Up early again on July 15 as we are finally going to France. It’s hard to believe that we left home a month ago, and we are just now arriving in France. A year of planning and imagining, a month of traveling and lugging our belongings, and we’re finally here! Will it live up to our expectations? Will Irie and I ever feel confident using French? Will we really feel settled until we’re actually in our “home” away from home in Fréjus? Will we, even then? I think we’re all going through a bit of culture shock, though Lisa’s French is flowing easily.
After landing in Brest, on the far western tip of France, we have about 3 hours of driving time to get to Granville where we will spend the next week. We stop off in the first town, Morlaix, for lunch and I definitely feel in a foreign place immediately. It’s about 2 pm, and it is clear that we are on the far end of the lunch hour. There is a rather large party at one of the tables, and a couple guys at the bar. They all look at us like we’re aliens, as we decide to sit (wrongly) in the bar area. The waitress addresses me, and I point to Lisa who then asks about dejeuner (lunch). She points to the empty buffet, and we all feel like bailing out, but somehow Lisa manages to order 3 ham and cheese sandwiches, 2 coffees, and a water for Irie. The sandwiches turn out to be huge and delicious (ham, brie and pickles) and the waitress friendly. Lisa not only managed to order lunch, but also to get the waitress to take an interest in us. I doubt they get many Americans in such an out-of-the-way place so we get back into the car feeling successful in our first foreign endeavor.
We realize about 4 pm that we only have about 10 euros so decide to get off the freeway in Dinan to exchange some currency. We finally find the centre-ville which, in typical European fashion is full of narrow, crooked streets and lots of pedestrians. It’s a charming-looking town, but we strike out at finding a bank so end up driving through some beautiful countryside before finding our way back to the freeway.
We finally arrive in Granville around 5:30, and after getting a bit lost, manage to find our apt. on a busy thoroughfare. I get lucky with a parking spot out front and Lisa handles the check-in with the landlord’s mother. It is a quaint and spacious. We feel a bit overwhelmed from the day which only grows after I fry our surge protector trying to use our electrical converter. Luckily, only the surge protector was damaged, but it was yet another learning experience. We manage to find an open grocery store after 8 pm and have soup for dinner in our kitchen. Exhausted we sleep for 11 hours, and now face a rainy day in which we need to exchange money and find a place with wifi so we can update everyone on our adventures.