We’ve just driven down through France to the lovely house in Gascony where we were marooned for 3 months last year, staying for a couple of nights on the way with friends near Poitiers.
We spent an afternoon in the delightful town of Montmorillon which is dedicated to writing and books and home to the Museum of Typewriters.
In one of the many second-hand bookshops I found a copy of the Guide Michelin from 1955, the first year my family took a holiday on the continent. It set me thinking how very different foreign travel, indeed life in general, was then. On our three day drive to our destination, the small village of Wilderswil in the Bernese Oberland, we averaged 300 miles a day, there being were no motorways, and stopped at least every hundred miles.
We bought the makings of picnics, to be enjoyed on river banks, from food shops in town centres, there being no supermarkets. Hotel bookings could only be made by post as international telephone services did not exist so apart from the hotel at our destination we took a chance on overnight stops on the way, using of course the Guide Michelin.
Now we cover many hundreds of miles per day, eat en route at motorway service stations and much of the charm and sense of adventure has gone. Pity.
More thoughts: until a couple of years ago our membership of the European community had made travelling between countries so much easier but now we as a country have opted out we must go through customs formalities and, for the first time in decades, have our passports stamped at European borders. It still mystifies me that a country could vote to restrict the freedoms of its own citizens but we must now all live with the consequences of Brexit narrowly voted for after a long and effective campaign of misinformation. But I try not to dwell on that as I warm myself with the nostalgic memories brought back by my lovely deep red Michelin Guide.