Sometimes I hate metal…

I had a nice morning, laying in bed until ten-something. I ate some breakfast, and just took it really easy. Found out I had another flat, apparently, so I would have to take a look at later, and I should buy new tubes.

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I went out to eat lunch with Dominic and two friends of him, Tom and Pete. It was a nice lunch, with starter, main, desert and drink for ten euros!
After that we went to buy new tubes, and then tested the local bikes in Madrid. They were much fun, as they were electric, and crazy fast without having to do almost anything!
On the way home, I picked up some food for the next day on Lidl, before heading up to the apartment for a siesta.
When I started changing the tube again, I found two more pieces of metal!

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Therefore, I took the whole tire off, and cleaned everything really throughly, so I was sure to be able to find out if there were any mor bad things in the tire.
In the evening, I went with Dominic to a comedy competition, which was really funny. It felt a bit long, but it was worth it anyway!

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Afterwards, we went to Tako-Away and ate burritos and tacos. As it was getting late, one o’clock, wee had to take the electric bikes on a really funny crazy ride to a metro station, and take the last metro home to the apartment!
There, Asha was looking at a documentary from the fifties, about communist Polen. It was pretty funny to see, but soon it was time to go to bed after a long night!

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To Mudrid!

As my host in Madrid would come home around eight, I slept until ten in the morning. I fixed more blogging, ate breakfast and lunch, and packed. I also checked the air in my tires, and that was lucky!

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It was the right day, as I had time to change tire without getting late!

Today was sunny, and at 800 metres actually pretty warm, so I could go without rain clothes!
I biked according to my GPS to take smaller roads into the city. At one point, there was a barrier, and apparently private roads for some sort of company or something. The guard let me through, though, with the warning that there was “water on the roads”. Could be fun, I thought!

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Not the best roads, but good enough!

There were no problems until I came to a pretty deep one. I biked through it, slowly, and suddenly I hit a stone, and rather than falling, I put my feet down in the cold water.

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I continued, and down here it was warm enough not having to care about the wet feet.
When passing by a nice view, I got to think about that “every time I go into a city, a barrier is raised between me and nature”.

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I am so deep!

With 15 kilometres left, the road I was supposed to take was blocked off. I was forced up on the high way, and the next exit was in a few kilometres. That led me to a toll, but even though I tried the help button, no one answered. In the end I just bikes by it, as I don’t think I need to pay as a cyclist…

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After another couple of kilometres, I got off. I biked ten more, and now I was close! The GPS led me through a park, and this was a bad one. The roads were wrong, and in the end of the park there were no road at all, but too much mud. I don’t like to go back (“Rule number 1: Never go back” – My German friends) so I dragged the bike through the mud when the wheels stopped turning. I managed to get through the 100 metres and get most of the mud away, and it “only” took 20 minutes. Instead of being 10 minutes early, I ended up 30 minutes “late”, after having a problem to find the right house. I met Dominic as he was going out to walk Madra, his dog, so we left the bike at the guard booth and went for a walk. Back at the apartment, he had prepared dinner! The balcony also was really big, with a water hose, so I made a quick cleaning of he bike and stuff. After eating and talking over a cup of tea, I went to take shower before going to bed!

Mont Saint-Michel (and second flat)

So, today I planned to go 70 kilometres, and I had plenty of time as my host would be back 1845. I started at then, and went along the coast to get some nice views instead of taking the really straight road. It did not take long before I could spot the abbey in the mist (just right of the middle, still hard to see).

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When I was really close to Avaranches, my back tire got flat. It was in the middle of a pretty steep serpentine road (if that is also the name in english) so I took a break to repair it. I tried to patch it as it was really easy to find the cause of the flat.

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I put some air in the tire, and went up the hill. I was thinking of finding a bike shop as I had another thing in mind, but while looking for a tourist office, I lost air again. When I took of the tire and looked at the patch, I saw that it was leaking. I took away the patch, really cleaned and fixed the area, and put on another patch. I do not know how well it went, because it sounded as it was leaking air from the valve, and as I was fed up of trying to repair, I just changed tube. That went quick and worked really well, and after a visit at the tourist office, I went to the bike shop and bought a new tube and used a bike pump with a gauge.
It was more than close to lunch, so I went to Lidl to see if I could find a bigger bowl. Instead I found two other big shops on the way, and in L’electre (spelling) I found one that may not be perfect, but at least really good (and not that expensive compared to the other ones, around 2 euro).

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After the lunch, and some extra break, I went to Mont Saint-Michel. I got filmed by some happy tourist guy on the way out there, and then, I was finally at the place.

