France 2014: Day Trip to Chateauroux

It all started off innocently enough. “Let’s drive up to Chateauroux.”

in Chateauroux

in Chateauroux

Great idea, but it became fraught with a triple whammy of complications:

1. Driving a different car for the first time (minor adjustment)

2. Driving on the wrong side of the road (major adjustment – as Australians use the left side, since we are one of England’s colonies)

3. Using our brand-new Tom Tom navigational system, which we had barely tried out in Melbourne, and suddenly we are supposed to know how to use it here. Fortunately the lady in the machine giving us directions kept her calm. At least that made one of us.

We can laugh now, but a couple of days ago it wasn’t nearly as funny. Dutchy has mastered the art of reversing. Taking wrong turns here is fairly easy, until you become accustomed to the way the signage operates. The arrows seem to point in a vaguely different direction to what you expect.

Before we even got onto the A20 to head up to Chateauroux the mood in the car became quite stony: his because he was not happy about turning the wrong way and having to reverse, and me, because of course I felt like I was unfairly getting all the blame. There and then I decided perhaps we shouldn’t be going on road trips together, when we had been having such a lovely time taking walks around Argenton, with no arguments. Trust a trip in the car to fuel a fight, or at least a stony silence.

However, we managed to get to Chateauroux safely, and even managed to find some free parking, due to the seasonal holiday of many businesses in France.

Dutchy with the car

Dutchy with the car

free parking this month

free parking this month

parking pay area

parking pay area

Coffee and cake, some retail therapy for me, with him tagging along helped alleviate the tension, and then a nice lunch at Patapain made the day improve further. I know which segment he preferred! We even broke our one-cake-per-day rule since it was our Big Day Out in Chateauroux, which is actually less than a half-hour drive from Argenton. It served as a good trial run to get to the station to pick up our Canadian friends in a couple of weeks.

Sandi at Patapain

Sandi at Patapain

tartelette aux fraises

tartelette aux fraises

Because the TomTom’s battery was running low, we had to find an auto shop to get a cigarette lighter connection, which he admits he didn’t bring to France. This was just outside Chateauroux near Brico Depot, a large hardware place similar to Bunnings, a home improvement DIY business. It took us a while to figure out they don’t seem to have actual driveways moulded into the kerb and channels. Rather, you just drive up over the shallow kerb, making it easy to miss the entrance to the place you want to go because there isn’t one. We managed to buy a cigarette lighter adapter, only to find that the cigarette socket in the car didn’t work when we plugged it in. Ah the joys of travel.

The old and the new in Chateauroux

The old and the new in Chateauroux

restaurant du theatre

restaurant du theatre

 

the boots I nearly bought

the boots I nearly bought

 

 

 

 

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One response to “France 2014: Day Trip to Chateauroux

  1. Canadian friends here: Had to giggle a bit on your latest blog post. Thought you and Dutchy were a bit more savvy when it comes to road tripping. This is 2nd nature to us, as we’ve been on countless road trips over the years. Europe is indeed an entirely different Animal ! Point: Ireland, back to back trips in 2 years. Canada was under the British Colony, then in the Early 80’s we came into our OWN ! Constitution, that is. I believe since we are border companions with the U.S.A. that we adapted to their way of driving on the right side of the road. So, when in Ireland, this was quite foreign to Daryl and me, and I insisted since we road tripped through Ireland, that we upgrade to an Automatic. Made our lives liveable and enjoyable throughout the trip. The roundabouts – a whole other Ball Game!

    In Italy last year, he insisted on a Manual (Standard) Car. And, boy oh boy. Do I know about that reversing process, because it has been years since he or I for that matter have driven a Manual car. We are actually thought processing now, about our 2nd trip back to France. Well, at least me: when we will rent a car, and ride where the roads take us… Ahhhhh !

    OH, I would have bought those boots… And, take more walks… lol. Can’t wait to see you and Dutchy. Going to be Fun !

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