When my uncle and I traveled to France in early 2000 he brought along the address of a friend he had made during WWII. My uncle was stationed in Auxerre, France and 'Johnny' was a local teenager who was enthralled with the Americans. Everyday after school he came to their camp and at night he slept on the floor between the cots of 'Porter and Potter' (my uncle is the Porter). Their unit and Johnny have kept in touch over the years and he has come to some of their reunions.
The trouble for us in 2000 was that we couldn't find the name of his town on any map. All that my uncle knew was that Bondi is somewhere near Paris. (The only Bondi I had ever heard of was Bondi Beach in Australia).
We had driven up through France from Spain and never knew exactly where we would end up each day - we played left/right through the country and after 5 days or so we got to Versailles. We spent an extra day there so we could go to the palace as it was closed the first day. With the extra time I did a little planning and found that the chain of the hotel we were staying in had another location just outside Paris at the last Metro stop which meant we wouldn't have to drive in the city. So the next day we headed for the hotel on the circumferential and just as I spotted the first sign for our exit I saw another sign that said we almost to the exit for Bondi! It turned out that we were staying less than 15 minutes away from Johnny and his wife Jackie's home. We ended up spending two marvelous evenings with them, one when they invited us to dinner in their home. Jackie is a marvelous cook. We heard many stories of their careers in the French Air Force - they both retired as Lieutenant Colonels.When we talked about the war Jackie showed us a photo of her childhood home in Dunkirk - it was just a pile of rubble and she was orphaned at the age of 14.
What was amazing to me is how well she and I communicated despite her only speaking a little English and me with just my very rusty college French. The two men also told many great stories from their war - and some of the shenanigans they got up to also. This is one of the great memories from that trip.
For the March Travel Challenge with the twist of Luck.We were lucky to have found them and to have that great experience.