Our Barge, Odysseus

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Things We Love About This Place (but not sure why pt.1)

There are no words for seventy, eighty or ninety in French. Showing their superior math skills, eighty and ninety are spoken in multiples of twenty, seventy as additions to sixty. Therefore seventy five it soixante (60) quinze (15); ninety two is quatre (4) vingt (20) douze (12). I thought I was all prepared for this until the Madame in the boulangerie told me the total for my two baguettes was "une euro quatre vingt douze" and I totally froze. Cathy Jo, at my shoulder, said "Just give her two." Next time I'll be ready!

We rented the car, a Renault Clio, from Hertz in Charleville; set it up on the internet before we left. In most places they'll charge you extra for a diesel. Imagine my surprise when we got the car and it was "gasoil." We drove the thing for over 500 kilometers, used about 25 euros worth of fuel and that was only half a tank. That's about 50 miles to the gallon! Nice little car too with all the extras.
Gas stations aren't everywhere like in the US but they aren't hard to find. They all have gasoline and diesel and many also have lpg for cars. Prices are high but not as bad as last year; about $7.50 a gallon for gas and about $5.50 a gallon for diesel.

BREAD!!! Oh my god the bread is great and it is everywhere! Just about every little village has a boulangerie; maybe two, and the bread is usually made right on the premises. Since bread is part of the "patrimonie" in France, the price is subsidized. A baguette is less than a euro. They also make these desserts that look like jewels. MMMMM, eclairs!!! It seems a shame to eat them but they taste better than they look.

Please don't get us started on the wine. Enough said!

Don't plan on getting anything done on Sunday afternoon or on Monday in the smaller villages; almost everything is closed. LUNCH IS SACRED. Most businesses are closed from somewhere around noon until somewhere around 2, or 3, or 4. I'm not talking about just little shops, either. We were shooed out of a Home Depot equivalent at noon one day because it was lunch time!

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