In the end, my night was very relaxing. The hotel’s bed was as comfy as a fluffy cloud and the ladies at the reception desk made me smile this morning with their cheering. They seemed genuinely admirative of my journey and it feels good sometimes to remember why I got on my bike to travel Alsace (because 1. Why not? And because 2. I feel like doing quite a few little crazy things in my life before I die). I ate as much as I could at the hotel’s breakfast buffet and even put a few snacks in my pockets for lunch. I feel definitely more serene and energetic this morning to go back on the road.
After a yummy breakfast shared with my friend Christel with some chocolate cake left by Valentin the previous night, I’m back on the road! I cycle in Neudorf, my former neighbourhood, quite nostalgic, but with a strange feeling of not completely belonging there anymore. After all, that neighbourhood has changed a lot, it got a bit gentrified, and what once felt familiar is now mixed up with the foreign. Is it how it always goes with the places we used to cherish? The filters of the past can’t quite overlap the actual sceneries. We play the game of the 7 differences, with some eagerness, but also a bit of nostalgia, isn’t it? What’s left of our memories when the architecture is changing? Is there any memory set in stone?
Last year, end of September 2019, I cycled around my home region of Alsace (France) for a week. I started in Wissembourg, at the extreme north of the region, and cycled down to Basel in Switzerland. I cycled about 400km in total, on three different Eurovelo routes, I crossed two borders (Germany and Switzerland) and relaxed in three different spas along the way (because why not?) and, obviously, I experienced different weather conditions.
Right after the lockdown -which ended up around June 2020 in France- the mailboxes of Mulhouse were filled with letters from Abd Al Malik, in partnership with the city concert hall La Filature. In this letter, the famous French singer/rapper/poet/writer who grew up in Strasbourg, was calling us to write back letters. Letters addressed to Mulhouse, our city, to tell her about our lockdown since the city had been the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in France last February. Everybody here knows someone who has been infected, hospitalized, or someone who has died… Everybody here knows someone who was in the first line, care and health workers, cashiers, transportation workers.
Everybody here has known about fear.
This blog, my blog, is already 5 years old. I posted my first article on June 10th 2015 and it was about the Working Holiday Visa. 11 days later, I was landing at Tokyo Haneda Airport in the middle of the night. And followed one of the most unlikely nights of my life.
Here I was on the road. The adventure had just started.
Since we’re all being asked to stay home, I wanted to bring up that subject that had been kind of haunting me for a few years now. What’s home?
In English, there’s a distinction between “house” and “home”. The first one would be purely physical, four walls, a roof and everything that can be found inside, while the other would have a more sentimental value, it’ll be the family household, a place you feel at home, an anchor, a place for returns.