Thursday, May 21, 2015

Enroute to Provence. Looking for Sun and Stress-Free Living.

Yep, we're in Provence....finally. After several emotional days in the World War I battlefields of the north we were ready for sun and stress-free living. Ha!

Let's see, where shall I start? Rain, wind, GPS troubles, narrow one way streets with the GPS lady patiently telling us to turn right, down a street that is blocked by bollards, or not telling us where to exit a round-about because it is so newly constructed that she (we call our GPS she) doesn't even know about it. And on it goes. Hubby and I can both imitate her "leave the round-about at the second exit" in a perfectly plummy English accent.

Our first day of driving after Verdun was wonderful to start. Lovely tree-lined roads.

tree-lined road outside of Verdun, France

Through the many, many vineyards of Burgundy.

vineyards in Burgundy, France

Then when the afternoon was waning, we decided to carry on driving when we should have known better. But, we wanted to get as far south as possible. So it was almost five o'clock and we were cranky, hungry, and tired of driving when we arrived in the town where we had chosen to stop. Macôn, on the southern tip of the Burgundy wine region. A lovely, historic, little town. Despite the rain, one way streets and very few parking spots, we found the tourist information site without mishap. Okay... without too many mishaps. A nice young girl there, who wanted to tell us all about her trip to Canada when she was twelve years old, which was probably last year, she seemed so young, booked us into the third hotel she tried. And then we began the journey of finding the darn place, and then trying to find a place to park.

The whole town seemed under construction. Many streets were blocked off, making the small map of the downtown area virtually useless. Most of the other streets were one-way. We had to drive by the hotel at least twice, each time seeing no sign of the promised hotel parking lot. Eventually Hubby pulled into a "10 minute" spot several blocks short of the hotel, and suggested he would wait with the car while I walked up the street "a little ways" to the hotel. A "little ways" turned out to be four very long blocks, up hill, in rain that fell harder and harder as I walked, and cursed. I cursed this town, I cursed Hubby, I cursed my jacket hood for obscuring my view so I was almost run over by a bus. I cursed the fact that I really had to pee ... and then I cursed Hubby some more.

I won't go into the machinations we went through dealing with the shirty hotel receptionist, waiting for one of only three remote controls that would open the parking garage gates to be returned by another guest, finding a parking spot in the small, dark parking garage across the street, and dragging our luggage back to our tiny room, in the rain. But I guess I just did... go into it, I mean. Ah well. One can only get so wet, and then it ceases to matter. Once in our room I changed into dry jeans, and we set off to find a restaurant for dinner. 

The rain let up. We found ourselves in a traditional bistro down by the river Saôn frequented by locals... and their dogs. Had a glass of lovely, local red wine, and then a huge serving of boeuf bourguignon, served in a cast iron pot. Just the thing for a chilly, rainy evening. As I said to Hubby, if you can't eat boeuf bourguignon in Burgundy, where can you eat it? It was yummy. We stumbled back to our hotel and fell into bed, and to sleep immediately.

The next day would be better. We'd head up, up, up into the Alps... on the trail of the Tour de France.


view of Alpe D'Huez

Then, we'd get to Provence. And it would be sunny and warm. And dry. 

We hoped.






18 comments:

  1. Wow. You really traveled all around!

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  2. Oh dear , that rang some bells for me . Just last week my husband & I spent most of a day's journey in Scotland arguing about the name of a mountain that was following us along - how stupid is that ? At least you admit you get tired & cranky ,plus it made me laugh . Keep traveling in hope
    Wendy in York

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    1. Funny how the incidents which are the most annoying make the best and funniest recollections. And the best stories!

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  3. Oh dear Sue ..... It rang some bells for me too ... Very loudly! :) Days like that are just dreadful but I bet the wine and beef bourguignon tasted wonderful after all the stress. At least you found a restaurant and didn't have to go to bed hungry! Hope the sun shines and the rest of your journey goes smoothly.
    Rosie

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    1. Thanks Rosie. The more dreadful the day the better the wine and dinner taste, eh?

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  4. Goodness you are doing a lot of travel. Just read two posts back to back. Your trip to the battlefields sounded wonderful and then...iIt's no wonder that boeuf bourguignon tasted sooo good. Things can only get better and hopefully they have. Looking forward to the next installment. Have to say this did make me smile though I do of course sympathise - been in similar situations. Courage! Iris

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    1. Thanks, Iris. I'm smiling about that day..now, that is.

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  5. You mention that you will go to the Loire valley, perhaps you will stop by my wonderful hometown Saumur which has a beautiful castle on the Loire valley, a book written by Balzac "Eugenie Grandet" uses my town as a background.

    The only advice I can give you is please don't talk too loudly, there is one thing that gives Americans away, saying bonjour Monsieur or Madame and aurevoir when meeting people or entering stores are the most important things that will get you a long way to making friends, not what you wear.

    May the sun shine during your trip and have a wonderful time.

    Annie v.

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    1. Thanks Annie. I will keep an eye out for your hometown. Looking forward to the Loire. We have found people all over France to be kind and friendly...and very patient with two Canadians who try their best to speak French. Albeit badly.

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  6. Gorgeous!! Looks llike you had an amazing time!!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. One more week to go, too!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your journey with us...looks like you had a fabulous time!

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  8. Oh my, we have all (haven't we?) been there… Those cars trips with husband, getting lost, annoyed at each other, getting lost again; you are just SO glad no one else is in the car, right? Travelling is always an experience, and, of course, makes for great stories! Hoping you are finding sun in Provence!! Look forward to the next installment.

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  9. I love travel stories that are fun and funny - once you are home.

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  10. Well, I can now say that I would never attempt a trip like this with my husband. I have always been about 'reservations' and a plan.......it seems all you have is problems. I hope you can enjoy some of this wonderful opportunity, or at least edit the posts, so we think that you are!

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.