I think it was last year, probably around the time that I booked my ticket for France, that my friend Kit said she and Jerry were thinking of going to Ireland. There were numerous e-mails back and forth; I knew my dates, they were still deciding. Ultimately, it turned out that they would be in Ireland around the same time that I was wrapping up my stay in Excideuil; next week, I move further south to Montpeyroux.
Kit did some impressive logistical acrobats and, instead of returning to the States with Jerry, flew from Dublin to Bordeaux where we met up at the Hotel des Voyageurs. I had taken a train from Perigeux that morning, figured out the tram system, kind of, walked across the Pont de pierre and was collapsed on the bed when I heard her voice behind the door. I’d visited her and Jerry in Walnut Creek, California, maybe a year ago. When I lived in Port Angeles, WA, their place was my overnight stop on the drive south to Long Beach.
Travel can seem so disorienting. Our friendship is based entirely in the States where her family and most of mine live. We’d met more than 25 years ago as colleagues at a health care organization. That morning she’d had breakfast in Dublin, yet here we were drinking wine in a Bordeaux cafe, talking about the things we always talk about when we’re together –which led naturally enough to a decision on how to spend the following day. Shopping, bien sur. A visit to the shops on Rue de Catherine, lunch, lots of walking and despite the pouring rain, closed museums and galleries–yet another jour férié; see earlier post– a good time.
Our last day in Bordeaux, we walked back across the Pont de pierre to the train station. The rain was still bucketing down. My boots, not meant for European weather, had detached from the sole, my socks were squelching and I’d somehow managed to rip the shoulder of my jacket. The train to Perigeaux was late: five minutes, then ten, then 45. We shivered on the platform, not sure we were even on the right platform until there was a sudden mass exodus down one flight of stairs and up another to a different platform. Someone said Perigeaux and we joined the throng. Somehow it all seemed hilarious as did so many other things during Kit’s visit.
In Excideuil, with a rental car, we were both able to play tourist and see some of the surrounding countryside. I also wanted her to have a glimpse of my life here in France. We went for long walks, shopped at the Super U and had dinner with new friends. We also ate too much bread and cheese and indulged in too many pastries–a part of my life that, unfortunately, must to come to a screaming halt or my next American visitors will no longer recognize me.
As I write this, Kit is probably (please let that be the case) on the train to Bordeaux. It was wonderful to have her as my first visitor. I appreciate the effort she made to make it happen and hope she enjoyed her visit as much as I did.
And Kit: un ouef a la coque!