La Versenne (middle France), Wednesday 27th of October
Sunday I went back to my former www.hospitalityclub.org hosts in Paris. Not so long ago I stayed at there place for a week, and now coming back was like meeting with old friends. It’s so good to see some familiar, friendly faces! I intended to move on on Monday already, but the atmosphere was so good I couldn’t resist staying just one day longer.. and then yet another..
But this morning, I’m really moving on. We hug and kiss our goodbyes and I’m back on the road again. I’m going to pick up a package with some road maps and some winter stuff my friend Robert send to one of my adresses in France. The package only arrived after I’ve left, but this is no problem, it’s a nice scenic road to hitch and on the way south. The location is La Versenne in the middle of France, a Dutch family lives there in the middle of the countryside and I’ve worked on their farm for a while. Besides this I’ve also helped out a couple of days in their construction company – I did things like helping rebuilding a bathroom or reconstructing a fireplace.
Today it will be the third time I’ll be leaving Paris in this trip. I my experience Paris used to be difficult to hitch from, because before
this trip I’ve spent two times taking a whopping 5 hours to get out of Paris, but now I’m doing better! Trip one, leaving Paris to the south, was a breeze, taking about 10 minutes with a sign saying ‘A6’. Trip two was somewhat more difficult as I spent hours walking around trying to find a gasstation following some instructions posted on bugeurope.com. I know this tip originally came for Robert, but instead of building on the information he gave, the site has introduced a lot of errors! In the end I just desperately stick out my thumb on a random road and immediately the tide changes – within twenty minutes I’m on the right track and already in my second car towards my destination.
Now, the third time, turns out to be even better as the first. The first car that I stop goes very far to my destination. Again the French motorway, the ‘route du soleil’, is very sunny, and with the trees showing all their autumn colors it seems like a lovely summer day in autumn! Adeleine, a woman who gives me a lift one of the enjoyable twisty mountain roads tells me that “We call autumns like this Indian summers. They are like the autumns in Canada, which are often really warm, sunny and pretty”.
At the farm I worked I lived in the big barn for about a week. It’s quite big and has partly been decorated as a bar, is partly under construction and is partly being used as a storeplace for cement, children toys and many other things. As I get back to the farm I notice smoke coming out of the chimney of the main house, but nobody answers my knock and so I just go and put my backpack in the barn. The place hasn’t changed very much – the first thing I notice as I open the old wooden door are some bats flying in and out through the large windows. On top of a pile of construction materials sits a small package – a package for me, a sign of live send from home, from Groningen! The box already looks useful, it’s more cardboard for hitchhiking signs. Inside I find a warm sleeping back which will come usefull in the cold months ahead and a road map of Spain. The nicest thing though is a letter from my friend! I always love hearing from friends, but this is the first time in almost two months that I recieve something more than an electronic message. After reading the letter I find out somebody is home after all; Raymond is here together with the cats and the young pup called Shabby. We’ve dinner together, chat for a while and afterwards I go outside to look at the stars. The night is a bit chilly, but the sky is wonderful because there’s not much light polution and there are a lot of stars to be seen.