14 June 2009

Day 23

Day 23 Run, originally uploaded by Ryan Runs Europe.

34.7 Kilometers.
I woke up several times very early in the morning in Amiens feeling very awake...but looking around and realizing that it was still dark outside, I decided to go back to sleep. At one point, I saw some movement in the room and realized that my host (Anna) was awake. Thinking that I should also wake up, I checked my watch. It was noon. In France, everyone has blackout shades on the outside of their windows: it wasn't really dark when I woke up, I just thought it was.
I had a breakfast of French pastries and spent some time washing my clothes and taking a shower, things I had been too tired to do the night before. I set out around 2 pm with my damp clothes hanging on the straps of my backpack. On the way out of town, I picked up a small baguette for 25 cents and stashed it in my bag in case nothing was open when I arrived in the town I was heading towards. I walked about 17 kilometers as a human clothes line, along the side of a fairly boring two lane road. I told myself that I would start running when my things were dry and I arrived at a certain fork in the road that was on my map. I have been making my best effort to walk as long as I can tolerate until I get to Paris, hoping that I can tame this tendinitis.
When I got to the aforementioned fork in the road, my jaw dropped. The road in front of me was one of the most beautiful sights a runner has ever seen. A dirt road winding over rolling hills, sandwiched between beautiful patchwork farms. The kind of road that runners kill for. I was grinning to myself, and started running like I was a kid dashing towards Disneyland...except I was already on my object of desire. The early evening weather was beautiful, and I took of my shirt to work on changing my terrible t-shirt tan into an even better backback tan. I didn't see a car or another person for miles.
Nothing can be perfect though, and apart from the lingering pain in my lower shin, there was one major imperfection with this run: little black insects. Running shirtless, I soon noticed that I was picking up tens of (mostly dead) tiny black insects on my chest. I would sweep them off, only to collect more a few minutes later. When I arrived in Breteuil, I was covered in a sweaty black pulp which I had to scrape off of my chest, arms and face before I could put my shirt.
I had found a place to stay with Nathalie, the mother of a friend of Anna, my host in Amiens...but she wasn't going to be home until 10 pm. So I just meandered for a few hours. There wasn't much to do in the town. It felt just like a small country town in the States: a lot of people walking around wearing worn out 80's rock band t-shirts or Starter jerseys, listening to portable radios and driving muddy 4x4s.
A bit after 10, I called Nathalie, and we met at her house. I took a shower and washed my things, and stayed up for a few more hours talking to Nathalie about travel, and about a man who walked all over France with a cow. The conversation was in French, and we were both frequently making the face which means "I have absolutely no idea what you are saying!" I guess that's just how conversations go here.


  1. I caught your blog from a link from Bwog. This is such a clever idea! From my running experiences, I'd much rather have dead black bugs on my body than in my mouth. Ugh, that's the worst, it is gross and I'm instantly afraid I'm going to choke.

    Anyways best of luck to you! I can't wait to hear more from your great adventure. :]

  2. Man, so I just read the last two weeks worth of posts since I've been hitchhiking to Poland and back, and it's so exciting, I was finding myself asking with every post: "Is his shin better yet?", "Will he have a place to sleep now?" and stuff like that.

  3. Ryan, you are the man! The whole MTC team is following you and wishing you the best! Way to have the courage to do what most of us will only dream of. Take care of yourself and e-mail me if there is anything I can do or find out for you!
    -Karl (karl.dusen@gmail.com)

  4. You rock dude. Great blog. Put some ice on that leg. I love those roads and they are too few and far between but they stay with you long after the run is over.


  5. Hi, I am French and born in the area of Amiens. Your lines made me smile. Congratulations for your trip !
    Some informations about some surprises you have noticed :
    - the black insects on your chest are very tiny and not dangerous. They live in the area of fields and are here each times weather is very hot and it is about to rain after the wind has finished its inspection.
    - about the man crossing all France with a cow : it was a film with FERNANDEL, a famous actor. During the 2nd World War, he decided to escape from German troups and took his cow named MARGUERITE. They travelled together.
    - Breteuil is a very tiny town able to provide a lot of food to old people not being able to drive to Amiens. Funny what you wrote about the old 80's rockstar T-Shirt. Indeed French people don't speak or read english and they often wore T-shirt because of the colour or the design. What is written on it is another story ! In this country area, except fans, who will care ?

    I shall come back on your blog to discorver your journey and to read your impressions. I live in Paris... Enjoy the national Music Fest tomorrow !

    Chloe's Mother

  6. Wow nice life and nice trip! I would love to visit those places!:} P.S. I love pie post a comment plz!

  7. I am glad you shared your experience of Europe, it looks like alot of fun. I look forward to more from you, good job man.