The Eurorail trip to France was without incident. I was on my way to visit friends in both Belgium and France. Arrival and departure times had been sorted out a month prior to the trip and no hiccups had been foreseen.
But, as one of my friends back home always mutters, “expect the unexpected”. Disembarking from the Eurorail, I was faced with the first challenge. The rail strike that had started the day before had now entered its second day, and here I was at the station, still several hundred kilometres from my planned destination. There would no be further train travelling for me today it seemed. After one or two quick calls, I was advised to take a bus. Alas, it seemed some bus drivers were in copycat strike mode to their fellow train drivers, and the bus that would have taken me to Maastrecht was thus no longer an option. Another quick call and I was directed to lesser known bus company that was en-route to Aachen. Thus the long journey, or “the detour” as the contestants on the television program call it, began. I eventually disembarked in darkness just after 10pm alongside the road in Aachen, and my hosts were waiting for me arms outstretched. Arriving at their home in Maastrecht at 11pm was such a welcome relief.
The days thereafter were spent walking through parts of the city, marvelling at the architecture and wonderful sights. There are churches that have been developed into beautiful hotels. The castle hotels are also something to behold. My time spent there with my friends was very rewarding and they made it special for me.
My journey then took me to Paris, thankfully without any hiccups, and I was welcomed by Phillippe and his family. The art galleries and museums in this great city continue to be an inspiration. A food market is situated close to where they stay with just the most amazing range of products ……. fresh meat, vegetables and fruit. The adjacent flower market is just a spectacle of colours!
Much fun was had when I gave an art master class to Phillippe and his family. The creativity juices flowed and some wonderful pieces were painted by all.
But wait, this blog is also about the trip that became an amazing race. My stay in Paris was cut short by a few days due to the news that the container from South Africa was to arrive in London several days earlier than had been expected. So the return train ticket had to be changed and the suitcase was promptly packed. Hugs and pleasantries were exchanged at the train station.
My mind was working overtime as the train raced underground on its route to London. The arrival of the container was imminent. I was filled with excitement. The next phase in my preparation for my solo exhibition in London had begun.
Till next time, P.