So - I've been to France looking at boats, driving MILES around on the wrong side of the road. Sadly, I only found out about giving way to people coming in on your right at unmarked junctions when I'd nearly finished driving. Which explains the dirty looks from other road users. And nearly a couple of accidents. Thing is, I looked French, driving a LH drive French car. 'It's brand new,' said the girl at Europcar sternly when I went to collect it. At least I had my credit cards with me this time...
Driving out of Lyons airport was easy - honestly, French roads are wonderful - no traffic!!! Huge empty roads, little back roads, even cows on roads - there was always time to decide where to go, unlike our own dear crowded cramped UK roads. It was pretty grim weather - cold and rainy, and by the time 'lunch' growled in my tum, I was pleased to stop at a welcoming red arrow signing a small welcoming Burgundian restaurant, offering, as did they all, regional specialities - oh dearie me, what a cliche (!) - it really was frogs' legs and snails.
I pulled into the car park, and ran across to the door. Which wasn't. It looked like one, had once been one, but wasn't any more. Getting wetter, I roamed along the front of the building, and stumbled across a step leading to the real front door - actually, it was unmistakably the front door, on reflection, but I was feeling foreign and flustered.
Mine host greeted me by marching me to a small table in a corner, uncomfortably near a door, which I hoped wasn't the loo - it has been known for this to happen to this single woman ... I enquired about the specials of the day, to which he barked incomprehensibly at top speed. Smiling feebly, I clutched the menu and looked through it. Within seconds, he'd returned, making an impatient face when I asked him to repeat the specials again. 'I've already told you' he sighed gustily, racing through the list even faster. I grabbed 'bavette' as it flew recognisably past my ear and repeated it back to him.
'And how will you have it medium?' he questioned and replied for me in one breath. Meekly I nodded. 'I'd like some tap water,' I said, bravely ignoring the wine list. Obviously I'd said it wrong, as he repeated my words with an undisguised smirk ... If I hadn't been up since 4.30 that morning, problems with getting to the airport on time, and nothing to eat so far that day, I would have walked out. Especially when a mummy, daddy and two small children came in shortly after. Monsieur mine host fussed around the placing and replacing of the high chair, discussing her children with Maman, and taking endless pains over choosing the food and wine with Papa.
I ate up, shut up, paid up, used the loo (not that door) and skedaddled asap. Monsieur had something extremely urgent to do behind his bar as I left and failed to notice my parting. Bienvenue en France.