Traveling alone is a choice that I make regularly. Sometimes people tell me, “I could never do it.” When I ask why it is sometimes because they cannot bear the thought of dining alone. Experience has taught me that sometimes the best encounters with the place and its people happen because I am seated alone and so I am more accessible and open. And the food tastes the same.
Recently my friend Ray shared with me how he uses opportunities to eat alone as a date with himself. While in France and England I had the chance to enjoy dates with myself on several occasions and it does change the atmosphere in a very positive way. Or travel with a group for a long period and suddenly dining alone, eating just what you want, taking only the amount of time you want to take, leaving before or after dessert and coffee. It is divine.
On the last page of the September 2014 issue of Bon Appetit, actor Jason Segal shares his “Rules for eating out alone:
1. Bring a book. When you have a book You aren’t really alone. It’s more alone adjacent.
2. Don’t be bashful. The other people alone probably feel the same way you do. You’re all “alone together.”
3. Think of it as a date with yourself. Get to know yourself. If you get along with yourself, there is a very good chance you will get to go home with yourself.”
Since I arrived in Lille, France for the finish of Stage 4, I have been travelling almost non-stop. Today we drove 8 hours and arrived at our hotel in time to see the end of Stage 15 in St Lary Soulan in the Pyrenees. (spoiler alert) What a tragic end for the brave breakaway! Congratulations to the Norwegian phenomenon Alexander Kristoff with his second stage win.
Took my camera and my wallet and walked into the village. At last! The France you see on television when you watch the Tour de France. I walked from one end to the other enjoying the Sunday afternoon summer crowd. I stopped at Nos Tapas du Terroir for a simple and delicious meal of bread, cheese and cured ham thinly sliced. It is the first great quality meal I have enjoyed in over a week.
The hotel Mercure St Lary is positively luxurious after the ski lodge in Albertville. I feel like I can finally truly rest, relax and recover. Tomorrow is a rest day for the Tour cyclists. All of the Thomson cyclists will be arriving (something like 63!) and they have a “warm up” ride of either 38 or 58 km with some uphill. So glad to be a VIP spectator. Jacinta and Jordi will be rolling in by lunch time with a new group of spectators. I already miss my Australian and American friends from the Alps and I look forward to making new friends.
The best part of a rest day is there is nothing pressing to do–well, some laundry. I have put in a request for a massage in the afternoon. I will do some more exploring on foot. Mostly I will let my molecules catch up with one another.