To avoid the various hurdles placed on air travel in these difficult times, we opted to go by car.

Come to think of it, going overland is becoming ever more an interesting way to travel. Yesterday I made a rough mental calculation while on my daily one-hour long walk. Whenever, if we ever, come out of this pandemic, it might still be a plausible alternative to polluting airplanes.

Think about it. The main advantage of air travel is that it’s fast. That’s what we all say. But is it really that faster? First of all you need to find the flights and pay for the tickets, online check-in, etc., not to mention the various different national health checks, but let’s assume these will be over, eventually. You need to get from home to the airport – that’s about one hour if you include searching for (an expensive) parking slot. Or else an expensive taxi. Then another two hours of standing in queues, convincing airport security that you’re not carrying any explosive toothpaste in your hand luggage, and plain waiting around. And, of course, you need to show them all sorts of documents for hundreds of times. Let’s say you’re going to Munich. The flight takes about one hour, meaning that you land in Germany four hours after you leave your home doorstep. Getting out of the airport is another hour – the total is now five hours. Another hour until you get to your hotel or wherever you’re staying: six hours. That’s the fast way.

Now consider driving over instead. No tickets, no border checks, no documents, no fuss. You pack however many toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles as you wish in the boot (and they will never explode, by the way…). A seven hour non-stop drive gets you to Karlsfeld, on the outskirts of Munich. You can’t, or shouldn’t, drive seven hours non-stop, so you can add two one-hour stops to have a snack. That makes it nine hours. This is the slow way, but you have saved yourself a hefty sum of money in air flight tickets, a lot of red tape, and you have a free car hire for the duration of your stay. I think it’s worth the extra three hours. You have also reduced the carbon footprint of your trip. Airplanes are doing much damage to the earth’s atmosphere.

But this post is not about global warming. It’s about the city of Libourne in France, where we stopped on our way to the north of Spain, and, in particular, about the pretty views at the promenade along the Dordogne river.

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