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開最國民的老爺車,穿越法國南部秘境

更新時間:2019/9/19 20:40:39 來源:紐約時報中文網 作者:佚名

Seeing the Mountains of France Through a Citroën’s Clouded, Classic Windshield
開最國民的老爺車,穿越法國南部秘境

In 1878, on something of a whim, novelist and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson crossed southern France’s Cévennes mountains, one of the wildest and most sparsely populated parts of the country, in the company of a slow-moving donkey named Modestine. In May, also on something of a whim, my wife and I crossed the Cévennes mountains, still one of the wildest and most sparsely populated parts of the country, in the company of a slow-moving automobile called a Citroën 2CV.

1878年,小說家、旅行作家羅伯特·路易斯·史蒂文森(Robert Louis Stevenson)一時興起,穿越了法國最荒涼、人煙最稀少的地區之一——南部的塞文山脈,陪伴他的,是一頭慢吞吞的驢子,名叫莫德斯蒂娜(Modestine)。5月份,也是一時興起,妻子和我也穿越了塞文山脈,依舊是法國最荒涼、人煙最稀少地區之一,陪伴我們的,是一輛慢吞吞的汽車,雪鐵龍2CV。

塞文山脈最高峰洛澤爾峰山腳下熱諾亞克村附近,改成民宿的傳統農莊。

Stevenson described Modestine as recalcitrant and moody, as well as “cheap and small and hardy, and of a stolid and peaceful temper.” This also happens to be a pretty accurate description of our car, which was mint green, shaped like an umbrella and equipped with flip-up windows, tube-frame bench seats, a canvas sunroof canopy, a squeaky single-spoke steering wheel, and stalk-mounted headlights that reminded me of the eyes of an overeager dog. The car’s noisy two-cylinder engine could, with a tailwind, comfortably achieve a top speed of around 60 mph on the open highway.

史蒂文森形容莫德斯蒂娜倔強且喜怒無常,倒也“便宜、瘦小、肯干,有種不動聲色的平和脾氣”。這用來形容我們的車恰好也挺確切,它是薄荷綠色,狀似一把傘,有翻蓋窗、管架長凳車座、帆布遮陽篷、吱吱作響的單輻條方向盤,以及安裝在前保桿上的大燈,讓我想起一只過于急切的狗的眼睛。順風行駛時,這輛車鬧哄哄的雙缸引擎能在開闊公路上,毫不費力地達到每小時60英里左右的最高時速。

As it happens, there are no open highways in the Cévennes, and really not many more roads than there were in Stevenson’s day. Which I suppose is to be expected in a stupefyingly stark and lush landscape rived by deep river gorges and narrow valleys butting up against 5,000-foot granite mountains and wind-scoured limestone plateaus. The fact that all of these striking natural features, each worthy of its own coffee table book, are packed cheek-by-jowl inside a single 360-square-mile national park just a 3-1/2-hour drive from Lyon convinced me that the Cévennes — an area I had scarcely heard of until recently, despite years of traveling in France and the fact that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site — would be an inspired choice for a weeklong road trip with my wife, Michele.

結果碰巧塞文一帶沒有公路,甚至比起史蒂文森的年代公路也沒多多少。我想這也在預料之中,這里一派荒無人煙、蔥蔥郁郁的景象,其間為道道幽深的河谷和窄窄的山谷隔開,其上是海拔5000英尺的花崗巖山地和風力沖刷的石灰巖高原。所有這些令人驚嘆的自然風貌,每一樣都值得單列入一本裝幀精美的圖冊,而它們密實地分布在一片360平方英里、距里昂僅3個半小時車程的國家公園——這一帶我直到最近才聽說,雖然我在法國旅行多年,并且它其實是一處聯合國教科文組織世界遺產——這些使我確信,我和妻子米歇爾在這里進行一次為期一周的駕車游,將是一個別具一格的選擇。

And, I thought, why not do it in a Deux Chevaux — as the model is universally known — the beloved “people’s car” of postwar France, a vehicle famously referred to by the British automotive journalist L.J.K. Setright as “the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car.” A road trip in a vintage 2CV would be the fulfillment of a long-held dream of mine, and thus when I found out you could rent one on Drivy.com — basically an Airbnb for cars — my plan was hatched. I clicked around and located an owner in Lyon who would rent me his fully rehabbed 1976 2CV-6 Club for $70 a day, including supplemental insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance.

