France Vl

8 Sept 2016

Ah Mes Amis,
Today was another day on the roadways so we ventured forth with courage up and “balls to the wall”, as my dear friends from our Iceland days will fondly remember from our foray into the Scottish countryside . Days of dodging lorries on one side, stone walls on the other and backwards round- abouts! Here on the southern shore of Lake Geneva all was calm. Just another day with Frenchmen trying to hitch a ride in my back seat. Driving here reminds me very much of my golf game. There is an open course in front of me but things seem particularly congested behind. Un mysterie, n’est pas?

We set out early to pick up Rob and Kim at the Geneva airport. One hour and thirty minutes according to Margaret Thatcher, so we gave ourselves an extra hour. She can’t be trusted but we would rather not confront her with it yet because we still need her.
The Geneva airport has a French side and a Swiss side. Really, can’t they just get along? Since in one week we will be returning our car to the French side but leaving from the Swiss side we thought that a dry run couldn’t hurt. Actually it was a much more emotionally painful experience than I had hoped for. Also, we were to pick Rob and Kim up on the Swiss side.
The guide book says to get the French side “Don’t follow signs for the airport!” This is not that surprising to us anymore because they also have speed limit signs that say “The speed limit is not 70 km/hr”, but don’t bother to tell you if that means it’s now over seventy or now under seventy. It all just creates a craving for French Fries. So we made several laps around the airport by not following signs for the airport, and after 40 short minutes of frustration made a wrong turn in heavy traffic and ended up at the unmarked French side of the airport, within driving distance of the rental car return if you started from there with a full tank of gas! Well that was easy! But I’m so……. glad we had the practice run.
Now we were just a little behind schedule but it was just a matter of plugging the airport address into the GPS and letting the old girl take us to the Swiss side. All sounds good, but she also seemed to be disregarding airport signs which initiated a different series of laps around the Swiss airport. By now you probably think we’re enjoying this. We’re late to pick up Rob and Kim and starting to wonder if the airport is actually accessible by car? At about this time, after Maggie has repeatedly rerouted our trip, she tells us that there is no such destination. Wait a minute, suddenly there is no Geneva Airport? At this point Susan’s tone of voice was not as warm and fuzzy as what I’ve become accustomed to. I delicately pointed this out to her and this part is true, she told me that she did have some German ancestry! Boy, get ’em near the homeland and it all comes out!
I can’t even recall how it happened now but we did reach the entrance to the airport only to discover that there is no sign for arrivals. We are becoming increasing later than planned, and perhaps a bit more agitated! After several more loops, and this is no joke, I had to turn in to the short term parking lot. From there Susan went to try and find Rob and Kim. I kissed her good bye, fairly certain that I’d never see her again, and wondered how to explain it to the children. Total driving time – 2 3/4 hours.
Within moments, from the shadows emerged three familiar faces. Now all we had to do was get out of the airport! I have searched for something useful from this experience that I could put in “The Travel Guide” and all I can come up with is:
1. Fly into London and drive.
2. Call a cab!

The remainder of the day was unusually normal. ( Is it possible to have unusual normalcy?). We stopped in Thonon Les Bains for lunch and walked a bit, then returned to the safety of our abode for a well deserved drink, which may have evolved into more than we deserved.

Rob pointed out to me that the lyrics I reported yesterday were not entirely correct. The corrected version is:
“They don’t wear pants on the other side of France
But they do wear shoes when they read the daily news”

I Fear there are more verses to come. For those of you with impressionable, young children or grandchildren, Rob has many such ice breakers that can serve them well if confronted with awkward silent situations.

C’est tout pour aujourd’hui. Or as they say in France,

Vas-y-molio! ………………………………..Easy tiger!


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