Guillaume is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Eb touched on how we met him in a previous post – In Nepal on the tea farm. I don’t know if you remember but it was the craziest and longest bus ride for us to get there from Kathmandu and we would never do that bus ride again. Well, Guillaume rode a mountain bike there! I think it took him 16 days to get to Ilam. He’s 23 and is currently on a gap year from studying medicine. His plan was to stay in Nepal till September but due to the earthquake, he had to leave. When we found out about the earthquake, we contacted everyone we knew that was in Nepal at the time and everyone had responded saying they were fine, except Guillaume. We were pretty worried about him, especially because he was in the middle of where it happened. We soon found out a couple of days later that he was safe and back in France. Because he’s on a gap year and his plans in Nepal didn’t work out, he came home for a couple of days and got his bike and went bike-packing (like us) in Norway by himself. After that, he came home and invited us to stay at his apartment in Lyon, and then at his family’s home in Montoison.
As soon as we saw him, one of the first things I wanted to know was what happened to him before, during and after the earthquake. He said that he was in the street sitting on a curb with a friend of his and all of a sudden the ground started shaking and they knew straight away that it was an earthquake. They ran to the middle of the street and waited until it finished. He said it happened all so quickly, even though it lasted a couple of minutes. Once it was over, they went to an open area leaving all their belongings in their rooms, knowing that an aftershock could be a possibility. He messaged his Dad letting him know what had happened and that he was safe before the internet had been cut off. He said it was mayhem after and that he wanted to help as much as he could but said there were lots of people who were just in the way of the professionals coming from other countries. So in the end he got a flight back to France, and not on a normal airline either, he said it was a military service plane. It sounded so hectic, what he was telling us. He seemed quite bothered that he left a country that was in need and he said to us that once he graduates he will go back to Nepal for a year to help them. I thought that was pretty cool. As if he felt like he owed the Nepali people.
We stayed in Lyon at his apartment with his other roommates for a couple of days while he’s been staying with his family in Valence. He messaged us saying that he would come to visit us in Lyon and then take us to his parents’ place in a car. As much as I loved the idea, I secretly didn’t want that to happen. I wanted us to cycle to his parents’ place. The reason is because, if you look on a map, you could see that we have almost cycled top (Dieppe) to the bottom (Marseille, our target) of France and I would love to have that as a bragging right, and something to tell my kids one day too. The distance from Lyon to Montoison is something around 100km. In the end, he picked us up. It was so awesome sitting in a car with our bikes strapped to the back going 130kms on the highway. It’s a feeling we haven’t had in a while – It was awesome!
Before leaving Lyon, Guillaume showed us around his city. Lyon is so beautiful! I actually rate Lyon better than Paris. It’s cleaner, pretty, no tourists whatsoever and has all round good vibes! I would love to live there for a year or two. I think it also helped because it was a student city. We arrived at his family home later on that night. It was such a beautiful home, which had a Mediterranean feel to it out in the country side where it was nice and quiet. We met his parents and one of his sisters. Both his parents are doctors and his sister studies art in Paris but is back at the family home on uni holidays. He has another sister who is studying in Argentina. We got the vibe that they are a pretty adventurous family. The dad went for runs and bike rides almost every afternoon, the children have all studied/travelled abroad in Iceland, USA, Mexico, and Argentina. This week they are going on a family holiday. They were all meant to go and visit Guillaume in Nepal but because of obvious reasons, they are now going to the Brittany region of France.
Whilst staying with Guillaume we got up to some hiking in the alps, swimming in the local rivers, wine tasting, watching movies, playing Wii and swimming in the pool. It was a lot of fun.
We’re so fortunate to have had met Guillaume on the tea farm and form a good friendship with him. I hope we get to see him again sometime soon whether it be somewhere else while we’re travelling or back in Australia.
PS –this is Eb now – I just have to mention that there was a massive fig tree in their backyard with the biggest and most delicious figs on it!!! Whilst staying there I must’ve eaten like 20 of them. Just picked straight off the tree!