并且我想,何不試一試廉價的“兩稅收馬力”(Deux Chevaux)——2CV的通用名稱——這種在戰后法國備受喜愛的“國民車型”呢?英國汽車記者L·J·K·賽特萊特(L.J.K. Setright)有句名言,說它是“極簡主義在汽車上最聰明的成功運用”。不過用古色古香的2CV來一場駕車游,是我一直以來的夢想,因此當我發現可以在Drivy.com上——基本上是Airbnb的汽車版——租一輛時,我就拿定了主意。經過一番檢索,我確定了里昂一個車主,他會以一天70美元的價錢租給我那輛完全修復的1976年產2CV-6 Club,包括追加保險和全天候的路邊服務支持。

Shortly after our arrival in Lyon, Michele and I met the owner, a soft-spoken retiree, at his house, signed some papers in his cluttered den, took a five-minute test-drive and were off. Before we pulled away, he solemnly handed me a binder of laminated laser-printed pages that he referred to as the “Bible” — a hefty list of dos and don’ts for operating the vehicle — and then bade us bonne route.

到達里昂后不久,米歇爾和我在車主家中見到了他——一個說話溫和的退休人士,我們在他凌亂的小房間里簽了些文件,試開了5分鐘后就出發了。車開走前,他鄭重地交給我一個活頁夾,里面是他稱作“圣經”的東西——一些有覆膜的激光打印紙張,上面列了一長串駕駛這輛車的注意事項——然后祝我們一路順風。

As is the case with many plans based more on a dream than, well, planning, mine was sorely tested on the first day of our five-day journey.

和許多基于夢想而非……呃……籌備的計劃一樣,我的計劃在我們五日之旅的頭一天便受到了嚴峻考驗。

But the moment that really exposed the creaky foundations of my grand plan occurred just as night was falling. I had eased the car onto a muddy pullout and killed the engine so that I could rest for a minute — my arms ached from wrestling with the manual steering and the balky L-shaped gearstick — and so that we could study the map to find the best route back to our hotel, a charming if slightly gone-to-seed establishment outside the village of Anduze.

但真正暴露我宏大計劃松散根基的一刻,是在夜幕降臨之時。我減緩車速,停到一處泥濘地后熄滅引擎,好休息片刻——和手動舵及難啟動的L型變速桿抗爭令我手臂酸痛——另外也可以研究一下地圖,找到回酒店的最佳路線,那是昂迪茲村外一處稍顯破舊但迷人的房屋。

Now, as any horror-movie screenwriter will attest, was the moment to write in the rasp of a car failing to start. When our 2CV’s engine refused to turn over after repeated turns of the key, I instinctively got out my phone to call Drivy’s roadside assistance number, but couldn’t get a signal. I bit my lower lip and looked at Michele, as if she might somehow have a suggestion for getting us out of this unpleasant situation, but she was simply looking back at me with the same lip-biting expression.

接著,就出現了所有恐怖片編劇感同身受的場景——一輛無法啟動的汽車發出刺耳銼鈍的聲音。當我反復扭動鑰匙,我們的2CV引擎還是拒絕發動時,我本能地掏出手機撥打了Drivy的路邊服務電話,可是沒信號。我咬著下唇看著米歇爾,仿佛她沒準有辦法讓我們擺脫這個尷尬處境,但她只是用同樣咬嘴唇的表情回看著我。

And so I did what one does in times of need: I consulted the Bible. A distinct smell of gasoline suggested I had flooded the engine — “drowned,” in the more blame-y French locution — and apparently we merely had to let the car rest “a short while.” Michele and I debated the meaning of that phrase, then decided to wait 10 minutes, during which we sat without saying much, listening to rain drum on the car’s canopy. Finally, I took a deep breath and turned the key. The engine coughed to life. We had heeded the Bible’s words and, lo, its prophecy had come to pass.

