It's not just the interesting and beautiful destinations that make a travel trip wonderful, but the people you meet and connect with along the way. Those are the times you never forget.
Here are just a few from this trip:
“Sofi” – the Best Hostess
My travelling buddy wanted to ride a horse and found a place online in Galicia, Spain where we could stay and she could satisfy her whim. We had no phone and only a vague idea of where this farm was; the GPS co-ordinates sent to us by email weren't going to be much use to us. But the photos of the horses and the countryside had mesmerised my travel mate, and what else mattered?
We didn't have to wait too long because our hostess showed up in gumboots when the rain slowed down a bit and led us to the house.
Sofie (real name Miranda) turned out to be most fun host we'd had so far. We'd rocked up to her place with no food, the nearest shop/restaurant in fact ANYTHING was miles away; we were so unprepared. It was Sunday and everything/ANYTHING locally was closed. But we DID have a bottle of wine, (doesn't everyone?) so we opened it and invited our hostess to join us. She cracked open a bottle of olives and the laughter, the music (thanks youtube) and several bottles of wine later we were the best of friends. It didn't matter that she knew no English. She cooked us some food, promised to invite all her friends to a party the following night, and with the rain pelting down outside we knew we'd arrived (and so did everyone else!)
The next day when the sun came out for a while, Sofi took us horse riding. Down leafy tracks with the rain glistening on the foliage we rode. On streets through little hamlets our beautifully trained horses took us with total respect for their trainer. Sofi is an expert when it comes to horses. They're her passion. Check out her website: Http://Www.caballo-natural.com
When we paused at one little hamlet, a lady appeared from a house with a bottle of some liqueur or another, and offered us a shot. I've no idea what it was, but it felt good as it slid down my throat.
We extended our stay there and although much of the time the weather wasn't great, we had a great time. The weather couldn't dampen our spirits. Quite the reverse. The countryside was greener and fresher and the rain gave the mountains a mystical aura.
Colin and Sue
I met this couple in Ortiguiera Galicia, Spain. They were enjoying lunch at the beach, while their campervan was parked on the roadside nearby for a couple of days.
They're from Yorkshire and have been traveling like this throughout Europe since 1998. They work for a “security” company. They get to park their campervan outside or on owners' properties, simply as a “presence”, can use the facilities of the property but must sleep outside in their campervan. They act as a deterrent for any would-be thieves or intruders. Sometimes they're paid for it. The properties are all high value properties in beautiful locations. When I met them they were in “time off” ; just cruising around areas and exploring new territory.
Ideal life? For them it seems to be. Colin's into kite surfing and they both swim and hike every day.
Joanne lives in Cotignac, Provence, France. She plays the piano accordian at various events in the village; at the local outdoor movie theatre (as background music for silent Charlie Chaplain movies for example.) At weddings (while I was there she was following the bridal party and guests when they left the church and walked down the Main Street.) She busks at fetes and at the local markets.
Jo-Anne lives in a tent she built herself, complete with a fireplace for chilly nights. On the hot days in the summer she'll pause at the fountain across the street from where I lived and plunge her head into the water. Then, after soaking her shawl, she'd wrap it around her head and face before putting her hat back on. One way to keep cool during the hot days in Cotignac! It works for her!
Marcos lives on a farm in the hills in the district of Manon, Galicia, Spain. He makes harpsichords.
Who buys harpsichords these days!? Well clearly some people do. Those who are interested in the music written by Bach predominantly. Marcos has his own workshop on the farm and I felt privileged to be invited into it. He'd heard about my music history. (I blabbed. Must've been the wine the night before)..