Travelling has many facets.
When I was in my early twenties, I could not see the point in overseas travel. I remember having discussions with my mates back in New Zealand, and saying something along the lines of “all that money, for just a few weeks – what a waste”
Well, travel certainly seems more affordable now. Back in 1974, when I first left NZ, the one way Auckland to Sydney fare was 5. It seems cheap, but that was over forty years ago, and I did sell a number of possessions to fund the trip back then !
Driving down from Paris to the Dordogne, we took the scenic routes rather than the AutoRoute (freeway), and once out of the busyness of urban Paris, the countryside opened up, quaint villages started to appear, and we often were surrounded by fields and rolling hills – all clad in verdant green vegetation with the trees lush in their Spring foliage.
Stopping at one village to collect a few things from the local supermarket, the twitter of birds was evident as soon as we opened the doors of the car, and I was reminded why I love Europe. Yes some of the architecture can be ancient and fascinating, some of the places quite unique and the history at times tantalising, but for me it is more the simplicity of difference. That palpable difference when one stands at the edge of a field and senses the peace and tranquility, to breathe the air flavoured with birdsong, and ponder the wonderment of ancient lands and the stories passed – as if shards of pottery scattered amongst the soil.
Then there are the people – seemingly ever helpful, and appreciative of our attempts at their language where different, it is the people we come across that form the lasting memories. The taxi driver Karim in Paris with his gift of macarons, our hosts David and Wendy at Le Jardin B&B in the Dordogne, and then there are the fellow guests.
At Le Jardin, we met Barry (“my real name is David, but there are enough David’s here already”) and Suellen from Texas. What a lovely couple (and Barry is a sailor ïŠ), and so full of life, just doing as we are – catching moments when they can, away from their busy lives back home. We ended up having dinner with them the following night, and it was with significant sadness that each bade the other farewell, as we departed the following morning. We hope to see them again one year, and have an invitation to stay with them if we ever get to Texas, but in the meantime we will stay in touch……..