Twenty-five years ago we asked our good friends Gordon and Christa to join us on a bicycle trip in France’s Dordogne Valley. It was easy to convince them that you see more from a bicycle than a car. You go more slowly and because you get lost, you are destined to meet the natives. We still laugh about the time we got completely different answers when Peter asked a French farmer for directions and Christa asked his wife. Although we managed to get to our destination, we rode many more miles than we had anticipated.
The four of us have bicycled together in Italy, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Canada and the San Juan Islands. Now that we are older, we no longer bike, but we have traveled together to Argentina, Russia and, just now, to Sicily. And we still meet the natives.
It was easy in Buenos Aires where we figured out the local buses with the help of our B&B hosts. (It was there also that we had our worst interaction with the natives when a pickpocket got both Peter’s and Christa’s cameras on a crowded subway.)
When we travel with a group as we did in Russia and Sicily, we choose a trip with lots of free time to explore on our own. We go to restaurants where English isn’t spoken. We wander off the main streets and spend some time away from the churches and museums. We travel to discover what’s different.
At our age, each trip is a gift. It is all the more so when we are with our friends.