August 24, 2012
We fled Amsterdam on empty stomachs, feeling frustrated and angry, the service station attendant in Belgium was as rude as anyone I’d met on the trip and we still didn’t have a bed booked for the night. My phone was flat. The iTouch was almost flat. We were well and truly winging it, on the edge.
We had thought of revisiting the Fromelles area which was halfway on our journey to Paris but now feared it may prove a disappointment as well.
We were already rattled as we rode into the village. Familiar. Tourist office closed. Damn. On to nearby Fornes-en-Weppes, where the tourist people had been so helpful last time. Tourist office closed, Friday afternoons for just this week. Double damn.
I had one bed and breakfast address saved in the iTouch. We find it. Booked out. She suggests another. And it’s like arriving in Paradise.
A farm – they grow maize and beans and potatoes and sugar beet – with comfortable private guest rooms and apartments.
Ours has a view to a green expanse of lawn and a deep bath and a TV and free wifi.
We can eat dinner with the farming couple and their other guests – a supermarket manager, a woman in rehab for cancer and a couple touring by motorcycle, on holiday.
All French, only a little English and one of the bet meals and evenings we’ve had.
An aperitif, ham and melon, fish in leek sauce, meat and tomatoes and beans and potatoes, cheeses, apple pie and chocolates to finish. Plus two wines.
The guests chat with each other like old friends, we understand some of it, they ask us about Australia and marvel at our trip. There is much laughter and much turning to a well-worn English-French dictionary. We are rejuvenated, our spirits lifted. Love your work, France.