13.08.2015 Still in Bardou


Concert. Wondrous beauty of the concert in wondrous beauty spot. And the evening buffet a little later in the house, which is called “The Tower”. The twilight of candles and pale lamp creates a feeling like the air filled with talk, feel and passion. People from around the world are smiling and laughing. What made them all go this far? Probably, the atmosphere that I try in vain to describe in words.

The atmosphere … The others. And events. Everything merges into some stream that fills my veins, brings a sense of great joy, but confuses thoughts.

The next day after my arrival, in the early morning, I went to the house of Jean to ask what I can do, where to attach my hands. She gave me directions to wait for William, who will explain everything I need.

William. The old man, an American who has lived for 16 years in Bardou. Always on his mind, looks angry, but with very big kind heart. He is the only one who lives in the village throughout the year, in addition to Jean. And accordingly he deals with all technical matters of the village. It’s amazing how everything comes into peace when there is no comfort and other things arranged by our new century. All of the “benefits” of civilization, which we do not even think about, here is a matter of every day. Water, for example. There are two sources of water, mountain streams, winter and summer. Both lead to the tanks, which are a kind of buffer. The level in the tanks is necessary to watch, otherwise the village will remain without water. The vagaries of nature …

The first day, and my first task – to clear the shortcut trail to the tanks, which is overgrown with a couple of years ago. Armed with bolt cutters, saw and rake, a hat and a bottle of water, I set to work. Several hours later, the road was cleared, and I’m, pleased with myself, returned to the village to report on the successful completion of the mission.

On the second day, William asked me to deepen the pool for the winter watershed, which I did, climbed up by the bottom of dry creek and waved a couple of hours with a shovel. It was as if I was in the world which is perfect to me. I workv with my hands and do useful things – and it gives me real pleasure indeed. I went down to the village, jumping on the rocks with a shovel on my shoulder, singing a song. Oh, Bardou … You breathed life into me so much that I do not know how to thank you.

On the third day in a small amphitheater company of German musicians gave a concert. Quartets and quintets succeeded each other, delighting the ear. William and I climbed higher and away from the public, and enjoyed the music and beer, which brought William. Beautiful, beautiful moments.

After the concert in the highest building, the Tower, festivities happened over the last concert, which I wrote at the beginning. Lovely food and lots of wine. In one of the moments I found myself in the center of the company, which begged to sing something in Russian. I have a musical hearing, but absolutely do not have musical voice. The performance was terrible, oh, it’s all wine! Strange relationship I have with this drink … However, definitely the party was a success, and I spent quite a lot minutes of fun, telling my story to everyone curious. The people were nice and pleasant, a great evening!

I talked to Jean and her daughter, Elizabeth. At some point they asked me to describe on a paper briefly my story of arriving in Bardou. It was an idea that came to their minds when they met with me. Collect stories that led people in Bardou, and then publish a book about it. Suddenly I felt myself once again identified with Ted Simon, author of the book «Jupiter’s Travels». A lot of thoughts in this book were beaten to the point of my reflections. So this time, I felt like turbulence around my journey inspires other people to great ideas.

The next day I was invited to dine by William. He is the amazing person. I am increasingly convinced that the fate directs me to those who is an amazing diamonds in the soil of our sorrowful world. For dinner, it was a classic American steak, accompanied by gin. Then beer and Cuba Libre with the Caribbean rum. Here, again I do not even know how to describe this evening. In the twilight, in a room full of little beautiful things, to the accompaniment of classical music from a neighboring house, we talked about everything. About the people of the country, about music, about movies … Again, I felt happy, because everything inside me dragged to such kind of people, which can not be found in “normal” life. There is no end to the surprises that I feel in this strange journey. Could I imagine like that, when crossed the threshold of my house? Definitely not. All these thoughts inspire and lead me on, even despite the fact that my finances started to show the bottom of a purse … We will see …

09.08.2015 Bardou, France

I ride up on unsafe thin track. It climbs the hill, and I clamber over it. Finally, small flat ground and a lot of parked vehicles (hmm, I thought it would be a bit of tourists). I got to the Bardou – hidden deep in the mountains tiny village with a very unusual story. I find a place for a motorcycle and go above the trail. Behind the corner came first stone houses, which have found their place in the gorge slopes. From the nearest house shed gentle and slightly cantankerous piano melody. Under that accompaniment I come to sign with the word “Tavern” decorated with a feather.

Inside it is really a grand piano, which was played by a girl having collected a full house of grateful listeners. To Interrupt it occurs would be too rude, so I sat down and listen from the outside. Music is delightful and time flies. At one of the moments from the nearest corner comes a peacock who decides to share the melody with its own singing. It turns out very funny. Pleased himslef peacock leaves. I continue to admire the surroundings in a beautiful musical accompaniment. The look falls on the mini-poster nearby. What a coincidence! Piano player is my compatriot, Natalia Morozova. Trully you never able to guess what has been prepared by another turn.

