With a very early start there was time to grab a tea, hat and a hipflask (for much later I promise, don’t worry Mum!)
and we were off on our journey to the land of sun, cheese, wine, baguette, croissants, mountains and Dannettes! I even managed to take a quick photo to show the cooker was switched off as without fail one of us will ask if everything is switched off . This then leads to niggles, self-doubt and arguments which, on occasion, has led to turning around and going back to check! With everything securely switched off we made tracks. It was a very good journey down to Dover, made all the better with my playlist! What can beat setting off to Highway to Hell? There was a small blip with Joni Mitchell but we got back on track with Earth Wind and Fire.
Helped by our little friends Barney and Gingerbread !So much so that we even managed to get on the earlier ferry and, after being waved through passport control without having had time to actually open our passports, we were safely stowed and were then surrounded by American students embarking on their ‘the whole of Europe in a week’ tour.
We had our brekkie in the car very early, which consisted of Percy Pigs ( well it is his birthday) and me having to spoon feed Luke yoghurt whilst he drove. I really had to resist the urge not to cover his face with it as he was driving rather fast on a motorway at the time! However, the smell of food on the boat proved too tempting and we managed to find a free spot to enjoy some toast and Luke had is last English breakfast for a while. I managed to get my last fix of Marmite before entering French shores. We then ran into a few problems trying to find our way out of the port and not end up in either Paris or back in Calais. Eventually, after the fourth attempt we made it onto the right road. I am sure at one point our Sat Nav lady said ‘this is impossible’! I tried to reassure Luke that lots of people must find themselves in this predicament but I was secretly relieved I wasn’t driving. A culmination of factors led to Luke’s reluctance at me driving – it is a new car, I haven’t driven abroad yet, I don’t often go on motorways and, more importantly, I do have slight issues telling my left and rights so this didn’t really help my chances of being able to drive in France. I did offer but each time Luke sweetly replied that it was ok and he was happy to drive so I could relax. Yeah right! He would never have been able to relax if I was driving, following the sat nav lady who cannot pronounce French words at all, with his bike box in the boot.
We then managed to get down to Dijon , home of my favourite mustard, for the night. We had a few stops at the lovely French services along the way and we had to navigate the toll roads. This usually meant me leaning all the way out of the window to sort out tickets and hoping Luke wouldn’t drive off to Fast. We did debate what someone would do if the were driving alone and in an opposite to-French-car. Luckily we didn’t have to find out and as soon as I was in my seat again Luke navigated the wacky races spectacle as everyone flies from the tolls on an unmarked it of road to take their positions once the lane opens up. It is possibly the most dangerous thing I have seen on a functional bit of the motorway but it is fun to try to beat all the caravans, navigate around lorries and watch out for the French undertaking. What is not to enjoy!
Our hotel was lovely and we eventually managed to find a Moroccan deli called Delices Express. With my limited French and the lovely gentleman’s limited English we managed to leave with couscous for me and a proper kebab for Luke. It was really tasty! I would recommend a visit.
It was then time to recoup for the next day.
We set off early and once I had informed the lady over the car park intercom, much to the giggling reception lady and Luke’s surprise, that ‘Nous partir’ (the shame!). We then descended into the hell that is driving around Lyon. Lyon itself is beautiful but driving through it is always, always a nightmare.
Still, it gave us the chance to learn some french words and work out what I should have said to the lady over the intercom. We also got to pass the time by trying to securely locate and retrieve a renegade grape, without bursting it, that I had accidentally dropped. This did get a few funny stares from the passing drivers but the grape was safely retrieved so it was an accomplishment! It was then onwards to the house, once we had finally made it past Lyon, through a thunderstorm and a quick stop for lunch in the boot.
So I have done my first swim, made the beds, unpacked (including the odd use of hangers) and what has Luke done so far? Assembled his bike of course! I may regret buying the bike box or it could mean I have earned lots of brownie points. I am not too sure if I am too organised or Luke loves his bike too much.
Either way, it looks like I have lived here for weeks whilst the only sign that Luke is even here is a few tire tracks outside. Maybe I will just befriend the house gnome, he looks friendly enough!