France V

7 Sept 2016

Un autre jour au paradis!

Have been keeping rather late hours and Susan let me sleep in until after 9:00 this AM which may have happened only one other time in about 40 years. There is no better way to get up late and enjoy a cup of coffee than to open my recent e-mails. Your responses to my ramblings are equally as entertaining as any food for thought that I’m putting out there! Thank you! Scott, a few people have now suggested that I create a blog, which I haven’t an inkling of an idea how to do, but Susan has been busy searching for possible domain names and as luck would have it, “” is available! My good fortune has no bounds! And Tom – You have spent much more time in France than I have. Where is the nearest auto-body shop? I seem to have had one very minor encounter with a very large French rock!

Today was the day we finally decided to get some exercise. It’s been a week since our sweet ,young, Body Pump nazis have “tenderly” guided us through their “hour of hell.” Other than some hiking, which at moments did take our breath away, our exercise regimen has consisted primarily of about 1000 reps a day with a fully charged wine glass, and rabidly tearing apart a baguette with tooth and claw. So we went for about a half hour run with lots of panting, gasping, etc. past the cows of yesterday certain that we were simply not adjusted to the altitude. Today the flies were no problem, which Susan explained was due to the fact that the vapors being released from the burn off of our high blood alcohol levels were a potent repellent. Another valuable tip for the guidebook!
As an aside, we mastered the fuel pump and calculated that gasoline here runs just over $4.00 per gallon and that’s for diesel, the cheap stuff! So I recommend, oh you lucky Americans, that you go out tonight and drive around the block as fast as you can. Of course, the trade off is that the wine here is good ,and cheap. So we park the car and drink. Despite the way it sounds, I have NOT been drinking and driving. Driving itself is adventurous enough.

So after showering, we were out the door by the crack of noon for the next appointment with our future. Primary mission – acquire the Swiss driving permit. We headed east again to the border crossing at Gingolph but stopped along the way for a lakeside cup of coffee and watched a swan devour a school of little fish. As you can see we’re under intense time pressure. This bolstered our spirits for our encounter with the Swiss guard. Interestingly, they do not stop you at the border crossing so as in the past we were into Switzerland and well on our way with no knowledge of where to obtain the object of our desire. I determined that we should turn around and further develop our search. I did this in such a fashion that the ire of my navigator was more than slightly aroused and the nice Brittish lady was rapidly repeating “Rerouting your destination!, rerouting your destination!” She can be a bit of a nag. Did I mention that the one way streets are very poorly marked? All was going smoothly so I hopped out and asked an elderly couple for their input. Their input was all in German! It is necessary to stop and point out to you that this is all taking place under a beautiful deep blue sky, in clear mountain air with towering peaks, lake, forest and field all around. People actually get to live here! …….So we returned to customs and were eventually, blind folded, escorted to an underground bunker and allowed to purchase our windshield sticker under oath that we would not disclose the location to other tourists. Of course I exaggerate, there was no oath! This being our third, but successful attempt, we are fairly certain that the Swiss government has much more interest in imposing heavy fines than in selling a $40 permit.

Once in Switzerland we proceed to Montreux, yet another city with a gorgeous lakefront lined with restaurants, shops and cafes. To be succinct, while here we bought Swiss cheese, Swiss wine, Swiss chocolate, a Swiss army knife, a Swiss watch, opened a Swiss bank account and picked up a cuckoo clock (Tom’s suggestion) on the way out of town.

It was a good day. There are many more angry French drivers tonight and I did not spare the Swiss!

Tomorrow , the tenor of our time here may change. My brother Rob and his wife Kim are joining us for our second week. They actually do know all the words to the songs in the Sound of Music, a knowledge acquired during the years in which their children starred in the Rotary Club Production in Batavia. So these hills may come alive. Rob has a mind like a steel trap when it comes to certain things and remembering lyrics to odd ditty’s is among his strong suits – he is not opposed to sharing this gift at the most inappropriate opportunity. I fully expect to hear, more than once:
“The girls, in France
I hear they wear no pants!”
He may also endear himself to the locals by inquiring of some “jeune fille” if there be truth in poetry?

As they say in France,
C’est brule………………………………..This is burnt!


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