Well, that was quick. We’ve spent the last three days speeding south through France, trying to catch up some of the time we lost hanging about in the rain in England. What with France actually being quite large, this has meant spending most of our days in the car, only coming out at night to appreciate our surroundings.
But France being France, that hasn’t meant any shortage of interesting culinary activity. High-quality local specialities have crowded in on us at every turn, and we’ve learnt all about Norman cider and Pineau des Charentes – with the result that our new fancy car-mounted fridge is now full of both of them. We’ve also stocked up on essential preserved food (i.e. confit de canard) for the rocky road ahead – let’s see how well that survives the Sahara.
The first thing we noticed as we came out of the Channel Tunnel into France was that it wasn’t raining – after a month in England in August that seemed somehow wrong. The second thing was that it’s a long way from Calais to Normandy, but we headed that way anyway so that we could stay at Marie and Pascal Brunet’s fruit farm, La Prémoudière, where we arrived extra-late just so that we could wake everyone up by setting off our car alarm …
We’re off! After several weeks of messing about (in the rain) in England – meeting up with friends and family, getting vaccinations, filling out visa paperwork, being scared witless by first-aid instructors – it’s time to get moving again. This time the general direction is south: we’ll be going through France and Spain before crossing to Morocco, then through Mauritania (well, we hope so – there is the small matter of this month’s coup d’état), Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso before meeting our friends Tom and Jo for Christmas dinner on the beach in Ghana. There’s a (rough) map of the planned route here. We’ll let you know how we get on. (We also realise we’re very behind with writing up details from the last part – particularly Italy and Croatia – so we’ll try to update you about those too).
In the mean time we’ve spent our first day on the road in more familiar surroundings: enjoying Canterbury with Kika and Charlie, and feasting on Kentish apples and English cheese. Thanks guys, and we’ll see you in January!
For most British tourists, Greece is essentially a succession of islands and beaches. For us, it was mostly a succession of pies. We’d had börek in Turkey, heard talk of burek in Bulgaria; but it was in Greece that the bourek really came into its own.
For one thing, we generally avoided the islands (making an exception for Crete), and spent most of our time on the mainland, where most of the food (and wine) is – and discovering quite a different Greece from the one we’d seen before. But for another, we quickly found that Greeks don’t really go for big breakfasts. After our twenty-three-jam feasts in Turkey, this left us with big breakfast-shaped holes, for which there was only one solution: pies.
OK, and cheese. And spinach. And quite a lot of weeds. But if you try hard enough, you can get all those into pies too. And we did …