Wednesday, September 15, 2010

boulogne sur gesse

I had postponed my visit to a helpX host to stay on in Spain, with the promise that I would continue onwards to them after my extended stay.  Unfortunately things didn’t quite work out that way and the day before I left Sitges I still had no where to go on to.    I checked out a couple of places on the coast further north but they were both unable to take me at such short notice and also wrote to another couple that had contacted me not that long ago in france.  Fortunately I had declined politely and found myself heading back in their direction following several emails and telephone conversations in the last few hours of my holiday.  Nothing like leaving it to the last minute, and it didn’t phase me at all.  A couple of years ago I would have been going out of my mind with worry at such last minute preparations, my anxiety is now definitely firmly back in its place and very manageable.

Cherry and Chris’ place is not far from the pottery that I visited with Vanessa and Lisa about 6 weeks ago, it’s just across the fields in fact.  Cherry had seen my blog post through helpX and invited me to help with a project that they had in mind.  At the time my plans were very different but I am so glad that my journey has brought me here as they are wonderful people and their house is in a truly superb rural location.

I got here by train, leaving the hotel in Sitges before sunrise and traveling through Barcelona at rush hour.  Crossing town on the metro then finding my departing station almost before I had time to be properly awake.  The journey was smooth and uneventful and the european train system impressively punctual.  Both my connections were tight but I managed them without a hitch, climbing onto the bus for the final leg of my journey moments before it departed.  I had glimpses of the spanish coastline up to the border, a slight delay as the train was checked by police at the border and the wheels were realigned to fit the the french track width, it all happens automatically now and the trains only slow to 15kmph, (I had to google to see how it was done when I arrived), then up along the coast of France through salt flats and marshes as far as Narbonne before turning inland and heading once again to Toulouse.  I recognised some of the landscape from the car journey down and as familiar towns passed by recalled more of the journey and my long lesson in french some two weeks before.  The final leg of my journey took over two hours and yet cost only 3 euros, it followed an ancient route out of Toulouse towards the mountains, through quaint villages and fertile land peppered with farmhouses, terminating at my destination, Boulogne sur Gesse.  

I was met by Chris and Ben, Cherry’s son and we were soon at the house.  Met Cherry, and Abi was also there, staying as I was, but through a different website, the atmosphere was right, I immediately felt like part of the family.  We chatted, dined, watched english TV for a while and almost too soon, the day was over.

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