Wednesday, June 04, 2014


Never take anything for granted. Normally we organize things thinking about cycling for a week or so, and look for accommodation in a house through the hospitable network of cyclists, Warm Showers. Ideally, a couple of days rest, regain strength, wash clothes, cook yummy things, learn and share. When we left Pierre and Stèphanie´s house, we wrote to an acquaintance who lives in Montauban to stay for one or two days, and the response was positive. It was a tough week, quite wet. The showers that fell those days were the kind that leave you with wet feet and cold in your bones for the following days. Since we were going to rest in Montauban, it did not bother us to go out of our way in those conditions to visit Moissac and the surrounding villages that have suggestive names. We even rode along a bit of canal, although we find them boring and monotonous (but you have to try everything).

Our hostess had told us she wouldn´t get home until late and thank goodness because we got lost in Montauban. When we're having dinner, we realized that we had not made it clear in the request and we were only going to be able to stay that night, so there would be no day of rest nor could we wash clothes. But also our hostess starts work very early. We are surprised when she says breakfast is at 6:30. An hour later we are in the street, under a good storm, sitting at the entrance of a bank that has not yet opened, deciding what to do with our lives. Just when our spirits begin to waver, we are approached by a man with Indian features, attracted by our bikes loaded with packages. He is an enthusiast of bike travel, but has never done any. He has devoured books and stories by bloggers and other travelers who have filled his imagination with extraordinary people and places. Despite the rain and fatigue he give us the desire to continue the route which Pierre and Stèphanie had recommended, one That crosses the plains of the Tarn and Garonne, and goes up the valley of the Lot towards Conques.

Bad weather is with us, and the clouds open up upon us. The accumulated fatigue, the smell of dirty and wet clothes, muscle discomfort, the prospect of the next warmshower 400 km away... cause  negative thoughts. We have had arguments about authentic trifles. Although by sound of the words appearing in this journal everything sounds idyllic, travelling in pairs is far from pure harmony and understanding. When we argue, I cannot go somewhere to read while Gabi stays watching TV; he has to keep pedaling behind my backpack, or I have to continue following the scent of his smelly socks. Both parties have to make an effort to restore normalcy and the good mood of the previous days but once inside the spiral of negativity, it is difficult to get out. We decide to make an exception and pay for a campsite in Figeac, hoping that a little bit of comfort and a warm shower will help us. In the evening we reached the peak of the crisis.

I'll tell you what happened to Chi for those of you who have followed our stories only recently. Gabi and I have been together for about four years.  We don't have kids, but three years ago we adopted a cat (I call him Chi, Gabi calls him Cuqui). Because I spent a lot of time at home dedicated to the PhD, I have a very strong bond with this animal. Those who know Chi, know this well. When we decided to make this trip, we decided to leave Chi with Gabi's mother, who has four more cats, and they all come and go when they want as the house is in the country. There are indoor cats, but Chi loves the outdoors so we preferred that option, to let him live happily running after    in the countryside at the risk that one day he might not come home. And that was exactly what happened. A month after starting this trip, Gabi's mother called to say that Chi had been missing for days. Today we still do not know where he is. Tonight in Figeac I can not stop thinking about him. It tortures me that we have shunned our responsibility to go on this trip and the consequence has been losing our child. From this point of view, this adventure can not make up for all that we have sacrificed to be here. I fall asleep in a sleeping bag soaked in tears. To go back home now will not return to Chi to me. If I do not change my attitude, then it is true that none of this will be worth it. The pain is still there and will remain there for a long time (Sabina said 19 days and 500 nights). Outside, the rain continues. 

With me, closer and truer than any conjecture, Gabriel is sleeping. For him, and for me, I disconnect the vicious circle. The next morning Appears cloudy, but suddenly I find that a beautiful day. If smelly clothes, and bathe himself; if the tent is wet, and it withered; if you have to climb mountains, top view sure is beautiful: it is again the first day of our trip, and With That illusion awake every morning since. We returned to the lot and Began the ascent to the plateau Sauveterre and suddenly, what on paper looked so terrible, it makes little bit and Also with pleasure. The landscape undulates and slopes are twisted around the runways.

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