Okay so the night before we left Paris we arrived home to find mom and nana just arriving. (They hadn't made it to the church) They had closed the Louvre at 9 only to find that the metro station had closed too. They spent 3 hours walking home!
The next morning we were up, packed and checked out by 830am. Good timing we thought! We had rented a shuttle to get all of our bags and nana, barbie, mom kara and evie to the train station and we took the metro. Splitting up for coffee and other purchases we lost a little time. Arriving at the station there were 15 mins to spare but we couldn't find the shuttle. Then the machines would only stamp half our vouchers. A man handling our luggage stuffed it in a side door and told us to get on the train before it left us. Mom almost didn't make it trying to give him a tip. He was very helpful (and very cute) and didn't really speak english. Luckily the train left 5 mins late. We sat down harried high strung and ready for the 4 hour ride. I had bought bread and fruit so at least we had food! There was a very nice gentleman in our car who decided to play tour guide host and coleen became an inquisitor. We learned a ton of stuff about the train how to get around what to avoid etc. The land started to change from flat and green to hilly and green. Then we crossed a river and everything turned yellow and dry. Then we saw the sea! This is what I have always dreamed of...vineyards and red roofed, white washed houses with green shutters and flowering vines next to the sea. All was well till it was our stop. We got off and realized our bags were in a locked room behind our car. The train whistled its warning and Mom and Beth opened the engine compartment in a desperate attempt to look for our bags which promptly got the attention of the non existent coach men who yelled for them to stop. If this had not happened the train would have left us standing empty handed. Relieved we packed our stuff to the car rental agency only to find that (two drivers down) everything was going to be more expensive then we thought. A lovely women who knew as much english as I knew french tried to help us understand that we had to insure the cars. Either decline their insurance and reserve 50,000 Euro on your credit card OR "la petite" insurance for 14 Euro a day plus reserve 1600 Euro on your credit card (who has that kind of limit?) An hour and a half later we had 4 cars, 4 drivers and a car seat. Now if you think, whew its finally over you are regrettably wrong. Who knows where the map went that the helpful man gave us while teaching us how to drive our Euro cars. Try 4 american drivers trying to find each other on tiny streets, lots of traffic and pedestrians and bicycles and motor cycles splitting lanes and all the cars look the same! We finally put the bright yellow safely vests in our back windows and drove around and around the round abouts till we were all together and the lead car would figure out where we wanted to go. My car was me and mom. We basically just giggled the whole time. Lu's car had music pumped up real loud. Tawni had Barbie and Nana I guess there's had a bit of gasping with each entrance and exit of round abouts and splitting hairs with cyclists. Coleen and beths car was the lead car...so you can imagine how relieved we were when 2 hours after we left the rental car garage we finally left the little town of St Raphael! We followed the sea to St Maximes and headed inland. Here is were Beth slowed down and we caused a traffic jam. Imagine one lane divided into two with a steep cliff on one side and rocks and trees on the other as curvey as you can possibly imagine climbing up up up! We passed thru a beautiful town of La Garde F...something at sunset and we feel in love with Provance even after its not so welcome welcome. Arriving at our house we were welcomed with the customary bread wine meat and cheese platter which made us all melt onto the patio over looking the vineyard cheering and laughing about the entire escapade! Then we all changed into swim wear and jumped in the pool. I am still fighting a sinus headache so I went to bed after that.
2 days ago