Sunday, August 18, 2013

L'autostop en France: Orléans

As we flew into Paris we noticed a lot of trees and fields out of the window. And not really a lot of city. Or, well, any city. Our suspicions that we may not be in Paris were confirmed upon arriving when we discovered that Paris-Beauvais is actually about an hour north. Given that hitching doesn't really require you to catch buses or connections this affected us... not at all. It was just a surprise. We got outside and began hitching and got picked up by the first car to go past!

Now I speak French, but when I say that I mean I can communicate sufficiently in French rather than I can write elegant sonnets in French. Also, at this point I was very sleep deprived, a little hungover, and I hadn't needed to rely on my French in 5 years. So suddenly I was telling the driver "We want .... to go.... to... Paris". Much else was beyond me. However, she was lovely and let the weird, semi-mute tourists get in. Also rest easy, my French improved rapidly over the next week though I still managed to ask a trucker if he had a husband and tell some French guys that I wanted to do something dirty to Eleanor - I'm still not 100% sure what the thing was!

Top tip for hitchhikers: if you don't plan to stay in Paris, DON'T GO TO PARIS. It is near impossible to get out of and at one point we thought we'd just be stuck there. If you do go, use the public transport to get to the ring road. A businessman eventually took pity on us and drove us to the ring road whereupon we got a ride pretty quickly.
 The night before at Peter's we had made some last minute requests to couchsurfers so we had somewhere to stay in Orléans! He met us just by the train station which excitingly and unexpectedly had a piano!
 In Orléans we did very little. We had some dinner, used the internet, went out for a drink with some friends of our host and then made our way, via some pretty buildings, to Royan the next day. Thus this is a very short post and here are some pretty buildings and scenery.

The first of what was to be quite a few churches

The first of many carousels we found in France.
The Loire

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