A free croissant is a free croissant. In Vouvray, I was walking the winding streets with a 3/16 inch drill bit and an arm load of lumber encoded with pencil etchings and measurements. I was in search of a drill press, as our portage cart had disintegrated two days before and our only option was to build a new one. At home, this would be easy- here, with no shop or support outside of a bus schedule for Tours, we had to make it work. Not so easy.
Hopeless, with the garages closed and passersby incredulous at my mission and carriage, I shuffled out of the rain into a boulangerie to pantomine again my goal, my need. We stared at each other, and the young woman behind the counter shook her head sadly, my sorrow jumping the language barrier and buoying her along. She reached behind to a tray just out of the oven and handed me a warm croissant. The challenges of a canoe expedition are immutable, but from trip to trip they do seem to take on different forms and the attendant pleasantries shift along with them.
Back in the rain, I beat the streets, finally chirading my way into the back courtyard of a real estate agent with a hammer drill. A new cart, bulky but functional, eases our way.
The first croissant, by the way, was baked in Vienna after the 1693 seige. I’ll save that story for when we arrive there.