于是我做了人在困境中會做的事:向圣經求助。有股明顯的汽油味,表明我造成了引擎溢油——用多了一些怪罪意味的法國腔調就是,“淹了”——所以,顯然,我們得讓車歇“一小會兒”。米歇爾和我爭論了那個詞的意思,決定等10分鐘,其間我們坐著沒說什么,一邊聽著車篷上雨點的聲響。最后,我深吸一口氣,轉動鑰匙。引擎咳喘著發動了。我們聽從了圣經的話,看哪,圣經的預言應驗了。

Pushing the limits

挑戰極限

The next morning brought dry weather and a stiff wind that herded the clouds across the sky so fast I felt like I was watching a sped-up film. The landscape that had emerged from last night’s frightful darkness was every bit as beautiful as I had imagined: terraced foothills backed by craggy, sun-dappled mountains, with residual pockets of mist nestling in between, wisps of it being teased away by eddying currents of air.

次日早晨天氣干燥,凌厲的風驅趕著云在天空快速移動,以至于感覺像是在看快放的電影。從前一晚漆黑可怖的夜色里升騰出的景象,和我想象中的美麗分毫不差:階梯狀的山麓后是崎嶇不平、陽光斑駁的山巒,其間還殘留著幾分霧氣,其中幾縷被漩渦般的氣流吹散。

If the sight of this didn’t fully redeem my decision to take a road trip in a superannuated automobile across the Cévennes’ forbidding topography, it at least put Michele and me in a bright enough mood that we could chuckle over breakfast at the half dozen French tourists so laden with expensive-looking trekking gear as to give the impression they had stepped out of a Patagonia ad. They were likely hiking the Chemin de Stevenson, a popular 170-mile trail that retraces the footsteps of the Scotsman and his donkey.

如果說這番美景仍不足以彌補我的決定——駕駛一輛報廢車穿越塞文山地的險惡地形——那么至少它讓我和米歇爾的心情爽朗了起來。用早餐時,看到六個法國游客渾身裝配著看似很貴的徒步旅行設備,活像直接從巴塔哥尼亞廣告畫面中走出,我們還咯咯地笑了笑。他們可能是要去走史蒂文森步道(Chemin de Stevenson),那是條熱門的路線,意在重溫這個蘇格蘭人和他的驢子的170英里旅程。

Maybe it was because I had taken to reading the chronicle of Stevenson’s journey — which he rather prosaically titled “Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes” — before bed, but increasingly I found myself thinking of our temperamental 2CV as an animate being. Reflexively, I would check on it as soon as I got up, peeking out at the hotel parking lot to make sure our mint-green friend had not suffered some ill fate during the night. And each morning before getting back on the road, I would pat the dashboard with a mixture of relief and something akin to love when the engine commenced its reassuring rattle.

或許是因為我開始在睡前閱讀史蒂文森的游記——他直白地管游記叫《塞文山脈騎驢行》,我漸漸發現自己覺得,我們喜怒無常的2CV是個活物。一起床,我便會條件反射般地往酒店停車場看,確保我們的薄荷綠朋友夜里沒遭遇什么厄運。每個早晨重新上路之前,當引擎那讓人安心的吵鬧聲再次響起,我都會帶著一種又釋懷、又帶些疼愛的心情拍拍儀表盤。

In fact, as we got to know our car’s quirks and peccadilloes, the parallels between it and Modestine began to seem somehow foreordained. Stevenson devoted many pages to his struggles to goad his “she-ass,” using the parlance of the day, to walk faster. “God forbid, thought I, that I should brutalise this innocent creature; let her go at her own pace, and let me patiently follow,” he wrote. Eventually, though, he resorted to whipping the animal, only to be wracked with guilt afterward.

