30 Aug 2009

Halfway there... I HATE TRAFFIC!

Whew, I made it!

Well, to the (just past) halfway point at least (~1200km)! I'm in Lyon (gateway to the Alps and some fabulous skiing!), getting ready to head out to the next stop where I'll be visiting a friend and her newborn for a day: Nancy.

Only a 4h-day ahead of me... if the traffic behaves! Why oh WHY?!?! did I choose this weekend to go up? WORST traffic weekend of the year!!! All the people on holiday in Spain and the South of France heading back up North... I ran into 5 traffic jams on the highway yesterday between Barcelona and Lyon (and one on Friday between Alicante and Barcelona). We were moving so slowly in some stretches, and even stopped long enough... that I actually managed to read 2 chapters of a book while behind the wheel!!! It took me 9h for this part of the trip instead of the 6h it should have! Add to that 1h driving around in circles in the city (nice buildings all lit up at night! but where's my hotel?!), and the fact that Friday night in Barcelona was a fiesta night (neighbourhood party, lots of live music, dancing and FUN! we didn't stay out late, was in bed by 2h30)... and it's no surprise the 8h I slept last night weren't enough. If I didn't have to check out in 1/2h I'd be sleeping some more! :p

I did get to see some beautiful scenery on the road though! Catalonia is part of the "green Spain", and the Languedoc and Roussillon are also gorgeous! I had a picnic lunch at a rest stop alongside the highway, and check out the view:

Not bad eh?! Was incredibly windy throughout the whole south of France, the type of weather you're clutching onto the steering wheel for dear life... kind of scary. Add to that some crazy drivers in a hurry to get home (on stretches where the speed limit was already a more than decent 130kph, they were doing at least 150 and zipping through lanes)... no wonder I was so tense! Today should be better, and Monday no worries.

Time to head out. I had hoped to get here early enough yesterday to go wander around Lyon a bit, but it will have to wait 'till I come back in December. I'd warrant this city deserves a couple of days anyways! But on foot or in public transportation, there are too many one-way streets for me to feel comfortable behind a wheel! :p


  1. CrazyCris, do you not have a Garmin? I would not travel without mine! Do not worry about one-way streets or where your hotel is... A lovely voice tells me when my turn is coming up. I can look up attractions in the area, restaurants, gas stations, parks, you name it. Get around those traffic jams and travel some back roads!. I do it locally.

    I drive about 45 minutes to get to my daughters down country highways. Sometimes, on my way home, I turn down a back road just to see what's there. My little box says, "Recalculating..." I have taken probably a dozen or more back routes home in the past year. Found some lovely farms and creeks springing with wildlife!

  2. Very cool picture - I could envision a nice little picnic there. I was trying to figure out how fast those drivers were going and it must have been fast!

  3. Driving five years, every year with a bus from North Germany to Barcelona, reminds me of a wonderful time on the road and nearly as beautiful sights as yours.
    Remember also Lyon and getting lost in its streets for hours. Hope you are much more lucky, and if in traffic jam, think of those Belgian waffles...

  4. Thanks Robert! Thinking of Belgian waffles would be enough to cheer anyone up!

    Lily, a Garmin? I'm guessing that's some kind of GPS system, right? Nope, don't have one of those. I tend to rely on old fashioned travelling aides aka MAPS! With a bit of help from Google to calculate my route... ;o) Problem was finding the street names at night. Turns out during the hour I was going around in circles I was within a couple blocks of my hotel 3 times! :p

    Nancy, I think 65mph is roughly equivalent to 110kph. Speed limits on highways in Europe are usually 120 (although in France they're either 110 or 130). So yeah, even doing the speed limit I'm probably driving a lot faster than is allowed in the US! :p

  5. You have the best holidays!

    How many countries do you reckon you have been to? We were doing this at work, and I came pretty close to bottom although I think you would give some of my colleagues a run for their money!

  6. O, I do usually have some pretty cool holidays, but that's not the case here... I'm moving to Belgium for 3 months for WORK! Oh, and maybe a PhD... ;o)

    I tried the country counting thing once, I believe I came out somewhere in the mid-30s... not bad! :o) and I've actually lived in 6 countries on 3 different continents, so that helps with the getting around to lots of countries part! ;o)

    Unfortunately at least half of them were visited before the age of 8 so I don't remember them all that well... :p

  7. Oh look, I take a week off (to mourn Ted Kennedy) and look what I missed! I love road trippin' and I'm an expert at it here in the States. I'm with you — I don't use a GPS, but I don't make reservations anywhere. I never know where I'll end up at and when, so I play it all by ear. I usually have my camping gear in the car. That is my favorite way to go, but I will stay at a hotel when needed. I took three weeks once coming across country, from California to Florida. Just stopped where I wanted and stayed till I was ready to move on.

    Belgium? Fantastic! One of the Foodie Friday bloggers lives in Belgium and the pics of food she has posted had me drooling.

    Looking forward to following on another of Crazy Cris' Big Adventures!

  8. I made a reservation for Lyon (and was regretting it on the drive over as I would have willingly stopped 2-3 cities before!) mostly because I was worried about not finding a place to stay on an intense travel weekend. Driving around an unknown city looking for a hotel when you're on a limited budget... not a good option!


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