Hector (Van-Perspective): Men are stupid enough to plant trees between the camper parking and the castle – incredible species! So close and still out of sight – must be real life, then. At least, the overnight fee (11,-€) is lower than the entrance to the castle (14,-€). Perhaps some of the costumed persons on their horses come around later, after the show. I might tell them that I have 130 times more horsepower than any of them 😊.
B (Driver’s Perspective): So now Hector is huffy just because of a handful of trees, blocking the view on the huge, really huge castle Chambord. I will buy a postcard later. Coming along with a wonderful red wine, it should all be at ease this evening. But for now, I have places to go.
I have seen Chambord
35 25 years ago during school exchange program. It impressed me by far more than any other chateau along the Loire, to the extent that any other castle I have ever seen is just trying to become as fantastic as this. Neuschwanstein included (small, undone).
The umpteen little towers and details refer to various styles from any decade between 1519 and 1920. Strict geometrics in the general setting meet superfluous mini-towers on top. Enormous space on each floor enabled royal flat-sharing to Polish, French and other kings in the 16th century, with a Molière theatre included.
These days, art expositions fill the higher floors, while historic furniture demonstrates life in long-gone eras below. I am more than happy, wandering through aisles and rooms, still stunned.
H: After all, the place is not too bad. About 20 other motorhomes stay for the night, most of them much younger and certainly bigger. But none as cool as me! Just like the Tardis: unobtrusive outside, cosy inside. With a living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom on only 5,60m – and the cockpit even comes on top!
The next morning comes with grey skies and with a wonderful view: as soon as we hit the first “rond-point”, the visual axis is all there. THE castle. Chambord.
And then it is there: Departure-Day, finally! As soon as Hector and me hit the road, freedom enfolds. Braincells meander in all possible directions, letting loose of stressful months. Becoming conscious, once more, of the real things in life. How little we are defined by work and how much by general values.
Driving becomes meditation and thoughts get clear. What is it, that makes life become full of joyful colours? Loving without recertification. Being loved among friends and family. Being free to choose how to live, how to work, and how we treat our body and our planet. Strangest sensation: the insight comes all by itself, without alcohol or expensive seminars – guess travelling still works well for me!
Meanwhile, my TomTom navi plays bingo, ignoring highways or dual carriageways of the well-marked kind. Or, more true, Hector decided that he likes France so much that he aims to see as much as possible. Landscape, especially.
After all, this is not our first trip and with only 40km of detour (blocked roads included), we arrive at “deep in the heart of nowhere” by mid-afternoon. The campsite must have been state-of-the-art in the 1980ies, but still it has a certain charm and a heated indoor pool. There is nothing better than a pool to relax back and shoulders after eight hours of driving!
Tired, but happy – that is the outcome of day 1. Once the journey starts, there is no questioning anymore. Just me, my van and the joy of travelling.
The Plan: Recalibrate along the way.
Milestones: Sleep longer (at least until sunrise), forget business, focus on beauty and add relaxed action along the way. More music, less thinking. Ommh…