Alas, duty, invitation and ‘mini-break’ have brought us to the land of pommes frites. Here it is green and spring — and smells like Wisconsin. Really.
We are in Fontainebleau.
On my own I walked into town, got a faceful of blooming wisteria (twice!) and, of course, had the most amazing pommes frites — because, why else come to France?
In actuality I have been surprised that I have forgotten nearly all of my French – (presque tout!), by the presence of so many italian dishes (so much mozzarella di bufala, so much pesto) — and by the realization that I am probably too old to actually ride the carousel in the center of town…and that I am ok with that.
Per lo piu’…mostly..
But it was Saturday morning and we were expecting rain when we decided to take advantage of the rental bicycles to ride through the forest. Because, it turns out, Fontainebleau is a huge forest. In fact, it is Bois-le-Roi — the Forest of the King.
And yes, there is a castle here. But I don’t feel like talking about castles right now. I am not a big castle kind of girl. And don’t go proving me wrong.
More interesting to me was that we rode through the forest of the king — on bicycles. Super cool bicycles meant for city streets…but we rode them through the forest.
The forest was awesome. It smelled green. And because I am a nerd, I notice nerd things.
Like for instance, when you are riding through the forest on a bicycle and you hear a cuckoo…you need to remind yourself that it is not the top of the hour (though it might be). It is an actual cuckoo in an actual forest where they actually live. Note to self: cuckoos live here and they are real.
Of course I noticed the plants. I am a super nerd. Wait — these trees are blooming, and they are this variety — and these dandelions have larger leaves and smaller flowers — and taller stems. To me this is super interesting (nerd talk).
We rode to the Gorge — to George’s Gorge. Actually it was Gorge de Franchard. It was gorge-ous. Then to the ranger station where I struck up a conversation with an Aussie selling food from a trailer.
And as it would happen, as it always happens, we ended up on the wrong trail. Super narrow trail going uncomfortably downhill at a steep grade. So now we are walking the bikes down the steep grade.
And now we are back on them riding — and now I am on the ground.
Yes I wiped out on the bike. Yes I am covered in dirt.
But yes, I am so proud.
I am thinking that this event has earned me more pommes frites.
I am also thinking that one or two Nerd Notes can be made about life from today’s adventure in the Forest of the King:
Sometimes your path is smooth — but mostly it is rocky. And sometimes you fall down.
And yes, the ground is still really hard, even on this side of the world.
Sometimes you end up on the wrong path and you have to walk down a super steep grade with your heavy bike to try to get back to the path. But you get there.
Sometimes there is a ranger along the path. He may pass out free magazines. But, they may be in French.
Sometimes you hear a cuckoo along the path. No, it is not the top of the hour. No, you are not in a clock. It is an actual cuckoo. But nevertheless, it is disorienting.
Sometimes you actually get to eat genuine and really good Pommes Frites at the end of the road. And yes, yes, that is a good day.
Sometimes you get to ride the carousel…but sometimes you don’t. And anyway, it only goes around and around. Who wants that?
And always, there are Pommes Frites.