Toilets, Lights Bulbs, Snacks … and Even a Little Cycling

Today topics: the nuances of flushing a French toilet, saving electricity, a machine that makes fresh-squeezed orange juice, the importance of snacks, and, OK, some riding in the Bordeaux countryside.

Flushing: They’re all about saving water here in France, which is a good thing.

And it starts with the toilet. Most toilets provide flushing options. For example, in my hotel in Bordeaux, here’s the flushing mechanism…


Notice the small circle and larger circle. When you only need a little flush (I’ll let you use your imagination), you push the small circle. When you need a more powerful flush (again: imagination, use it), you push the bigger circle. I’m not sure, but I think if you push both circles at the same time you get maximum hyper flushing grande power. However, if you do this more than once during your stay … you get charged an extra 1.76 Euro. Per hyper grande flush. So flush wisely when in France.

Electricity: Again, it’s all about saving it … which is why I had a really hard time figuring out how to turn the lights on in my hotel room in Paris. I was hitting every switch and … nothing.

Finally, I got an idea (I was gonna say the light bulb went off, but that’s too much of a cliché) … and put my room key/card into the slot above the light switch by the door and … voila, the lights worked.

Instant OJ: So, at the ibis hotel in Bordeaux breakfast is included: a rare treat in France. Breakfast in France is all about coffee, yogurt and lots and lots of carbs with added jam. And, at this ibis there’s a really cool machine. You put a couple oranges in the top and they start spinning around and juice magically appears at the bottom.


Snacks: Arrived in Langon today and am staying here four nights. This means I can load up on snacks, which I did. I’m trying to eat healthy, but it’s a bit of a challenge … so here, take a look at my snack collection. BTW: the Mars bars here are different and so much better. And so are the ancel stick pretzels. So far, I’ve been able to resist getting potato chips. They’re really good over here. Too darn good. Once I start … the bag is gone. I can kinda stop with the angels, not so much with the Mars bars and may have had four one night.


Riding: Oh yeah, today’s ride from Bordeaux to Langon (48 miles). So, I was a little (OK, a lot) anxious about loading all my stuff (the panniers and a knapsack that sits atop the panniers and holds my laptop) onto my bike for the first time. It’s a lot of stuff. It’s heavy and unbalances your bike. But everything worked. Whew, that’s a relief. Now I can be anxious and worry about other stuff. Here, take a look at my fully loaded bike…


Back onto the Roger Lapebie bike path and the further you get from Bordeaux, the nicer and nicer it gets. More and more vineyards, fields of corn stalks and sunflowers that are  all dried up. The sunflowers look so sad, as if they’re hanging their heads in shame because they are no longer beautiful.


And then, a K or two past La Sauve St Leon, you go through a long, well-lit tunnel Not sure why there’s a tunnel here, as there’s no river up above or major highway. Maybe they added it to break up the path and add an element of excitement. If so, it worked.


Got off the path at St Brice and followed the small country roads the rest of the way, through a series of tiny villages and vineyard after vineyard chock full of ripe and ready to harvest red grapes. This is the Bordeaux I was hoping for … and have now found. Bike paths are nice, but they’re a little sterile. Sorry Roger.




3 thoughts on “Toilets, Lights Bulbs, Snacks … and Even a Little Cycling

  1. Hi Steve,
    Interesting information and great pics! I am going to Austria, Croatia mid month, I wonder if I will see similar flushing and Elec gadgets. Thanks to you, if I do I’ll know what to do!
    Have fun!
    We met at one of Susan’s classes!


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