Andy and Karen and I left Logaston early so we could take the scenic route to Bristol airport.
This meant following the Wye river in and out of Wales. It is a bit disconcerting to see signs in English then Welsh and English and back again but it is a pretty route and Karen said that during the Napoleonic wars when the Grand Tour of Europe was not possible, there was a Tour of Wye which focussed on the beauty of the countryside and the medieval ruins like Tintern Abbey.
Eventually Bristol appeared and I was surprised by the huge estuary that we crossed. The rivers this close to the sea are subject to huge tides and I was amazed at the deep muddy sides. Looked more like a jungle river. The bridge across is long and impressive almost Like the Golden Gate in San Francisco.
We had a bit of trouble finding the drop off point so we stopped before the parking area and a police car happened to be passing and told us to move on. I jumped out and quickly grabbed my backpack and hugged them goodbye and scampered off before the police returned.
All the haste and the plane was delayed about forty minutes. The system does not display a departure gate till they are actually boarding so you can’t relax while you wait. I wasn’t the only one a bit anxious. A young French guy returning home after studying in Bristol was equally as anxious. He had been at art college studying Illustration and was very curious about Australia. The plane finally arrived and our gate number appeared and we were soon boarding and away. Looking back over England as we took off was quite pretty, like a green and yellow patchwork quilt.
Soon it was France we were over and the coast of Brittany. The sea was very blue and even the beaches looked sandy. The arrival was easy and no fuss through immigration and customs and I got a new arrival stamp, shame I am going home this time in two weeks! Bordeaux is 33C..
My driver is running late so I am a bit anxious but she turns up after I call the contact number and, blessing, speaks English. It is the beginning of the holidays here and traffic is heavy to the airport.
I am deposited at my host family and greeted warmly by Astrid and three of the five children. Rogation has a cockatiel in his shoulder. That is an Australian bird, grey with yellow head and crest. They make pretty pets and are quite common at home. All is in French. My immersion begins which is pretty scary. Astrid the mother is a very attractive, friendly person and makes me feel welcome but she and her husband make sure we speak French all the time.
There is another student, Alexandra who is Spanish and speaks English too. She is only 17 but has completed a short Camino from Sarria and found it an extraordinary experience.
It was good for me to hear of her feelings because I have always doubted that just walking the last 100 kms into Santiago could be so moving.
I am really tired and escape to my room after dinner. The blog will have to wait because I am falling asleep. Another adventure begins.