07 December 2016

Riding On Paths Through History

During my first European bike tour, I pedaled along la Cote Opale:  the French shore of the English Channel.  It was difficult not to think about all of the wars that ravaged Calais, from Edward III's siege in 1347 to the Nazi invasion of 1940.   But even when I wended along the coast through more bucolic towns like Montreuil-sur-Mer and villages like Neufchatel-Hardelot, it was difficult not to remember that, as the sea lapped on their shores, blood once ran through their streets and mortar shells strafed the air where breezes flickered leaves and flowers.

I got to thinking about that today, on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  I have never been to Hawaii, but I can only imagine what I might feel if I were to ride the Pearl Harbor Bike Path--especially if I were to see this:

Actually, there are sights other than those mothballed warships along the path.  From what I've read, though, it's far from the most scenic bike route on the islands, even if parts of it look pleasant:


  1. Bit of a workout round those slalom poles but not the most beautiful ride...

    I would prefer a French ride. The french do seem to respect cyclists, perhaps because they and their friends are probably cyclists at the weekends.

  2. Coline--I would prefer a French ride, too, in part for the reasons you give. And, to tell you the truth, I've never had any burning desire to go to Hawaii.

  3. I once asked my mother where she was when she heard about the Pearl Harbor attack. (She died two years ago at the age of 96, so she was 22 then.) She was still living at home, but was engaged to a soldier. She was alone at home and heard it on the radio. She quickly shut the radio off and went into her room and sat for over an hour, thinking nothing, but not wanting to be the person to deliver THAT message. Her parents came home, turned on the radio and shouted for her to come quickly into the living room...

    I guess she knew life would never be the same. Two and a half years later she was expecting a baby just any day, but every day read the papers about the titanic battles in France and Germany the soldier was in the middle of. The baby arrived a few days before the fall of Berlin. And here I am...

    The soldier made it back.


  4. Leo--I am so glad that soldier survived--and that your mother lived to a ripe, old age!

    I can well understand not wanting to be the person to deliver THAT message. How many people felt the same way when they got the news about 9/11, JFK's assassination or other tragedies before their families and friends heard it?