The Plan (the whole Plan)
Day 7 : Mon 28 May : To Nimes, as our second "base"
A rather less successful day.
Well, it seemed to begin well. After his humiliating failure to conduct a conversation in Italian when checking into the Parma hotel on Day 2, Mark was determined to do better when bidding farewell to Italy. So he explained to the receptionist that he wished to pay not only for the room whose key he was proffering but also for room 320 (tre centi venti) whose occupants were taking the luggage to the car, so could we also have the car key back, please? The receptionist nodded. She understood. Mark swelled with pride. And then she replied in English. Grrr!
Anyway ... we went back up to the city walls and explored some of the forts in the rain. We drove down some very narrow passages indeed, once again testing Fred's lack of manoevrability.
And Mark, as ever, decided he wanted to take some photos from absurd places. Here he is climbing a fence beyond which there is a precipice and a 500 metre drop into Genoa. We took this photo in case we needed to explain to the insurance company or his next of kin...
But the serious business of the day - a long drive to France - followed. And it started to piss down with rain. We came off the motorway after about 80km to find somewhere to have a picnic lunch. But as we meandered slowly along coast roads, there was no sign of it slowing.
We eventually found a thoroughly undistinguished (but at least dry) place called San Remo close to the Franco-Italian border and had lunch at about 3.30. And so, realising that we needed to get a wiggle on if we were going to get to the hotel in Orange at a sensible time, we headed for the motorway. We crossed the border to France. And 300 metres later, we found this.
Miles of it. Completely stationary. In the end we got off the motorway and hacked through a dull (and curiously odorous) border town called Menton. Back on the motorway after about an hour of slow traffic in the town. Then a long hack along the Mediterranean coast to Orange. Ah well - we got there and they did us a perfectly reasonable steak when we arrived. And we would be back to sightseeing the next day.
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 Alert readers will note that Orange is not in the plan for today. However, all the hotels in Avignon, Arles and Nimes were full. Cue lots of puerile jokes about how they could squeeze us in, staying at an Orange Lodge, etc., etc. [Back]