My shiny little online spot to help y'all keep track of me while I galavant around London.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

From Germany to France

We left Cologne early, as had seen all (apparently) that there is to see. Headed southish along the Rhine, rubbernecking to see all the castles and towers and fortresses tucked away in the hills overlooking the flooded river. Every mile or so, there'd be another; some kept up as hotels, others falling apart.

I can't imagine a higher castle density outside disneyland...

After stopping in one small town along the river, we hit the freeway. After some unintentional detours, we stopped for lunch in a small town with no other apparent attractions than its name: Worms.

After dining in (not on) Worms, we piled back in the rental Audi for more car-sickness inducing driving. The roads are insane -- not just busy, but fast and full of construction. The lanes are thin, leaving what seems like inches between the Audi and the cars speeding past.

Our next stop was Baden-Baden. This spa town (Baden is German for bath) seems how I'd imagine Aspen in Colorado: a smallish mountain town that reeks of wealth. After a Black Forest cake, we moved on.

At some point, we crossed the border into France. There was no border control, no signage. Just a subtle shift in language and font in the signs...

We drove, on the toll-heavy roads, to Metz, a smallish city a few hours out from Paris. The centre was classic France; the outskirts, modern France, with shittier looking slummy areas mixed with modern developments.

But the centre: huge gothic churches, tiny cobbled streets, restaurant after restaurant... It was late, and all we wanted was a hotel. We spotted a tiny place across from the cathedral. Pushing my pathetic knowledge of French to its limits, the old hotelier spoke very little English -- almost none.

After some linguistic effort, we ended up with a two bedroom suite in an unfinished building. The hall and exterior were covered in dust and mostly unpainted, but the inside was high ceilings and tall windows and rather lovely.

A fine welcome to France... And then, on to Paris!


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