Going Home to Africa
Lock, Stock and BlueBelle
Returning to Luxembourg was necessary to settle personal matters and put into play the registration for the non-profit I wanted to start for girl’s education as well as picking up the 35 boxes, chair, table and carpet I had left in storage in my friend’s garage. My intention to return to Africa is a one-way direction and without a location or destination at present in Zimbabwe it means that I have to either pay storage for my goods while I am away for an indeterminate period of time or reduce to a size where I can impose my things on my nephew to look after them in his workshop in Barcelona. So reduce I must!
First job was to start reviewing the boxes, unpacking and repacking and eliminating the things that really and truly just had to go as there would not be space enough in BlueBelle. Being July it was hot and humid and with a sciatic back I worked at it at least 3-5 hours a day. Seems hard to believe it could take that long to do only 35 plastic crates but literally handling each item and assessing and ensuring that things that were meant to be together went together meant good order ... or at least it started off that way. I can confess that as I got closer to the end it got a bit more messy.
BlueBelle was literally stuffed to the brim, my boxes and my UK bargains meant that the plan to sleep in the van ... well that just wasn’t going to be possible so sleeping on the front seat (singular as the passenger seat was taken too).
The cool morning came when it was time to say to my dear friend, who had supported me and stored my boxes and allowed me to be at home in her home, goodbye. It was my last look at Luxembourg, it’s green, green, green and more shades of green there have never been. I had been there for 4 years and while they were personally difficult years they were years where I had made great new friends, done new and interesting things and of course where my new plans and dreams were born. So mixed with sadness and gladness, I drove down the lanes and roads onto the highway that would lead me to France and then down to Spain and Barcelona.
I took the non-highway roads, mostly with one exception, they were shorter (less fuel) albeit longer in time, but with BlueBelle’s optimum speed being 50 miles per hour (80km) who was hurrying anyway.
On the first day I almost missed a turn off the highway and had to make a quick dodge to the right to turn off and this was not a clever move in a van full of stuff. So I had to stop and rescue the toppled mess (I had left a small gap in the hope of being able to make a meal or some coffee). In the boiling heat I took a turn to find some shade in a small village and on a verge I started to unpack and reorder and secure things ... I did attract some odd stares, obviously looking a bit like a gypsy about to squat on the side of the road. A ton of sweat and frustration later I had things in slightly better order having identified the collapsed box and it was time to move on.
One stop I had set my sights on was Carcassonne, it had attracted my attention some years back for its interesting history. I arrived early and delighted in the cool morning, walked up to the old town and walked around before the tourist busses and crowds arrived. It is what I love best is to arrive early and savour the sense and feeling of a place and it is truly a special spot. As the old walled city is quite small it didn’t take too long and I walked back down and headed onward to my final destination.
I spent three nights on the road, driving early and stopping in the afternoon heat to continue driving into the evening as late as light would allow and as soon as I found a spot to overnight. I did indeed sleep in the front seat and was certainly glad I had invested in the comfy new seats.
I arrived early on a Thursday morning in Barcelona ready to start the next phase of my plan.
Lesson learnt – no matter how well you think you’ve packed it can always be better and use bungy cords more often.