Bonjovi! I mean...bonjour! I'm in France!
I left around nine from Kortrijk, where my host went a couple kilometers with me on bike to point me in the right direction. After only going 8k, I stopped because of a combination of pain in my shin and because it started raining and I had to (once again) wrap all of my things in my space blanket.
It took me close to seven hours to get to Lille, including several prolonged waits under doorways for the rain to calm down. I don't think there is anything like limping for hours in the rain (by yourself, without an umbrella or proper waterproofing, a change of clothes or even the knowledge that you have a place to stay when you get there) to dampen the spirit of things. It did eventually clear up though, and the prolonged painful and painfully slow walking became a bit more bearable.
The good thing about serious pain is that it makes you forget about other parts of your body that hurt. I haven't noticed the hip pain I've been having for a few days now. One overuse injury always makes another disappear. I was pretty sure I was going to get a stress fracture somewhere around my jaw from grinning too much over the past few weeks, so this pain in my shin has really helped give my cheeks some much needed recovery.
I did have a couple moments during the [walk] where I had to smile though: the first of which was crossing the border. As you can see, there is no sign. I had to find it on my GPS map. I had seen a sign a while before that said "France 1500 m," but I thought "eh, I'll wait for the real sign." No real sign. "But hey, I'm in France now!" A few minutes later a mother and her (maybe 9 year old) daughter walked by, and the little girl said something in French. "Haha" I thought, smiling, "they speak French here." It is very cute when small children speak in foreign languages, especially French.
I arrived in Lille very tired after a very long walk. Walking hurts much more than running. I went by the Eurallile projects that I researched in school, and even peed in a Rem Koolhaus building! That was a big deal for me.
I checked my e-mail at a wifi hotspot in a fast food restaurant and found that someone had offered to put me up for the night here. I went to the grocery store looking for ice for my shin. They don't sell ice anywhere here, so I usually go with frozen peas, or mixed frozen peas and carrots. Bags of frozen peas were much too large at this grocery store though, so I bought some Disney branded otterpops and sat outside icing while slowly eating my way through the ice.
I am hoping that this is merely shin splints/inflammation (thank you to those who offered help/suggestions), in which case a little bit of rest would do me good. I would like to say that in tomorrows episode I will be better, but alas, I'm not really writing the script for this show.
08 June 2009