事實上,隨著我們熟悉這輛車的怪癖和瑕疵,它和莫德斯蒂娜之間的相似之處開始多少有些像是注定。史蒂文森用了許多篇幅,講述他如何奮力催趕他的“she-ass”(母驢)——那是當時的人使用的稱呼——好讓她走快點。“我想我可千萬不能粗暴對待這無辜的動物;讓她按自己的節奏行走,讓我耐心地跟隨,”他寫道。不過最后,他還是選擇了鞭打,結果事后內疚不已。

Over the next several days of driving over and through the Cévennes’ ravines, mountain passes, and tablelands — known here as causses — I similarly feared I was pushing our beast of burden beyond its operational limits. The Citroën struggled noisily during steep climbs and descents, invariably acquiring a tail of impatient drivers unable to pass us on the twisting, narrow roads. Occasionally it produced burning smells and grinding sounds whose source I couldn’t pinpoint. Clutch? Brakes? Motor? And yet our ride did not fail us, delivering us safely to our destination each night.

接下來的幾天,在塞文一帶的峽谷、山口和高地——這里稱為喀斯——穿行時,我也擔心我們的座駕超出了它的承受極限。在陡峭之處爬坡和下坡時,這輛雪鐵龍發出刺耳的聲音,在彎曲、逼仄的路上,我們后面總會聚集起一撥因為沒法超車而失去耐心的駕駛者。偶爾,它會發出燒焦的氣味和摩擦聲,但我沒法確定問題出在哪兒。離合?剎車?還是馬達?好在我們的座駕沒讓我們失望,每晚都把我們安全送至目的地。

Best Laid Plans

人算不如天算

The last leg of our journey took us across the beautifully bleak uplands of the Causse Méjean and into the Gorges du Tarn. This spectacular, cave-pocked river canyon is edged by a sinuous route hemmed in by soaring walls of karst on one side and a low stone parapet on the other. It’s a favorite of French motorcyclists, who roared past us in great numbers — most of them decked out, like the hikers, in a fortune’s worth of fancy gear — as we approached Sainte Enimie, the riverside village where we would spend our final night.

最后一段旅程帶我們穿越了荒涼而美麗的梅讓高地(Causse Méjean),并進入塔恩峽(Gorges du Tarn)。沿著壯觀、密布著洞窟的河流峽谷邊緣,是一條蜿蜒的道路,它一邊是高聳的喀斯特巖壁,另一邊是低矮的石欄。這里是法國摩托車手的最愛,他們成群結隊地從我們身邊呼嘯而過——其中大多數像那些徒步旅行者一樣,穿戴著價值不菲的花哨裝備——我們正接近圣埃尼米,要在這個河畔村莊度過最后一晚。

Over a midday meal of grilled lamb at an auberge in the center of town, Michele and I made a decision: We would give the 2CV the rest of the day off. We had already demanded so much of it, and we didn’t want to push our luck. And so Michele and I drank wine freely with lunch and loosened our limbs by strolling alongside the gin-clear waters of the Tarn and then into the leafy heights above the village, pausing to admire the abundant wildflowers and other delicate things of the kind that you tend to miss when traveling by car, even one as slow-moving as a Deux Chevaux. We planned to get up the next morning and drive to Lyon, reunite car and owner, and then catch the fast train to Paris for our flight home.

中午在鎮中心一家小酒店吃烤羊肉時,我和米歇爾做了個決定:在這天剩下的時間里,讓這輛2CV休息一天。我們已經要求了它這么多,不想再繼續碰運氣了。于是,我們午餐時暢飲紅酒,又沿著杜松子酒般清澈的塔恩河散步放松,然后進入村子上方枝繁葉茂的高地,在那里駐足觀賞大片野花,及其他駕車旅行時會錯過的細微事物,哪怕是開著2CV這么慢的車。我們計劃次日一早起床后開到里昂,把車還給車主,然后乘坐前往巴黎的快速列車,再搭飛機回家。

We arose at dawn, and the owner of our hotel, a jocular man in his early 60s named Monsieur Lopez, helped us load our bags.

