Short Walks in the Hood - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

March 18, 2022 to March 22, 2022

Short Walks in the Hood

An update while recuperating in Paris

The trip to the radiologist last Thursday was not a complete downer, but left me less optimistic for a speedy recovery. The good news is that there is no fracture. However, the X-rays showed a very large contusion and it is unclear as to how severe the sprain is. The radiologist told me to stay in the brace 24/7 for the next 15 days – even while sleeping! If not completely healed by then, I was to return immediately for additional consultation/ultrasound.

 I must admit to being a bit dejected walking home. I had to stay in Paris and could make no plans until April 1. In addition, the brace kept slipping and rubbing painfully against my ankle bone and I feared it was causing more harm than good. I could not imagine wearing it non-stop for the next 15 days. I returned to the pharmacy that afternoon for advice on how to fit my brace and was told to wear laced shoes as they help keep the brace in place. The pharmacist also confirmed my skepticism about sleeping with the brace. I decided to accept the advice of the younger female professionals - the pharmacist and my "primary care" doctor who I saw yesterday - both of whom said no brace while sleeping. I jettisoned the idea of the brace in bed and got a good night’s sleep. Best of all, the swelling had substantially subsided by morning.

My ankle is getting lots of rest over the last few days but I’ve managed to get out each day for short walks around the neighborhood – visiting one of my favorite area parks, exploring new side streets, revisiting old haunts. I’ve not gone more than 2-3  miles on each outing, but I’m gradually increasing the distance and believe my ankle is getting stronger each day. Not to mention the joy of walking around even a small section of Paris in the spring. We've had an exceptionally good run of weather and  Paris is sparkling – sunshine, blue skies, crisp air, flowers. Impossible to stay indoors!

My first outing was to Square Saint-Lambert, just a few blocks from my apartment. It was a serene and lazy afternoon. The perimeter benches were fully occupied by individuals or pairs, many sitting quietly or reading a book. The soft murmur of spoken French was occasionally pierced by joyful hoots of teenage boys just released from the adjacent high school. The joy of spring!

After resting my foot for a bit, I wandered past the small carousel and playground at the edge on the square. It was there I discovered one of Paris' many jardins partager, or shared gardens. Le Jardin des Oursons, or Bear Garden, is an associated community garden of twenty plots assigned to individuals, pairs or families. I spoke briefly with two women busily working the soil in their plot - they allowed me to take their photo, with the provisio "No Facebook".

Early signs of spring in Paris
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Square Saint-Lambert on a weekday afternoon
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Enjoying a sunny afternoon, Paris style
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Ready to roll!
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Hard at work in Le Jardin des Oursons
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The shed at Le Jardin des Oursons has gardening tools, a calendar of events, and messages for association members and gardeners
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Des Oursons
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I next made my way over to the local town hall, the Marie du 15e arrondissement, where a large Ukranian flag billowed in the wind and dwarfed the French and EU flags. I'd visited this Marie several times last fall to get my Pass Sanitaire and Covid booster shot. The Marie remains a site for Covid testing and vaccination, but demand has slowed considerably. Curiously, ta tent near the entrance to the Covid vaccine center was full of unopened boxes of what appeared to be emergency supplies - baby diapers, blankets, sleeping bags, and non-perishable food. It crossed my mind that these might be supplies for Ukranian refugees.

After a short detour to visit Eglise Saint-Lambert de Vaugirard, I was homeward bound. It had been a wonderful couple of hours in the sunshine and I was encouraged by how well my ankle held up.

The Ukranian flag flies at the 15th Arrondissement Town Hall
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My first visit to Eglise Saint-Lambert de Vaugirard
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The local bike shop - always ready to help me out or refer me to those who can
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The local pharmacy, where I'm now becoming a regular customer
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A new restaurant in the neighborhood, Melt, specializes in slow cooked barbecue. Not exactly traditional French cuisine, but it seems to be doing a fair bit of business.
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Our local art cinema
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The temperatures had been slowly rising all week and I returned to Square Saint Lambert over the weekend to enjoy family day at the park. Not finding an empty bench, I asked to share with a woman reading her book - "bien sûr" was the reply. A little later, a mutual nod and smile signaled our welcome to an elderly gentleman who fit nicely into an open spot between the two of us. The small signs of respect and accommodation that I find so engaging.

