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Weight Lifting - One Hundred Days - 060


My (now) wife by our car in Place des Vosges, Paris. We were staying at the Hotel de la Place des Vosges - the very definition of 'boutique'.
My (now) wife by our car in Place des Vosges, Paris. We were staying at the Hotel de la Place des Vosges - the very definition of 'boutique'.

I spent some time travelling around Europe when I was young, usually by car, even though the public transport system is excellent. Then I was skinny, reasonably fit & healthy and small lifts, cramped stairs, small cars didn't figure once in my thoughts. Now, I can't really imagine doing what we used to do, partly because I'm so much larger! Oh well, on the road to fixing that.

Starting off our tour around Europe, we stayed at a tiny boutique Hotel de la Place des Vosges in the Place des Vosges. It is the oldest and one of the finest planned squares in Paris, built by Henri IV between 1605 and 1612. So the walls of the hotel we stayed in were nearly 400 years old. I know with absolute certainty that the people back then were smaller than us. The spiral staircase was miniscule & I'm not sure I could negotiate it now at all. They had installed a lift, but it could only just accommodate both of us at the same time if we breathed in! Our car was a Fiat X19, fabulous to drive around the continent, but zero space. The roof came off & stored under the bonnet & it was a mid-engined car, so there was room for a small bag in the front & a tiny boot (two other small bags) at the back. On our return, we couldn't resist buying a case of wine from a chateau we stayed at overnight & so my wife spent the rest of the return journey with her knees up by her chest as the case of wine filled her footwell (together with other goodies like cast iron French cookware and Italian ceramics!).

We adjust our outlook on life according to the size we are. It's not particularly conscious thought, it happens more by instinct. Planning a holiday now, I would of course be more practical generally, but I would also make choices based on my understanding of the size I am. My first car trip to the continent was aged 18 with a friend in my sister's Hillman Imp. We just set off to the South of France. Apart from the fact that it took us until the return journey to realise that French traffic lights weren't where the English ones are, we also only took one small tent, minus a flysheet. Of course, the solution was to sleep in the car, which I did quite happily, curled up on the parcel shelf in the back, above the massive 875cc engine. (And if you don't know Hillman Imps, look them up!)

I crave that lightness of foot, that agility. I accept that I'll never be as resilient & athletic as I was in my late teens & twenties, but I already feel it's easier to move around having lost just 9Kg. I can't wait to lose the next lot to see if I would want to plan a foreign excursion in a small car again!

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