I landed in Paris way too late due to the Icelandair delay, so I missed Nicolas and had to follow plan B (a hotel in the north of Paris). I had remembered to bring some euros with me (25 Ɛ), but it was not enough, so I tipped my lady driver generously in dollars, and had a very nice half-night of sleep. By the way, the drive through Paris at 1 am was very nice, but had the lady not had a GPS I am not sure we would have ever reached the hotel. Talk about a city full of cut offs and cul-de-sac!
In the morning I got in touch with Geraldine, and we finalized plans for meeting in three days. Afterward I headed for the train station on foot, enjoying the scene of seeing
Paris wake up. It was the time for kids to
get to school, so I kept looking for Madeline and her friends (you never know,
stories might come through). Anyway, I made it with no problem to
Paris-Montparnasse, with plenty of time to take the Train de Grand Vitesse
(TGV) to la Dordogne (in the southwest of France). I was looking forward to a
ride in the Bullet-Train, but the views of the beautiful French countryside
were not as beautiful because I could barely see anything because of the
goddamned trees! Really! Do they have to have trees everywhere? There is
something to be said for unimpeded views of the countryside, you know? Ask any
Icelander about it.
By 4:00 pm I had arrived to Perigueux, rented a little Fiat (with a sunroof), stopped at the tourism office, and after the initial confusion was happily away traversing one of the most beautiful regions of France. The only problem is that I had forgotten to print the precise location of the hotel where I had reserved three nights, so I had to go on trial and error. The first hotel I stopped in told me they had no reservations for the night, but were kind enough to let me use their internet to find where I had made reservations. Aha. It was L’Ecluse, on the other side of town.
L’Ecluse is … wow. I don’t think I have ever stopped at a most beautiful place. It is a small chateau, by the side of the river, in the most beautiful setting. It is three stories high, and my room is in the third floor (the garret, really). It is nice and roomy (certainly for European standards), and my window faces the river. The day has been very sunny, however, so the garret was hot!
I had dinner at the restaurant in the base floor (a delicious dish with lamb riblets), but to my dismay my new crown got loose. Rats! I think I will go to the local version of Home Depot tomorrow and buy some heavy duty foundation glue to cement it into place.