In the UK we needed 2 bottles of Shiraz plus 2 straws. Here it is a goon bag each. (a goon bag is a 4 litre cask with the cask ripped away!). A brilliant trip across the Channel and a pleasant stay in Cherbourg did not prepare us for the journey ahead.
Geeves has been replaced by Jean Paul (JP from now on). We picked up our hire car and discovered it was a manual not an automatic for which I had hoped. Do you realize that in a left hand drive car the gears are on your right? Just sit there an imagine it, go on try it.
Do you know how many times I tried to change gears by opening my door? Then there’s the side of the road they drive on – the wrong side! I’ve put my watch on my right wrist in the hope it will help me remember which side of the road I am required to be on to prevent mayhem, misery and death.
Then, coming out of Villedieu-des-Poeles I had to turn left, so I did, right into a one way divided road down which careered a delivery van. Aarrgghh! Luckily we somehow managed to avoid each other. In fact he was quite a polite chap and waved to me!
Interestingly it was the same type of wave that an English driver had also given me, just using one digit on his hand. Funny people these Europeans…
We discovered a number of (obviously) very new motorways on our way to Saint Malo, not only new to us but also to JP. He kept trying to tell us to turn down non existent roads and would then sulk in a very Gallic fashion for a while.
When we came out of VdP we went around the one roundabout about 5 times because he refused to acknowledge the lovely new motorway only a few hundred yards away.
We ended up tricking him by driving part way down a country lane and coming at it from another direction – and it worked!
The journey continued uneventfully until we hit Saint Malo itself. This little village is so magnificent it deserves it’s own blog, so it shall have one another day.
Poor old JP regressed again and had to be spoken to. Eventually we were lead right inside this cobbled walled city – and what was there? Bloody tourists! All over the place, most of them walking in the middle of the road and they couldn’t give a stuff about us!
Somehow we managed to find our hotel (Hotel San Pedro) and a hotel lady who can’t speak English. What is wrong with these French people???? I mean how hard is it to learn English? 3 year olds can do it back in the land of Oz!
Cheryl has deciphered from her where to park our car at no charge (it’s miles away) and I’m getting up about 6:00am to head over in the hope I can find a spot.
On some bushwalks I’ve been on, I’ve rocked into camp cold, exhausted and shivery. Interestingly, whilst the trip was very traumatic, I was able to just keep going. But once I arrived here I started shaking, was very cold and felt ill.
So, a cup of tea, some nuts & fruit then some chocolate and I felt better – same approach as on a b/walk.
Cheryl who has navigated marvelously (she admits to struggling with terms like ‘left’ & ‘right’) even struggled today. I can only think of 1 or 2 occasions when the wrong direction was given in England.
However, today close to 10 times she would raise her right hand and say, ‘in 500 metres turn left.’ I would patiently indicate that perhaps she meant right and the correction would be made.
So, obviously the stress affected both of us.
In the midst of all this we have seen some amazing French sights:
* 1st sight of man exiting Boulangerie avec baguette under his arm,
* Man walking French Poodle
* Man using pissoir – think about it. C was horrified.
* Man riding bicycle with baguette in basket.
When in Barfleur (beautiful town) I went to make my 1st purchase of a baguette. Told to come back in quinze minutes. Well, so was half the town. Shop was crowded when I arrived and crowd continued to arrive after me. But, got one – and still warm! Yummo.
In VdP I tried out my first pissoir – interesting. Waitress in cafe opposite gave me a funny look though. Wonder if it was just a lamp post?
We are parking the car for 3 days whilst in Saint Malo. Then I am driving direct to Brionne where we are booked into a B&B for 4 nights. Parking the car and spending time in the village the whole time!
Anyway, must dash, some undies to be washed out!
ps: C disapproves of my concluding sentence….