June 10, 2009

footloose and fuel-free

caravanning in the Lot another way of seeing the French countryside

The discovery of the countryside and of early morning is one of the privileges of the “roulottier”. The caravan takes small roads, which a motorist may well overlook, or scorn.
There are fresh scents, hazy colors and warm sunlight, and the feeling of belonging in the well ordered pattern of nature.

The horse becomes some sort of mediator between the “roulottier” and the surrounding world. Care of the horse gives the days its rhythm, play and work mingle in an old ritual of harnessing, feeding, caressing and grooming. the horses descend with relief from the hot highlands to the valley of the Cele with its cliff-hanging villages, river and shady tree.

These are the houses, the wild flowers and the people that a car passes in a flash. Now the people become friends and, not infrequently, friends in need. Out of instinct, or memory, the still know how to speak to a horse. In the highlands they are more ready to stop and talk. the valley people are silent hard-working cultivators.

The world grows large again. Every bend in the road is a discovery. A tree is a benediction, shade and sunlight both evoke gratitude, and the world becomes a place to live in once more.
Sunrise marks the beginning, as sunset marks the closing of the day.


a reader said...

o, another great idea. thanks

Anonymous said...

very nice, thanks

blogger too said...

i like this idea

a francophile said...

i have done this, and it was one of the best vacations i ever had.

Anonymous said...

merci beaucoup