After a while the music fell silent and I heard lengthy applause and after comes quietly served buffet. People go out with glasses in hand, eagerly discussing the performance. Among them, I try to guess Jean Rauch.

Jean Rauch and Klaus Erhardt, the wife and the husband, who in 1968 bought up all areas of the village. More precisely, of what was left of it. The village was abandoned for a long time, and its population was 1 person who owned 40% of the village. Owners of the remaining 60 had to look surprisingly at two people’s strange idea to buy a plot in a remote abandoned place. After that, the couple more than 25 years restored village bit by bit. Not without the help visitors. You could stay here any longer with meals three times a day. One condition – 6 hours a day for the benefit of the village. Village was visited by a great number of wonderful people, and the houses named after their restorators. Amazing place.

I waited until the general excitement of the performance comes a bit cooler and walked to the aged woman, which I’m guessing Jean Rauch (Klaus passed away in 2009). I introduced myself and conveyed regards from Uwe. My little story made a good impression, I was introduced to the guests and the performer; fed, watered and got the key to the small house where I now write these lines by candlelight. Outside, the wind howled and in combination with twilight sets a comfortable sleep.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a lot of things to do for a long time I did not worked by my hands for a long time.

08.08.2015 Gran Canyon du Verdon, France

Well, what a day!

Last day did not bring anything interesting. All autostradas in Italy are tollroads, so screw them – such thoughts were expressed indignation in my mind after I paid almost 40 euros for the way from Milan to Rome. So I happened to stray on SSG1, but it’s a sin to complain about that – road goes along the coast, sometimes revealing stunning views. I was hoping that the fresh breeze facilitate my movement and weaken the envy of local bikers, racing in shorts and T-shirts. But in vain – no breeze. And again +37 in the shade. On the morning priority goal is to get up, pack up and leave early to pass at least part of the road without hellheat. And of course that goal usually unsuccessful. So it happens again. I decided to take a dip in the Mediterranean in the morning – I took instructions about way to the sea at the reception and eventually wandered for two hours, storming the fences and getting into private area (campsite is 2 kilometers from the sea, but cheap!) while right path to the sea takes only 20 minutes. Mediterranean – cold and boring … hmm. But I put a tick! Checked. In the end I left very late.

Most of the way I just went through the Italian Riviera watching the little and not-so resort towns. Here as usual is dancing and fun but it was a bit strange not to feel myself as a part of companies having fun. Watching the dolce vita I slid farther hoping to get to Turin. But in vain – the darkness overtook me for Genova. I tried to look for camping – without success. The Italians seemed ashamed of this kind of vacation, each time to find the camping GPS points is a quest. No signs, no pointers. I hardly fight temptation to take a picture of my middle finger and the tablet with GPS points and an empty field on the background.

As a result, I found the service road under exit from highway and once again put the bolt on the prohibition of vagrancy. Pitched tent near someone’s vineyards, in the grass. Again, I slept like a log! I think I starting to like it!

The next morning foreshadowed finally move to France. Uwe, that German friend from Sweden gave me a couple of must see points on my route, I put them into Navi and Mamma Mia!!!! I do not know how to describe it. I was thinking all day about it, but in my head did not come any ideas how to describe it in the text. It is simply impossible! How to describe the most beautiful things created by nature that I’ve ever seen? Mountain lakes, mountain almost dry rivers, waterfalls, overhanging cliffs, tunnels, mountains, clouds … Photos did not help – I reviewed them all. Of course, I will publish them with a stable Internet, but it’s not that … It’s not that. Not at all. Many times I have heard a lot about the Alps – but how to describe the feeling when you’re sitting on the edge of the Gran Canyon du Verdon, your legs dangling into the abyss, and you feel dizzy from the altitude, despite the fact that you are never afraid of it? That feeling of microscopic yourself compared with the creations of nature … Stelvio Pass – cold and eternal, while Verdon – is alive, it breathes. Huge, huge and alive … No word, though. I sat and smoked, legs dangling over the cliff and all I wanted to – no cars passing by in next minutes. Peace and unity with overwhelming. I thought I’ll smoke a cigarette and go, but could not budge for good 20 minutes and would have stayed for many more minutes but here comes twilight and subsequent attempts to find a campsite in the dark.

… The only thing I missing – human communication. Somehow lately there is problems with that. There is no interest in the communication from people, and anyway most of them do not speak English… It’s kinda sad.

P.S. Slightly improved karma dragged maxiscooter (with a torn belt) on the tow for 5km, near Turin. It was fun.