French frenzyJuly 12, 2017 in France
It's midnight, we have finally located the hire car, piled the kids and bags in and tried to get out of the airport. Tom turned the keys once, twice, nothing. He started asking me to decipher the warning that had popped up on the display. I'm tired. My French is not up to scratch with regular vocabulary, let alone automobile vocabulary! We try everything we can think of and I'm getting desperate. The hire place has closed and we aren't even sure our hotel has 24 hour concierge. Tom wanted me to call them but if they don't speak English i don't think my French will be good enough.
Google translate comes to our rescue and we learn that you must have your foot on the clutch to start the car. Why oh why did Tom hire a manual car in a right handed drive country?!?!
Next is navigating how to get to our hotel. We don't have a map or data to use our phone. We all know how this is going to play out don't we.
We drive past some women of questionable virtue on the side of the road and I immediately think of the TAKEN movie, and want to go home!
We were very quickly lost. Tom pulled over in frustration to work out where we are and how to get to the train station. Apparently our hotel is near there.
Once at the station he sent me out looking for the hotel. This part of town seems dodgy but thankfully I find it, I ask if the concierge if he can speak English and I'm sure he says "no" so I stumble through, too tired to know what I'm staying, all of a sudden he began in perfect English!
I direct Tom and the kids over, and at check in Tom informs me that we are only staying one night!!! By this point it is 1:30am, it hardly seems worth it!
I rush the kids into bed, so tonight of all nights they are sticklers for the rules and want to brush their teeth!
Tom set the alarm for 9am, but must have sub consciously turned it off, as we awake at 9:30, thankfully.
After the hotel breakfast and some hurried packing we check out of the hotel and go in search of a sports bar so tom could watch the state of origin.
We walked through dirty city streets, fruit markets and cheese markets to bird poo stained town monuments, with no sports bars in sight. Only on our way home did we stumble upon the pub tom originally had in mind.
One step inside and the hot stale smell of old cigarettes and alcohol seeped into our pores. I was hoping we wouldn't need to stay, that they wouldn't have the right channel. But the irish girl happily changed the tv from the
Tennis to the footy and tom was alarmed with the half time score. His didn't get much chance to celebrate in the second half either.
On the way back to the hotel we purchased some croissants, eclairs and baguettes for lunch and tom was impressed with my ordering skills. There are some things I can do in French... We then began the two hour drive to our next destination- Lourdes. Thankfully, even wothout any internet or wifi, google maps somehow still works if u set the course while still in wifi. This didnt relax me too much though, I was still in charge of navigating. The tolls were a bit stressful too. We were thankful (at the time) that the kids quickly fell asleep.
Lourdes is a strange town. People make their pilgrimage to St Bernadette's for miracles, so literally every second shop is a catholic souvenir shop selling holy water and rosary beads. The hotels all look run down or closed and half the shops are empty. We tried to find somewhere for an early dinner after checking into our hotel. (The staff don't speak English so that was fun for me) Initially we thought that all the restaurants were closed but discovered that cafes and patisseries close at 7pm and the restaurants open then too. So no early dinner for us. We decided to have dessert first, ice cream, then ate at an Italian restaurant outside our hotel.
Bed time ended up being much later than planned at 9:30pm, and Adalia didn't sleep until 10:30 as she slept in the car!!Read more