Let me tell you about some of my favourite strangers! This inquisitive feathered fellow you see here is Ronin. I met Ronin whilst walking out of Maastricht in the Netherlands last year, headed for Liege in Belgium. As I got just out of town, a small car stopped and the driver asked if I would like a lift? It turns out that the driver, a young woman named Evie, was on her way home to have lunch, then was heading to Liege to go to work. She said that if I didn’t mind going via her house for lunch, that she could definitely take me to Liege! Well, awesome! A comfortable ride with a lovely lady and a free lunch thrown in! BOOYEAH!! As I climbed into her car with my way-too-big backpack, I was greeted by two large dogs lounging on the backseat and Ronin, a two-month old male jackdaw jumped straight onto my arm. The dread-locked, tie-dye-wearing Evie apologised and asked if I was ok with birds? Are you kidding me?? This travelling menagerie was more than I could have hoped for! I was in seventh heaven!
After a drive of maybe 20 mins, we pulled into a dirt road that led to Evie’s house. She lives in a bright red gypsy caravan on a beautiful property! She introduces me to the three guys that also live on the property and together, we prepare lunch, which is to be eaten in the garden. Several dogs, cats and chickens all mill around, hoping for a pat or some food scraps. It’s so gorgeous here, I never want to leave! The lunch conversation is conducted in French, Dutch and broken English. Evie’s English is excellent, but her friends, not so much…but anyway, the food is delicious and the sunshine heavenly! After lunch, I am offered a shower (which I badly needed!) and then I head back to the gypsy caravan to find cheeky little Ronin taking things out of my backpack, placing them on the table and examining them. It seems he has a soft spot for caramel wafers! He sat on my lap as I took the photo above.
Yes, I was a bit sad at having to leave him when it came time for Evie to go to work in Liege. She dropped me at the hospital where she works as a nurse, and gave me directions to the train station. A big hug and that was it! In and out of my life in a matter of hours…and yet this beautiful stranger had trusted me, chauffered me, chatted with me, welcomed me into her home, fed me, given me the use of her toilet and shower and introduced me to her human and animal friends. Thank you Evie, Ronin and friends! The worst part about meeting strangers on your travels is having to leave them! 😦