Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Meeting people – part one

When you travel, you meet a lot of interesting people. Yesterday I already told you about our brief meeting with Major John Howard, a D-Day hero. In the Alsace we ran into a former Belgian Prime Minister and in Tours we shook hands with the French actor Claude Brasseur. And then of course there are the ‘ordinary’ people, who often are just as interesting as or sometimes even more fascinating than these celebrities. It becomes even more intriguing when you meet somebody new who happens to be related to or knows somebody you know too.

This happened to us in 2008, the first time we spent an entire week in a Chambre d’hôtes. On arrival we noticed two other cars with Belgian license plates. Our hostess, a Finnish lady, confirmed that one of the cars belonged to an elderly Belgian couple. The other car was a rental and the people who drove it were Finnish.

2008: Carpark and breakfast room of our Chambre d'hôtes in Vouvray

The next morning at breakfast we met the other Belgian couple. It was not a very pleasant encounter as the man immediately started talking politics, something we like to avoid. At the time Belgium was going through a political crisis which was enhanced by some extremist politicians who wanted to exploit the cultural diffrences between the Flemish speaking part in the North and the French speaking part in the South to split up the country in two independant republics (Belgium is a monarchy!). But I won't bore you with the details ...

The husband, who was oblivious of the fact that I’m Flemish speaking, started to make some rude remarks about the Flemish. I tried to ignore them by changing the subject. His wife, who must have sensed that there was something wrong, joined me in my efforts to talk about the weather and sites to visit in the area. My friend, who’s normally very talkative, was unusually quiet and simply nodded or mumbled something from time to time.

We were relieved when breakfast was over and the couple got up to fetch their luggage from their room. While we finished our coffee and orange juice, we heard them chatting with our hostess. They explained that they were driving to a village near Loches where their cousin, Mrs. P., had a Chambre d’hôtes. They were to stay there for a couple of nights before returning to their hometown on the outskirt of Brussels. They returned to the breakfast room to shake hands with us and we parted as ‘friends’. Nevertheless, we were relieved that they had gone because, although the lady was very friendly and courteous, the husband was not someone I wanted to share my breakfast with every morning whilst on vacation.

End of story? No not really. The most amazing part is yet to come!

(to be continued)



chm said...

Can't wait for tomorrow's blog. My tongue is hanging out of my mouth in anticipation! I hope I'll succeed putting it back inside.

I assume the header is a picture of that Chambre d'hôte's formal garden. N'est-ce pas? Wow!

Nadege said...

It is too bad when something like this happen. We were once on a train coming back from Italy to France. A french gentleman with two ladies were sitting next to us. They asked us where we were from. The man took over from there and nobody talked but him. We felt so sorry for the two women with him. "Il y a des gens qui parlent pour ne rien dire" : that was the case. I can't wait to find out the rest of your story Martine.

The Beaver said...

Don't tell us that you ended up meeting with him again at the new "chambre d'hôtes" or seeing him at a restaurant ? :-)

ladybird said...

Chm, Although our chambre d'hôtes in Vouvray is a very nice place indeed (the main house used to be a vicarage), I don't recall it having such luscious gardens :)

Nadage, I know some people like that too. They simply bore you to death with their endless talk.

The Beaver, LOL! I think I would have made a 180° turn when I had seen him sitting in a restaurant, however good the food was!