Nice is a popular destination for honeymooners. The views are gorgeous, the beach is alluring, the food is delicious and the shopping is so very French. So it’s not surprising that a few of the people we have met along the way mentioned that they were stopping in Nice as part of their honeymoon. We met a fantastic young newlywed couple from Canada living across the hall from us in our airbnb apartment. It was wonderful to speak English and we enjoyed gushing about various wedding/love stories.
Our road trip on our last day in Bordeaux seemed to never start. We returned the scooter and walked the rest of the way to the train station to pick up our car. After arriving we realized our folly – no passport! So off we headed back to our apartment. We tried to grab a bus instead of hiking the 2 kilometers back but we got on the wrong one. Luckily, Google maps didn’t lead us astray and we made it back to the apartment relatively quickly. On the way I distracted us with the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine’s life. It was her marriage to Henry (later king of England) that brought Bordeaux wine to the fame it now enjoys. Walking the distance back to the train station I marveled at how far we have come in the first year of our marriage. Neither of us complained about the walk, no blame was placed on the forgotten passport, instead we just held hands and enjoyed our time together.
We weren’t expecting fireworks or any other sort of celebration of American Independence Day. So rather than plan the day around a BBQ or baseball game we rented a scooter and bumped along back county roads outside of Bordeaux, France. Miles and miles of vineyards passed us, the view occasionally obstructed by enormous chateaus and estate houses. Despite leaving Bordeaux with sunny skies and the promise of a nice day the weather started turning. As the dark – almost black – clouds rolled in, we scooted along searching for shelter. I’m not sure who saw it first but the 40 foot silver rooster perched on a small hill to our right seemed to call to us. Cock-a-doodle-doo he said, come in out of the rain and drink my wine.
Brian’s mother, Lois, arrived two days before we jetted off to Paris for a long weekend. We arrived early enough in the day that we were able to drop our bags at our fabulous airbnb apartment, and hit the grocery store, before making our way to a boat tour. As we cruised along the Seine I happily thought about my life goal of 12 years finally coming to fruition.
Well, three months in and we finally flew on the Autobahn. Â I say “flew” because there is no way that the wheels of our car were actually touching the road. Â I know that Brian is a good driver, and I have full confidence in his abilities, but that didn’t stop me from squeezing my eyes shut and keeping my hands folded in prayer for the majority of the trip. Â The Autobahn is just the German interstate system and, while some of it is marked down to 130 kph (80 mph) most of it has no speed limit. Â It works out though, because they mainly use trains for the transportation of goods so there are very few trucks on the highway (I think we saw a total of 5 in 400 miles). Â But let me back up, because the purpose of the trip was not to fuel Brian’s childhood dream, but rather a romantic getaway weekend.
Our adventure in Florence started with a flight from Vienna to Florence, with a not quite-so-great landing, but I guess any landing you can walk away from is a good one. Â After squeezing on a shuttle bus with very obnoxious Americans (not us) and their oversized luggage (again, not us) we picked up our smart car.
We spent 5 full minutes trying to figure out how to open the trunk only to discover that there wasn’t much of a trunk… Bonnie and I just looked at each other and simultaneously said something about being glad we only had backpacks because even those were hard to squish in. Â I’m surprised I fit in the car, but it was comfortable. Â So, off we went on our first driving adventure in Europe, through the countryside of northern Italy. Â We were confident in our printed Google directions, so when the attendant at the rental office asked if we wanted a GPS, we said “no, thanks”. Â I had my iPhone, and had purchased an EU travel Internet package on the train in Austria.