Day 3: Day off :S

Last night I was feeling super tired and a bit ill. It’s hard to acclimatise to the altitude I think and I hadn’t been sleeping terribly well. We did go for a wonderful real Italian pizza in Bardonecchia, which is a beautiful Italian town about 18 miles away over the col d’echelle, which is a beautiful pass over the mountain, and something I have earmarked for a cycle adventure at some point (The climb down into Italy is breath-takingly dramatic!). The pizzeria was loud, badly lit and had a TV playing and tacky games outside. A true Italian pizzeria in fact and the amazing food was well worth it.

As was the coffee afterwords, however I think this didn’t help me to sleep and I lay in bed awake until about 4am. Today is a write-off as a result, I am a complete zombie, and I’ve been saved from exercize by a bout of rain. Instead we went to the local town Briançon, where I was left to explore while FH and GM went to help a friend move house.

Briançon is a charming town built around an old French military fort. It has many pretty buildings and shops. We visited my favourite bakery, in which you can see the baker working at a deep stone oven (see below)

La Boulengerie de Briançon

I also went on my own to a bike shop to see what they had to replace the vehicle of abject torture. My French was truly tested through this ordeal and I spoke maybe 50% French and English at the very patient assistant. I’m pretty sure at one point I said “parle-vouz un peu de Angleterre?”. Doh. He insisted I wanted a mountain bike but I was sure I didn’t. There were a couple of possibles though – a nice looking La Pierre carbon-based road bike and a part-aluminium Cannondale that were my size.

I also visited a bookshop to see if there was anything that might help my stumbling progress at “la langue francais” – lots of possibles including an interesting looking novel about someone with Alzheimers. I thought maybe comics would be a good idea but according to les ainés they are too colloquial to be of use. Any suggestions welcome!

Finally I sat outside a French cafe, drinking espresso and calmly working on a poem. I tried to complete the cliche, but there were no turtle-necks, berets or cigarillos to hand.

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