Monday, 5 September 2016

Toyota Travelogue 2016 - part 1

Our 'new' Toyota Yaris on Mont Cenis
Nearly every year now we travel by car to Italy from Cambridge through France. This time round I got teased by my Italian friends, asking me if I was going back in an inflatable! I replied I officially result as emigrated from Italy so they laughed even harder! This joke was passed on Twitter and liked, although I had to explain it was the Italians, not any Brit who cracked the joke. 

Back to the travelogue, if you want to read the previous ones, click here.... You will find most years, except last year when I was not in a good place due to tennis elbow and personal blues so I did not post it... I have the photos somewhere though. 

So this year we again repeated some stops as they are handy so my partner does not drive too many hours each day and we miss out on looking around where we stop. I mention the car brand not because I am sponsored (offers welcome though!) but because we did the journey with a 2003 Toyota until this year, when we got a more recent Toyota. Again we had a trouble-free journey, except that we had a scare on Mont Cenis when the car hit a stone and we saw liquid dripping underneath. We crawled down the mountain and arrived in Italy where we immediately drove to our trusted local mechanic Flavio who said it was just the condensed water from the air conditioning... phew... anyway if it were something else surely the alert lights would have flashed! Still it was tense as we did not want to end up stranded before reaching destination or in a dodgy predicament down a mountain....

1st stop: REIMS
This giant statue is in the cathedral... Every time we enter Reims, we shout 'Champagne' like Bubbles Devere, this portly Lady we all find very funny! Sadly no Champagne this time, to be honest I can only drink by the glass now as alcohol makes me fall asleep.

Here is the photo of a Champagne house and a view of the tram too. We were on our way to a public park, where I was lucky to find a free Jazz concert. Of course I sat alone while my partner and daughter visited some nearby shops. Of course there was armed police strolling by, as in other cities we visited, except Annecy, where I did not see any... I might have missed them though. We had a good dinner at Le Comptoir du Boeuf which offered Michela a huge slab of salmon (instead of usual burger/fish and chips option of most children's menus). Scroll down for the Jazz video... We also loved this fountain, which sadly did not spout Champagne, a missed opportunity, I say!

2nd stop: DOLE It is near Lyon, it was our first time there and to our delight we discovered it was the hometown of Pasteur, the vaccine inventor and also the inventor of the Pasteurisation process and a very effective treatment that prevents mould on vines. The wooden frame of his portrait was donated by grateful wine producers and it is made of vine wood. We also saw an interesting case with two mice with ears attached to their backs, apparently Pasteur dabbled in genetics too... Another great thing about Dole are the houses on the canal, the marina and the underground passages, including a hidden pool. No need of a map, all you have to do is follow the cat trail... So look down and follow the tiles with the cat.... Because of the motorway diversion away from Lyon, we missed the Mushroom Playpark so we broke the tradition of having a photo of Michela on huge mushroom slides. The best we could do is sit her on this chicken ride celebrating the expensive Poulet de Bresse, a 'bargain' at over 30 euros per uncooked chicken. It must the Champagne of chickens! Dole has also a fun way to collect ciggies' butts and find out popular opinions...

3rd stop: Chambery
It used to be Italy and the capital of Savoie at one point, but now a French city. We followed an elephant trail there and found this charming free library... and this funny pub chain...  The highlight aside the excellent ice cream, food and mountain views were the statue of elephants and Rousseau's house, which is out of town and worth a visit! I took a movie there and a photo of his bedroom with desk and all... Apparently he was a skilled musician and composer - he taught himself! After Chambery we climbed the Mont Cenis then crawled into Italy to my native region of Piedmont, once known as Savoie and a kingdom to boot!
Come back to this blog and you can read Part II with more pics and stories... On the way back the stops will be Annecy, Troyes and Calais!

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