I was on the 'go' for almost 24 hours yesterday. I'm not whining, but it takes its toll on the senses.
I left Dubai early in the morning, it was almost 30 degrees and I was able to have a really nice breakfast in the sumptuous club in the airport.
We flew over Cairo, Italy, the deserts of Africa and the suez canal.
I had amazing views and of course I documented it all.
That part of the trip was rather lovely but the next 10 hours were a bit of a strain.
Long delays, long lines, very hot, no aircon and no where to sit.
I woke to a misty morning and I admit to being a little nervous about driving. I've driven here before but I never feel real confident.
Back to the airport and pick up the car and like most of the hire cars its manual. OK, I used a manual for years but to hop in one and drive in a foreign country it's a bit nerve racking.
I managed to get though the exit gates but I had to go up a hill…… Eeek I jerked and stopped and rolled back and there was smoke coming out of the engine. Oooooh. But I finally made it up the hill and out onto the freeway.
I had also discovered that I had no idea how to reverse. I tried everything. Look for a button, follow the directions. Nup, I reckon they gave me a dud and I have to drive forward for 9 days.
So Pamela, if you have to park, go where you don't have to reverse.
My GPS is amazing, I actually use my mini IPad, It tells me everything. Speed limit, each corner coming up and of course its bigger than the normal GPS and I can see it with a flash of the eye.(well sort of)
It guided me to my hotel which was about 90 kms from Strasbourg. I passed the most amazing scenery and once off the freeway I found myself in high rolling mountains. At one stage I stopped in a small layover under the shade of a tree and got out of the car to take a deep breath.
Even though I didn't know how to activate reverse, I continued on to the town Ban de Laveline and the hotel Auberge Lorraine I was aware it was small with just 8 rooms but its very famous for its restaurant because it has a Michelin chef.
I had high expectations.Part of the drive was through a huge, and I mean huge tunnel, probably about 5 kms long. As I came out into the light I found I had to pay a toll.I can't read French, but I could understand the little slot things to put your money in.But how much?I put 2 euro into the money slot.... No, that wasn't enough, I couldn't find my visa card in my haste. (there was no one behind me fortunately) So I put in 10 euro, surely that was enough and it gave me 4 Euro change.
That little episode finished I traveled on to my small town.
I found the hotel and parked (Oh no, I could only park in a position that I had to reverse from)
I was dying to find a restroom, thank goodness I was at the hotel.
By this time it was 12.30 lunch time.
The hotel was closed.
The only thing was to walk through the town to find a rest room.
Everything was closed, there appears to be about 4 shops, the doors firmly shut, it was hot and I thought OK, I will go to the church and maybe find a restroom there.
Nope, that was shut too.
Back in the car park I approached some people who appeared to be going into the restaurant at the hotel.
They don't speak English... but I grabbed the man, asked him to follow me and pointed at the revers sign on the gear stick.
Ah. you have to lift a funny little cover up and it engages reverse. Lots of thank you's in my strange french and lots of laughing and they left.
I decided to turn on my Aussie phone and attempt to ring the hotel.
Mr Telstra, tells me it is going to cost a fortune. Ding, ding, ding, message after message. Thank you.
But I did manage to locate Audrey, the owner of the hotel and she came down, unlocked the door and after an animated conversation I was in my room.
No Elevator of course but we got the clothes case up the stairs.
The room is quaint and looks over the fields and hills surrounding the town.
I really needed a coffee. I did carry the small bottle of something alcoholic that I was given in the previous hotel, but I decided to wait and drive to find a coffee.
I set up the computer and it took me several hours to configure the internet.
I was frustrating, but I managed it.
My instructions for the net were in French so I translated it and finally made my way through the intricacies.
3:00 pm and I decided to walk out.It was warm, sunny and delightfully fresh.
Wow the small general store a few hundred feet away was open and I bought a pastry and a cake to take back to my room.
Still No coffee.
I figured I knew how to reverse the car and I would visit the town some 11 kms away where the quilt show is being held.
I walked on the old cobblestone streets, past interesting doors that held mystery behind them.
Eyes of passers by were averted so I greeted everyone with an Aussie smile and I got a lot of surprised responses.
I found coffee. It was hot, strong and sweet.
Finally I had found my place. I'm comfortable and I know how to reverse the car.