DAY 5 – July 4 1995 – Tuesday

My new alarm clock wakes me up at 8:00.

After a breakfast of chocolate and limonade in a kiddies’ park I go to the ‘turn-in-to’ to hitch again…


I get three good lifts that take me a long way. Today is hot and dry and I’m half asleep. Some time later I’m dropped off at a toll gate. 20 km or so from a city called Tours. 250 km from Paris.

I wait at the toll gate for at least two and a half hours watching truck after car after truck go past.

At one point I’m cheered up by people on a coach waving at me.

On the back of my cardboard sign reading SUD (South) I’ve written HELLO FELLOW ENGLISHMAN as there are a few English trucks going past and as they do I swiftly turn the sign around for them to see it. The theory is that they might like someone English to talk to but it doesn’t work.

A policeman has parked across the way and is coming towards me. He informs me that I’m not allowed to hitch here and wants to see my passport…

He then tells me to hitch just beyond the toll gate in a lay by / car park that is there.

At the car park I meet a woman, standing near her car that’s packed with luggage and things. She explains in broken English that the car in front of hers is her husband’s and has broken down. Her husband has gone for help but when he returns and the car is fixed they will take me into Tours. She has three children with her; a boy and two girls. The boy gives me an apple, a big biscuit and a cup of water.

A pick-up truck arrives to collect the broken down car and the woman goes off in it with her kids while the husband, Philippe and I follow behind in the packed car to a garage near Tours. There I buy myself a family sized packet of crisps.

Main page used in a Tours map bookletSoon Philippe takes me into Tours. As his family are going towards Bordeaux tomorrow, which is where I’m heading, they agree to rendezvous with me tomorrow at 14:00 to give me another lift. The place where they are going is still about 100 km from Bordeaux though, so instead of Bordeaux I might go with them to where they’re going, then try to get directly to the coast as I believe it will not be far…


I have a bit of a walk in Tours and buy a cake from a beautiful woman in a baker shop. I eat the cake in a churchyard, then go and buy a bottle of ‘Alize’ which is a bit like a drink back home called 20/20: Vodka and Orange, 16%vol.

Now, thanks to finding a way that leads from a bridge, I’m sitting on a big island with trees and grass in the middle of a big river (where I intend to sleep) guzzling the Alize and writing my memoirs…

But then again, feeling slightly ‘merry’, I hide my backpack in the undergrowth and walk into Tours looking for a nightclub. I ask a few people directions until I arrive at a nightclub (“discotheque”) called Pym’s and pay 20F to get in.

There are a few nice women who are all with men… It’s a very weird nightclub that plays crap music but I’m having a reasonably good time. The only good things about the place are that it’s open on a Tuesday night and it’s open until 4:00.

Eventually I let my hair down and have a real good dance…

I leave at about 2:45 while they are playing a sickly balled by ‘East 17’ (Baby don’t leave me alone like this, don’t say it’s the final kiss…) and head back to the big island where I find my backpack and crash-out near an adventure playground.