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Trip Report A gal alone and on the go from Provence to Rome: Trip Report

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O.K. So I've only be on the Fodor's site for a few months and this will be my first trip report. I think it will be pretty long since I'm bad at editing. I should also say that for some reason I'm a magnet for weird people and strange but funny happenings and this trip was no exception.

Pre-trip note: I HATE TO FLY!! I mean really hate it, a white knuckle flyer, terrified of flying and not a fan of airports. But I love to travel and travel alot so what's a gal to do- take drugs, that's what. Xanax to be exact. I start taking them about a week before I leave and even then freak out all the way to the airport always informing the taxi driver of my fears , taxi drivers are quite sympathetic.

Feb. 22 an evening flight from Newark to Paris, Continental Airlines (I only fly Continental because I always fly Continental). Until 3 years ago I'd fly coach but then on a trip to Switzerland I upgraded with miles and have never looked back. Now on international flights Business-First. Fantastic! Best part- ice cream sundeas with pick your own toppings.

The flight over was fine except turbulent and I didn't sleep a wink so when I arrived at CDG at 7 am I was exhausted. Because it was early I breezed thru customs and baggage and made my way to the TGV to get my train to Avignon which was to leave at 11:24. I had bought my ticket online before the trip. It was now 8 am. For 3+ hours I sat in that cold TGV waiting area downstairs, mainly because I was too tired to walk around.

Trains here- get myself situated, 3 hour ride to Avignon. I arrive at Avignon at about 2:30. Nice big train station, very modern. I ask a police officer where the car rental agencies are. He tells me in the little houses outside, so there I go.

Now I have only rented a car once in Europe for 2 days last year in Spain where they brought it to my hotel so I was a little nervous about the whole car rental, driving in France thing. I had reserved a car in the states for 338$ for a week including unlimited milage and insurances with Europe by Car. The agency where I had to get the car was National-Cite. They were very nice and helpful, they spoke very little english and my french-yeah not so good but I tried. The agent told me my car was in spot 178 and handed me the keys. Spot 178? Is this my ride? Sweet! Silver 4 door citreon, all leather interior, built in GPS and phone and mosty important emergency SOS button. I've got myself a Batmobile.

The agent gave me directions to my hotel Cloitre Saint Louis. He said it was not far and easy to get to. Alright. Get in the car, start it up, on the road out of the train station, a voice, a womans voice in french, coming out of the GPS system. Oh my God, I have a talking car-- in french!! What's it saying? why's it talking? I don't understand french that well- this is crazy. I'm on the outer road that follows the city walls of Avignon and a french talking Batmobile trying to look at the map and directions the guy gave me, needless to say I'm a little flustered so I make a turn into one of the entances of the walled city and immediately know that this was not the right turn.

The streets are tiny and windy and not big enough for my car that won't shut up. I need to turn around, get back out on the main road. Noones around,, no people, no cars. Three point turn becomes a thirty three point turn and this car had sensors on the bumpers so every time I moved it beeped. Beeped and talked, beeped and talked. My Batmobile had turned into Shitty Shitty Bang Bang. Wait, I see two ladies, very well dressed older ladies. I fumble for the window button and wave my map out the window. "Pardon, Pardon" they approach "Parlez vous Englais" one says a little, I say merci. I explain I'm lost, I can't find my hotel can they give me directions please. The one looks at her friend says something in french her friend says oui and they each open a door to the car and get in. So I've been in Avignon for under an hour and there are two 60 year old french women sitting in my car and I'm thinking how do these things always happen to me.

more later

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