Colmar has turned out to be a charming old town. Houses are still standing that were built in 1419. It is hard to imagine that. The American and British military were careful not to bomb the half-timbered old burghers’ houses, characteristic red and green tiled roofs, and cobbled lanes of Alsace’s most beautiful city.
We had breakfast this morning and then walked all around the old town of Colmar. When we left the hotel we told Lola and Barbara, who were still eating breakfast, that we would meet them where you catch the little tourist train but when we got there they weren’t there so we got on and rode around the old town. Then we got off and walked around more and decided to stop and buy some wine so we could use a toilet. As we sat there enjoying our wine another tourist train drove by and there were Lola and Barbara waving at us. Lola yelled for us to wait there for them and we did. When they arrived back we ordered lunch and continued to walk around the town. It was a very good day.
As we have been driving around France we have discussed the possibility that we may have to return the car in Paris a couple of hours late and we were worried that there might be a big charge if we did that. Lola has tried and tried to call the Europcar dealership in Paris many, many, many times. No one ever has answered. She has called the company in the U. S. and they say she must deal with the dealership in Paris. It has been extremely frustrating for Lola and all of us. When we were in Annecy we found a Europcar company and we all went in to see what they could do for us. The answer is nothing. Even the gal working there tried to call the Paris office and no one answered. Lola asked what would happen if we turned it in a few hours late and the girl couldn’t tell us. Then Lola asked what would it cost to keep the car one more day. Would you believe $1,700.00? We thought about it for about one second and say, “NO.” Anyway, it was very exasperating trying to deal with this car rental company. We will just return to Paris one day earlier than planned so we can turn the car in on time.
Checking out of the ****Best Western in Annecy this morning was fun. Susan and I checked out first and then Lola checked out and discovered they had charged her for our room too. So we spent another half hour getting credits for Barbara and Lola and then recharging them the correct amount. They also said Lola’s room had a 3 Euro charge for using the phone. Lola argued that she had used a phone card and their should be no charge. The hotel clerk finally waved the fee and we left.
It is Friday and we drove to Colmar, France. To get there we had to drive through Switzerland so we stopped and had lunch in the town of Kirchberg at a nice looking restaurant called Platanenholf. It was a great lunch but when we got the bill we had been charged 2 Euros each for water. We complained to the waitress and she said that in Switzerland everyone has to pay for water at a restaurant. I really doubt that. We paid but it sure was upsetting to have to pay 2 Euros for a plain glass of water.
I haven’t been on for a few days so I have some catching up to do. Thursday we drove through Sisteron, which has a huge fortress built into a mountain. Then we stopped in Grenoble to have lunch and later arrived in the delightful town of Annecy. It has a river and canals running through the center of old town. It is a very nice little town and well worth a visit.
The excitement that day was going through a toll and as we pulled up we noticed an elderly couple stuck and unable to get through. This was not a good omen. We pulled up to get a ticket and Susan pushed the button and no ticket came out. Again, panic set in. Cars were lining up behind us and Susan was pushing every button she could see. She pushed a button to talk to someone and then a ticket came out. Like I say, this is France.
I programmed the Garmin to take us to a hotel Rick Steves recommended. We followed the instructions and ended up on top of a hill at a private entrance gate. Angry, frustrated and exhausted we drove around and finally found a ****Best Western. Who cares what it costs? When in doubt go with what you know.
Barbara wants me to let you all know that one day we stopped to have lunch in a tiny little town. There were lots of trucks parked there so we felt it would be a good restaurant. It was okay but when we asked where the bathroom was the proprietor told us it wasn’t working so they had no bathroom.
Today started with a great breakfast in Hotel Le Mas des Romarins. Everyone in the room was American and that’s the first time that has happened. Three men were dressed in bicycling gear. They were biking through Provence. They were planning to bike 41 miles today.
Susan and I were enjoying our breakfast and Lola joined us and then Barbara arrived. As she was sitting down she said, “Something bit me.” We looked at her hand and it was already turning red and you could see a bite. Susan went to the room and got a benedryl and polysporin to put on her hand. Then Barbara noticed the wasp on the floor and Susan stomped on it. Dr. Susie saved the day.
We drove through the following towns: Menerbes, Bonnieux, Lourmaran, Vangines, Cacuron and Ansouis. It was a lovely drive. We headed toward Manosoue and on the way we saw a golf course that had a restaurant. That sounded great to all of us so off we went., It was Golf du Luberon. We had a very nice lunch (fettuccini with carbonera) and visited the pro shop. The man in the pro shop told us he had been to San Diego (Torrey Pines) and Las Vegas. He was happy to visit with us and gave us bag tags. We arrived in Manosoue and are spending the night. Susan, Lola and I walked to the old town and I took pictures.
This morning Susan woke up and went outside the hotel to smoke. As she was walking around the plaza a pigeon shat on her arm. Not really a good way to start the day. We had a great breakfast at the Hotel Forum and got in the car and headed east toward Avignon. We arrived in Avignon and parked under the Pope’s Palace. We took the elevator up and walked out into a beautiful plaza with the Pope’s Palace right there. We saw one of the little tourist trains getting ready to leave so we hopped on. It was the best 7 Euros we have spent on this trip as we rode around the village and saw the major sights. We walked around and then back into the car to drive further east. We drove to Roussillon and couldn’t find a place to park or the hotels Rick Steve’s recommended so we drove toward Joucas looking for a hotel. We ended up driving to Gordes and staying at a ***Hotel called Le Mas des Romarins. We went into Gordes and bought 3 bottles of wine, went to the patisserie and bought sandwiches on baguettes and three chocolate eclairs and some weird nut thing Barbara bought for desset. We then returned to our hotel and sat on the patio and drank our wine, ate our sandwiches and dessert. We could stand up and see the ancient village of Gordes, drink wine, and enjoy the company. We decided that life was good.