Rain, Rain, Rain…& Brain?!


I was up and on the road by 8:30 a.m, and by late morning I found a “tabac” (the places in France that are open early where you go for a a drink, coffee or otherwise, and to buy cigarettes and lottery tickets, and to say “hello” to your friends) to duck into from the rain and get a coffee.  You see…I need this coffee habit if only to warm myself!  As an aside, thumbs up on my $1.50 rain jacket that I picked up in an Asian store prior to departing San Francisco. It works better than my my high-tech one…it’s lighter material. After enjoying a few rounds of the hand blow-dryer down my damp shirt in the bathroom, I hopped back on Steel.  I endured rain on and off all day, and made it to Nevers by about 7 p.m. – about six hours actually on Steel through more farmland and little old quaint villages.  I totally dig the contrast of the bright blue or red doors, shutters, and patio furniture against the grey stone farm homes.   The only campground in Nevers just happened to be strategically situated along the bank of the Loire river.  I enjoyed my self-made hearty soup concoction dinner while watching a dramatic sun set over the river and behind the city.

The next morning I awoke feeling tired, and again not feeling 100%.  I cycled over the river and into the heart of Nevers –think scaled-down, less affluent Paris.  Oh lucky me…I found an inviting restaurant that not only served up Illy coffee, but at 1/2 the price of any other Tabac I’d been to or McDonalds…so heck, I enjoyed two! Cute round dark wood tables and chairs, with red velvet feeling seats, plus the typical long windows that open to the outdoor patio area…and oh yes, I found a plug in my corner location and continued putting the finishing touches on my dissertation draft.  After, I wandered up and town little streets, many cobblestone amidst old churches and other buildings. I still was not feeling great, so I thought I would splurge for some comfort food…Pizza!  I get cravings you see.  I sat down at an outdoor cafe and no sooner order a Coke and was informed that despite pizza being on the menu, they did not have pizza.  Dang! Okay then, bring on a banana split.  My friend Arleen said I simply must try the whip-cream and ice cream in France.  Surely this would make me feel better. It was darn good — clearly not whip-cream out of a spray bottle.  I milked my sitting location for a couple of hours and got some more writing done.  I continued exploring the city by bike and hit up the tourist info office, which unbelievably had no info about the Loire a Velo heading east!  Nothing!


Finding myself nibbly again, and in an effort to make myself feel better and celebrate the getting done of my dissertation, I decided I would finally try some French cuisine.  Aside from a couple of kabob places, this would mark my first time in a French restaurant.  The problem is the darn menus are in French!   After scoping the city, I returned back to the cute French restaurant from the morning, Le Saint Sebastien.   I ordered the special of the day, which I thought was some sort of ravioli with mushroom sauce.  Well I got that wrong! I was served up the most delicious tasting meal –some sort of amazing sauce over top meat and potatoes, carrots, and pea-pods, complete with a nice little purple flower on top.  I made the mistake of asking what the meat was.  Ah…that would be lamb brain!  “Okay then, might I get a glass of wine too please!”  The owner commented later that he thought for sure in five minutes I would be complaining and sending back the meal.  Hey, at least it was “organic” brain, I learned that everything served in the restaurant was locally grown or raised. Lesson learned…just go for it, don’t ask questions!  Ahhh, it was so good before I started thinking about what the white fatty stuff was that I was eating.  Who knows maybe eating brain makes you smarter!  I was reminded of the story my sister told me from when she was in medical school –which I thought was gross at the time.  She and a friend were learning parts of the brain, they had gotten some sort of brain from the grocery store, and were indeed cooking up parts of it as they learned about it.  I sat out yet another downpour, while I enjoyed some more dessert -raspberries with more amazing homemade whip-cream and ice cream, and some sort of perfect local wine to compliment. Should I mention that I had a Big Mac for dinner that night? Damn Micky Ds for having the only wifi I could find in the city! Total food indulgence day!! I best keep cycling…

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