Monday, 2 August 2010

I love to go a wandering..travels to Turkey and back


I learnt two interesting things the first night we slept in the Landrover at the beginning of our great adventure heading across Europe towards Istanbul. The first was, Refrigerated lorries keep their motors going all night to keep the cargo cold and the second is that French lorry drivers think nothing of working through until the early hours trying to fix a sick engine even if that means bashing and thumping it into submission with a lump hammer in the pouring rain for hours on end. All this knowledge is what one gains from leaving several hours after one intended to leave in order to rush out and buy amongst other things goldfish food and an extension lead for the cool box cigarette lighter adapter.
Despite well laid plans and printed itineraries which had us due to depart all ship shape and bristol fashion, straight after school on Friday, we left home about 7.30 pm as storm clouds darkened the sky and headed towards Rennes to avoid the bouchon caused by every soul in Paris quiting the capital at midnight and rushing off towards the South on the first day of the Grande summer vaccances.


Our ploy worked and we missed all the traffic, gloating as we sped towards Monte Blanc the next day with traffic reports of the roads south being jammed packed with overheating cars and fractious travellers. The price we paid was choosing to sleep in a motorway service area along with several other smart thinking early birds and the afore mentioned lorry drivers.

In the Early morning light the women trooping out of the various vans and campers and cars emerged looking clean, well rested and dressed for the day I fell out, as only the English can, looking 94 and bearing the appearnace of one who has slept in a hedge. How do French women manage it? I wish I knew or failing that I wish I could look at them and not feel inferior for my inability to look as neat. A womans role here is to look if not a seductress then at least tempting and a great deal of money is spent each year achieiving this goal. As a French friend told us after his wife returned from a 3 hour stint at the hairdressers, women are for thier husbands, an expensive but worthwhile investment. Luckily for our family budget I am the english low maintenance budget option. Amongst the French I stick out like a sore thumb and am long past my sell by date. Happily I find in Greece and Italy even the lorry drivers wink at me and smile , all this and sunshine too I think we may need to relocate, again.


Perhaps I should start at the beginning. What were we doing travelling in the height of summer in an ancient but robust tin box across the width of Europe to the very doorsteps of Asia? It isnt after all your normal summer hols is it? It fits neither into the two weeks at the seaside nor the exotic air travel to glamourous places categories so perhaps the trip needs some explanation. Admittedly I had run out of spices and where better than the Egyptian Market on the banks of the Bosperous to restock but even for me that is rather a flimsy excuse for embarkign on yet another voyage, mind you any excuse would have done. I am a sucker for travel, anywhere, anytime but this excursion had a purpose. Eldest, who has been living in Istanbul for the last 10 months learning Turkish and living like a native thanks to a Rotary Scholarship, needed fetching home .

So it was then that we set off across Brittany through the darkening night, him, me, the two boys, and enough clutter to support an entire boyscout troop on their annual camping trip to Ilfracombe in search of our absent daughter, assorted spices and a bit of an adventure.

And we managed all three.....of which I will tell you later....

12 comments:

Fennie said...

Why is it that the couplet

'While the cat's away
The mice will play'

comes into my head along with the various inhabitants of the chateau and its gardens who seem to have been locked up in the stable attic like so much discarded lumber these past months?

But equally, a magnificent voyage is in prospect to a land of camels and spices with no doubt many adventures on the way. And why do French women look elegant as they emerge from camper vans - because they are not bound for Turkey, perhaps because they have spent a lifetime learning the art of 'being,' rather than being entrapped by the unfortunate drudgery of 'doing.' Anyway good luck with the hols.

bayou said...

Wow you are quick to blog! Can't wait to read it all. Please don't relocate to Greece, please! Not only it is so far but they have no fuel left and then one might be stuck.

Elizabethd said...

Know what you mean about these frightfully glam Frenchwomen. Even a picnic stop in an Aire means that they will be languidly unpacking a beautifully createdFour course lunch (with wine) with no apparent effort....while I am stuck with a recalcitant thermos flask refusing to open, a messy baguette, and various bits of untidy impedimenta.

Pondside said...

Ooooh I can't wait for the next installment!
Do you know, that particular ability of French women to look chic, even in a gas station rest area is also found in the women of Quebec. It's in the genes.

mountainear said...

What a tantalising introduction to your travellers' tales.

Oh - and welcome back.

muddyboots said...

so very exciting, the Land rover looks very impressive, proper adventure vehicle that

Chris Stovell said...

Oh hurray! I love a good story. It's funny how I've picked up a few interesting tips like that sailing. (Did you know that china clay works at Fowey make a noise all through the night?) But I loved the thought of all the glam French gals emerging unscathed from their vehicles, but, hey, you're the one getting all the winks in Greece and Italy. Sheesh! I'm never moving to France!

Frances said...

Will it make you feel better if I tell you that many French ladies visiting New York do come to shop with us...and that they do not always look marvelous? Mind you, they do look all right, but I suspect that not one of them has been camping overnight in a vehicle. I suspect that each of them has been staying in a good hotel with air conditioning, luxe toiletries in their luxe bathroom, etc.

So...please do continue with your tales of this journey. Where are the photos? Just how many borders did you cross.

Do you begin to see how hungry this stay-at-home person is for travel stories? As only you can tell. xo

Fred said...

If it's any consolation my other half thinks French women to be over rated, 'Why don't they smile more?' is the usual refrain.

Adventure sounds wonderful, can't wait for the next instalment. Equally intriguing will be the tale of the abandoned, would be camper van..........

Tattie Weasle said...

Adventures and with boys! Though after spending two weeks shacked up with my hyperactive little toads maybe I shouldn't besounding so enthusiastic - but is does sound marvellous glam gallic girls aside...

Bluestocking Mum said...

I can't believe I've missed these. Just going to follow the adventure...
xx

GretchenJoanna said...

Delightful travel writing! I just stumbled on your blog when the name "Turkey" jumped out at me from somewhere...I have spent time there twice long ago and now, like you, have a daughter learning Turkish. I'll be by to visit again.