Robert Louis Stevenson knew a thing or two about travelling slowly – and hopefully – what with hiking round the Cevennes with only a donkey for company.
But yesterday, arriving back in Laroque rather quickly having left Bolton only a few hours before, I felt he’d got it right. Our usual way of travelling between England and France is by car. We can’t claim it’s particularly slow, not with maximum speeds of 130 k.p.h on motorways. But it does take the best part of 3 days to do the pretty-much-exactly 1000 miles between Laroque and Ripon, and that’s fine.
We detour to take in delightful towns like Cahors or Vendôme, and make sure we have time to explore a little. Early morning starts may find us startling deer in the still misty fields, while at lunchtime we’ll be on the look out for a ‘menu ouvrier’, or a rural picnic spot to have a lengthy break. We’ll enjoy a night at a chambre d’hôtes, and usually have an interesting time chatting to the owners or a fellow guest. Breakfast with home made jams and maybe breads and cakes comes as standard. A trip on a channel ferry. A night in London with son-and daughter-in-law. And finally, back up north.
This trip to England though was by plane each way. It’s quicker and it’s cheaper too.
But the whole business of packing luggage into the required dimensions, checking the weight, hunting for a clear plastic bag for those creams and liquids: then at the airport emptying pockets, removing shoes, belts, is just a bit stressful.
And somehow it addles my brain. Three hours ago I was in a traffic jam on the outskirts of industrial Liverpool, and now we’re driving through vineyards in the Aude? The clothes which worked in the morning don’t do in the afternoon, and I’m having trouble adjusting the language coming out of my mouth. I’m all discombobulated.
We’re lucky we have the time to be more leisurely. I’m not against taking it even more slowly and walking some of the way down, maybe along one of the pilgrimage routes towards St. Jaques de Compostelle. Anyone want to come too? Barbara? Sue K?