Photo/Text © 2012 Sean M. Madden. All Rights Reserved.
DAY 100 (Thu 23 Aug '12): Much has transpired since last week's update, and it's virtually all good news. That evening, 14 August, we paid our campsite fees in full, thanks to the generosity of a whole bunch of MLG supporters.
If you'd like to join their ranks, you may do so here.
But despite being paid up, we've continued on at our Vichy campsite awaiting the arrival of a replacement charger/adapter for my laptop, ordered from Amazon.co.uk last Wednesday. Although it was dispatched the following morning, it's yet to arrive.
However, as the campsite was costing us 16 Euros a night — which might not sound like much but rather disconcertingly begins to quickly add up — on Tuesday we started to look for our first CouchSurfing host since Paris (mid-June) to tide us over until the elusive package arrived.
CouchSurfing works in mysterious ways. You send out a few requests and, as has happened on a few occasions thus far in our travels, a particularly proactive host contacts you, and, voila!, you're staying with someone whom you'd never previously known of.
Such is the case with our present CS host, Julien, a balloon artist who wrote and offered us the couch from which I write while Mufidah, Julien and his girlfriend play cards. They live, along with Julien's two young children, in Cindré, a peaceful and picturesque village about 40 minutes northeast of Vichy in the Allier countryside. Before Mufidah and I arrived here there were apparently 313 inhabitants.
In addition to sending out a few CS requests on Tuesday, I also registered for a global English expat website which a writing student from Lewes told me about in response to my Day 86 plea for help. Angloinfo is quickly proving to be on par with CouchSurfing as a budget-travel resource. Literally within seconds of posting a free classified ad on the site, a woman from the Dordogne region of southwestern France wrote to offer Mufidah and me a bedroom in her house as a stopover point which is virtually halfway between Vichy and our next destination, Burgos, Spain. And her offer comes with a bonus of two in-house Jack Russell terriers, as well as gazpacho, fresh salads and other simple fare.
In the meantime, we're happy to be staying with Julien and his lovely family until the campsite lets us know the Amazon package has arrived. The moment it does — which will likely be between 11 am and 1.30 pm — our plan is to pop back into the trusty ol' Punto to drive back to Vichy. There we'll pick up the package before continuing on to another small French village just outside of Bergerac. We'd like to stay on there for a few days or so before continuing on to Burgos, where we have the use of a house which belongs to a friend of Mufidah's for just 30 Euros a week to help cover utility costs, etc.
For now, as well, we're happy to be back on the road, after a two-month stay camping in Vichy — which we very much enjoyed but are excited about moving on from before summer's final curtain falls.