Some things are written in fate. Whether you believe in God or not, it’s undeniable that certain things happen in a certain order and allow you to do incredible things. Like winning games of rock, paper, scissors.
Why would I attribute something so simple to fate?
Well it helps that riding on the back of my “best of three” game of rock paper scissors, was our first lift into France, off the ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre.
Our driver, Chris, said it was the first, and probably last time a pair of girls would play rock paper scissors for a chance to ride in his “big, dirty white van” (180TE87). The bittersweet is that where there is a winner, there is inevitably a loser, and in this case, it was our friends Katie and Nadeem, who then had to find another lift.
Chris was able to take us almost all the way to Limoges from Le Havre, via Le Mans, Poitiers, and a few beautifully quaint medieval French towns, even giving us a bit of a history lesson along the way; telling of how the RAF missed the chalet the German’s used as an SS brothel on Vichy Ridge, instead bombing, and flattening, a chalet 500 metres down the road. Being a builder, there were also lots of comments on how the differing architecture defined France from Britain, despite their similar terrains and country views.
We travelled with Chris until 4pm, conversing on everything from music to the French mindset, and from family to France’s economic sustainability, and not to mention Bilal’s unreliability’which he preferred to call a “laid_back” attitude, and that we just needed to “chill”), from not bringing a sleeping bag, or a mat, or any of our pleadingly translated letters informing the Frenbch, Spanish and English that we legitimately were intending to hitchhike to Morocco for a charitable cause.
Though, if you’re reading this Chris, Bilal did come in useful for our next lift. After using my broken Portuguese to convince two Portuguese men to take us along the east coast of Spain and maybe even pick up our long lost friends along the way, Bilal convinced me it would be much better to go towards Carcassone with three Moroccan men. Being Moroccan himself, and fluent in Arabic, we set off with the hospitable trio.
Now, my Arabic is extremely limited (I can say mom, dad, and dear), but from the bits Bilal translated for me, two of the men who were in the vehicle had also hitched a lft, and one had even previously been robbed by hitchers!! So I knew that they fully understood our situation and were being genuinely kind. Because of my poor language skills, I took the opportunity of the 4 hour drive from Limoges to Carcassone to catch forty winks, and I must say they xere of better quality than those I caught on the ferry.
When I awoke, Bilal informed me that the driver was being a true Moroccan and offered to let us stay the night in his house (which is where I am currently updating you from!!).
After dropping off the other two men, we arrived at his house and were greeted by kisses on both cheeks from all three of his sons, who were 7, 12, and __ respectively. The youngest, Shaquib, caught my heart from the start with his cheeky smile and pale blue-grey eyes. We were welcomed in, and invited to shower and make ourselves comfortable, before being indulged in a large meal of pasta with a well-seasoned herb sauce, baked with a covering of cheese, alongside all the lamb sausages and mini lamb mince patties you could ever wish for.
Now, with my bed made up on their expansive sofa, and Bilal already snoring, I’m going to get a good night’s rest before tomorrow’s continuing adventure, in which we hope to cross the border of Spain and get to Barçelona! Hopefully lifts will come as easily as they have today, and we can make even more hospitable friends along the way.