We put all our vacation stuff and bikes from our cycling holiday adventure in the car and went on a tour to nicer weather to camp and bike. I wanted to go to France but didn’t know if that was possible. I was less tired, but still not myself. I used to like driving long distances, and I had to make more stops now because my leg was still healing from the causes of the torn ankles and thrombosis. Before my fall, I could go to Paris for a couple of hours, driving there and back home in one day.

We stopped every hour for a minimum of 30 minutes to stretch our legs and rest a bit. Belgium wasn’t a problem. We also reached France without too much trouble, except that it took me way more time than I used to.

On the way, I lost a lot of blood because I had my period. Despite all the precautions, I was covered in blood again. I looked like I had given birth during the ride. Ashamed of my red skirt, I cleaned myself and my clothes in a French bar toilet. And afterward, I cleaned the car seat.

During our last stop, I looked for a campsite. I found something an hour from the village where we were—a place with a swimming pool as well. We didn’t manage to get there before 8 p.m., but with a helping owner of another campsite in this little village, we managed to put up our tent at the campsite we wanted to be at. Tired and happy that I made it, I fell asleep in our tent that night.

During our stay, we went biking—first a short route, later a bigger one. We started in the morning. We had many obstacles, missing signs, trees on our path, and works on a train track. After being almost a day on our way, our route was blocked. The guys that worked on a train track sent us back. After a discussion, they opened the fences and helped us get over the track. Then we retook a wrong turn, and it started to get dark. Through dark woods, we ride home. My daughter was adamant; even when she fell, she knew she had to push through. In the last part, we had help from a friend we called. When we reached houses, I knocked on a window. My friend spoke with this nice Frenchman who drove his car outside to follow him to the campsite. My daughter was too tired to bike uphill. But we managed to get back to the campsite. We took two resting days after this bike trip.

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DAPHNE IN STOCKINGS is a writer with a blog telling her story about surviving blood clots, living with FVL, blood thinners, and stockings. And coping with Covid-19 twice in 2020. She's telling her story about building resilience in a physical and mental struggle to heal.