Thursday, 26 August 2010

Another country

Those regular readers who have not banished this blog for excessive cycling content will understand that at this point in my trip I was suffering considerably from sewing withdrawal symptoms.
I had tried to hold these at bay by knitting.
(Silkroad DK Tweed, heavily modified pattern from Jo Sharp Contemporary 2)

Unfortunately, although I like knitting, it is not nearly so satisfying to me as sewing.
I had been very well behaved, and did not even stop at the base of the Tourmalet when I rode past a shop advertising hand woven fabrics from local mohair. This took some fortitude.
I had, however, been searching for pattern magazines in every newsagent within reach.

Arreau is only 30km from Spain. I was expecting to see Spanish magazines, including Patrones, which I had only read about. To my dismay, I had not even come across a French Burda, although my husband reported that the cycling magazine selection was truly impressive.
The day after we climbed the Tourmalet, the original plan was to climb it again, in reverse. Just quietly, I thought this was a little bit of overkill, but was keeping my head down during the discussion of any cycling plan - cycling fanatics are not entirely reasonable about cycling. To my secret glee, we woke to terrible weather.

I was very happy walking around the weekly markets at Arreau in the rain (the raincoat worked perfectly), and even more happy when after the post breakfast discussion, the planned ride was cancelled.
I was just planning out my next knitting project when someone suggested we drive to Spain.
Most of the group were Australian, so visiting another country by merely driving 30km has a novel appeal, and as one of the group was born in Chile, we thought ordering coffee in Spain would be pretty simple.
After a remarkably short and picturesque drive, we were in another country - no customs, no immigration, no stamp in the passport. Weird.
It also seemed weird that Spain was completely different- architecture, road signs, even the mountains were different, more harsh and steep ( I had expected a more gradual transition). Fortunately, the coffee was also different (we much preferred it to French coffee).
Even better, in the tiny supermarket (town population 900) I found Patrones, 2 issues. Naturally I bought both of them, without even glimpsing at the content.

Normally I would be skeptical about a magazine with a monokini on the front cover, but this was a desperate situation.

I was equally excited to see another copy of the same issues in the tacky tourist shop next to the ancient church. I bought these too, thinking of the friend I would be visiting in England.

The cyclists (men) were highly amused. "Do you speak Spanish?" (No) "My wife would never do that, she likes shopping" (Good for her)"Why would you bother?" (too hard to explain). I tuned out the thrilling discussion regarding gear ratios and looked at my magazines all the way back to France.

I felt much better.

A bit of knitting whilst watching the tour on television and discussing the effects of alcohol on sports performance over a glass of orangina (I hope the blokes with the beer were listening), and I was even feeling a little under-exercised.


In the afternoon, the weather cleared a little and we rode up another, non famous, Col. This was my favourite ride of the whole tour, being the most scenic, and having no traffic.(Also the beer, or going too fast the day before, was working on the men :) ) On the other hand, maybe an hour or so perusing sewing magazines had made the cycling more enjoyable.


Mary Nanna said...

Aah it's a funny old thing, blog writing, isn't it? People say "it's my blog, I can write what I like." These are the same kind of people who think that if they think something they should be able to say it too. Alas, we have readers and so we adjust ourselves to their expectations. And they expect sewing, for the most part. If I could write exactly the kind of blog I wanted to write it would be more risque - but I know that would alienate many of my readers so I try to keep it clean. Well, cleanish, if it is was too clean I'd be too bored to write it.

Now tell me, what do you think of Patrones? I have heard mixed reviews of both it and La Mia Boutique - in the end I went for LMB because I saw a spread on a blog which showed the most beautiful winter coats. (of course)

Of course I've heard lots of mixed reviews about beloved crazy wacky world of BWOF too so it's so hard to gauge what is essentially an issue of taste.

MareeAlison said...

Karen - you had me laughing aloud at your comments about not buying a mag with a monokini on the front cover. You are obviously very brave putting yourself out there with all those cycling "blokes". I'm reading all your posts with lost of enjoyment! A great blog.

SewingLibrarian said...

I am enjoying these posts so much! I hope to hear about your entire trip, post by post. Thanks for writing your trip up so well.

Gail said...

Keep writing about the trip - I love the vicarious experience of your travels. I've found a place in Sydney where I can buy Patrones. Guess I'll be waiting a while for that monokini (not for me, but DD would LOVE it)

Joy said...

I'm sure I'd be impulsively buying pattern magazines, too! I can't wait to see your monokini!

Sharon said...

Oh I'm with you but my DH and buddies talk about skiing where ever we go. I search out any sewing related pieces that I can find when we travel to keep my sanity.

Love reading your blog and your travels, thank you for taking the considerable time to share your holiday with us.

RuthieK said...

Ah so thats how you got the copies of Patrones! I wish I'd taken some time to look at them in London, but hopefully you'll share them here over the next few months.

Tina said...

I, too, am enjoying your travelogue, Karen! Your description of finding the magazines mirrored my own when I was on a (working) holiday in Botswana and found a quilting magazine in a local newsagents. I devoured that magazine, eventually even reading the ads, I was so starved of sewing.

Sue said...

Really enjoying reading about your travels and the cycling (even though I am not a cyclist!)

I was the same about mags when I was in Europe, if I found them I picked them up!

Marji said...

oh Karen, what a fabulous trip! You're experiencing one of my dh's dreams - to ride the Tour de France route. I have to go back now and read all the posts. What fun!! Happy you found some Patrones. You must be in awesome shape to be able to ride that route.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I loved in Spain that I could find Patrones everywhere, including a newsagent in a strictly tourist area and the train station in Sevilla. The EU thing is strange to us Americans as well--you just go to another country with no fanfare.

a little sewing on the side said...

Another delightful post! Your photos and your descriptions are fascinating. Thank you for sharing this wonderful trip with us & congratulations on finding the magazines in Spain.

Janis said...

What a fabulous trip you had! I would like nothing more than to cycle (not too many hills, please) through another country. You made some terrific memories!

Handmade said...

I can't keep up! Just lovely and totally amazing!