Driving on the wrong (though some call it the right) side of the road is scary, especially when the roads are so narrow. (I should have rejected the upgrade to a bigger car. I wanted a tiny car as I knew the roads would be narrow.)
Add in trying to find your way out of the airport, and my jaw was clenched tight with stress within minutes. The GPS decided not to speak to us for a while. I think she too was lost.
Mr S is the driver and I am the navigator, with my other roles to be the reminder: reminder to keep right, reminder to watch the gutter, reminder on how to turn left and right.
Can I add how fucking narrow the streets are in old parts of town. They are lanes that cars go down two ways but barely fit one car one way!!! I was nearly in tears when we got lost in Honfleur. GPS do not work in the narrow streets of the old towns very well. So be warned!
Nearly all the cars have scratches and dings – and there is no wondering why!
Look at this street which ended in a pedestrian square that the apartment owner told us to drive down so we could unload. Then Mr S had to reverse uphill, on wet cobblestones, with people walking around!!! Hairy. I couldn’t have down it. (The view is from our Airbnb room.)
The next place we are staying is also in the old part of town, but I am not bothering to drive to the apartment to unload. We can part in a carpark and walk.
Feeling stressed hasn’t been helped by both of us being ill. On the first day I was shaking and retching. I got some sort of bug from Mr S. The bug made it nearly impossible for him to walk to the train station from our house – only about a five minute walk. It hit me when we were driving from the airport. Luckily the owners of the first BnB allowed us access to our room early, despite them being closed until 4pm. I slept for five hours, with a little time awake to vomit. We had a quick walk around the village of Giverney, and then slept again all of the night.
So for our first two days in France, we haven’t felt like eating anything. On our second night we went out but I was asleep by 8.30.
The virus has also hit my muscles at their weak points. My knee and my back.
My next post will be more uplifting. I promise.
Still, after two days, Mr S feels confident driving. And we’ve mastered paying for tolls. (Our two hour journey on Day 2 took three different toll booths.) It was quite simple. Luckily I had found a website which explained the toll booth symbols. Look for the credit card symbol! Our Australian Visa card was accepted with no issues.
We though about taking a more scenic route and not paying for tolls, but it nearly doubled the time travelling as you pass through many 30 and 50 km zones. And frankly the thought of more narrow roads passing through villages was more than we could bear. Driving on the tollways is easier. No worry about incoming traffic or having to make turns.
And another positive thing to note: my French lessons have come in handy. My pigeon French has been helped by google translator and the pharmacy assistant’s pigeon English to buy Mr S some indigestion tablets. I bought us both SIM cards from a shop, communicating in French!