloudy day, it is very easy to think, that you are walking along the very edge of the world. That person, walking there, must have been happy, journey of thousands and thousands of kilometers is done, no more world ahead after this point! Woohoo!

Until the sun ruins the moment, takes the clouds away, and reveals a land across the sea. Yeah. No woohoo. Maybe he went and built a boat and became the first Brit, that poor bastard, and continued his search for the end of the world. Too bad for him.

We had noticed an aerodrome in our map, and Waffle being always so enthusiastic about flying and it being our anniversary, we decided to check it out. So we went and asked, whether we could be taken up for a minute or two. That worked out good. The pilot just took someone to take a test first and afterwards we could go and fly a small round of 15 minutes. That, I think, was an excellent way to celebrate our anniversary.

I have told you for a few times how I love the landscape of northern France. Apparently it is very very beautiful from up in the air too. We flew over all the different colors of fields and hills and headed over the sea. I was sitting as a co-pilot and was handling the steering stick while being scared for killing us all.

As we reached the sea, we turned to fly alongside the coast. At some point there, the actual pilot got bored of my shyness, and just pushed the stick all to the left, so that we were falling sideways in that small little can of a plane! I yelled an ugly word by mistake since I was heartily spooked by the sudden tilting. Waffle might have been even more scared, since he didn’t know, who did the maneuver.

But the cliffs seen from the air were definitely worth the money we payed for our flight  (60 euros per two for 15 minutes, Aerodrome de Deux Caps) and I do warmly recommend it. The guys from the flight club are truly proud of their field, saying that it is the most beautiful on the whole coast.

After all that excitement we were ready to return home. We took down the tent, said bye to the beach and drove off. To an amazing traffic jam. There were broken down buses in France, and the rush of people returning from the beach in Belgium, plus a few accidents as a bonus. But we made it home, late in the evening. Now we are deeply into planning the trip to Romania. Nicely in time….