天剛亮我們便起來了,酒店老板幫我們把東西放到了車上。他六十初頭,人稱洛佩茲先生,是個愛說笑的人。

When the car failed to start, Michele and I were annoyed but not unduly concerned — giving the motor a 10-minute rest wasn’t going to dent our schedule fatally. When 10 minutes elapsed and the engine still wouldn’t turn over, Michele and I did our worried lip-biting thing. When I failed to reach the car’s owner at this early hour on a Sunday and was told by Drivy’s roadside assistance operator that they would try to locate the nearest garage and get back to me, Monsieur Lopez laughed, assuring me that we would have a long wait indeed, a full day at least, as every mechanic for miles around was asleep or getting ready for church. When a passerby offered to push the car so we could pop the clutch, we made the discovery that this particular run of 2CVs had a centrifugal model that could not be engaged to revive a dead motor. And when, finally, this same stranger had no success trying to jump-start our engine using his own vintage automobile — a cherry red Renault 4 that, I have to say, looked really handsome next to our Citroën — I came to an unpalatable conclusion: We would have to abandon the 2CV and very hastily revise our plans.

當車發動不起來時,我和米歇爾有些氣惱,卻也沒有太過擔心——讓馬達休息10分鐘不至于徹底打亂我們的計劃。10分鐘過去了,引擎仍然不轉,我和米歇爾又是一副咬嘴唇的憂慮神情。禮拜天這么早的時間聯系不上車主,Drivy的路邊服務接線員則告訴他們會設法找到最近的修車行后再跟我聯絡,洛佩茲先生聞之笑了,跟我保證我們著實要等很長時間,至少一天,因為方圓數英里內的每位機修工要么在睡覺要么正準備去教堂。一名路人提議推車,以便我們可以快放離合器時,我們發現,這款2CV汽車是離心式發動機,是不能這樣啟動的。最后,當這位陌生人沒能用他自己的復古車成功啟動我們的引擎——那是輛櫻桃紅雷諾4,不得不說挨著我們的雪鐵龍看上去真得很拉風——我得出了一個不得已的結論:我們得拋棄這輛2CV,并趕緊修改我們的計劃。

One cadged lift, a four-hour bus journey, and an interminably slow intercity train ride later, Michele and I were seated across from each other at a bistro in Paris’s 10th arrondissement making quick work of a carafe of Morgon. We had managed to get a partial refund on our Lyon-to-Paris train tickets, and I had finally reached the 2CV’s owner, who apologized for our troubles and told us not to worry; he would arrange to retrieve the car with a friend later that week. (Later, I learned that the culprit was an overheated ignition coil — “a classic problem” the car’s owner told me. )

搭了一趟便車,坐了四小時巴士,又坐了一趟極慢的城際列車后,我和米歇爾面對面坐在了巴黎第10區一個小酒館里,大口痛飲著一瓶摩根酒。我們拿到了里昂到巴黎火車票的部分退款,我也終于聯系上了2CV車主,他為我們遇到的麻煩道歉,告訴我們不用擔心,他會在那周晚些時候安排朋友去取車。(我后來得知罪魁禍首是點火線圈過熱——車主跟我說是個“經典問題”。)

Michele expressed relief when I told her the 2CV would soon be safely back in Lyon. “I just felt so bad leaving it there,” she said, her voice pinched with emotion. She could easily have been talking about a child or a beloved pet.

我告訴米歇爾那輛2CV很快就能安然返回里昂,她松了口氣。“我就是覺得把它留在那里很不好,”她的聲音因為激動而發緊。聽上去,她像是在談論孩子或者心愛的寵物。

Stevenson evinced a similar sentimentality after he sold Modestine at the end of his walk and boarded a coach to begin his journey home. “It was not until I was fairly seated by the driver … that I became aware of my bereavement,” he wrote. “I had lost Modestine. Up to that moment I had thought I hated her; but now she was gone.”

在步旅終點賣掉莫德斯蒂娜,坐馬車踏上回家的路時,史蒂文森也流露出類似的感傷。“直到我在趕車人身邊坐穩……才意識到我已痛失愛駕,”他寫道。“我失去了莫德斯蒂娜。直到那一刻,我一直都以為我是厭惡她的,但這下她不在了。”

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