Road Trip Part 2
Thus far the road trip had gone well, but little did we know it would only get better from Bordeaux on. The next stop on our list was Nantes. I am not going to detail a lot about Nantes but I will say our apartment and the mechanical lifelike elephant were very cool and we had a nice “family” dinner in the apartment (thanks Sally).
After one night in Nantes, we headed to Mont St. Michel and Normandy the next day. The countryside on the way up to Mont St. Michel was nice, and the small country roads were a welcome change that reminded me of home. The colors of Fall had made it to Normandy and brought back the memories of Pennsylvania Falls passed. The most pleasant surprise was seeing Mont St. Michel on the horizon. The large island village/castle/church was really a sight; surrounded by mud flats at low tide and ocean at high tide it is always changing. On the island there are forty-four people who currently live there. It consists of a small village at the bottom and a cathedral/castle at the highest part. The nicest part was getting into the castle free because we were students. I will post a few photo sets of just Mont St. Michel after this post.
Happy with Mont St. Michel we threw our heaviest coats on and headed to Bayeux (it is extremely cold in Normandy). After some more country driving we made it to the small town of Bayeux. Bayeux is the kind of town you would want to grow old in. The populace is very friendly and welcoming, and the shops remind one of times long gone. There is a huge and beautiful cathedral in the center of town that is my favorite church to date. The first night in Bayeux we went and tasted cider and calvados (apple brandy), which were both very good. Our hotel room was an interesting royal blue and gold, furnished in a 70’s style so as you can imagine it was “one of those rooms” and it four people to a bed again.
The next day was spent at Omaha Beach and the U.S. Soldier Cemetery. As a little history for all you non-patriotic, Communist, hippies (just kidding) Omaha Beach was one of the main American landing beaches for D-Day on June 6, 1944 and was the beginning of the liberation of Europe during World War 2. Anyway, we were fortunate to have a sunny day in Normandy (rarer than Bigfoot and a Unicorn combined) so I was able to get some nice pictures of the beach and cemetery. The beach was beautiful but it was sobering being in such a place, not sad, just this strange feeling knowing that this beautiful peaceful place was once a horrendous battlefield (sorry got a little deep there). The cemetery was very well kept and a great tribute to the men and women who had served. I will dedicate photo uploads to the beaches and the cemetery.
After one more night in our hotel it was time for the nine hour drive back to Aix. Not much to tell here really, we made it back okay. MOST IMPORTANT THOUGH……….THE TOYOTA MADE IT OK!!!!!!!!!!
(NOTE: more pictures from the trip below this post!!!)
Thanks for reading about the trip and sorry for taking so long to update in between posts. I have to detail my travels in Morocco and my trip with my sister, Kasey, in Paris and also my upcoming trip to Amsterdam. My time here is coming to an end very shortly (t-minus three weeks) and it is a very bitter sweet feeling. Thanks to everyone who has been checking in consistently, hang in there for a little bit longer as I complete my trip.
As always, miss and love everyone back home and have a great Thanksgiving!
Road Trip (Part One)
Hello Everyone! I am back from the road trip with plenty to share. Everything on the trip went well and driving in France was a fun experience. Fortunately, we got the car back without any damages and we all had a great time. To split up the reading I will be doing a two part update on the trip because there is so much to say and it is more convenient for me. Anyway, we hit the road on Friday, October 25 for our first stop, Carcassonne.
(the Toyota Auris)
After not driving for two months and starting off in Aix’s traffic it took some time to remember how to drive, but I eventually got back into the swing of things, and after a few small directional hiccups we made it to Carcassonne. Carcassonne itself is a small town, that by itself did not have much to offer, but there is a large medieval village located in the city. The village was very “touristy” but the large walls and moat were something cool to see.
We did not have much time to spend in Carcassonne because it was off to Toulouse that same evening. I’m not sure how the drive to Toulouse went because I slept (thanks Sally), but we made it there ok. Toulouse was a neat city. The night life seemed active and the interesting building architecture and small canals that ran through the city all made it seem like comfortable place. Our first hotel was here and it was small but nice. We decided to relax this night, so we had a grocery store dinner in the room. It was nice to unwind with some cheese, wine, and good friends. The next morning we explored the city and took in some of the local flavor. Toulouse was a very nice town overall and I would definitely go back. Soon enough we had to head out, for Bordeaux was calling our names.
(Night one dinner)
The trip to Bordeaux presented a new challenge, getting gas. Since this was our first experience doing this we made plenty of mistakes that were only multiplied by the less than pleasant gas station attendant. At some stations you pump then pay (I know right? How weird). We did not do this, which brought us far more pain than necessary. I will not bore everyone with the details but we almost paid 66 euros for 44 euros worth of gas. After this hour long hiccup we finally got back on the road.
(The great gas station in question)
Eventually we made it to Bordeaux and our lovely room at Hotel stars. This room was a piece of work. With four people sharing ONE double bed (aka two singles pushed together) the room itself was not the only problem. After settling in to the hole in the wall that was our room we headed to the entirely too American restaurant Buffalo Grill. I will not go into more detail about these places, I’ll just let the pictures talk.
After the first night in Bordeaux and a questionable bus ride into the city we had a bad taste in our mouths. This was soon changed once we began exploring the city because Bordeaux it a beautiful city with a lot to offer in terms of culture and sights to see. From the many churches to the views along the river Bordeaux did not disappoint.
We had a wine tasting and chateau tour later that day just outside of the city. For those of you who do not know, Bordeaux is known for some of the best wines in the world. The tour was interesting and the wine was great. We learned the process of wine making and how to properly taste wine, which is information I will definitely use later on in life (insert sarcasm).
After a long day in Bordeaux, it was time to head back to the living horror movie that was our room and then off to Nantes and Normandy the next day……….
Here is a little sneak peak of things to come….
That is it for part one of the trip. I will be back with second and my personal favorite part of the trip, Normandy, Mont St. Michel, and Bayeux.
Stay tuned everyone!