An Original Encounter 2

A few days after leaving to Mongolia, my girlfriend and me decided to have a weekend together in Ardeche, a beautiful region of France. As we walk down one of the main streets of the little town of Aubenas, a singular vehicle calls us out. A parabole, stickers everywhere and a lot of antennas standing on its roof…

Of course! This is probably the car of the Aubenas-Lapland expedition we spent a day with in Lofoten about two years ago! We then write down a few words along with our telephone number on a piece of paper, hoping it will survive the strong rain. It would be great to meet Marc and Isabelle again and see if their expedition was successfull… And also try to figure out how their red car with French plates became a grey car with Norwegian plates.

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The day after, in the beginning of the afternoon, phone rings. Marc invites us for lunch. We listen with the greatest joy their crazy adventures through Scandinavia and Eastern Europe as not only did they succeed with their expedition to North Cape, but they also enjoyed their way back through Eastern Europe, before starting another expedition to North Cape last year.

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A story after another, as the meal is cooking, Marc tells us their adventure. Haphazardly he explains us how Romanian customs took them for spies, how they entered into a Sámi burial ceremony in which the deceased happened to be a guy they met a couple of days before, or how they have been invited by Mari Boine, a very famous Sámi singer, to her concert, the father of Marc – he was a photographer – having photographed her when she was in France and still unknown… Marc and Isabelle’s adventures are full of images but nothing is worth the one of their last expedition in Lapland.

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Somewhere in Norway, their car just gives up the ghost and the price to fix it would be over 3000€, far too much for Marc and Isabelle’s budget. Lucky as they are, the garagist proposes them a bargain on a similar car: 2000 NOK (approximately 260€)… which is a misunderstanding, one zero is actually missing and the price is eventually too high. Marc and Isabelle then have no choice but to pitch their camp next to the garage and ask every customer if they would have heard about someone selling a car, which tends to make the garagist annoyed. This way, they get a real bargain with the car and can continue their adventure, an adventure that will become totally out of control.

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Narvik, northern Norway. A lady takes a picture of the car. Nothing unusual here as this car has already been photographed a thousand times. Except that the day after, Marc, Isabelle and their car can see each other on the front page of a local newspaper. They are accused of having stolen their car. People don’t look at them the same way they used to and start to call the police, which will find them quick enough and be the source of some worries, language being another major issue. Hopefully, the local pastor will host them in the church and help them to get out of this. After numerous days of administrative hell, the story has a happy ending. Following another newspaper front page, this time trying to help them, they quickly get back to their car and are offered a trailer in which they can put all their stuff… stuff previously attached to the roof of the car, something that Norwegian policemen did not like at all!

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Time flies and Marc and Isabelle have to leave. We follow them and quit this unique home, inhabited by teddy bears and games, wardrobes and carpets (among which the ones found in the garbage in Lofoten!). A last glimpse to the christmas tree and the world map on the wall, Marc points out Mongolia. In a few days, this will be my new home…

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Thank you so much Marc and Isabelle for this great moment. See you soon!

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