And so we set off. A slight disagreement over where the nearest garage to fill up the car might be but we headed for what feels like our old stamping ground: Villers-Bretonneaux. That done we depended on the phone and the GPS to negotiate the way around three round abouts and headed off to the east.
The day was a tale of three railway stations. The first was Haute Picardie. We arrived an hour early and handed the car over to Avis. All the bloke wanted was the key. No check to see we hadn’t damaged it. We hadn’t.
We sat and talked and then were blown away by the whooshing sound of a train flying past. I mean flying. This was a very fast train. Why can’t we have one?
We were on it before too long, hurtling towards Paris. We got off at Charles de Gaul airport, another hugely contemporary building of concrete and steel girders, wide open spaces and everyone keeping their eyes on the announcement boards.
Then it was off to Strasbourg. First an airport style ticket check – I couldn’t find mine for a few minutes, and then hurtling across France towards Germany at great speed. Past Champagne and more fields of green and gold and then Lil was there to take us off the train.
We drove to Hatten, about 60km north and found Georges – a wonderful reunion.
It’s been 25 years but the four of us fell into that old cliche of feeling that we’d never been apart. We talked and laughed for hours as Georges made a platter of salads and poured glasses of red wine.
We felt so welcomed and so comfortable.