Adventures in the marvellous Mini of doom!

Dave Smart

Off to Paris

I spent a bit of time in the hotel sorting out a hostel in Paris, after the experience in Rome there was no way I was going to another capital city without accommodation booked. I’d been using a couple of hostel booking websites and it appeared, on this occasion, that one of them was significantly cheaper than the other, so I booked a couple of nights, and was happy I’d saved a bit of money.

Smug with myself, I headed for Paris with the GPS set to avoid highways. There were a lot of bikes on the road with camping gear packed, which initially I couldn’t understand. As the ravages of the tour and driving seemed to be really taking their toll on me, I pulled up in an Aire and slept for about an hour.

As I set off again I saw signs for Magny Cours, so I headed there to have a look. All the bikes with camping gear made sense all of a sudden, there was superbike racing on and this seemed to be the start of qualifying for the weekend. After setting off again I noticed two or three power stations in the distance, with this being France, they were Nuclear, as I drove nearer there looked like a great photo opportunity close to one of the cooling towers.

I didn’t want to arrive in Paris too early on a Friday afternoon as I thought the Peripherique would be chaos so I took a slow meander North.
I arrived at the southern edge of the Peripherique about 6.30 and, whilst it was busy, it wasn’t too chaotic and a bit stop start, but generally flowing. Usually I would play the old lane hopping game, but as there were myriad mad motorcyclists I decided to keep in the one lane.

The motorcyclists zoomed everywhere seemingly believing that switching there hazard lights on would protect them from idiots like me. Once I got to the main road that would lead me to the hostel, progress ground to a halt, this was the part of Parisian driving I could live without.

Eventually I reached the hostel and abandoned the Mini outside to check in. I soon found out why one of the websites was much cheaper than the other, I had managed to book Monday and Tuesday, not Friday and Saturday. Bugger, all my smugness had been in vain. All wasn’t lost however as there had been a cancellation and I could have a bed for Friday and Saturday after all.

I managed to get parking for the Mini in the Holiday Inn Express next door and popped to my room for a speed sleep, after waking up and showering I decided against going out and popped to the bar for a beer instead, €5.40 for a beer, it would have been €6 if I hadn’t been a resident, this was going to be an expensive weekend.

Keith Adams

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