Monday, July 16, 2012

We made it!

 We made it!  We arrived safely in Orange, France, in the northern most area of Provence, after a daunting nine and a-half-hour drive.  We can't say we weren't warned; good friends assured us that we would get lost driving in France.   But we didn't imagine that we'd get lost just getting out of town!  Sarlat is not on the main road, but it shouldn't have taken more than thirty minutes to get onto the main road.  Instead, we wandered around for a good ninety minutes, feeling more and more silly, trying to "get out of town."   We did get out of town, but not out of the immediate area.  It seemed at first that all roads led back to Sarlat.  Then finally we got away from Sarlat and saw a lot --and I mean a lot! -- of scenic French countryside before we finally hit the highway.  I will just say that the GPS that was so helpful getting us out of Paris was really terrible in navigating the country roads.  And we had only a basic map, a default we rectified as soon as we found a place to buy a big book of road maps.

Then it was smooth sailing for a couple of hours on one of the fabulous French autoroutes until we hit rain.  Rain?  Where did it come from?  The weather report had assured us it would be clear.  No matter; there was quite a bit of rain off and one for hours.  We dealt with it, but it slowed us down, as did the heavy traffic near Lyon and St.-Etienne (we had taken the north eastern route, not the south eastern route).   What should have been a six hour drive turned into almost ten hour one, with just a few quick bathroom/sandwich stops.

The good news was that we all remained calm and in good humor.  Ben and I are a very good team in the car, which we proved again yesterday by not biting each other's heads off.  The boys were especially good travelers, sleeping, listening to their ipods, and watching movies they had downloaded onto the ipad, and only occasionally announcing to us that the drive seemed to be taking a long time.

When we did arrive in Orange and were eating dinner in front of the great Roman theater there, celebrations were in order!

We've had a good night's sleep and a good breakfast and will soon head out to the Pont du Gard, the main reason we made the long drive down here.  

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