We woke up yesterday morning feeling some of the residual effects of the night before. After resigning ourselves leaving the scooter at Jean Paul’s house and selling it for whatever price we got on ebay (I truly would have been happy to get half of what we paid for it) we went out to see the only American we know in Paris–a bar owner from Florida whom we met because he was the guy who bought the bar that Mike worked at in 2001. The night only ended with a reinvigorated hope and some good old American can-do attitude. He thought we could sell it here or there for this much and our eyes lit up and we thought that maybe we’d sell it easily again.
Nope. And luckily this revival of ambition didn’t last longer than 9am the next day. We really had to leave Paris ASAP and kept telling ourselves, we’re leaving today, we’re taking the scooter to Jean Paul. We’re leaving today, we’re taking the scooter to Jean Paul.
We packed up our bags and loaded the scooter for the real last time. It was a little nerve wracking because we didn’t have insurance and it was registered under Jean Paul’s name, so he was liable for us. And, as I pointed out to Mike, driving through and around Paris put us in contact with more people and police than we had seen the whole rest of the ride. We looked it up online, however and saw that the fine for driving without insurance was a mere 1500 euro fine, but no jail time. Of course our motto of the day was “No jail time!”
We made it ok, of course. We drove past the Palace of Versaille and I caught my first glimpse of the enormous place, up the side roads and made it to the “Buffalo Grill” parking lot where Jean Paul would meet us. There was one random checkpoint at one of the roundabouts, but we made sure to exit the roundabout before we got to the checkpoint. Of course my heart raced.
When we parked the scooter in Jean Paul’s garage and he said we could leave it there until next year when we came back to pick it up, I paused and thought, well maybe… My mind appears to be completely incapable of remembering pain or fear. We still had our helmets on when he mentioned leaving it, my heart was just slowing down from fearing the police, and I actually considered it. Of course we wouldn’t do something like that because that would be a pain for him, but now I think why wouldn’t we buy another scooter? We would just go about it differently. No lesson learned.
He invited us in for a glass of wine, we got to witness the most incredible being on the planet, Morgane’s dog and later, Jean Paul took us to the RER. The next part was shockingly fast, coming from a vehicle that went a top speed of 70km/hr, but averaged more like 50. To ride the scooter from Paris to Poitiers would have taken us about 14 hours, we would have scheduled two days for it. When we fell asleep on the train out of pure emotional exhaustion, we woke up to find we were over half way there. The whole ride only took 1.5 hours. (on another note: I just don’t think you see the country the same way when your are going that fast)
“The most incredible being on the planet”
Nash picked us up in the old white chateau car. It was good to see that some things don’t change AND that some people appreciate good old vehicles. We pulled up to find many of the flowers in bloom and the place to be just as tranquil as I remember it. I feel like we’ve been put out to pasture here to spend the remainder of our time roaming about and doing projects on the grounds.
We had dinner (Salmon topped with creme fraiche, caviar and mint, sides of potatoes, broccoli and salad and of course cheese and wine and chocolate) with Nash and Linda (the owners of the chateau), their son Syrus (sp?) and Patty, a woman I met my first time here who also cooks for guests and has made a really great part-time life here. We had great, easy conversation, though afterward I feared we talked too much about ourselves-oops. It turns out we have a lot in common, not only our living proximity to Greenlake, but our love of food and slow life and gardening and just the ability to live part, or in their case all of our lives over here.
We are staying in the building that is the back side of the chicken coop (this reference is probably only good for Kim and Adam). The chateau grounds house a small abandoned village, where all the work used to be done. There is a barn, carriage house, paper press building, a place to house the farm equipment, the list goes on. These buildings go about one city block along an unpaved road. All of the buildings are being turned into either living spaces (ours has been turned into a 3 bedroom apartment) or spaces to house events. Our room is lovely and the bed is the most comfortable we have had in a long long time.
When we walked back from dinner in the darkness I felt so at peace, so opposite of how I had felt the night before — we are already a whole world away.