We meet many people who are connected to us in one way or another. Customers, friends and acquaintances. People we know and people we don't know yet.
And every time we tell them about our trip - a feat when they see us in our van - exactly two questions always come up:
"How do you manage to live so close together and that too 24 hours a day?" And: "What was the best part of your trip?"
The first question is easy to answer: I like him, he likes me, and we think we're really great. What's the problem?
The second question makes us think a little longer. Which country? Which archaeological site? Which beach or mountain? And before we think about it, we actually agree: the encounters!
No matter where we travel, it is the encounters that stay in our hearts and memories. Encounters with people who inspire us with their stories, delight us with their questions and support us with their help.
Our eyes light up when we tell about the Tunisian who brings us plates of delicious food without being asked and then precious honey in our van.
Our hearts leap when we tell about Tamer and his wife, who simply took us in as guests for a few days in eastern Turkey. Just because we asked them for a tip on an ear doctor.
We were delighted by the hospitality when our slumbering mother in Greece spoiled us with fresh lemons, delicious olive oil and regular freshly cooked Greek home cooking. We fondly remember the New Year's Eve party with her whole extended family and dancing sirtaki in the much too small living room.
Or how we are standing at the traffic lights in Turkey, the window opens in the car next to us and we are handed two small bottles of water and home-baked biscuits at almost 40° Celsius (and we are on the motorbike!).
In Tunisia, we are allowed to wash our clothes at Cherif's for days on end, while his sister provides us with sumptuous meals.
In Bulgaria we are not allowed to pay for dinner in the restaurant because the motorcyclists at the next table have already paid the bill.
In Georgia, we meet a small travel group of Russians, Ukrainians and Belarussians on the roof terrace. For political reasons, they can only meet abroad and invite us for a drink and other things to lighten the mood. No, not what you commonly think: we tell stories, sing and dance together.
We meet shamans and take part in fire rituals and meet two Sámi women who treat us to warming herbal tea and traditional singing around the campfire in the cold of Lapland. Dressed in their traditional clothing, they dance around the fire and demonstrate to us: this is how everyone stays warm at -17° Celsius.
And we get to know so many other travellers, each and every one different on the road. We are united by the joy of travelling, of nature, of beautiful places and of warm encounters.
We are so grateful for all these encounters.
So: What is the most beautiful thing we have experienced on our journey?
Troy? The desert? The Greek highlands or the snow-covered expanses of Lapland? The northern lights in the winter sky or the crystal-clear Milky Way in the desert sky? The gorges of Tunisia or the espressi of Italy? The cats of Greece or the cuisine of Georgia? The mountains of Bulgaria or the Highland Games in Scotland?
Yes, we have experienced a lot so far (hopefully it will continue). But we will never be able to say what was the most beautiful. And no, we don't have a top 3, not even a top 10, not even a bucket list (we don't like that term anyway).
We have only one wish: that every encounter with every single person is an enrichment. For him and for us.
And because the encounters do us so much good and we want to pass some of it on (or just remember), we are writing a book about it: about the encounters on this journey. Let's see when the book takes its way, at the moment I'm filling chapter after chapter for the rough version. And I am happy about every memory.
Here is another beautiful story which I found on the net and which I find so beautiful (thanks to Barbara who brought it back to my mind).
An old man was sitting at the gates of a town. All the people going into the town passed him. Then a stranger stopped and politely addressed the man:
"Surely you can tell me what people are like in this city?"
The old man looked at him with a smile, "What were they like where you come from?"
"Friendly, helpful and generous. Very pleasant people," the stranger replied.
"That's exactly how they are in this city!" This pleased the stranger and with a smile he passed through the city gate.
A little later, another man came up to the man and asked him curtly:
"Tell me, old man, what are the people like in this city?"
The old man asked him too, "What were they like where you were last?"
"Terrible! Unfriendly and arrogant."
The old man replied, "I'm afraid that's how they are in this town too."Author unknown
Merci for "travelling with us
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