R&R

Trip Start Aug 14, 2007
1
9
114
Trip End May 23, 2008


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Thursday, August 23, 2007

ˇ Dijon, Bourgogne, France
ˇ GMT +1:00 hour

Just what the doctor ordered
We moved on from Paris and found ourselves in Dijon, in the Burgundy region of France, a rural region famed for its vineyards and rich food. It's somewhat of a rogue region (sort of like Quebec in Canada) and was for centuries ruled by powerful dukes who remained independent of the French crown, finally falling to the French kings 1477. Because of this separatist past, Burgundy's capital, Dijon, houses plenty of evidence of the regions former wealth and power, with some of France's most elegant medieval and Renaissance buildings. It's a quiet place, nice to walk around and easy to relax in... just what we needed. Oh, and if you're wondering, yes, it is Dijon as in the mustard. Seemingly it's the mustard capital of the world.

Under the weather. As a couple
I stared to feel a bit under the weather in Paris. Nothing major, just an annoying head cold. It was in full swing in Paris yesterday and once we got to Dijon yesterday evening I had to lay down for a few hours. That, coupled with an all too infrequent early night, seemed to do the trick. It was a night that, for once, was not interrupted by our alarm and as a result we easily managed to stay in bed today until close to midday. My batteries were well and truly recharged. But Meg? She seem to have caught the bug I had and, as I type, is presently 24 hours behind me in shaking what is more of a nuisance bug rather than a incapacitating one. I keep telling her she'll be fine tomorrow... and she will. With so much to look forward to I hope she is. We're leaving France for Switzerland tomorrow morning. We'll be spending a night in the Swiss capital, Bern, before a 2 night stay in the Swiss Alps. Then it's onto Venice and a 10 day trip through Italy. To say we're both looking forward to what lays ahead is a huge understatement.

Dijon
So as you can see Dijon has turned into a bit of an R&R stop on-route to Switzerland. That's not to say we didn't have a look around. Nope, we did. The pictures will testify to that. But things here are on a much smaller scale than in Paris so having a look around earlier this afternoon didn't seem like a chore at all. As I type we're back in the hotel. It's 7:30pm, Meg is reading her book (nope, she's not asleep) and I'm sorting out this entry. We've no plans for tonight beyond making sure that we're ready for the 9:30am departure to Bern tomorrow morning. But as always, I'll end this entry with a few observations from here in Dijon. Well, some are from Dijon, others from France in general. As it's our final entry from France we'll also be including a sort of synopsis of our trip so far. One country down, unknown number of countries to go.

Day 8 & 9 Observations (August 21st & 22nd 2007)

ˇ No freebies
Don't get us wrong, we're not looking for a free dinner or anything like that, but the tourist information office charges you €2 for a map. That was a shock coming from Paris where they gave them out free.

ˇ Tops
Why are our hotel rooms ALWAYS at the top of the building? We walked to our hotel, the Hotel le Jacquemart to find we had a room in the attic. Nice room, but damn hard to get to with 20kg+ on your back. It was the same in Paris. Killer.

ˇ Heavier, part I
My bag is definitely getting heavier. Meg says hers is too. Which is funny as we haven't bought anything. Yet

ˇ Heavier, part II
I'm loosing weight. Meg says I'm not, but try telling my belt, the one that's stretching further around my waist, that I'm not.

ˇ Summer?
It was 16 degrees Celsius yesterday. 14 today. Pretty cold for August. Meg is wondering when it'll heat up. I've no answers for her. I assumed it'd be warm in Paris but I got that one wrong.

ˇ Yes, they are rude
Service in French restaurants or cafés is still deplorable. Not sure if we've just been unlucky but last night we waited close on 20 minutes after sitting down before anyone came to take our order. After eventually placing the order no bread basket OR water was brought to the table, which is the norm. When the mains arrived (in an acceptable time, I guess) they came without any sign of the wine or orange juice Meg had ordered (but I got my coke, all of which was ordered at the same time... go figure). We had to ask for bread, which came, mid meal, sans butter. Finally, just as we were finishing the meal, the wine and orange juice arrived. We politely rejected it. I seem to have less of a tolerance for this sort of thing than Meg, who seems to take it all in her stride. Meg says I'm being impatient, but I say I expect a certain level of service when eating out.

ˇ Knees up
French churches have no pews. We wonder where the worshipers kneel, if at all.

ˇ Beware of Hidden costs
The price you see isn't always what you pay. On more than one occasion we've been enticed into a cafe or restaurant based on the prices displayed on the sandwich board outside, only to find the actual price is higher than advertised. The €2.50 sandwich turns into a €4 sandwich, while the €1.5 coffee actually costs €2.50. Most recently this happened today, in McDonald's of all places. A huge board outside advertised the price of an ice-cream cone at €1. Purchasing two of them set us back €3. Did we question any of this? Of course not; we didn't want to sound like cheap tourists.
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