I love to watch children at play - children with jump ropes, scooters, bicycles, and all manner of balls. I love their joy. I love their seriousness and concentration when trying to learn a new trick or move. One young girl who caught my eye was decked out in a pink helmet, black knee and elbow pads, and green roller blades. After mastering the descent of the stairway banister, she headed off to practice swooping down to pick up a fallen leaf without breaking stride. She looked ready for Roller Derby. 

Sunday at Square Saint Lambert
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Yellow and Green
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Future Roller Derby participant
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The look means business
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The empty fountain area provided a great playground for children and parents alike
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I want to play too
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Today I took my longest walk yet, a trip to Champ de Mars to check out it's transformation for the Olympics. It's not too far a walk - up Rue Cambronne, across Blvd Garibaldi, up Rue de Laos, a zig and a zag and there you are. The southeast end of Champ de Mars is dominated by the new Grand Palais Éphémère, a temporary building scheduled to host a number of major events in Paris leading up to the 2024 Olympics. It will also serve as the site for several events during the 2024 Olympics and Para-Olympics. Although it will be taken down in the fall of 2024, it can be reused in many different configurations.

Pont Metro Cambronne - a section of the elevated metro line 6 as it traverses east-west through the 15th arrondissement
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Paris is filled with small street-side gardens and parks
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No trip to Champ de Mars would be complete without a photo of La Tour Eiffel
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Grand Palais Éphémère, or at least a portion of it
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Grand Palais Éphémère
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Three in one: Grand Palais Éphémère, Eiffel Tower, and Susan
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I was tempted by this mascot to join the French Foreign Legion, but thought they might reject me due to my ankle injury
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So, I've been spending most of my days resting at home with short forays out into the neighborhood. I'm slowly expanding my range and the foot seems to be getting stronger. Meanwhile Christiane and Betty are taking excellent care of me, doing all the shopping and cooking as well as providing good companionship and laughter. A neighbor, Sabine, was invited for dinner the other night so that I might meet another good soul in Paris.  We had a splendid time, with plenty of hijinks to go along with good food and good conversation. Christiane and Betty return to Bologna in a couple of days and while I will miss them I am fairly confident of getting along on my own.

Christiane instructs Sabine on her well established technique to rid oneself of hiccups by drinking water from a cup backwards
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A mirror selfie with an iPhone SE - not great photography but it captures the spirit of our dinner. L to R: Sabine, Betty, Christiane, Susan
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All things considered, I feel very fortunate. I have a great apartment and great friends in Paris and am here on a long stay visa. I have plenty of time to let my ankle heel and I am confident that great cycling days are soon to come. 

I have also come to the realization that I won’t be spending this spring cycling through southern Spain and Portugal. Not only must I rest in Paris for a couple of weeks while my ankle heals, the hilly and somewhat isolated terrain of Andalusia is perhaps not the best choice for getting my foot back into biking strength (thank you Scott Anderson for wise advice). 

I can't say for certain where by next trip will find me, but I promise that there will be cycling in this journal.

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Vincent and his new buddy, Ace, are finally out of the dark and into the light of Paris. Vincent keeps pestering me to take him for a Velib ride so he can see the sights of Paris. Someday soon, I tell him. Someday soon
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Rachael AndersonI’m sorry about your ankle injury and how long it’s taking to heal but I’m glad you can get out some and enjoy the weather! Great photos!
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4 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Rachael AndersonThanks Rachael. Hope you get some of this great weather as you head up the coast
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4 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Susan CarpenterIt looks like the next few days should be nice so we can make it to Figueres where we are booked for 3 days.
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4 months ago
Suzanne GibsonGlad to hear there is progress! And good companyy, too. It sounds like your injury is more serious than Covid, though. I could get back out on my bike today for the first time. We are enjoying the same good weather as you and it was glorious.
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4 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Suzanne GibsonThank you Suzanne! I’m delighted to hear that you are back on your bike and out enjoying the splendid weather.
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4 months ago
Lucy MartinGlad the ankle is healing. Paris in springtime is *chef’s kiss*

Not a bad place to recuperate. Your photos are lovely.
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4 months ago