Wednesday, 17 November 2010
European Tour Diary: Day Off in Merlebach, France
We have a day off so decide to be constructive with it. We’ve booked a cheap hotel in a little town called Merlebach which is between Strasbourg and Saarbrucken, tomorrow’s destination. Booking Formule 1 hotels is like playing roulette. Sometimes the rooms are ok, sometimes there’s old vomit on the floor and gum and junk all over the walls. That’s what you get if you spend 30 euros a night on a room that sleeps 3 I guess. Communal toilets and showers, but it’s not too bad really, and it’s quite funny seeing middle aged European men traipsing down the hallways in speedos, a t shirt and flip flops on the way to the shower, and Ben in amongst them.
We set up camp in the rooms, before getting all of our luggage, forming a little train and walking into town with all our stuff in search of a launderette. There’s only so many times you can re-use clothing before it becomes damaging to your mental health. Most of our clothes could probably walk to the launderette on their own by now. Not cool. Merlebach was a small mining town, but like a lot of the mining towns in England, when that dried up so did the town. It feels like a ghost town, the streets are dark and deserted and we make a ridiculous amount of racket dragging our suitcases, the 5 minute journey promised to us by the F1 receptionist inevitably turning into a half hour journey. We see our destination in the distance, glowing and promising cleanliness and shelter from this shitty evening.
We take over the launderette and load our clothes in and begin the wait. We’re all so excited to have clean clothes - we’ve been good with keeping ourselves clean but seeing as it’s impossible to realistically take 6 weeks of clean clothes on a tour, we packed what we could and had to hope for cleaning facilities along the way.
Showering then getting into old clothing is never cool, so we eagerly watch the machines do their work and kick about the place waiting.
I remember being a kid and waiting with my mum in the local launderette down past our estate, waiting for what felt like 5 hours for our clothes to wash and dry. In here, it takes like half an hour to clean, and another half to dry. Either there have been some serious advances in washing machine technology or I was an impatient little kid. I’m guessing the latter, but it is funny how being young warps your perception of time.
We order some pizzas from across the road, expecting them to be dodgy but (quelle surprise) they are amazing. We order two huge pizzas and feast on them back at the hotel surrounded by our clean clothes. Serious amounts of contentment going on right now. Nice to chill for a day and do nothing much but watch films eat pizza and shower.