Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bernie Saved The Day

I wanted to post this yesterday, but the internet service at the hotel wasn’t working until this morning. Hope to have another post up later in the day. Today the tour starts back up and we heard it was snowing earlier at one of the places we are heading. Should be an interesting week.

Today is Monday and I’m not sure I will be able to post today; but if not, I’ll just post this one a little late. We are in Pouzilhac and the internet service at the hotel is quite shoddy. I may have to take the computer out to the lobby and try there. If a post comes up on Monday then you will know that’s what I did; otherwise it will have to wait a day, hopefully not more than that.

I had dinner at the hotel last night – the chef’s special, which was a cut of steak, French fried and a salad. As I was eating I started thinking about that e-coli outbreak from the vegetables in Europe recently and wondered if that situation was ever remedied and please don’t let this lettuce be tainted. After the dinner, I had a crème Brule. It was all pretty good considering it was the first meal I had eaten in about 13 hours and was very hungry.

After dinner, I went back to my room to check emails and such and then got busy watching Without a Trace in French. It was apparently riveting to me because I couldn’t stop watching even though I only understood a word or two here and there. I kept looking out the window wondering when it was going to get dark. It was after 10 before the sun even started setting – very similar to how it was when I lived in New York. I fell asleep sometime around 10 if not a little before.

At three in the morning, I woke up and for some reason thought it was 6:00 a.m. Once I realized it was 3:00 and not 6:00, I tried to go back to sleep, but found it difficult. Finally around 4:00 with the help of my man Harry Connick, Jr., I was able to doze off. It probably helped too that I opened the window because I was hot. I slept until 7:00 which was when I had set the alarm on my phone. My phone is still on Atlanta time because it doesn’t work over here; but the alarm clock feature is still working, it just has to be set for Atlanta time – which was 1:00 a.m.

When I woke, I checked emails and perused the internet for a while and then my stomach started hurting. /I have no idea why, but I felt very nauseated and was sure that I was going to spend the day vomiting. The only thing I can think of is that I drank some tap water when I took my medicines and it was either that or some e-coli lettuce or tainted meat (the Alberto Contador theory as I will be calling it). At any rate, I’m done with tap water.

I took a shower at 8:00 and drug myself downstairs around 8:45 for some breakfast of which I ate only part of a fresh croissant and some yogurt and drank some San Pellegrino since it was all they had with bubbles. I went back up to the room and finished getting ready and packing up what was left out to pack. At 10:15, I went downstairs to check out and see about meeting the group. I found them easily and asked the gal who checked me in about getting some Euros – I still have none. She said to ask the guide who would be driving our group.

Katherine our guide for today only, gathered us all up. There are seven folks in my group. Rob and Joy, probably my parents’ age are from South Africa and are very nice people. Dee and Pat, a younger married couple who live in the Washington, DC area. I’m not really sure what their profession is, but I do know they have a 14 year old Maltese and she (Dee) is a vegan, but is being flexible on this trip. Finally, there is Bernie and Katherine (not the guide) who are from Toronto and are married He has tattoos on his legs and also some piercings and she looks to be quite a bit older than him. It’s an odd mix, but it seems to work. She is originally from England and they are both also nice.

We are traveling in a Mercedes Van that s BRIGHT yellow. The same yellow as the maillot jaune, which is the tour leader’s jersey for you non-cycling folks out there. I had asked Katherine about stopping at a bank and also told her I had not been feeling well. So, I sat by the door in case I needed to hurl. We drove from Lyon to Pouzilhac which took about three hours or so because of traffic. We stopped at a gas station along the way and grabbed some lunch. There were all sorts of sandwiches, etc. to be had. Right before we stopped, I was feeling the worst I had felt yet so I only bought a Sprite, a bottle of water and a package of crackers. I ate all the crackers and drank the entire Sprite. Before we got back in the van, Bernie gave me something for an upset stomach. I am not usually one to take medicines from a stranger; but this was still in the packaging and I would have done almost anything to get my stomach to quite hurting. Bernie said it might make me drowsy and indeed I started dozing off during the remainder of the drive to Pouzilhac, which sucks because this is beautiful country here full of many wineries and orchards.

We finally arrived at the hotel where we checked in and 30 minutes later met back up with Katherine who drove us to Pont du Gard, which is an old Roman aqueduct bridge built in 50 AD! 50 AD! That’s unbelievable. This bridge was gorgeous and it works better than modern day bridges which have been known to be washed away in the floods of this region which happen every few years. There were also some old olive trees which were beautiful that had been brought over from Spain. Originally planted in 907 (That’s 907, not 1907) they were brought over and replanted at Pont du Gard in 1988. While at Pont du Gard, I had a crepe. My stomach was feeling 100 times better thanks to Bernie’s drugs and I wanted something to hold me over until dinner; so, Crepe au Nutella is was – and I used my French to order! Yippee! I also got a Diet Coke – Coca-Cola Light – which was a lot sweeter than the Diet Coke to which I am accustomed and a Sprite in case I have stomach issues again soon and Sprite isn’t readily available.

After an hour or so at Pont du Gard, we headed back to the hotel which is where we are now. We are meeting up for dinner in about an hour, which will be here at the hotel. I’m anxious to see what we will be having. We are eating with another group tonight. I think they might be a small cycling group. I have a room to myself, which is nice because I figured I would have a roommate of some sort. Unfortunately everyone but me is coupled up so those of you think I still had wild oats to sew will be disappointed to know there are no single guys on this trip.

So, I guess that about sums up the day – started out sick but has ended much better, for which I am thnkful and said many prayers. We have yet to find a bank but hopefully will tomorrow. We apparently need to be in a bigger city for the currency exchange. In the meantime Katherine, the guide, lent me 50 Euro. We have a new guide, Natalie, coming in tonight and Katherine is going with the non-cycling group that starts tomorrow. I’m sad about this because Katherine is very cool and fun. She looks a lot like Janice Jennings too for those of you who know Janice.

We had dinner at the hotel which was pasta and chicken and the dessert was an apricot tart with a cream sauce which was really good. Dinner wrapped up around 9:30 and I immediately went to bed in order to get a good night of sleep in preparation for our Tuesday which includes Tour watching and a long drive to Pinerolo, Italy. Hope to be back with you soon… until then… Au revior!    

The bathroom at the hotel

Towel Warmers!

Hotel Room in Pouzilhac

Sitting area off of my hotel room

Pont du Gard

Me at Pont du Gard


Erika said...

I can tell it must be absolutely beautiful there.
I am SO glad Bernie had some medicine for you! Hopefully that will be the last of any sick spells.
Have fun - can't wait to hear about more adventures!

Jackie said...

Beautiful pictures!!! Um was there a toilet in that bathroom?
just fyi Huntsville has one of the best water filtration system in the usa so your stomach probably couldn't handle what they serve as water over there, good call on bottled water stuff!! I am a freak about that stuff.

Matt said...

I demand to know the URL of the other blog where you're posting your wild drunken exploits in the streets of France.

Anonymous said...

I love this picture of you by the bridge. Enjoy reading about the beautiful country and the food you are eating.
No more tummy problems, please.
Get better,
Jan Bell

Kimberly Washer said...

Just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about you, but since I have moved to a different position at work I don't have the time like I did before to read. I am catching up though!!! I have enjoyed the France trip thus far...can't wait to read more :)