So, I find myself in Dieppe, sipping some of the real stuff to celebrate the completion of a Grand Tour of Europe. I feel as if I’ve cheated the Grim Reaper, packing ten years of living into 12 months. Doubtless he’ll take it into account when I eventually come under his jurisdiction.
It has been an incredible experience. The best of times, the worst of times, and just about every shade in between. The thousands of kilometers, the hundreds of places, the sights the sounds, the smells. Most memorable of all, the people. The brief encounters, the travelling companions and my friends made in Malta. The everyday folk who served me, working long hours for little money, and those who extended hospitality and kindness to a passing traveller. This is indeed their story. We humans, though fatally flawed can exhibit all the things that truly matter, and it has without doubt restored my faith.
I mustn’t forget the bike. A finely crafted assembly of steel tubing, wheels and sundry parts, little changed in essence since it was first invented. It has borne me the length of Europe and halfway back again. No mean feat considering my body mass and luggage. Any animal would have baulked at the treatment. I raise a glass to it.
Behind me over the water lies another land, perhaps the strangest of all: perfidious Albion. It draws me back and another story begins, most likely positive. If events prove to the contrary, the chain needs some oil, the tyres some air, and Spain is calling. Perhaps once started, this is a habit difficult to break.
Thank you for riding with me, you have been wonderful companions and your kind words have humbled me.
Dieppe, May 2015.