Thursday, June 26, 2014

Road Trip to Caen

Wednesday 18 June
Up at 7 and out of the flat by 8. *whimper* I head to a cafe to get some breakfast and kill time before I have to meet my carshare at 11:30. I spend my time searching for places to stay once I leave Caen. I've learned my lesson, it's no fun to spend the whole trip panicking over where I'm going to go next. 

All the essentials: croissant, espresso, and orange juice. Oh and the wifi password. 

I get a text from my carshare saying he'll be at the meeting place at 11. This French phone was a great idea and makes organizing a meeting way easier. I head to the corner and wait, hoping that I'm in an obvious enough spot so that he can find me easily. A car pulls up and we sort of look at each other, then he waves so I know it's my guy. His name is Pierre, traveling to visit his uncle for a week, and he's 19. He apologizes for his English, but we manage to communicate during the 7 hour drive. Pierre explains that it will take so long because the highway is really expensive with tolls, so everyone takes the smaller roads. This means that ever 500 meters or so we're going through another village. After a while we agree going slow through so many villages that they're no longer cute and have become an irritant. 

We took a lunch break in Beauvais and did a little sightseeing. 

They were working on the stability of the church. 

Back in the car we get onto a highway and pull up to a toll. As we're about to pull through, a lady in a customs uniform walks to the window, talks to Pierre and motions over to a parking area. I haven't got anything illegal in my bag but all I can think is "GAH I'm going to French prison!". Haha. After a search through the car and the bags we're allowed through. 
I'm told that since that road is a major highway from Amsterdam, they routinely check cars for drugs. Then we hit some traffic and get slightly detoured in Rouen but finally we make it at around 6pm. 

I say goodbye to Pierre and call Julian to let him know where I am. While I'm waiting, a tour bus pulls in and parks right by me. I see there is a sign in the window that says 'MSU Group' and I think "no way what are the odds!". The kids start pouring out and one has a Detroit Lions t-shirt on so I have to ask "are you guys from Michigan?!". They look at me with shock, "YEAH". They're on a study abroad visiting all the World War II sites for just over a month, then some are going to travel longer with friends. 

Julian picks me up and takes me to his house. It's another beautiful night so we chat on the patio over dinner and a beer. I mention that I want to see Omaha Beach and a calvados distillery, and Julian remembers that he went to one near the beach! Perfect. After checking the train and bus schedule I have a plan for tomorrow and we call it a night. I'm overjoyed to discover that even though Julian has to leave at 8am, I can sleep as long as I'd like and can leave whenever. Ahhhh sleep. 

PS: 20 days in and look how organized my bag still is!

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