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I had planned this as much as usual, so I knew nothing about the place. I made a walk inside the place and after half an hour I started biking to my host.
I met Nina and Babette, Nina’s mother, and they were both really nice. It was Nina’s, or theirs, first time hosting, but they were really nice. I got a good dinner made of home made french fries and meat, and while talking, Nina offered to show me around for real if I wanted to stay a day extra. I decided to do so as I were not in a hurry and I went along good with them. We went on a late walk and she told me about the border between Normandy and Brittany (the canal in between) and some other stories, and we also talked a lot about random stuff. It was a really good evening, and I looked forward until next day!

Arriving in Amsterdam!

As I had only 60 kilometres left, I did not feel like I had to be hasty about things. I ate breakfast with the others around ten or something, and as always, I love breakfast!

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After the breakfast I fixed the squeakiness in the doors at Annas place with my bike oil. It sounded much better afterwards – or should I say nothing?
After that it was time for Sam and Anna to go, and we took some good bye photos!

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As it rained outside, I took my time and did not leave before around 1200. I though it would only take about three hours to the next place, but so wrong I was!
I started with going by a scooter shop and pump my tire for real. Even though, after 35 kilometres it started to feel like a drag in the bike again, but I thought I was just paranoid.
When closing to Amsterdam, with 20 kilometres left, apparently they are reconstructing the roads everywhere, and I had to find a way around. When I after half an hour found the right re-routing road I started loosing more air in the wheel. I borrowed a cycle pump, but then, after 100 of metres, it was empty again. Not good!
I stopped and picked off all of my stuff. This time, I found what was making the punctures, as a small shard of glass had gone through the tire and made a small hole into the tube. I took the shard out and put a patch on the tube. So far so good.

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Then, while pumping the tire with my small bike pump, I managed to break the valve. I had enough air in, but I could not get the hose off of it, so I just used duct tape to fix it to the wheel so I could continue and arrive sometime.
Enough was not perfect, so it did not go as fast as it usually did, and also I had headwind. I arrived at 1715, which was two hours later than I had planned for… I am happy this was not an ordinary long biking day.
There, I met Kim at the house. This was also a community, with people from Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, plus some Dutch people.
Some were at their home countries or elsewhere but I got to meet Mira, the girl from Finland, as she were at home. I went with her to the store and we bought food to make dinner together. We made a nice pasta salad and drank my liquorice tea!

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I then broke loose the hose for my mini pump as it was still attached to the valve, and also unscrewed the remaining bits that were in the hose.
I also started organising my things as some of stuff will be brought home because they are not needed, some I am finished with and some will be put in the trash.
I ended the evening by eating of some of the liquorice I bought at the store and looked at “Into The Wild” as I had never seen it before, actually. I really hope I will never try something like what he did unprepared!

My first puncture!

After eating breakfast I was on the road again by around 1000. The forecast told me it would rain a bit during the day, which it also started doing. I did not really mind it as it was going pretty well even though it rained.
I stopped for lunch and had the luck to have almost to none rain during my lunch time. I made another strange “some sort of creamy thing with pears”-lunch, and they do taste good!

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A couple of hundred metres after lunch I was making a left turn. On this small road it started pouring down more than it had ever done during my trip so far. That was not the biggest problem: A short bit in on the road it appeaed to be a private road with a fence over the way, so I had to turn back. As I were not sure of which way to go, and the rain was pouring down, I decided to borrow the roof of a small restaurant by the way. While standing there a boy, 18 years old, with an umbrella came out and asked if I wanted to come inside, and you bet I liked to!
Apparently it was a place for weddings and as they did not have any planned weddings this day they had nothing to do, so he was relaly happy to treat me some tea and company.

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He was working there and were studying or had studied for some sort of hotel managment as I understood it. He was really nice company!
This was just part of the place, but it looked good:

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I then continued on another way. After some kilometres the bike appeared to go slower than usual, and it seemed like I had a small puncture. To not have to change it during the rain I just pumped some air into the tube and continued until I arrived at my first destination for the evening.
When I searched for couches, the first one who accepted would be looking at the game out in the city until 2000. The other one would go up really early in the morning but would like to treat me dinner if I had the time. Therefore I was going to Norma for dinner, a really nice girl who I am thinking of visiting more than a couple of hours when I start to go south again!
Later that evening I went to my other hosts place, Anna. It was really crazy on the roads as Holland had won the game; police everywhere trying to keep the traffic flowing while people were going round and round in the roundabouts.

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The first thing I had to do was fix my puncture. I tried to find the hole but when the clock is nine in the evening you don’t really have the patience. It ended with me changing the tube, and so far so good.

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She had another couchsurfer there and it was really nice to listen to them when he played the guitar and she sang! We had a nice time and later in the evening we looked at a movie, “The Terminal”. It was a really good day even though the rain was massive sometimes!