“Are we in heaven now?” Anu’s voice broke the silence. We were surrounded by mountains on all sides- filled with pines trees and thick forests, green-black in colour. Quaint bridges took us over turbulent rivers while the flowers broke through the green with shades of red, pink and white. The road snaked its way through the landscape as our motorbike purred along the French countryside of the Perigord region.
We had left the little village of Ondres in the morning. The French basque region was not easy to leave- more so because here lives Nelly our beautiful, loving host who was moved to tears when we said goodbye. Several hugs, holding hands and farewells later, we could finally push ourselves onward. The sky was overcast- and Nelly was expecting hailstorm by late afternoon. We had no time to lose.
Along our way lay the little coastal towns of Cap Breton, Hossegor and Le Penon- with little houses mountain houses overlooking the sea, lazy ports and exotic Basque cuisine. The air was heavy with the smell of rain- and it was about 60 kilometers before we could reach the wine capital of Bordeaux that the first downpour caught up with us. We were on the highway A63 with no possibility to stop. The closest gas station was 40 kilometers away; we pulled over the edge of the road, hurriedly put our clickers on and we laboured on in the lashing rain. Imagine riding through this crashing downpour on a high speed wet highway with really poor visibility- I breathed a sign of relief when we finally pulled into the restaurant at the gas station. We rode out, into the long queue of traffic as we entered Bordeaux. Perhaps because I am less a city and monuments person but more of a countryside panoramas guy- I was not really fascinated by Bordeaux. I sensed the same in Anu- and we moved ahead. Our home for tonight was another 4 hours away- deep within the ‘black’ Perigord region (black because of the Black Truffles that grow in this region) the tiny village of Charpenet.
How can I begin to describe the wonders we witnessed. Delicate tender greens surrounded us as we sped through the rolling farmland; forests waved us by as the wind ruffled the thick green mountainside, while cobbled streets lined with steeple roofs and tall chimneys gave us shy grins like the café dwellers. Tall trees reached up to the heavens as the straight road carved its own avenue. Little ahead, we could see the clouds had gathered up in the mountainside. The light rain washed the countryside clean and as the sun rays broke through, the magic was complete. Mountains, forests, farms, rivers- and a motorbike gliding over miles of tarmac.
“Are we in heaven now?” Anu’s voice broke the silence.