Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Driving in France.... wow!

So when you read the "fast facts" section on the first page of the France piece in the Lonley planet it states.
Famous for:
3_the Eiffel Tower

We picked up the car in Biarritz airport with all the enthusiasm to drive around France having a great time, this lasted 2 minutes. I stalled the car twice leaving the car park and was already in a sweat. Basically i could not get used to having all this car on the right of me, my GPS (jess) was doing her best to remain calm as i was almost side swipping parked cars and curbs. The gear changes were clunky and i had know idea of cars around me as i was not looking in any mirrors, only straight ahead trying to focus on approaching roundabouts and avoiding pedestrians. Jess has already spoken about night 1 in the car so i wont go into it too much but it was very hairy and f*ck was the word of the day.

Point to car makers; no need to install indicators in cars being sold in France... they dont use them.

Day 2 was getting better , we got out of the small beachside town and onto the open road, it takes a minute or so to get the flow going again of the wrong side of the road and off we go. Once on the motorways the french get alot better, they all stay to the right when flying along and only go out to pass at 150km hr. I have to say it does not take long to get used to humming along at 140/150 km hr. I was improving.

Over the next few days of driving around France i really was enjoying it , it was a bit of a challenge but i have always loved a road trip and we were doing what we had planned , to drive around country france and have a great time. I am only mentioning this now as we have returned the car to the rental place and its public transport from now on . On the second day we came past an accident where a car had left the road and had tumbled down into a field and looked like it had rolled a number of times... it was f*cked. The day after on the motorway we came upon an accident where a car had hit the guard rail and had flipped and landed on its roof about 50 meters further on, still on its roof... it also was f*cked. Two very sobering moments.

On the final driving day we had a 3 hour drive into Paris a city not renound for great driving. We took the motor way all the way into the center and then it was game on! My GPS was doing a great job as i was darting all over the place trying to stay on track on roads with no lanes and scooters and pedestrians everywhere. We finally found where we needed to be , maybe not the most direct route but with no damage to ourselves or Leon (the car).

Driving in France was a crazy experience , not as crazy as the bulls, but alot of fun. If anthing, maybe me using an indicator at a roundabout surprised a couple of Frogs!

Adam ( Dick Johnson).

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