Travel at a Natural Pace; Enjoy the Journey

Glass of Kir

Off the Highway

We face a philosophical conflict on our trip to France. The Winding Way is about slow travel along the byways rather than long hauls down motorways, autoroutes or interstate highways. It is about travel and living life at a natural pace. But sometimes motorways are unavoidable if the traveller is time constrained due to work and other commitments.

Being Francophiles but living in Nottingham means there is a 200 mile journey before taking a ferry or the tunnel to get across the English Channel. A strict commitment to the philosophy of natural travel would mean at least 2 days there and 2 days back; it rather eats into a two week holiday. So, occasionally one has to grit one’s teeth and get the mileage out of the way as painlessly as possible; so early morning out and a late night avoids most of the traffic.

Once clear of Calais and Boulogne and we were off the autoroute at last. Our minds were beginning to slow down as we picked up small local roads and ambled down the coast of the Pas de Calais in pursuit of lunch. We were soon in Merlimont and after a breezy walk along the sea front, lunch was starting to call. The grey sky and cool wind ensured that the fine sandy beach was not an attraction. In any case the fine sand was blowing in the wind and we could taste the beach even though we were 100 yards (metres) away! Definitiely time for a drink and lunch.

LF23011 Mussels lunchChange Pace with a Slow Lunch

The slowing down continued and we were getting into the mood of the winding way as we ordered our first Kir and lunch of moules (mussels); it is difficult to better the classic moules a la crème or moules marinières but why is it always served with ubiquitous frite (that is for a future article). We find mussels the ideal slowing down food. It gets us into the French approach to meals  by forcing us to take time over food. Mussels cannot be rushed, they simply take time to eat and they demand attention so have to be eaten mindfully. So slow travel and slow food are totally complimentary and encourage travellers to put the pressures of modern living behind them and start enjoying the here and now.

Proper Perspective on Life

Worries and pressures fell away as a fitful sun came out and, screened from the wind, we were able to eat out of doors. A simple lunch taken leisurely and mindfully is ideal for getting in tune with one’s travelling companion(s) and putting life’s pressures in perspective.

Taking time over a leisurely lunch and good conversation sets the mood for the rest of the journey. It creates a sense of mindfulness and companionship; surely that is what life should be all about? Life was looking good as we resumed our slow drive down the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy coast to the Baie de Somme where we planned to spend our first night.

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