The weather was beautiful the past weekend, so Erwin and I decided to walk into Nijmegen city before having our romantic dinner date. However, all roads were closed because of a “cycling event”. We could have come back home, stayed in, cooked some meal and watched a nice movie, but the weather was too nice to stay cocooned in our love nest. We decided instead to Carpe that Diem, find a way around this blockage and keep our plans moving.
We thought the bus lanes would not be affected, but we were wrong! So we voted for a plan B: the train! We parked the car the nearest to the station in Lent, walked 15 minutes to get there! We couldn’t help but notice the amount of people waiting to welcome the cyclists on both sides of the roads. For some reason, this scenery took me back in memory lane to 1997 when the Pope John Paul II came to lebanon. For the Dutch, the cycling event was as holy as the coming of the Pope was for the Lebanese. The Netherlands is the cycling nation after all!!
To be honest with you, I didn’t know anything about the Giro d’Italia before Saturday. I didn’t realise that it was a big thing, that is was not just any cycling event. It was actually one of the biggest and most important Grand Tours for cycling: the Giro D’Italia is in fact ranked second right after the Tour de France!
While we were waiting for our train, the cyclists passed by just under the rail station where we were standing. I never thought it can be an incredibly, fascinating and colourful sport event. The energy was like nothing else. I was very surprised by the effect it had on me: my heart was beating pretty fast, my senses were amplified and my body was filled with goosebumps. I was exhilarated !
I was craving for more of whatever that was, and more did we get! Our next stop by train was the Nijmegen Centraal Station. We decided this time to wait for the cyclists on one of the two sides of the road! We ended up choosing a great location, it was the least crowded part so Erwin was able to snatch a great video out of our perfect spot- thank you my darling- and we ended up on live TV as well ***Yippiiiii***
We didn’t have to wait too long before the cars and the helicopter announced the arrival of the cyclists. Man they were fast, extremely fast! I never, not even in my wildest dreams, could or would imagine that a bike could be driven that fast. After what I witnessed last Saturday, I acquired a great deal of respect for those athletes! They are heroes in my own eyes, a modern version of Hercules and Thor. They were Marvelous heroes!
After all that adrenaline rush, it was time for us to get back to our pre organised walk through the city before our scheduled dinner. Nijmegen was all decorated in pink, the Giro’s event theme colour . They were music stands, live bands, food trucks, cocktail stands, a great buzz in our beautiful city! Nijmegen was even livelier on that weekend.
We ended up having dinner at the number one restaurant in Nijmegen called “Bistrot Flores“. In my modest opinion, it does deserve the high rating it got on tripadvisor: the food was exquisite, the restaurant was romantic, the waiters were very friendly and those oysters were to die for. I would highly recommend it.
The second day, inspired by those cyclists, we took our bikes and did our Tour of Nijmegen. I never rode a bike in the Netherlands before Sunday ! We drove alongside the roads, rivers, dikes, and bridges of our city. It was such a magical beautiful day! I made it back safe and sound..oh and tanned!
Truth to be told, travelling does not always require a plane, or a long ride by car or train. Sometimes travelling is a two minutes ride which can transport you to a whole new world…not necessarily Aladdin style!
This time, ours was right around the corner and it took us to the Giro d’Italia world which turned out to be a wonderful, fascinating and inspiring destination.
There are always thousand of reasons not to do something, or go somewhere, or be with someone: “I am too tired“, ” I don’t have time for this“, “I don’t have enough money“,”I have too much work“, “the roads are closed“, “ long distance doesn’t work”, “I am not good enough”, “bla bla bla”…
Every time we are confronted with unfamiliar territories, our self-preservation instincts quick in, they take over our body and kill our sense of adventure.
Erwin and I chose adventure last saturday. I am very proud that we found ways to get out of our home and overpass the closed roads! We were flexible enough to come up with solutions and we ended up on eurosport even if it was for a split of a second. The universe rewarded us well!
If I can make a toast right now it would be to fearless choices, to taking chances, to finding ways to make things work, to adventure! I fiercely believe something magical always comes out of it. Saluti!