Georges Baudraz and Sylviane Gold are riding from France to Spain
Frustrated by the endless delays in getting the necessary paperwork from the authorities in Havana, Georges Baudraz and Sylviane Gold decided very reluctantly to postpone their journey across Cuba until January 2003.
But the lust for travel was not to be denied, so the Swiss couple, who live in France, decided to ride out of their own back yard!
"We decided to go for a long journey, to discover the nearby horizons which we did not know because we had only travelled through them at speed and, above all, without poetry... in a car, a motorbike, or a train. Three months, that will give us time to see...
We will go via Seyssel, St Etienne de St. Geoirs, cross the Rhone there on the motorway (we will close our eyes and our ears) to go to the market in St. Agrève. We will drink water from the Loire at Gerbier-de-Jonc and shake hands with friends at Lozère, the birthplace of Prince, our first horse. We will arrive at the foot of the walls of Carcassone before crossing the Pyrenees."
Georges and Sylviane left on 8 May 2002. The mayor and half the town turned out - tears, emotion, and above all a sense of DEPARTURE.
"So we turned around and patted our mounts and set off for ... for what? Flight? The unknown? A dream? We'll find out later. The important thing is to go."
The Swiss couple went to stay with Long Rider Gérard Barré, webmaster of World Trail Rides, The Long Riders' Guild's sister website, and his wife Gisèle.
"The worry of those who wait.... Gisèle and Gérard became friends the moment we set eyes on each other."
25th June 2002
The Long Riders' Guild has received an update from Georges and Sylviane, who are now in Carcassonne.
Horseback travel is marked out by meetings
The Long Riders' Guild has received a final, sad email from George and Sylviane:
Spanish guitar with broken strings!
was hot, even though we had set off early.
The muddy waters of the canal du Midi threw off golden reflections which
the sun’s rays, already piercing the leaves on the trees, combed onto the
unsilvered mirror. We had crossed
the wooden bridge and, a good kilometer further on, we got back into the saddle.
The packs were firmly in place, and Arpad’s saddle hadn’t moved when
I swung my 160 lbs. over the bedroll, the tent and the cultural saddle-bag.
The day before, I had cut out parts of Cuba’s saddlepad to aerate his
wound. On foot, I noticed this
morning that Arpad was, nevertheless, crossing his forelegs a little.
Riding Conchita, Sylviane was extremely happy, we were going to the races
at Trebes, and rejoin the main road (GR 36) at Monze.
lock-keeper waved at us, and the first few German barges greeted us cordially.
One woman called out from her house beside the canal, “Cuckoo…” and
added “…God that’s beautiful!”
10 a.m. we were blocking the traffic behind us as we crossed the Trèbes
bridge. I was pleased to see that
Arpad was now walking well. My
fears regarding his wound were blurring our dreams of sunny and rocky trails at
the foot of the ruined castles of the area.
But it was hot. Before we
got to Frontiès
village, we chose to rest for the hottest hours on a little track which wound
through cypress-bordered vineyards. Relieved
of their packs, Conchita and Arpad threw themselves on the delicious grass, in
the shade of large trees. That was
a good omen: “a horse which eats
is healthy and not tired.”
our snack, we were still a little anxious, and lifted up the Arab’s saddle to
make sure we put the saddlepad in the right place.
And there we saw that our journey was over.
It was impossible to carry on under these conditions.
could never have even contemplated continuing if it meant that one of our two
companions would have to suffer.
to you all,
Georges and Sylviane
2nd July 2002
Sadly, another ride has been brought to an unexpected halt because of saddle-sores. We at The Long Riders' Guild salute Georges and Sylviane for making the only decision possible under the circumstances.
Our French-speaking visitors can also read about Georges and Sylviane's journey on Gérard's site, www.worldtrailrides.com.
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