The run out of Paris was a bit difficult. There were so many streets to choose from that the only technique I could use was that of trying to maintain the general direction of southeast, the direction of Brie-Comte-Robert. I recently figured out how to make my phone calculate and draw a route on the map...but in this case it only thought for a long time and gave me an encouraging "no route found." I just ran with my eyes on the map. I tried to make my decisions at intersections instantaneously, because the one time I stalled for a second a Jehova's Witness guy trapped me. "Do you know the way?" he asked..."To Brie-Comte-Robert?!"
I arrived in town in the early afternoon and started exploring. There was an castle in which I found an interesting archaeological exhibit. The gates would be locked in the evening, so (thinking about where I would sleep) I spent a good hour climbing around the walls, contemplating the best technique of storming the castle in case of emergency. When I was satisfied with the knowledge that the castle could be stormed, I proceeded to explore the rest of the town. I went by the church (where there were at least three weddings this day) and then on to a little plaza where I had seen a temporary stage set up. I bought myself a Heineken from Ali, one of the vendors at the concert and started talking to him about what was going on. This weekend is the weekend of the "Fête de la Musique" everywhere in France (even the little towns), and Brie-Comte-Robert was having a day of concerts. Talking to Ali, I verified that the the name of the town is related to its location in the region in which brie is made, so I quickly ran to the fromagerie before it closed and got myself a little slice of the stuff. It was divine. Cheese is definitely best eaten in the place where it is made.
I spent the evening loitering around, watching local rap and rock groups take the stage. Word got around that I was running across Europe, and the people running the concessions offered me some free things to eat. I felt incredibly lucky to come into this town on such an interesting day. I feel pretty lucky in general. A bit after 9, I went to the church, where I listened to a guy named Pierrec Antoine play a mean organ, and then back to the square of the main concert. It was getting dark, and I wasn't really sure that I had a place to stay...but I was comforted by an awesome performance on stage by a band which used minimal words (less words to be not understood is good for me!). One of the guys who was running the technical side of the show, Luc, offered me a place to sleep in town after he was done dismantling the set. The concert finished around midnight, and I spent a couple hours working with Luc dismantling the stage and packing up all the equipment. I finally got to bed around 2 am completely wiped out. After running 32 km to arrive in town, I had only sat down for probably one hour all day. It felt amazing to have my legs up. I slept like a rock.
21 June 2009