An Unexpected Side Trip

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Flag of France  ,
Thursday, May 12, 2011

Germany is behind us and we're on our way to Paris.  We hadn't planned to come here since we have been to France before and we were sure that we would come back some day, but due to a coincidence Jacki's brother in law Michael was in Paris for work right when we would be passing though.  The timing worked out perfectly and Michael's family is from France and he speaks French fluently so it will give us a different experience than we've been able to have so far.  When we left Frieberg this morning it was raining and it continued for most of our train ride.  It was a long travel day.  We left our hotel before 9am and didn't get to Paris until around 3pm.  We were exicted to be here though.  France has always been one of our favorites and Jacki says Paris is her favorite city in the world.  Once we finally made it to town we went to meet Michael at his mom Michelle's apartment which is a little ways out of downtown but still accessible from the train portion of the metro system called the RER.  Michelle had let us stay at her apartment a few years back when we went to Paris soon after graduation so we knew the area decently well and found the apartment fine.  We rang the doorbell for "Shuey" but there was no answer and we figured we beat Michael there since he had a meeting with Air France that morning.  We went to a cafe down the road and got re-acclimated to being in France.  It was surprisingly difficult to convert over.  Jacki speaks decent French and I know a few words after 3 years of it in school, but for some reason we were struggling more than places where we spoke very little of the local language.  It might have been that we were trying too hard or were just excited, or maybe since surprisingly few French people know any English compared to most places we've been.  Anyways, after a while it sunk in that we were here and we relaxed and headed back to the apartment.  Michael found us waiting outside, he had been at his Uncle's Denis' apartment in the next building.  We went in to visit with his family, who are absolutely awesome.  Teddy was the only one there when we went in, he is in his last year of High School and was studying for his final exams which I guess are extremely difficult and take weeks of preparation.  Later, Michael's Aunt Alice came home with their daughter and eventually their other son, Jeremy, came home.  They are the most friendly people we have ever met and welcomed us in like we were part of the family.  Michael had to translate a lot for us, but everyone seemed to communicate well.  Denis was unfortunately working late so we didn't get to see him, we had to leave around 7ish since we had a 5 hour drive in front of us.Michael had rented a car, a Peugot 5008, and we were heading west to Brittany were Michael's great Aunt Tata and Uncle Michele live.  We had to navigate our way through downtown Paris avoiding the highways since the rush hour traffic has them backed up for hours.  Eventually we made it through and were on the main highway west.  We stopped for dinner in Le Mans at a fast food place called Quick which is supposed to be the French alternative to McDonalds.  Le Mans was a little out of our way, but since Michael knew I liked racing he took the sidetrack to the famous racing city.I drove from there until we had to get off the highway in Brittany.  Driving in France was a little weird at first, getting used to the signs and the rest of traffic, but it was fun.  By the time we made it to Michele's, in a small town near the coast, it was well after 1am.  Michele was still up and we hung out a little while before heading to bed and Michele tried out the night vision goggles that Michael had brought him so that he could see the dog, Dilan, at night.  We took the upstairs room so that Jacki could avoid an allergic reaction from the cat.  It's a great little house though, about as French as you can get it.  As are Michele and Tata.  We slept well, exhausted from our long travel day.
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