Tearing around Western Europe aimlessly

Trip Start Jan 09, 2004
Trip End Jul 14, 2004

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Flag of Germany  ,
Saturday, July 3, 2004

One of the addictive elements of travel is freedom. The freedom to decide on a whim to skip the country, for example, when you decide youve had enough. One of the addictive elements of life in general is the way, if you let it, things will just fall into place.

Four days ago I was in Plan de la Tour (claim to fame: permanent residence of Johnny Depp), a very small village nestled amongst mountains behind Ste Maxime, in the South of France. Despite its landscape being marred by recent forest fires, Plan de la Tour was utterly relaxing and charming. For some reason though I was eager to push on to Italy, where I once lived. So after a day trip to St Tropez (and a day was enough) I set out, spending a day in Nice, then getting a rickety old train up to Turin. Then up to Pinerolo. There I was picked up by Gio, father of Elena and Madelena (both around my age). Elena has lived in Australia, Europe and South East Asia. They are a very well travelled family indeed, Gio currently works for the WHO in Samoa so the girls get to stay there when not in school. It must be a hard life. Elena was flying to India in a few days to do a two month yoga course, after which she was considering becoming a flight attendant.

I was expecting to ascend a little way into the Italian Alps, as Ive done a few times before. From there I could get organised enough to ring old friends in Turin and have a week of reunions and reminiscence. What I didnt realise was that this little cabin in the mountains was indeed an isolated little cabin in the mountains.... high, high up in the mountains, higher than even a phone line could reach. I ate brilliant Piedmontese fare for a couple of days and chilled out, walking through the lush Italian forest and being woken up at dawn by the cow and goat bells, while plotting my eventual escape back to civilation in Turin, onto Liguria and down to Rome where I would fly to Bangkok.

Then it dawned on me that Elena and her boyfriend Lennie were driving to Frankfurt so she could catch her flight to India. Depite abandoning my plans to go to Germany due to lack of funds, whilst still in France the day before my Frankfurt-Rome flight was meant to leave I rang up and changed the date, just in case. Just in case, for example, I randomly stumbled upon a free ride to Germany...

So the night before last we drove from Torino, Italia, through Switzerland, to Frankfurt. And here I am. And since Im stuck here until at least Wednesday when I can get the next flight to Bangkok I may as well go to Berlin, where I can stay with friends.

So Berlin, here I come!
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