Warning: African GirlChild has had time on her hands to reflect … ponderous thoughts follow
These last few days, we have been overawed by kindness shown to us – by complete strangers. Unconditionally.
Our camping at high altitude at Lac Tislet was a heart-warming – if not body freezing – experience. Our hostess kept a caring eye on us while we were under her roof. From caringly prepared dinner to providing a dry place to hang laundry; from providing indoor heated seating when it was near freezing outside to leading us back to our vehicle with a torch; from afternoon mint tea at a table tucked away in a ray of sun to warm bread for breakfast when it was below freezing. She helped us choose roads to drive safely, and called to obtain tolls on autoroutes. Her generosity, hospitality and unconditional care for us was truly overwhelming. I was a hopelessly emotional girlchild when we left.
Our search for tracks has tested our navigation skills at times. This particular time, we were stopped on the side of the road pouring over maps and GPS looking for the elusive piste. A kind gentleman soon appeared, and before long had provided directions and information on the best route. As we were opposite his auberge, he asked if we’d like tea. With our philosophy of accepting offers, we parked up. By this stage, he had already arranged a small table and 2 chairs in the sun for us, and shortly arrived with a pot of tea, 3 glasses and a plate of nibbles. Together, we shared the tea, and Viking Explorer chatted away in French (while I did my best to follow the gist of the conversation). In time, we decided to continue our journey. He would accept no payment – his invitation.
Finding accommodation still is an adventure each day: do we camp or wild camp? What other options are there? Many hotels in this area of the gorges seem to have some element of camping tacked on the side. This particular evening, we found a beautiful hotel with camping. While the hotel was indeed tempting, we opted for camping with the promise of warm showers and a western style toilet. After dinner, we headed into the hotel for a traditional mint tea. Soon, the wind started howling outside. Next, the owner of the hotel approached us. He was very concerned for us camping in such strong winds, and offered us one of the empty rooms they had available. No extra cost involved. Unconditional care for our wellbeing.
It has felt extraordinary to be a recipient. Strangely, it is a real adjustment.
But re-connecting with humanity – even in this simple way – is a start on yet another adventure.