Sunday, December 16, 2007

Travel Tales & a bit of cooking

We started our journey to England for the holidays on Thursday morning. We had great weather for the trip; sunny & crisp. The car was packed to the gills what with us, Rupert, lots of wine, Christmas presents and What seemed to me to be Linda's entire wardrobe. Off we went.

Near Chateauroux we decided to take a Western route via Rouen instead of our normal route via Paris. Mistake! All went well until we hit Rouen at rush hour. It turns out that the route wasn't all auroroute as we thought, but went through an industrial area with lots of traffic lights. Very very slow. It was 18:30 by the time we got out of the congestion. We stopped so Roop could do his stuff & Linda could call the hotel to tell thm we're running late. The room was fine, but she was told the the dining room closed at 20:30. Gulp! we were 228 kilometers from the hotel & very hungry and fog patches were developing. OK, off we went at a great rate of knots (I hit 160 kph quite a lot of the time) fortunately the traffic by now was very light. We took our autoroute exit for the hotel at 3 minutes to eight. We'd travelled just over 1,000 kilometers. Safe for dinner we thought.

Mistake! I'd printed off detailed maps of exactly where the hotel was, but we still couldn't find it. After wandering a bit we called the hotel again & got directions. Turns out that Google maps had it wrong. The street address for the hotel came up in the wrong village. Even though by now we were really late the hotel had saved a meal for us. A cold meat plate folowed by a sauteed chicken dish followed by a nice cheese plate followed by an excellent creme caramel. Not haute cusine, but good & satisfying.

After a good sleep & breakfast we're off to the channel tunnel. Now, as you may know the English have a thing about dogs. Thus we had to report to the Animal Control Center building with Rupert and his passport. (before we left home he'd been examined by our vet, given worming pills and a shot) So, he gets his chip read Ok, but on his passport it turns out that although the vet has stamped it for his rabies booster shot she hasn't signed it. Big problem. On his vaccination record she has both signed & stamped the shot. The French official says he will FAX copies of both documents to England and then get permission to let him in even though his paperwor is not quite right. He does this then starts calling his collegue in England & calling & calling. The guy is not answering. Nearly an hour goes by. What if they won't let him in? Disaster! Finally the French official (who by the way has been very friendly, encouraging & helpfull throughout) sends the guy a fax asking him to call him immediately. This works and much to our relief we're cleared and off. In the end we were only 20 mnutes late, because originally we were very early. You've just got love this bureaucracy?

The trip acroos England to the kids house is easy, no bad traffic, even the dreaded M25 is lear, and we arrive in good shape to a warm welcome and a nice meal. Gosh, but the Grandkids are really getting grown up.

The next day Louise & I decided to make cassoulete for dinner, but that's another post!

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