Our first day in France we spent in Nîmes. We caught a local bus from the hotel into town. There was some disagreement on what we could or could not buy in terms of tickets from the driver, so this ended up costing us nothing.
Since visiting Paris for the first time in 2009 I haven’t been much of a fan. I enjoyed a lot of it, the museums mainly, but there was a lot that didn’t enjoy. When I went back in 2015 I was determined to like it, but Paris fought back, and I figured I didn’t need to go to Paris again.
I was looking forward to going to somewhere in France other than Paris on this trip.
A couple of years ago I was fortunate to be in the same country as The Tour de France at the same time. We were in Belgium, staying a short train ride away from where the race would wind through a small town and up a decent hill. The plan then was to catch a train and walk up the hill.
This day didn’t go exactly to plan, with the race being neutralised after a number of crashes.
The plan this year was to rent a car from Lausanne and just pop over the border into France and see the race not too far from the end of the stage. That was about all the planning I did.
This trip to Europe like the last ones started with a conversation with dad along the lines of:
“Tim, I’m going to a conference in <European Country> in about 12 months, mum is going to come, would you like to go to Europe as well?”
“Sure, can we also go to <small European country / principality / micro-state>?”
Our second day in Switzerland started quite early. We had booked on the train to travel to Jungfrau the highest train station in Europe, up in the alps. The tickets we bought meant we had to head up early in the morning, and head back well before the last train. We drove the car down to Interlaken Ost station and got there way too early. The platforms weren’t open yet. There were a few other people in the car park getting their gear together, climbing harnesses, ropes, toe clips. I had my camera bag with all my lenses, a couple of lenses, and a jumper.
We had a couple of trips out of Interlaken planned for the time we were there, but the first order of business was a Swiss SIM card. Having done the appropriate research ahead of time I headed into town to find a friendly Swisscom store. Another tourist was trying to purchase a SIM but had not brought the requisite paperwork, his passport. It is easy to get a prepaid SIM in Switzerland, they have a handy form for it, but you do need a passport and a local address – your hotel.
The drive from Luxembourg to Interlaken in Switzerland is a bit over 5 hours driving time, depending on route. We decided to stop in Schengen on the way.
After the dessert I had with dinner the night before, I wasn’t feeling wonderful. We headed into town to have a drive around. Dad pointed out a few of the buildings before we found a shopping centre and a carpark. I wasn’t sure they’d have such mundane things as shopping centres and carparks, but they have both, they even have public transport!
Today was going to be one of our longer days in the car. We were travelling down to Luxembourg City, and to get there we would travel through at least 3 other countries. We set off after a quick breakfast in the hotel back the way we had driven into Holland. At least the highways are wide, and there wasn’t too much traffic. Dad drove us out of Amsterdam before we had a quick break at a road side services, complete with electric car charging station.
We filled up on buffet breakfast in the hotel before catching a taxi into town. We wanted to get to the museums early before all the crowds came. Booking the tickets online was good move, it meant we could skip most of the queues.