So last week on my blog, I left my road trip story in Girona. My husband and I had been driving for a day and a half, and had the same again to do. When we woke for our Spanish breakfast, we talked over our route that day and decided to have lunch just outside Lyon, having driven through the Pyrenees and just North of the south coast of France. From lunch, we would head to Colmar - a town that I have wanted to visit for a long time now.
Our morning's drive was visually the most interesting we had had so far. The scenery was stunning and meant I didn't have to chivvy my monosyllabic husband into conversation or any silly car games. Indeed, I whiled away the time dreaming of future holidays and adventures to that area where days would be filled with bread, wine and cheese.
About 45minutes south of Lyon, when we had been driving for about three hours, our stomachs started to rumble. I looked up on the Via Michelin website for recommended restaurants not far from the motorway - I wanted to make sure we had as much daylight in Colmar for exploring. I found a place called Les Saveurs du Marche in a town called Vienne that had a tasty and good value lunch menu according to Michelin. When we arrived, we were welcomed in from what had turned into soggy weather by the charming owner. She was obviously onto a bit of gold mine. Les Saveurs Du Marche was full to the brim and it was a wet Thursday lunchtime. We were lucky to get a table.
We had a lunch of two halves. The lunch menu had two choices for starter and main, so we chose differently for each so that we could sample everything - not through greed, but through safety in case we chose something incorrectly through bad translations. My French is terrible and whilst my husband's is a great deal better, it isn't up to the standard of knowing names of fish or cuts of meat. Our starters were delicious. Our mains, one fish dish and one beef dish, were all yummy too, bar one aspect of the beef dish. Unfortunately, it was the beef part as it had an odd texture. After a short conversation with our French waiter, some sign language, wild gesticulations and, at times, embarrassing body part pointing, my husband and I deduced that we had eaten cows' nipples.
Back in the car, exceptionally full from a final course of yummy chocolate tart and tarte tatin, we made for Colmar which we made in reasonable time. Though we hit some traffic in and around Lyon, we did at least get to drive through the city which had originally been on our hit list. It looked very pretty and I hope to visit it properly one day. We booked into an exceedingly functional hotel for the evening, dumped our bags, and I pushed my husband out the door for exploring. Colmar is like a fairytale town and quintessentially pretty. Using the Michelin guide again, I found a restaurant called Le Frichti's near the canal that was modern inside whilst being sympathetic to the building's obvious history. Our food was experimental and exciting, and though it was expensive as a consequence, it was well worth it. We had a wine pairing menu which is always interesting and kept my husband entertained after I had dragged him round Little Venice for no other reason than to look at how pretty it was.
Having gone to bed with one three course lunch and one five course supper inside us, we woke for our final drive the next day with no intention of eating for 6 weeks. We bought a couple of croissants and some baguette sandwiches from a bakery local to our hotel just in case. In hindsight, this was extraordinarily lucky as, an hour north of Colmar, our 25 year old Land Rover broke down.
Followers of my Instagram feed will know that we could have broken down in worse places. Indeed, we were just able to make it off the motorway into the small village of Lauterbourg, which not only had a garage in it, but countless bakeries. Whilst my husband was sorting the car, I was drinking café au lait, eating yet more refined fatty carbs and reading my book. If it wasn't for the worry of breaking down, I would have been in heaven. My worry was soon abated by the promise from the French engineer saying that the work would be done in four hours - long enough for us to walk through the pretty town and have a long lunch.
In six hours time, we were back on the road heading for the airport we had originally flown out of a week ago and left our other car. Whilst it is never ideal to break down, it could have been a lot worse and we soon found ourselves back on an autobahn...
...where we promptly broke down again. This time nowhere near a town. We managed a lay-by with a loo and not much more other than truckers and others with car trouble. My husband called for our roadside assistance which, when purchased, promised pick up with in half an hour. Four hours later, our tow truck arrived as had a dark cloud over my mood. The one redeeming aspect to the situation was that the tow truck could at least take us to our working car at Frankfurt Hahn airport as we were close enough. However, by that point it was too late to do anything but check in to the airport's hotel. The Land Rover would have to wait to be sorted the next day.
When I woke, I decided that I would drive back home to Paderborn, leaving my husband in the middle of nowhere with a clapped out money pit of a car, as I had an Fayre where I was selling my photography. I also needed to put some space between myself and the Discovery, given that it had taken us 15 hours to do a three hour drive the previous day. The traffic gods, as a consequence, smiled sweetly upon me and I made the final leg to Paderborn in excellent time. Luckily even my husband managed to make it back. Unluckily he didn't make it back in a fixed Land Rover. The Land Rover didn't even make it back. No, the Land Rover isn't even back in Paderborn yet - two weeks later. It is still in the garage in Frankfurt that my husband left it in.
Upon reflection, if I am honest, I wish we had left it in the garage in Portugal - even though I never would have seen the fantastic cities that we stopped off in en route. They were all wonderful and I had had a great time exploring them up until the point that a prostitute checked into the hotel I stayed in in Frankfurt after me. That was just a detail too far for me to have dealt with after 15 hours on the side of a road.
All this being said, the husband and I arrived home safely, had a very excitable welcome from our mongrel and ultimately came back married, despite a sombre few hours in at a truckers' toilet stop in the middle of nowhere in Germany. For better for worse were in our vows...though a 25 year old Land Rover Discovery most certainly wasn't!
I'd love to hear any other humorous, in hindsight, break down stories from you all! Just leave a comment below or message me through my contact form!