A Month on the Moor

A Shocked France


A Shocked France: From Basel to Saint Quentin

How was that? Creepy, one of the weirdest trips I ever had. As said earlier, I did not want to be in France on the 14th of July feeling something was going to happen. Well, I was right but being there on the 15th  was even worse. As soon as I crossed the border, French radio stations went on and it was awful. France was shocked about what just happened and did not try to hide it. There were almost no cars, nor trucks on the road and radio stations had no music, only endless talks about terrorism and death. It was surreal: harsh sunlight, empty roads and Italian like sceneries. Alsace and Champagne could be home: same light, same heat, same fields and hills surrounding the motorway. I stopped a couple of times but I do not remember much, just the heat, the harsh sunlight and the occasional farmer driving is tractor on the horizon. France was trying to anesthetize itself, unsuccessfully. I reached my “hotel” right before dinner time: it looked like one of those American motels you see in movies and it was full of British bikers. I highly respect bikers because… they know how to travel light!

I was given a room on the ground floor and I managed to park the car right in front of it. A giant motorbike was parked in the nearby spot. The hotel receptionist gave me a keycard lock, instead of a plain key, this is fairly common now and usually convenient unless, you have a dog, there are cats everywhere and the door locks by itself. So… It kept happening that the door locked itself while I was bringing stuff inside. I ended up being locked outside a couple of times and the receptionist lady developed a “magnetic” dislike for me. I am not the smartest person when it comes to keys, I know,  but, this time, it was not completely my fault. In the meantime, I discovered who the owner of the large motorbike was: a giant grey haired, bearded man who looked like Hagrid. I got quite familiar with him as he spent hours on his parked motorbike (placed right in front of my window) chatting over the phone with several women. Once he had finished with one, he would start with another one. I was not trying to listen him, but he was not exactly a silent critter and I had to walk in front of him!

Speaking of back and forth, since the parking lot was filled with cats, I decided to walk Briony in the neighbourhood: bad idea, it was full of rabbits so I moved even further and ended up in front of a war cemetery, just to put some more creepiness to the table. When I went back to sleep, the images on TV were still showing and shocked France and the British biker was still chatting with a woman.

And then the cockroach came…


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