Serendipity: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Think of this. We wandered around L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue yesterday afternoon considering where to have lunch, (another tough day in France). Our choice was full for lunch, so we booked for dinner. The restaurant, as we found out later, is the top rated restaurant in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The Mistral is owned by a husband and wife. The wife, Mina, runs the front of the restaurant and her husband, who we did not meet, is the chef. She is Finnish and her husband is French, from the area near L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. They lived in Vancouver for a number of years, where they owned a restaurant, also called the Mistral.
The dinner was one of the best we have had in France and Mina was a wonderful host.
This morning, we were ready to leave L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and then remembered there was a shop we wanted to see yesterday but it was closed. We took a detour to see it before we left. Dennis fussed and fiddled and finally bought a hat. (Not that French are famous for their hats.) The stores credit card machine doesn’t work. More fussing and fiddling.
After leaving the shop, we ran into the couple who sat beside us at dinner last night. We stopped and chatted with them, comparing notes on where we had been in France, and the things we particularity liked or disliked. Finally, we were on our way again.
As we leave, we run into Mina, who is on her way to the bakery, for the bread to serve in the restaurant at lunch. We stop and chat with her, telling her again how much we enjoyed our meal. She and her husband are active cyclists so, of course, we discussed our plan for the day. We were riding to Gordes, which is a hill town about 20 kilometres from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
“Oh,” she says, “Our friend from Canada, who is visiting with us now, is riding that route today, too. Perhaps you will see him. He is hard to miss. He is from Costa Rica so he has dark skin and he rides a Specialized bike.” (Specialized is a brand, for those not fully indoctrinated into the cycling culture.)
We ride to Gordes, the last three kilometres straight up hill. Why do I insist on visiting hill towns, I ask myself, yet again.
Lunch is the first order of business. We sit down at a little cafe, off the town square. We just order and Dennis startles, as a man rides by, on a Specialized bike. “Hey, are you from Vancouver?” Dennis shouts out. Well, of course he is and he is looking for a place to have a beer.
And thus begins our lunch and visit with Andreas. It’s easy to find common ground, particularly the wonderful cycling in France. He tells us his story of riding Mont Ventoux and challenges us to do the same. We talk about the routes we like and places we would visit again, given the chance.
A completely serendipitous lunch. Another wonderful day.