I’m back! It has been quite a while since I last wrote and I promise to make up for it (though I admit that I really enjoyed having a break from the computer). Aloooot has happened so let me start from the beginning.
I took a train from Vichy to St. Entiennes and then an afternoon bus to a very small town called Saint Agreve. The bus ride took me higher and higher into the mountains leaving behind the beautiful, central France springtime and replacing it with a climate almost a month delayed. I had entered the land of Ardeche, an area I feel in love with during the three weeks that followed. I’m sure you’ll see why.
If you look at the map below, near the bottom right corner, you can see Ardeche within in the Rhone-Alps region which is colored green. It’s only a few hours drive from the Hautes-Alps (High Alps) which you can see to the right.
The bus dropped me off near a fountain in the center of town. It was drizzling, there wasn’t a soul in sight (even all the shops looked closed) and I had to pee reeeeal bad . Within 15 minutes Polo and Nadine, my new hosts, pulled up in their white van with all four of their very sweet dogs in the back seat.
We greeted with cheek kisses which is, of course, the normal way in France. After 2 months of meeting new people I was getting more used too this very different way (for an American) of making acquaintance with someone I have never met. In Joelle and Daniel’s town everyone gave two kisses for greeting so after a kiss on each cheek with Nadine I stepped away and she smiled and said, “It’s three kisses here.” I had no idea that some places are two, three or even four kisses. How do know how many and at what time is what I wanna know!
There is so much I could say about my time with Polo and Nadine so if you want all the goods we’ll have to talk in person. But to start, they have a very special way of living, a way that would be very good for the planet if more people followed their example. I was completely inspired.
They heat only with a woodstove and choose not to have hotwater, an inside bathroom or a refrigerator. All of the woodworking, from the woodshed (which Polo built alone in one day while I was there) to the chairs in the house to instrument pegs are made by hand by Polo. Nadine makes wonderful bread, soups, sprouted grains and soy-yogurt. And they both play LOTS of music!
Away from the constant humming of electronic devices, cars driving past, street lamps and cell phones I immediately relaxed in a deep way. I slept really well, pulled weeds in the garden, red books by the woodstove and some nights we played tunes together. I admit that I often thought to myself, “I want to live like this all the time!”
Once again I started to get settled in a new place. Then the good times began…(as if I hadn’t been having a blast already…tee hee).