From Vendée to the Dordogne, the kilometers fly by. We are approaching our first “long” stay: 2 weeks at Domaine de la Rhonie, at Marie-Rose and Serge that we know well. The excitement grows. But before we get there, destiny (or similar) has prepared some surprises for us …
Bordeaux – a 19 hours stop[one_half]
19hr is short, real short. Emilie and Thierry drop us in the city center ; Ms Veronique Daudin, owner of the Ecolodge des Chartrons, shows us around (beautiful house in the very heart of the city, ecofriendly renovated and isolated) ; we discover the “eco citizen house” on the docks, we cross paths with Alix, Mahery’s cousin, and then reach Laura and David’s place, who are lodging us for the night.[/one_half] [one_half_last]
So it is a bit frustrated that we leave the capital of Aquitaine the next day to go to Dordogne. We had 2 visits structure on our program, but it was without taking into account a new record on our hitchhiking tour of France…[/one_half_last]
A record that we would have preferred to avoid[one_half]
9:30. Laura drops us off at one of the many roundabouts that lead to the bypass and highway towards Périgueux.
Since the beginning of this journey, we noted almost always (except in Nantes, beautiful city 😉 that hitchhiking in or around major cities, isn’t too good! Bordeaux is no exception: many passing cars (actually Laura, this is surely one of the most passing roundabouts of this city), including a number of car with no passengers, and no ones stop! We are lucky to be in front of the MIN (market of national interest) of Bordeaux;[/one_half] [one_half_last]
We are therefore trying to smile at the many transporters so they agree to push us out a little. Failure! It is around 30°C; easy!
It is finally Christophe, contractor in the building industry with his van (anyway it is often the vans that take us …), wo puts an end to the longest wait we have lived since the beginning of the Tour de France. It is 11:45, we had been waiting for more than two hours. This is nothing compared to 20 or 22 hr Ludovic Hubler did in Mongolia (or Canada, we don’t remember), but the ratio seen vehicles / vehicles stop, is high enough ![/one_half_last]
Let’s go to Dordogne !
[box type=”note” ]Julia and her husband, wineries on the terroir of Pomerol, take us at the back of their pickup truck, sitting on boxes of wine; José, student; Aurelien, math teacher and potentialy Hopinoer-to-be; Stephanie, international DJ living in the heart of the Périgord Vert, with whom we have an appointment to Paris for a “special night”, Manu, former manager of a guest house, which teaches us all about the “tussle” between Périgords; Aurélie, future lawyer who knows well our future guests and leads us straight to them … This July 25th has been a day full of meetings.[/box]
Brive-la-Gaillarde. 11:30. We stayed the night before at the Moulin de la Jarousse in a yurt (top!) in the Périgord Vert, 70km away. For the second consecutive day, we have been a little ambitious on the journey and we must cancel one more time a visit to l’Hêtre sous le Charme. This is too bad![/one_half] [one_half_last]
We are now getting hastly to one of our key stops : le Domaine de la Rhonie.
Raising thumb to reach the city center. [/one_half_last] [box type=”note” ]The couple driving an apple green Golf signs – as a lot of other drivers – that they are not going far. As we can, we try to explain (signing) that “not far” is good enough ! They turn around, take us, pretend to drop us off and then decide to make a little room in the trunk and, after picking their daughter Charlotte up, take us to Turenne, their secondary residence.[/box] [one_half]
This is not quite our way but that’s no problem, the feeling with Christine and Patrick is excellent. She is Canadian, he is from Luxembourg; they live in London… At the end, we were invited to lunch with them (this is the house at the top of the village, just below the castle, bought on leboncoin.fr four months earlier). This is their first holiday here and we grill the sausages in a clay pot near the pool, with a stunning view from the top of the rocky outcrop. This is one of the most beautiful villages of France.[/one_half] [one_half_last]
Exchanges cherished, fertile exchanges, laughs,.. shared perspectives on the world.
At the end of the meal, we take the map to see in which direction to steer to reach our destination. This is Souillac, 30km away; then it will be Sarlat, 40km more, and finally Meyrals, heart of Black Périgord, for the last twelve kilometers.[/one_half_last]
[box type=”note” ]Patrick to his wife Christine: “We said we would visit Souillac. This is the opportunity, isn’t it?“. The apple green Golf is bartered for their 4×4 BMW with the diplomatic plate. The Ambassador of Luxembourg in Britain and his family (this time, the dog is also in) drop us in Souillac in joy and good mood. We leave after the little Hopineo interview and promise to see each other again here, there or elsewhere …[/box]
As luck would have it[one_half]
Our new friends from Luxembourg are not the last joyful surprise of the day. Our next driver is a Dutch guy lost in Souillac, in search of the Leclerc store. It is because he took us and that we took the direction of Sarlat that we run into the supermarket !
Ophelie “goldilocks” is a solar massage techniques student, driving a wagon converted into a bedroom. She hesitated to hitchhike to get to Sarlat to give up part of her wardrobe for Emmaus – for a fresh start and a new beginning. “I knew there was a good reason to take the car, it was to meet you.”[/one_half] [one_half_last]
Justine in front, Mahery lying on the mattress in the back, we agree to meet again in September in her shared appartment in Romans s/ Ysère, where she lives with a dozen students, studying Nature and Environment.
Raphael works for the biodiversity reserve Natura 2000, whose the Domaine de la Rhonie, our destination, is part.[/one_half_last]
[box type=”note” ]It is late in the afternoon that he drops us at Serge and Marie-Rose, where we are greeted with smiles and emotion. We came in April and had had a very nice foretaste of those two weeks to come.[/box] [one_half]
It has been 10 days since we arrived and this stay here is beyond our expectations. More than friends, the owners of this place, fulfil us with learning, shared emotions and surprises. The rythm here is intense because of all the successive events ;[/one_half] [one_half_last]
but it feels so great to sit down for two weeks, especially in these conditions. We catch up our backlog of refunds on the website and work on big issues … that we will reveal soon![/one_half_last]
Happyness is in the Black Perigorg ! 😉