Everyone was up on time to take our luggage and catch the train to the Barcelona’s main train terminal, Sants. From there we caught the regional service Renfe to Perpignan. We found some icing sugar-dusted pastries for a snatched breakfast before boarding the train. It was a comfy train, not fast, but scenic and air conditioned.
We arrived as planned and by pointing at the name of the bus station on my itinerary at the train’s information booth, we were sent in the right direction. We walked nearly a kilometer to catch the bus to the airport where we were to pick up our car rental.
I was nervous about this leg of the journey as it was going to involve the troublesome card from Germany; the one that I could not withdraw money from for a while. Unfortunately this was the only card that the company accepts. So I was frankly terrified and I sat on the bus, trying to think through other transport options.
We arrived at Hertz and the moment to process my card came and went with Bo drama at all. Woohoo. The biggest vehicle this place had on offer only just got us in and we had to let rally squeeze the luggage into every available crevice. But, it did have good air con!
I already loved France, despite the energy-sapping heat. We stopped at a truck stop to get lunch. The prices of cheap sandwiches were outrageous. We literally could not afford to even buy doughnuts at this place and stick within our tight food budget.
And then baguettes came to the rescue. Cheap, free and the best bread I can remember eating. We had it with butter and boy oh boy! It was eating like kings, I tell you.
Did I mention it was hot. Nowhere looks pretty in the sweltering heat of early afternoon and I was less than impressed with Provence as we wound our way to our home for the night.
It was around this time that I had my bright idea.
I have booked a majority of our accommodation this trip on Booking.com . It is great because you can make your reservations well ahead of time and most of the places don’t charge till you show up.
Our Disney accommodation is the most expensive by far on this trip. We are not staying at a Disney hotel because we cannot buy timeshare points for the Paris hotels and that is how we did it so cheap last time. We are staying within Disney resort but at an independent hotel.
So my bright idea was to see if I could find rooms at our hotel on the same days but cheaper. I had a look on the little phone that has 3G and yes, our same room type was there for €120 cheaper! I had a good think first before I went ahead and booked this new, much cheaper accommodation, making sure the days and facilities were exactly the same. Why? Well, this reservation was one that cannot be changed. The money would be paid instantly, and canceling the reservation would still cost the full payment.
It was just such a good deal! And there was only one room left at this rate.
All this time, my 3G was chopping and changing- losing connection. I began trying to buy the room and several times had to restart as connection was lost. Just as I pressed ‘commit’ button, I noticed that the currency that the phone with 3G uses is not Euros at all, it is British Pounds!!! So I was not making a saving, I was spending more! This dreadful realization dawned on me in a split second. I clicked ‘x’ to try to close down that page and hence stop the transaction but of course at that moment 3G came good, didn’t it? I had bought the stupid room. Blimey Charlie!!!
And on that infuriating note, we arrived.
Orgnac L’Aven is a commune famous for its stalagmite caves. We were staying at the accommodation part of the local restaurant that is just out of town near the caves itself. We got out of the car and wilted immediately in the intense heat. I was thrilled to get into some serious air conditioning. Our charming host took a while to realize we were actually staying there. When he finally got us upstairs he opened the door to our rooms and with no small flourish, pointed to the overhead fan that was barely circling and said ‘air’. You have got to be kidding me! The windows were all open in both rooms letting in all the stifling heat.
There were two standing fans, one in each bedroom. The one in our room had lost its face and stood there naked, with is blades free to maim. I went downstairs and got another fan from our host to put in the boys room, trying to create some extra air. Then I barricaded the naked fan with our luggage so we couldn’t injure ourselves and turned it on. Desperate times!
The late afternoon consisted of us trying to cool down as well as trying to connect to the atrocious wifi.
Bodie got straight on and was happily relaxing with Netflix, whereas the rest of us kept having our same password rejected as ‘incorrect’. Grrrr.
The restaurant underneath us was ridiculous price-wise- but they did sell the cutest little watermelon slice-ice creams for €1 each.
We found an awesome supermarket about 30 minutes away. Brie is soo cheap and delicious here. All the food looked fantastic and was cheap.
I saw a pizza place that did some really cheap pizzas. We drove home with pizza, drinks and snacks.
Afterwards, I took the 10 yr old to play across the street at the flying fox.
It was cooling down beautifully outside. Unfortunately the same could not be said for our rooms. Despite the windows being wide open, the temperature stayed hot, humid and stifling.
I put the 10 yr old in a tepid shower before his bedtime. Then I had a nearly cold shower and felt very much better for about a half hour. As we heard off to bed, I noticed that the girl child who had gone to bed much earlier, was not coping at all. I coaxed her into a cool shower as well and she was soon refreshed enough to retry sleeping.
I cursed the caffeine I had had at dinner time as I tossed and turned in the muggy night.0