Saturday, July 14, 2012

The drive from hell

We left Chartres around 2:30 in the afternoon and headed to Tours. Now a couple things you need to know that are relevant to this post: 1) we had been up for about 25 straight hours, and 2) I had to go to the restroom. (Note to those reading my other posts: don't think I have some kind of prostate issue going on; I actually never did use the restroom after my aborted attempt at the French rest stop.)

Chartres was actually close to Pairs: about 60km. Tours was actually about 130km from Chartres, and was over much smaller roads that had a lot more slowdowns and stops.  We had a long trip in front of us and I was feeling pretty run down as well as physically uncomfortable because nature was calling.

We headed down the road looking for somewhere I could grab a Red Bull and take a "natural break". For some reason, even though we passed about 20 small towns and villages, not one of them had a small shop that would do the trick (at least as far as I could tell). I was trying to avoid driving a significant distance from our main route, but at Chateaudun I decided that break that rule. We drove quite a way to the center of the town which was a big square surrounded by shops and city hall.

I still could not find a Red Bull, but Nathan and I decided to eat lunch here. We found a brasserie and decided to eat there. We were met at the door by one of the waitress, I asked to the menu by gesturing and saying "menu", but for some reason, even though a menu is actually called "menu" in France, she still couldn't tell what I wanted.

Fortunately her coworker could speak English and seated us.  We looked at the French menu, and unfortunately could not make out much. We recognized a cheese omelette (omelette fromage) and some kind of fries ("something" frites). We ordered those two items by pointing, and then waited for our food. We had survived our first food ordering process, and it was pretty successful.

Eventually, our food came and we discovered the word I did not understand was apparently "Hot Dog" as the plate of fries came with two giant hot dogs!  Nathan and I were happy that the unrecognized word was not "live eel"! We ate our food, paid and headed out to the road, pleased that we'd survived our first restaurant experience in France.

We kept driving to Tours, still looking for a Red Bull purveyor and finally found one about 30km from the destination. I got some Red Bull and off we went again.

After driving for what seemed like forever, we arrived in Tours, just in time to realize that we had no idea where our hotel was. I had a brilliant idea of asking at another hotel, and sure enough they were able to help me find the Balladins Confort Nord. Now I just had to follow their directions. After mostly good luck with a little bit of bad, we eventually found ourselves in the parking lot of the Balladins hotel.

We checked in and immediately went to bed. It was the end to a long, mostly fun day.

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