Earlier this week we came back from a two-week trip to Europe. It had more drama than anyone had expected: for example, when we landed in Paris, our son passed out on the plane, so we ended up entering the EU through the airport urgent care center. (He is fine now.) However if you are going to have drama halfway around the world, I think it’s better to take care of it at the beginning rather than the end. Also, we got our own immigration agent so there was no waiting in line for passport control. That part was nice.
We first went to Venice, which as promised had no cars. As a city it is astonishing although it has been loved to death; it has 60,000 permanent residents and every day of the year, tourists outnumber them. Often it was hard to find what was left of the city under it all. Then we visited friends in Bordeaux, who have basically transitioned to a car-free life thanks to the city’s bike share system and its gorgeous new electric tram. While we were there I saw a Philippe Starck Pibal for the first time, which looks just as weird in real life as in photos, and charmingly has a map of Bordeaux on the deck. Another first I spotted was an assisted Nihola trike, ripping along far too fast to photograph in pancake-flat Bordeaux.
Our final stop was Paris. Paris is Paris, although it has changed dramatically since we lived there. One change we love is the Vélib’ bike share system, and the network of protected lanes being built for its riders. A change we didn’t love at all was that people have switched from riding scooters to riding motorcycles. The insane driving and relentless smoking remain the same. The exceptional food and culture are unchanged. I love Paris so much that I can forgive a lot.
Catching up has been exhausting, but we are back, and with the shift to warmer weather, bikes are out in force. Bike and Roll to School Day is coming up in a week, on April 24th. You’ll find us on the Panhandle, en route to Rosa Parks, and happy to be home again.