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Bicycle trips
Flying to Paris, two hour walk to hotel, having a bath.

May 13th 2011

The journey started at home, a 40 km drive to the boat, which took me on a half hour ride to the bus that took me on a 15 minute drive to the airport. I travelled lightly. As seen on this photo, I basically only had a bicycle backpack with bare necessities and nothing else. Even the bicycle had not been bought yet.

First plane was late, so Paris flight started boarding at the moment I landed in Oslo. I ran the entire length of the airport and just made it.

Upon arrival at Orly, I figured I would walk to a hotel. This turned out to be an adventure in itself. Walking out of the terminal, I was already in a city environment, but it gave me an eerie reminder of American industrial suburbia. Perhaps not so strange, since there tend to be industrial areas around airports. I pondered the likeness to "Generica", yet different. While cars were definitely the main mode of transportation, this area did for the most part take pedestrians into consideration, including pedestrian trails and shortcuts where no car can go.

0513 Outside Orly airport
During the next two hours, I think I met two other pedestrians. Drivers seemed to turn their heads to figure out who might actually be walking instead of driving or (gasp) take the bus. I almost felt poor, and homeless. And for now, I was homeless. I had not yet picked a hotel, though I knew there would be something relatively cheap up north somewhere. I'd just go and see what Bed and Breakfast I could find.

I followed one of the shortcuts Google Maps suggested, only to find the street blocked by a giant gate. People in a white van looked at me quite suspiciously. After all, what was a pedestrian doing right outside their gate? I had to backtrack a block south and a block west in order to get to the parallel northbound street.

May 13 map
I had just crossed the highway through a labyrinth of pedestrian walkways and paths when I began to feel a little lost. When I finally made it to the west side, I made a wrong turn and found what I later discovered to be Orlytech. There was not a human in sight, nobody to ask for directions. Empty office buildings. Parking lots that reminded me of offices I had visited in Smyrna, Georgia. With my portable solar powered battery pack, it would take a while to recharge enough to use the GPS again.

That's when I figured I was better off using the compass. I needed to go north. As long as I knew where north was, I would find a hotel. Or at least humans who knew where a hotel might be. That's when I discovered that going west across the bridge and then turning right to go north was wrong, I should in fact have turned left and go in a big loop onto a bridge. I quickly found the shortcuts and to my amazement, I was now on the correct street already.

With a little sore feet, yet feeling good that I had actually used my body for a good two hours, I did not feel like going too much further. The "little bit more expensive than planned" hotel was a welcome sight. Got my room, got my bath tub, relaxed, and thought... "I'm really in Paris! No turning back now. My return ticket is from Amsterdam."

I don't recall what I had for dinner. I fell quickly asleep.

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