Two Cents Worth

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The world is going crazy.

I watch a lot of CNN and other news programs and I just can’t get my head around how much bad stuff is going on in our world. How did we get to this place in our history? There must be a reason but for the life of me I can’t figure it out. It seems each act of violence breeds similar or even more outrageous horrors against humanity.

I have to say, although Canadians have been known to do some pretty bad things from time to time, it’s not as extreme here as in other countries, such as the US or parts of Europe, where every day or two there is another report of another despicable and cowardly demonstration of brutality.

I have decided to get away from all this madness and do some travelling during July. I started off in Dusseldorf, Germany, visited Liege, Belgium and took a brief jaunt through Luxembourg. Am now working my way through France.

I know nothing about the Tour de France but I do love to watch as much of it as I can. It starts on July 1 and goes right on through to July 23 with only two rest days. They ride through heat, rain, wind or whatever the weather conditions, up hills, down hills, through villages and towns, forests and fields. If you ride along you get to see and experience all of it.

There are some names I recognize - Segan, Froome, Quintana, Thomas, Kittel - from having participated in this trip for some years now. I know the different coloured jerseys mean different things such as best times, best climber, best team, most aggressive rider, highest points but have no idea who or how it is determined. They sprint or pull the leaders back, take the lead or fall back, break away or stay with the peloton and sometimes crash taking a whole bunch of others down with them. Sometimes the team mechanic makes adjustments to the bike from the window of a car while the rider is going full bore and sometimes they just stop and get another bike. None of it makes any sense to me even though the commentators do their very best to explain each move.

All that is fascinating but I watch for the history lessons and the wonderful scenery. It’s the best part. As they travel through the many villages, buildings or elements of interest are pointed out and explained. The history of the village, the various churches, castles, bridges, waterways, etc. are shared. These are places you would never see or explore as a tourist on a European holiday but each has significance to the historical record of country they are in. They talk about the countryside the same way. They reveal the importance of the various crops (fields of grain are called cereal crops) of the area and how farming impacts the country.

The spectacular landscape, scenery and views from the air and ground level are awe-inspiring. They do a very good job of making this long race interesting and exciting every day.

Maybe someday I will see it all for real but for now I will indulge in this experience. 



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