We walked later to the point and checked out the tide pools. French folks were stealing escargots for their dinner. What we thought were thousands of dead worms lying on the wet sand (trying to avoid walking on them felt impossible!) were actually long thin tubes of sand removed by some critter below the surface. One even curled up like the shape of a heart. We watched hundreds of shore birds sift through the pools for a snack and wrote huge words in the sand - "La France 2008", "USA", and "Portland Oregon".
The next day we met Neil, Malcolm, and Gordon from Glasgow, Scotland. We rented bikes back on Ile de Re and rode around the entire island. It was so beautiful, and such a relief to be off my tired feet for one day. We rode on a path along the shore, fields and vineyards to our left, and the turquoise ocean to our right, on the horizon sailed dozens of white boats. We found the ruins of an old fort and a monastery. In the field behind it a farmer walked two cows to a green pasture. We rode through small ancient-looking villages, grey, faded buildings twisted over time by the weather.
On a crowded sandy beach I made a ridiculous lean-to from to pieces of wood I found and my sarong. I needed a refuge from the sun, but all the topless french girls just stared at me, under a canopy just a foot above the ground, now covered in sand. We rode back quickly, hands-free, legs pumping. I somehow got separated but flew into the rental shop at 7 sharp when the bikes were due.
London was a surprise to me. The river was lined in beautiful and unique buildings and has more bridges than Portland, which I crossed back and forth for several hours. I only had one day in London, and it wasn't nearly enough. I walked along the river and into a couple neighborhoods. I snuck inside a government building that had a spiral walkway from the bottom floor to the top, and was covered completely in windows. I ate a hearty fish and chips dinner by the water on a windy deck with the English. The next morning I was off for my 15 hour journey home.