Amsterdam – France

This is version two of this post as somehow version one got swallowed up into the ether.

We set off early in the morning to go by train to France via Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and then to Gare de Nord.

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We had plans to be in our accommodation by the middle of the afternoon.

Don’t count your chickens!

We had a window of fifteen minutes between our train arriving from Amsterdam and catching our next train to Amiens. Our train was fifteen minutes late. And security meant that it was difficult to move quickly across the platforms.

So – a wait of an hour and a half on the main station concourse. We were not alone. As well as the usual travellers there were suddenly over a hundred young people pouring through the station, banners waving, the kids shouting and waving their arms. We didn’t know what it was about. Police followed about 5 minutes later. Then all quiet.

Our trip to Amiens was uneventful. But then …

The Avis car rental office was closed despite a sign saying open hours 2 – 4. It was 3 o’clock. We tried phoning to no avail. Then a couple of young men approached. One phoned someone on our behalf and after a few minutes said we had to go to the Mercure hotel. We did. The receptionist denied any connection to Avis. Than she remembered there was an office around the corner.

Our car was there. Off we set. (No key – just a small electronic disc you push in and press a button.) We headed in the direction google had directed us to. Grande Rou. No road signs we could follow. The map seemed inconclusive. Finally at a T Junction we asked someone.He didn’t speak French but insisted we follow him. After fifteen minutes we were on a Grande Rou and a house that looked like the one I’d seen on the web. Euan disagreed.

The deal was we had to pick up linen at number 17 of the same street so we went there.

A very confused woman who spoke no English took us into her dining room, went through our papers and decided we were in the wrong village and we needed to cross the main road to another village that also had a Grande Rou. Lots of hand waving and following directions. Everyone we asked, helped us. The French we meet are not like the stereotype! Merci!

Then we set off again and got to Grande Rou in the village of Lavieville. We still couldn’t find the house and drove up and down a few times. The Grande Rou is very small – 100 metres! At last Euan spotted a small building off a courtyard inside a property. That was it. Bravo.

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Claude and Marlisle were there to welcome us and suddenly everything was all right.A few days later we were to meet their daughter Mathilde, an excellent English speaker.

We are settled into our very own chook yard. And there are chooks out the back laying eggs for us and inside there are poulet everywhere – the tablecloth, the calendar , the trays, the egg cups, the wall hangings – you name it, there’s a chook or chicken on it.





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