Mechanical

A Blanket Apology to Parisians

I only have time for a quick update as we're leaving the hotel soon. These are just rough notes.

On Friday, Paul and I headed to Dover, took the ferry to Dunkirk (northern France) and because he doesn't like toll roads, the route he chose took us through Belgium and Luxembourg. I was checking the map and that's when our plans went to hell. I noticed, to my surprise, that we were close to Perl, Germany. Only being a half hour away, we traveled there and stayed in a lovely hotel. I must say that the internals of Perl as far lovelier than I imagined (if that made no sense, it's because it's an awful geek joke).

The next morning, Paul had reprogrammed our trip on his GPS unit for our new route and we had breakfast in Germany, lunch in Switzerland, and dinner in Pisa, Italy. Yes, there will be photos (much later!). Switzerland charged us 30 euro highway tax just to enter the country, even though we'd only be there a couple of hours.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is incredible. We climbed to the top on the next day and as I took photos, a young woman walked into view. Taking photos of crowds is one thing, but if I focus on someone, it's nice to ask. So I did, but she didn't answer. She merely struck a rather provocative pose. She loved the camera and I have a few shots of her and many of Pisa.

We then drove to Livorno, Italy, only to find that we had missed the ferry to Corsica. Annoyed, we said "screw it" and drove straight to Nice, France, where I'm typing this update.

We'll be on the ferry to Corsica at 2:30 pm (local time) in a few hours.

At this point I need to offer a blanket apology to all Parisians. After having visited Paris once, I proclaimed the Parisians the worst drivers in the world. They're not. The Italians are. Paul would often be driving at 130 kph and Italian drivers would race past us. In fact, speed limits were routinely ignored, red lights constantly run and at one point, a woman pushed her car through a pedestrian crossing full of people and they just jumped out of the way. No cussing or anger. It all seemed to be expected.

The trip from Livorno to Nice was quick, though. Paul hit 190 kph more (about 120 mph) than once -- and he was keeping up with traffic.

So basically, we covered seven countries in our first two days. Not bad. Not bad at all. I am, however, looking forward to relaxing in our villa. It even has a heated pool.
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I've heard that about the Italians from several people. A friend of mine was over there on a business trip and caught a cab from a train station - the car was pointing the wrong way but, instead of turning the car round, the driver reversed several blocks into oncoming traffic, without batting an eyelid, while my mate almost had heart failure at all the near misses.
I must say that the internals of Perl as far lovelier than I imagined (if that made no sense, it's because it's an awful geek joke).

How did it compare to Erlangen? :-P
The 30 euro "tax" is a toll to use the Swiss motorways. It's valid for a year. You can avoid paying it by entering the country on a minor road.