纽约时报文摘 | 开最国民的老爷车,穿越法国南部秘境

更多精彩,请关注微信公众号:田间小站

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,小说家、旅行作家罗伯特·路易斯·史蒂文森(Robert Louis Stevenson)一时兴起,穿越了法国最荒凉、人烟最稀少的地区之一——南部的塞文山脉,陪伴他的,是一头慢吞吞的驴子,名叫莫德斯蒂娜(Modestine)。5月份,也是一时兴起,妻子和我也穿越了塞文山脉,依旧是法国最荒凉、人烟最稀少地区之一,陪伴我们的,是一辆慢吞吞的汽车,雪铁龙2CV。

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强且喜怒无常,倒也“便宜、瘦小、肯干,有种不动声色的平和脾气”。这用来形容我们的车恰好也挺确切,它是薄荷绿色,状似一把伞,有翻盖窗、管架长凳车座、帆布遮阳篷、吱吱作响的单辐条方向盘,以及安装在前保杆上的大灯,让我想起一只过于急切的狗的眼睛。顺风行驶时,这辆车闹哄哄的双缸引擎能在开阔公路上,毫不费力地达到每小时60英里左右的最高时速。

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.
结果碰巧塞文一带没有公路,甚至比起史蒂文森的年代公路也没多多少。我想这也在预料之中,这里一派荒无人烟、葱葱郁郁的景象,其间为道道幽深的河谷和窄窄的山谷隔开,其上是海拔5000英尺的花岗岩山地和风力冲刷的石灰岩高原。所有这些令人惊叹的自然风貌,每一样都值得单列入一本装帧精美的图册,而它们密实地分布在一片360平方英里、距里昂仅3个半小时车程的国家公园——这一带我直到最近才听说,虽然我在法国旅行多年,并且它其实是一处联合国教科文组织世界遗产——这些使我确信,我和妻子米歇尔在这里进行一次为期一周的驾车游,将是一个别具一格的选择。

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,何不试一试廉价的“两税收马力”(Deux Chevaux)——2CV的通用名称——这种在战后法国备受喜爱的“国民车型”呢?英国汽车记者L·J·K·赛特莱特(L.J.K. Setright)有句名言,说它是“极简主义在汽车上最聪明的成功运用”。不过用古色古香的2CV来一场驾车游,是我一直以来的梦想,因此当我发现可以在Drivy.com上——基本上是Airbnb的汽车版——租一辆时,我就拿定了主意。经过一番检索,我确定了里昂一个车主,他会以一天70美元的价钱租给我那辆完全修复的1976年产2CV-6 Club,包括追加保险和全天候的路边服务支持。

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.
到达里昂后不久,米歇尔和我在车主家中见到了他——一个说话温和的退休人士,我们在他凌乱的小房间里签了些文件,试开了5分钟后就出发了。车开走前,他郑重地交给我一个活页夹,里面是他称作“圣经”的东西——一些有覆膜的激光打印纸张,上面列了一长串驾驶这辆车的注意事项——然后祝我们一路顺风。

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.
和许多基于梦想而非……呃……筹备的计划一样,我的计划在我们五日之旅的头一天便受到了严峻考验。

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.
但真正暴露我宏大计划松散根基的一刻,是在夜幕降临之时。我减缓车速,停到一处泥泞地后熄灭引擎,好休息片刻——和手动舵及难启动的L型变速杆抗争令我手臂酸痛——另外也可以研究一下地图,找到回酒店的最佳路线,那是昂迪兹村外一处稍显破旧但迷人的房屋。

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.
接着,就出现了所有恐怖片编剧感同身受的场景——一辆无法启动的汽车发出刺耳锉钝的声音。当我反复扭动钥匙,我们的2CV引擎还是拒绝发动时,我本能地掏出手机拨打了Drivy的路边服务电话,可是没信号。我咬着下唇看着米歇尔,仿佛她没准有办法让我们摆脱这个尴尬处境,但她只是用同样咬嘴唇的表情回看着我。

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会做的事:向圣经求助。有股明显的汽油味,表明我造成了引擎溢油——用多了一些怪罪意味的法国腔调就是,“淹了”——所以,显然,我们得让车歇“一小会儿”。米歇尔和我争论了那个词的意思,决定等10分钟,其间我们坐着没说什么,一边听着车篷上雨点的声响。最后,我深吸一口气,转动钥匙。引擎咳喘着发动了。我们听从了圣经的话,看哪,圣经的预言应验了。

Pushing the limits
挑战极限

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.
次日早晨天气干燥,凌厉的风驱赶着云在天空快速移动,以至于感觉像是在看快放的电影。从前一晚漆黑可怖的夜色里升腾出的景象,和我想象中的美丽分毫不差:阶梯状的山麓后是崎岖不平、阳光斑驳的山峦,其间还残留着几分雾气,其中几缕被漩涡般的气流吹散。

