Out here, in the countryside, internet is a luxury. I write this from the lovely couple’s house who live next door. They are British, and today they are taking us on a field trip to get the necessary items so we can utilize the dump. Now that is nice. They will also introduce Howard to the bank manager so we can get an account, and play golf with us!

It’s been quite the trip…we are still battling jet lag and our sleep is all over the map. We play solitaire and scrabble at 3 AM.

We landed at CDG and were whisked away in a cushy Mercedes. Leaving the airport, the scenery is ugly so I succumbed to closing my eyes with Sable breathing really heavily between us. But she held it together.

I woke up just as we entered the Limousin region, and the department Haute-Vienne. Most likely where we will wind up down the road. I wanted trees and rolling hills and I got them. As far as the eye can see.

We did 100 mph to Limoges, were dropped at the car rental where it took, literally 5 minutes, to give us keys and send us on our way. We probably should have asked more questions than ‘where is our hotel’, and here is why:

The hotel (otel, no h ever!)is right across the train station. 3 minutes away. Left, right, left. Got it. Waze works! Off we go.

We drove right past the hotel but did not see its sign. Unbeknown to us, the same hotel has a second location on the outskirts of the city proper. Waze re-routed. We drove over hill and dale, almost side swiped a car on the round-about(entirely my fault), and wound up stalling just at the entrance to the second hotel. I needed to reverse. I could not.

Manual in my day was four speeds and reverse. This little beauty of a Ford was 6 speeds and reverse. Reverse: clutch, far right, down, release clutch and go…..forward. Again and again. By now there is a car trying to get in to the lot, and Howard is stressing that THIS is why we will not buy a manual stick shift.

ME to the other driver: Desole Desole!!

HOWARD: what are you saying!!

ME: I’m sorry I’m sorry!

HOWARD: How do you know how to say that!!

ME: I have no idea!!!

My only option was up over a curb, slamming down, and revving into a parking space. Long story short, we learned this was not our hotel. I knew we would need a lot of help in France, so I marched into the lobby, typed that I could not get my car into reverse, and smiled and beckoned the clerk to leave his desk and come help. Which he did, with a smile.

Of course, lift the little silver ring on the clutch shaft, and voila! Reverse. Smiles, clapping, and cheers all around. He disappeared, we got all organized, with his great directions back to original destination, and could not get the emergency brake off. No matter what. There was a lot of raised voices and the words ‘shut up’.

I MADE Howard go and get our guy again, a well built gentleman with a great head of hair, who released the brake, and I silently vowed I would never pull it that tightly.

We got to our hotel in a flash and settled in.

I forgot to mention that while on the way to the wrong hotel we came to a red light. Before a tunnel. I went in to neutral and waited. And waited and waited. Another car pulled up behind me and waited, too. Then a very handsome young man emerged and approached our car. He coaxed me forward to a white line. OH.  Merci, Merci! The light soon turned green and we were able to drive through a one way tunnel.

Live and learn. Ask nice looking french men for help. No-one has been rude or arrogant to us.

Note: I can’t figure out how to type with proper accents on words. If anyone knows please tell me.

5 thoughts on “Bonjour

  1. Avatar Shelly Levy says:

    OMG! LL that whole adventure made me laugh! Maybe no manuel transmission just yet 🙂 I do agree with the other comment though. I always pulled up the break hard too!

    Looking forward to reading more of your adventures! Until then au revoir!

  2. Avatar Beth Moos says:

    Of course learning to drive in CT we yank on parking brakes! I can only imagine the patience of Howard waning with you at the helm. He will have to learn French way of life- relax!?

    1. Avatar Martha Venter says:

      I love every post! What an extraordinary experience. Bien fait!

  3. Avatar Kathleen D'Angelo says:

    You go girl,living through you!!

    1. Avatar Jeanne says:

      So both parking brakes on both of my old vehicles are broken, it’s a sign trust me. Probably parking brakes are not really needed (my theory) would be the lesson but not the rule? Sancere please!

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