Daily Archives: August 16, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to .. Antibes


As I said yesterday, it was a bright sunny morning and we set off to the South of France, the Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera.

At that time, oh so many years ago, there were no GPS systems.  We had to rely on books of maps.  And few motorways, so driving was necessarily more leisurely than it is today.  Added to the fact that we were in an elderly Land Rover.  We did discuss the possibility of driving to Antibes but that was some 500 plus miles away; the sun was shining so we decided that were in no hurry.

We found a lovely place to eat our bread and cheese the local staple lunch time diet, beside a river.  Very peaceful and sleep inducing.  After a quick nap we were off again.  After a further 3 hours driving we decided it was time to find somewhere to stop for the night.  Having spent the last two nights in the caravan we thought we would treat ourselves to a night of comfort, warm bath and soft bed.  We found the perfect place.    A small hotel in a little village (sorry after all this time I just can’t remember its name) where we could get a bed for the night and breakfast the next morning.  We were directed to a secure parking area for the Land Rover and caravan  – secure parking included in the charge for the night –  and also to a restaurant for dinner.  We spent a lovely evening just the two of us speaking only to each other and to the waiting staff as we were the only diners.

Then back to the hotel for that promised bath and comfortable bed.  It was here that I first discovered the joys of the feather filled duvet common in France.  Oh the joy of that discovery.  We settled into bed only to be rudely awakened some time later by loud crying, wailing would be a better word to describe it.  The awful outpouring of grief went on for the rest of the night and so our hoped for night of peace was not to be.

When we went to breakfast in the morning – typically French with croissants, whipped butter, jam and large cups of coffee – we found out why the commotion in the night and what had disturbed us.  A woman had been travelling to Paris with her husband and children when they were hit head on by another car.  Her husband and son were killed outright while she and her daughter were both badly shaken up.  Hence the wailing.  A note here that today they would all have been wearing seat belts and perhaps might have been saved.

We paid our bill, packed up and left in a very subdued mood.  While we were enjoying out dinner the night before, total tragedy had befallen this other family.  We took time to find a public phone to call London and check on our family.

So next stop Antibes – and yes, that was yet  another experience/adventure

“Never drive faster than your guardian angel
can fly.”