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.
如果说这番美景仍不足以弥补我的决定——驾驶一辆报废车穿越塞文山地的险恶地形——那么至少它让我和米歇尔的心情爽朗了起来。用早餐时,看到六个法国游客浑身装配着看似很贵的徒步旅行设备,活像直接从巴塔哥尼亚广告画面中走出,我们还咯咯地笑了笑。他们可能是要去走史蒂文森步道(Chemin de Stevenson),那是条热门的路线,意在重温这个苏格兰人和他的驴子的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.
或许是因为我开始在睡前阅读史蒂文森的游记——他直白地管游记叫《塞文山脉骑驴行》,我渐渐发现自己觉得,我们喜怒无常的2CV是个活物。一起床,我便会条件反射般地往酒店停车场看,确保我们的薄荷绿朋友夜里没遭遇什么厄运。每个早晨重新上路之前,当引擎那让人安心的吵闹声再次响起,我都会带着一种又释怀、又带些疼爱的心情拍拍仪表盘。

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.
事实上,随着我们熟悉这辆车的怪癖和瑕疵,它和莫德斯蒂娜之间的相似之处开始多少有些像是注定。史蒂文森用了许多篇幅,讲述他如何奋力催赶他的“she-ass”(母驴)——那是当时的人使用的称呼——好让她走快点。“我想我可千万不能粗暴对待这无辜的动物;让她按自己的节奏行走,让我耐心地跟随,”他写道。不过最后,他还是选择了鞭打,结果事后内疚不已。

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.
接下来的几天,在塞文一带的峡谷、山口和高地——这里称为喀斯——穿行时,我也担心我们的座驾超出了它的承受极限。在陡峭之处爬坡和下坡时,这辆雪铁龙发出刺耳的声音,在弯曲、逼仄的路上,我们后面总会聚集起一拨因为没法超车而失去耐心的驾驶者。偶尔,它会发出烧焦的气味和摩擦声,但我没法确定问题出在哪儿。离合?刹车?还是马达?好在我们的座驾没让我们失望,每晚都把我们安全送至目的地。

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.
最后一段旅程带我们穿越了荒凉而美丽的梅让高地(Causse Méjean),并进入塔恩峡(Gorges du Tarn)。沿着壮观、密布着洞窟的河流峡谷边缘,是一条蜿蜒的道路,它一边是高耸的喀斯特岩壁,另一边是低矮的石栏。这里是法国摩托车手的最爱,他们成群结队地从我们身边呼啸而过——其中大多数像那些徒步旅行者一样,穿戴着价值不菲的花哨装备——我们正接近圣埃尼米,要在这个河畔村庄度过最后一晚。

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.
中午在镇中心一家小酒店吃烤羊肉时,我和米歇尔做了个决定:在这天剩下的时间里,让这辆2CV休息一天。我们已经要求了它这么多,不想再继续碰运气了。于是,我们午餐时畅饮红酒,又沿着杜松子酒般清澈的塔恩河散步放松,然后进入村子上方枝繁叶茂的高地,在那里驻足观赏大片野花,及其他驾车旅行时会错过的细微事物,哪怕是开着2CV这么慢的车。我们计划次日一早起床后开到里昂,把车还给车主,然后乘坐前往巴黎的快速列车,再搭飞机回家。

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.
天刚亮我们便起来了,酒店老板帮我们把东西放到了车上。他六十初头,人称洛佩兹先生,是个爱说笑的人。

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.
当车发动不起来时,我和米歇尔有些气恼,却也没有太过担心——让马达休息10分钟不至于彻底打乱我们的计划。10分钟过去了,引擎仍然不转,我和米歇尔又是一副咬嘴唇的忧虑神情。礼拜天这么早的时间联系不上车主,Drivy的路边服务接线员则告诉他们会设法找到最近的修车行后再跟我联络,洛佩兹先生闻之笑了,跟我保证我们着实要等很长时间,至少一天,因为方圆数英里内的每位机修工要么在睡觉要么正准备去教堂。一名路人提议推车,以便我们可以快放离合器时,我们发现,这款2CV汽车是离心式发动机,是不能这样启动的。最后,当这位陌生人没能用他自己的复古车成功启动我们的引擎——那是辆樱桃红雷诺4,不得不说挨着我们的雪铁龙看上去真得很拉风——我得出了一个不得已的结论:我们得抛弃这辆2CV,并赶紧修改我们的计划。

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. )
搭了一趟便车,坐了四小时巴士,又坐了一趟极慢的城际列车后,我和米歇尔面对面坐在了巴黎第10区一个小酒馆里,大口痛饮着一瓶摩根酒。我们拿到了里昂到巴黎火车票的部分退款,我也终于联系上了2CV车主,他为我们遇到的麻烦道歉,告诉我们不用担心,他会在那周晚些时候安排朋友去取车。(我后来得知罪魁祸首是点火线圈过热——车主跟我说是个“经典问题”。)

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.
我告诉米歇尔那辆2CV很快就能安然返回里昂,她松了口气。“我就是觉得把它留在那里很不好,”她的声音因为激动而发紧。听上去,她像是在谈论孩子或者心爱的宠物。

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.”
在步旅终点卖掉莫德斯蒂娜,坐马车踏上回家的路时,史蒂文森也流露出类似的感伤。“直到我在赶车人身边坐稳……才意识到我已痛失爱驾,”他写道。“我失去了莫德斯蒂娜。直到那一刻,我一直都以为我是厌恶她的,但这下她不在了。”

打赏

微信赞赏支付宝赞赏