Entry 4: Le Pont d’Avignon and other Stories

Trip Start May 21, 2010
Trip End Sep 06, 2010

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Flag of Switzerland  , Lucerne,
Saturday, May 29, 2010

Number of miles: 1883
Number of U-turns:  0
Number of weird men encounters: 0

So this entry begins with a moan in the time-honoured fashion of one who writes into the Radio Times.

"Dear sir, I'm writing to complain about the state of parking in Avignon.  I drive a not overly large campervan and having driven round for 30 minutes and past 8 car parks, I gave up and left the city as I couldn’t enter a single one".  Rubbish.

So I nearly danced on the bridge at Avignon... Instead I drove under it but somehow “sous le pont d’Avignon” doesn’t have the same ring to it.  Not only that but I wasn’t even under the bridge at dawn.  Lyrically displeasing in two ways!  A disaster of a day!!

Despite my inability to re-enact song lyrics, I somehow soldiered on for the rest of the day.  It was tough but in the end, I got through the pain and drove to Annecy in the process.  I’ve only ever heard good things about Annecy and now I know why.  I think I may have found my favourite French town.  I fell in love with the place the moment I entered it – it has the most beautiful old buildings and, of course, the lake.  I could see myself giving up on the rest of the trip and just staying there for four months but thought better of it in the end – I’m definitely going back though.

From Annecy, I drove into Switzerland.  I’m actually quite sad to have left France but I suspect the French will be heaving a great sigh of relief as there’s now one less English person in the country butchering their language.  For someone with an A-Level in French, I’ve spent the past week doing a staggeringly good impression of someone that doesn’t speak a word of the language – just goes to show if you don’t use it, you lose it.

I’m now in the part of Switzerland that speaks Swiss German.  I was worried that the accent would be too difficult for me to understand (given that the Swiss pronounce nearly every letter differently to their German counterparts) however, so far, I’m getting the gist of what’s going on.  My only concern is that I’m going to get the giggles because the accent is actually hilarious.  I can’t explain it but it’s really funny...

Also, I’ve been here less than 24 hours and I’ve already committed several traffic offences that I know about and probably several more I haven’t found out about yet.  This is officially a very complicated country to drive in.  The most major one is that I neglected to pay the toll fees for driving on the motorway here but in my defence, I never intended to be on that motorway and if they will insist on colouring their signs the opposite way to the French, I’m obviously going to get confused... Still, I’m hoping from here on in, things will start to improve - unless of course, I’m arrested and then get the giggles when they are telling me off.

If no one hears from me after this entry, I’m in prison in Switzerland and any legal advice will be greatly appreciated...
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Dad on

Darling Zoe....Your blogs are fantastic - even funnier than your phone calls which I treasure... Love Dad x

Bev on

Dearest Zoe
I look forward with great anticipation to your next entry and love hearing what you are getting up to and the scrapes you encounter along the way. Have you made your fortune on the roadside yet? This must be what the RAC call 'roadside assist'. Take care, Bev.

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