Sometimes, even when you’re a student (I guess I should say especially when you’re a student) all that you really need is a vacation. In light of that need that had been quickly pressing down upon me all semester, The Husband and I, along with our friends the Loggers, rented a car here in Paris and headed over for the shortest of jaunts in England. How I wish we had had more time! This was The Husband’s first time in England, and my first time back since my prior trip in 2009, and all we had this time around was a measly 4 days, including travel time.
Although we love France to death, theres just something comforting about being in a country where everyone has the same native language as we do — none of those “whoops, I totally blanked on the word for this” moments (although we did have to ask someone what the word squidgy meant….). England was lovely, I can definitely see it making the short list for places we could easily live one day (you know, as long as they want to grant us a visa…).
Our first day was mostly travel — we started out by picking up our car at 7 in the morning at Gare Montparnasse. What a mess! If you ever have the option, don’t pick up a car at the Hertz there! We had to pay for the car in one area, and then walk about 10 minutes to get to the actual garage. When we got there, we spent 45 minutes walking around (keep in mind, this is in a CAR GARAGE. It wasn’t that big!) before we finally exited the garage and walked in through the Hertz car rental exit. Turns out theres a secret floor in between floors two and three that you can only get to from a secret stairway. Who knew, right? After the less-than-stellar start off we got, we shouldn’t have been surprised that we ran into another MAJOR problem.
The Husband was already nervous about driving a French car on British roads, as well as the fact that he had never driven on the other side of the road, so we all had to stay really really quiet for about the first 15 minutes after we got off the ferry. After that though, British boy band were fair game for me to blare over the sound system. Well, in addition to starting the music up, I also punched in the coordinates to our hotel in the car’s GPS. One problem — the Hertz people had never loaded the maps for the UK into the car, meaning that we had no GPS!!!! Honestly, its amazing that we A. didn’t get any tickets in England for driving like crazy Americans. and B. found our way everywhere successfully without a GPS. If you know either of us very well, you’ll know that we’re lucky we live in the age of GPS since we have no directional abilities at all, and get easily stressed when having to figure things out when driving.
Lucky for us, though, we got to spend a few hours at the end of the day exploring tiny British towns and grocery stores. Let me just say, British grocery stores are MAGICAL! After so long in France, it was amazing to see a place that was more similar to an American store — it made my greasy American heart sing!