Hi to you all,
One week in Paris on our 2015 France/England adventure with our 2 friends (N & G) who are overseas travelling virgins and are now learning all there is to know from the Travel Guru Kev Tour Co and are basically exhausted, which means me too, as I am not allowed to say "but I've been there" and play hooky by myself!! But of course Paris has enchanted them and us again!
The weather is cool (Kev says freezing) but at least sunny, our 2 bedroom apartment (AirBnB) was compact, lovely and in a great walking location to many essential destinations, all of which we saw and my feet are screaming "what is going on, this isn't the retirement I'm used to". No reprieve was given except for the many lovely lunches and dinners in the never ending selections of cafe, bistros, bars and restaurants! The prices are good, food delicious and the wines lovely, but that story about how the French women stay slim has alluded my metabolism and my jeans have shrunk 2 sizes and we are only 5 days into 50!!
We also experienced a maniac hire car driver from the airport to our apartment, clocked at 130 in suburban streets with the knowledge of every back road possible in times of delays more than 10 seconds and all this without uttering one word....I guess there was enough terrified silences from the 4 of us to fill the car!! Welcome to Europe I say!!!
Our landlord made up for the driver, he couldn't be more helpful, but as we had been travelling for 26 hours (Cathay Pacific Premium Economy-worth the money!) his detailed instructions on every appliance and place in Paris to visit lost a lot in the translation or maybe my French hasn't improved from last visit! We luckily found a small supermarket near by, purchased bread, cheese, pate and wine and welcomed N & G to Paris before going on to a recommended cafe for dinner complete with a guy playing jazz followed by a good nights sleep!
After 5 lovely days we picked up our Renault Kangoo (perfect for 4 with TOO much luggage!) and Kev bravely and expertly drove us west to spend 5 days in Brittany. Unfortunately having visited Monet Gardens on the way, our GPS machine found a town with the same name as the one we were heading for but happened to be in the total opposite direction and we almost ended up back in Paris, one U turn and payment at the same toll gate again and we were off once more....not happy Jan!!!
We then spent several hours trying to find the castle we had booked for 5 days, frustration was rife so I phoned our host (3 times) and in my best French asked for directions, it then took more hours to establish there were 2 towns with the same name 20 minutes apart (our GPS only knew about one...the wrong one of course) and eventually she drove out, found us and we followed her back to the castle where she had left us a bottle of wine which was consumed extremely quickly! We have decided the French have spent many years gaining their revenge in many subtle ways to drive all other races mad, their version of town names and signage is one!
We have now spent 4 days in this lovely 2 bedroom apartment conversion in the entrance hall of the original castle (1700's) with a beautiful garden and pet peacock that wants to joins us on all excursions and meals!
Visiting the coast just north of us where the oyster season is in full swing has been a highlight for the other three, I just watch them eat those things!! Alternate offerings such as vanilla slices, however, are extremely acceptable and, unfortunately, very irresistible. The weather today turned nasty with drizzly rain but we decided to visit Rennes anyway, the capital of Brittany and a lovely old city with many unique buildings with the rain mostly holding off till our drive home for a lovely meal cooked by us all with many wines consumed and good times to talk about!
One more day here (visiting Fougeres) then we are off to Brantome, a lovely village we have been to twice before, where we coincidentally are meeting up with my brother, his wife and son who have been travelling Europe and the UK for six weeks and happened to book the same B & B on the same night! So a night of tall tales trying to outdo each other is sure to follow!
On that note I better get this sent or you will all be thinking you have started reading "War & Peace"!!
More to follow in a week or so,
Love to all,