Tuesday, August 10, 2010
By the seashore - you mean sur la plaaaaaage...
Yesterday morning (WOW, it seems like longer ago than that!) we left Madrid, later than planned, of course (so, kind of planned, since I was expecting that?), and drove to Hondarribea. It’s a small seaside town on the Spanish-French border. French people come over by boat to eat, and Spaniards take a boat to use French beaches. A fair exchange.
We met one of Miguel’s work mates, who was there on holiday, there, for some pinchos and of course ice cream. He gave us a quick tour of the old town, which was quite lovely, and then we were off for four more hours of driving. Luckily, the French have fabulous highways (you pay for it...but they are REALLY good), and the drive to La Rochelle was easy despite the many kilometres.
Our hotel in La Rochelle had a lot of character, and the staff were wonderful. French people DO understand tourists who speak to them in French, honest! The receptionist recommended a nice little restaurant near, but not in, the main tourist zone. I had fresh oysters, which I LOVED, a mussel and shrimp curry casserole, salmon (it came with a HUGE “side” of pasta, of which I ate only the fresh tomato pesto sauce, because the salmon was also huge), and pineapple cake for dessert. YUM!
Breakfast today was very French: a croissant, coffee, juice and half a baguette each. YUM again! We ate by the harbour. La Rochelle is beautiful, definitely worth visiting again.
Today we drove through the Loire Valley (we stopped to see Chateau Chambord – gorgeous!) and then North to Reims. We were so close to Paris that it hurt! I could see parts of it from the car window. I know I wouldn’t have been able to stop just for dinner or an hour, though, so best to save it for another time. I love Paris!
Now I am happily heading to bed in a hotel near Notre Dame de Reims, a beautiful cathedral in...Reims.
Tomorrow we are “only” driving around 400 km. Yay!