|Quite an adventure last night. We structured the night to be a one that we would look for a place to stay on the road, an adventure. We left the Paris flat in the afternoon after a morning of shopping and geocaching. Was sorry to have our time in Paris be done but ready to get out of the craziness that is nonstop in this bustling metropolis. We picked up the rental car without incident (a little tight with six people - will be interesting when grandpa makes seven in Rome) and made it out of rush hour Paris traffic without too much trouble. Once out of Paris, France became very rural quickly. Beautiful rolling hills and lovely old stone houses were similar to what I had expected. The freeway was very nice and so little traffic - enjoyable driving, especially after the stress of driving in Ireland ☺. After a few hours we started looking for a place to stay. Ended up at a little town called Pouilly en Auxios (no clue how to pronounce that name!), selected by just randomly exiting off the freeway. Cute town - very typical European feel. The first hotel we saw had only one room free (we needed two) and they sent us across the street to “Hotel du Commerce”. The first was pretty nice, much like a nice hotel in the US. The one across the street appeared to have more “character” - the kind that you are not entirely sure what you will find inside. I went in and there was no one at the reception desk. A sign (in four languages - the interesting english version said, “For call the reception please sound!”) said to ring the bell which I did - nothing happened. So I rang it again. A nice lady came in from the restaurant and when I told her we wanted rooms she just handed me two keys and directed me up the stairs. I went up to find two rooms with beds for 3 people each (yay!) that were not fancy but clean and looked fine - smelled a little interesting.
Teresa describes the night:
Found a cute little hotel in a small town in the French countryside. Sweet lady who spoke no English with some bad and some missing teeth gave us two room keys and we gave her no information and no credit card. She just asked how many for breakfast. She sent us down the street to a diner that was still open for dinner (it was about 9:45 PM) Another cute, friendly man who spoke no English, and interestingly enough, had really bad teeth, took our order for pizza. We watched the soccer game on tv between Spain and Italy. As we were eating, we noticed a couple with a baby in the booth across the room. The woman smiled - she was missing her front teeth. Matthew commented "this is like the start of a Frank Peretti novel". Noah said "I have an idea. We'll move here and open up a toothbrush shop”.
Noah’s comment about dinner:
By the way, it was the worst pizza we had ever eaten. We cut it open and egg yolk spilled out. And I think it was 82% cheese, 1% bread, and 17% RAW EGG.
The night ended up a little interesting. Went to bed about midnight. It was hot and no air conditioning so we had to leave our windows open. It’s a really quiet town in general - deafeningly so after the din of our place in Paris. But there were some Saturday night noises, music and talking outside. About 12:30 some worker at the restaurant below decided it was time to throw away some bottles and didn’t do it quietly! About 3:30 AM a loud cat fight occurred right outside our window - these cats were not happy! About 4 AM a beeping noise recurred about every 3 minutes. 20 minutes later realized Teresa’s cell phone was running out of batteries. About 6:45 AM some locals had a jovial discussion about something (not sure what - speaking French of course) right below our window. Then at 7 AM the church bells went off. Teresa and I got up shortly thereafter (why not!) and walked around the town. Really cool - so old and with so many untold stories. An ancient gothic cathedral, complete with stained glass windows, was right down the street in this little town of 1000 people. It’s clear that faith, or at least religion, was so important for these people’s ancestors. It’s pretty clear that’s not the case now.
We notice the Boullangerie (a word we learned in Paris - Bakery!) when we checked in the night before. After our walk we went in and the smell of fresh bread was just wonderful. We got an apricot croissant and it was mouth watering. We went back later for fresh bread. As we were getting ready to go, it looked like the whole town went through that bakery, getting their fresh bread. Suspect they do that pretty much every day.
Headed out late morning down the road to Switzerland. Was fun to watch the rolling hills turn into jagged mountains. The windy roads got narrow and reminded me of some of the roads in Ireland. After about 4 hours of driving, we finally made it to Laterbrunnen, a little ways outside of Interlaken. We parked the car and walked up toward the tram station. After experiencing the insaneness of the London and Paris subway systems, this was really weird - there was virtually no one around. It seemed almost abandoned although there were quite a few cars in the parking garage. I admit I thought maybe we had missed the last tram! But when we got up the stairs, there was a ticket window and we got on a tram headed up the mountain. The scenery was beautiful - classic alpine mountains scenes. After about a ten minute ride, we unloaded & got on a train, the tracks etched into the side of the mountain. After another 10 minutes we arrived in Murren, our destination. We grabbed our backpacks and headed toward the Edelweiss Hotel, a 5 minute walk. The hotel is aptly named as you feel like you are walking into a Sound of Music scene - at least the one at the beginning of the movie. Chalet style buildings in a mountainous setting that is just glorious. They have somehow built a little community on the side of a mountain! There are no cars (obviously) so it’s so quiet and it’s small enough that you can walk anywhere.
We arrived at our hotel and Sandra, the owner, welcomed us and took us down to the apartment below the hotel that we rented. I can not describe for you our surprise when she opened the door to the apartment and we realized that we were staying in place with the most gorgeous views of the Swiss Alps that one could even imagine. Are you kidding? All I could think about was how glorious is this creation that God has made! Words can’t adequately describe the beauty - jagged mountains, gorgeous waterfalls, verdant valleys, snow capped peaks. The apartment is not fancy but very functional and SO much larger than the places we’ve stayed to this point - nice to have a little space. The air is clean and fresh and it’s a lot cooler (looking forward to this for sleeping). This quiet little town will be a really nice change from the craziness of Paris and London where we’ve been for the last 9 days.
Other random thoughts from Teresa:
Shopping with Savannah in Paris on the last day, we went into a clothing store and I asked the sales lady "parle vous Engles?" And she said "no, no". Then she said "hablo espanol un poco" and then I said "yo tambien!" And then we proceeded to talk a little bit in Spanish! It was so funny!" Savannah and I really laughed!
Savannah and I went into a McDonalds and got a coffee. Then we went upstairs (in the McDonalds) and we waited in a small line in the bathroom. And in walked a couple of guys! It was soooo weird! It was a unisex bathroom and it was the weirdest thing to be washing your hands in the public restroom next to a guy.
That’s all for now! Will try to add pics tomorrow.