It was a dark and stormy
morning as we left Lyon. It rained intermitely all day. Our hotel was on the river and the morning stillness in the river
allowed a wonderful photo of the buildings reflected in the water. We followed the signs back to the main highway in a convoluted
manner that required your paying attention at every corner as to which way to go. Once on the highway I bravely cranked the
car up to 150 kph and felt comfortable in doing so.
Around lunch we stopped
at a restaurant on the highway and had a cheeseburger with wine. The cheeseburger was about $20 and I will never complain
again about the $35 hamburger at Bymark. It simply is 10 times better. They have red and white wine that is dispense like
you would have a coke at McDonalds. The restaurants although the food is more like restaurant food and not fast food means
it takes time to get anything. In McDonald’s figure five minutes top for a hamburger. Highway restaurant 15 to 20 minutes.
They make everything a hassle. You want a glass for your wine yes it can be found by walking around the partition and on the
other side you will find a glass. A coffee. Yes you pay here get a token go around the partition again and find an espresso
machine that makes it. Sugar forget about it.
When we passed through
Dijon the sky turned yellow and through Bordeaux it turned red. The distance we were travelling was like travelling from Windsor
to Toronto along the 401 and would take about four hours plus. As the miles droned by I decided to dictate some more of my
thoughts on France to Elizabeth. She dutifully wrote down what I said.
If you remember Tocqueville
the great political thinker who visited America in the 19th century wrote a book called Democracy in America. In
it he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societies.
Today it is considered an early work of sociology and political science. Maybe just maybe I could do the reverse. When I return
maybe a book on Democracy in France and the rising inequality of social conditions in modern France. Fatta chance.
If you travel in France you
will on occasion suffer from both claustrophobia and acrophobia. Everything is small and tighter and higher and more convoluted.
I wander if French people when they come to North America suffer from Agoraphobia the fear of open spaces.
The wind patterns over
France are quite different then over Canada. As a result the cloud formations are quite different in shape, height and colouration.
I took some pictures for you to get an idea. You see the clouds in the background of many masterpiece paintings.
The temperature this morning
when we left was 15 degrees C. It warmed up to about 22 C when we arrived in Paris. This is a result of the Jet Stream coming
from the north through out Europe and keeping it cool while the opposite is true with Russia with the Jet Stream coming from
the south with hot winds.
On our trip we have been
listening to the same radio station that has a blend of English and French songs. It is called Nostalgia and it has stayed
with us from Paris to Cannes and back. As you travel the station is automatically handed off to the next station and you don’t
have to do a thing. It would be like listening to CHFI from Toronto Chicago and back and not touching the dial.
You see many white Charolais
cows on this trip. I hadn’t seen any lambs until I mentioned it to Elizabeth and we saw our first herd of them. We have
seen no goats and wonder where goat’s cheese comes from. Not a pig insight but plenty of ham and bacon.
With all this travelling
we wonder if there is any rest for the wicked. Then again there is no wicked for the rest. See some of this is rambling.
We approach Paris. I have
yet to look at a map since we left Cannes a day ago and I am using my native GPS to get us back to our hotel. I accomplished
all this and we we’re back to the Hotel Muguet and unload our bags that seemed to have gained weight over the past days.
I now had to check the car in but it was only 3 blocks away. I had to fill up the tank and so I asked the front desk where
the nearest gas station was. It was about 10 blocks away underground at the entrance to a parking lot. I got to the general
area and went around the block 3 times and finally asked a parking attendant where it was. He pointed to a red sign the size
of an 8x10 sheet of paper and said there. I entered the underground garage and right at the entrance were 3 pumps. I couldn’t
help thinking what the safety conscious civil servants would think of this arrangement. Filled the car up returned it and
met Elizabeth at the hotel.
We were both exhausted
and decided to go a half a block away to a restaurant called Pasco to celebrate her birthday. We enjoyed the meal but gladly
came home to go to bed early. Alas one more task to accomplish. When we left Canada I left my file with all my research and
the ticketing information in the same file as well. I knew from memory that the trip was for July 26th but now
I had to confirm with Air Transat what flight etc. I was hung on the phone for an hour only to be told that I hadn’t
booked with them but Expedia and they would give me the information. Another hours effort and I finally got a printed version
of when we were leaving. Moral don’t use Transat or Expedia have an agency do it. And so to bed.