After our trials with the central asian bureaucrats, we decide to admit defeat and head somewhere that was more accepting of the idle traveller.Cant go to Tashkent as we have to get visa from Almaty, cant go to Almaty as we have to get invitation letter from Tashkent. Stalemate.You bastards win, I'll spend my cash somewhere that wants it. Into the travel agency, get us out of here. Bishkek is not the travel hub of the universe, flights to St Peters burg(visa), Almaty (visa, uck), Tashkent (visa), Azerbaijan (visa), and Frankfurt via Istanbul. Istanbul would have been OK, but was more expensive than going on to Frankfurt so Frankfurt it is. Besides I like schnitzel and wurst, and they do good coffee. What better reason to visit a place.Unfortunately the fight leaves at 4.am which means another night sleeping at the airport. After being deported from Kazakhstan we've had plenty of practise at this lately, I'm almost getting used to it and cant relax without bing bongs announcing flights to places I've never heard of in the middle of the night. So several bing bongs later where of to Istanbul.
Istanbul has a great airport. Food and lots of things to read some of them even in English.Looking forward to getting back here later. I buy a couple of mags with some of my spare change. You can pay for things in just about any currency even aussie dollars, this is a place that has it's act together. Micks been working the phone. He cant get in touch with the krauts, but his English friends are home in France. He was going to try and see them at the end of his trip but that meant backtracking. I'd like to see them again. Sorted.We head off to Frankfurt. Pauls been working his computer texting us train times and options. We could make Normandy tonight with a flight to Paris but its a bit pricey, so we opt for the train and a night in Paris. TGV to Paris couple of beers on the train. Got to love this economic crisis Hotel rooms are 20% off. Baguette and coffee next morning and back on the train for the 2 hour trip to Flers. Paul picks us up at the station and its off to the farm.
For those of you who thought Kyrgyzstan was a bit to much like hard work, you would like France better. The land of Cheese eating surrender monkeys , is much more relaxed. Monday farmers on strike, Tuesday students, Wednesday Public servants (IE everyone) Thursday Public holiday, Friday Sickie,Le Weekend, and back to the farmers.
We've now been recuperating at Paul and Ritas for a couple of days.They are an English couple living in an old barn on five hecters in Normandy. Well there not living in the barn, there renovating it At the moment there living in the old milking shed ,we've got the caravan. Mind you things have improved from last time we where here. They now have an inside toilet, and Paul hopes to be in the house by Xmas. Rita spends her days growing organic vegies and flogging them of to the French. There is a market in a different town every day, and the french are very loyal to there local market and sellers. You have to set up a stall for a couple of weeks at least before the locals will even approach you. Rita is next to an old woman who has been in the same stall for 35 years. She has been introducing the locals to English delights like pickled eggs, and fig jam which seems to be a good seller. Mick went along to help her the other day but had a few problems with the language skills. He would just point at Rita when approached, only to find out when the talked to her that they where English any way.
Mick and I have done our bit on the building site, helping Paul pour half a concrete floor.This was way to much like hard work. Mick measuring the sand and stones, me working the mixer, and putting the cement on to the hoist, and Paul laying and screeding it. The french all knock off, and go to the pub for daily set meal known as Le Menu.This generally comprises 3 set courses and a glass of wine for about 8 euros ($16), and is well worth the effort.Lunch generally takes about 2 hours after which you head back to the desk to pack up.Unfortunately we started our concreting a bit late so couldn't fit the menu in and had to make do with tea and bickies.We still have a smaller area to tackle on Friday so will start a bit earlier so we can fit in the menu and not upset the locals. Paul was a computer programmer in a past life and they have a website of there past travels and current project. Check it out here if your intrested.
Anyhow after our toils it's time for pre dinner drinks. Hope your all well Sante (cheers) 007