Report 3
FRENCH HOSPITALITY - week 1: from March 3 to March 9


In the early days of my trip my daily main preoccupation is to find a suitable place to spend the night. Mind you, March in France means you are about the only tourist for the next 50 kilometres!
Fortunately the weather is nice so it isn’t a mayor problem when I discover early in the morning that I have put up my tent on the riverbed …
The third day is my lucky day! When asking a passer-by for a camping place he turns out to be the maire of the small village Morains near Reims.
I’m offered a free bed and (self-made) breakfast in the local town hall!.

Woken by an early morning meeting of the local farmers’ association I make myself scarce! Daily distances are getting longer all the time: 150kms. a day is no exception.

It looks like I’m having a run of good luck this week: for the second time around I’m an unexpected but very warmly welcomed guest! This time my hosts are the Defert family. In their village Ligny-le-Châtel, I’ve got into conversation with their daughter and she’s presented me to the rest of the family. Her father shows me to the guestroom: "You’re welcome to spend the night with us providing you join us for dinner this evening and tell us more about your plans" he says. So here I am having French conversation as if this has always been my favourite subject at school! As the great grandmother learns about my plans she’s impressed. "Toute l’ Europe, mais c'est magnifique!" she exclaims and tells me about the time she – as a young woman - went to Leningrad ……… by bike! That’s my kind of girl! If only she were in her twenties I would ask her to come along with me!

The next morning grandma asks me if want to stay for supper and as I have no other dinnertime arrangements, I agree and join the family once more this time for French fries and chicken, enough to get me going for another 1000 kilometres. A few snapshots later I’m on the road again.
Thanks once more to the Defert family for their hospitality!


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