Thursday, August 23, 2012

MLG Travel Update: Day 100!

Cindré Countryside
(click image to enlarge)
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 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.


  1. Sounds like you're having a blast, Sean. Very jealous!

  2. Hey Jack, it's really good to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by MLG and leaving your comment.

    Yes, we're very much enjoying the whole process of opening up to the universe and seeing what transpires.

    A continual challenge, to be sure, that staying open through the inevitable trials and tribulations which occur when traveling on what we call a frayed shoestring. But this frayed shoestring is in its own way a real blessing, as otherwise we'd be far less likely to open ourselves up to asking for help and, thus, meeting all the kind and generous folk we've had the good fortunte to get to know along the way, and to be so supported by so many folk within the MLG community, both from home in the UK and abroad.

    Anyway, dear sir, thank you, again, for stopping by. How is your writing going?

    With warm regards,