When Mike and I were invited to Tuscany, Italy, to attend my good friends Kirsty and Toms wedding, we were incredibly excited! A lifelong dream of mine was to go to Rome. Since the historical city was a mere 3 hours away from the wedding venue, we booked up three days in Rome with plans to hire a car to get to Tuscany. Only after we'd booked flights and hotels did we find out that because Mike hadn't been driving a year yet, no one would hire a car to us - doh!
I made a joke about driving the whole way, which seemed completely ridiculous but then we thought, why the hell not!? It would be a nice holiday, time spent alone with each other after a very difficult and testing year and I could tick a few items of my bucket list*!
(*Note: I'm not dying, a few worried people asked if I was ill, after I posted photos called Bucket List. I'm just very aware that my body is deteriorating a lot quicker than others my age, I'm on the top dose of my current pain killers and the next step up is depending on morphine, so I'm getting the bucket list done now!)
After packing my entire summer wardrobe, European car kits, enough sun cream to sink a ship, our trusty sat nav Sabrina (yes, we name inanimate objects) and a cooler box of water, we set off in Optimus Primera (our 16 year old Nissan Primera car).
We headed to Folkstone to catch the Euro Tunnel to Calais. By the way, if you're disabled, you must let the Euro Tunnel staff know as your car has to be put on first for fire safety reasons, but this also means you beat the long queues - bonus!
After chanting the following to himself "Drive on the right, drive to the right on the side of the road on the wrong side of the car!!" Mike took to the road in Calais, staying to the correct side of the road and even when faced with Italian drivers later on, he did a brilliant job, getting us to every destination without a hitch!
As I've mentioned in my blogs before Mike and I are Geneology geeks. We took the road trip as a chance to pay respects to fallen relatives, who had died in the First World War. We went to Wancourt, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France to visit the British Cemetery, there we visited my Great Uncle Stanley Starling Hudson, who was my Great Grandmothers older brother. Stanley had died aged 21 in 1917. I picked and left poppies on his grave and signed the guestbook.
|Stanley Starling Hudson|
(My Great Uncle)
Then we headed to the Thiepval Memorial of the Missing, an iconic monument to Historians, Geneologists and families all over the world. It was a stunning location, peaceful and calm and weirdly, no birds were heard at any of the sites we visited.
Lastly we headed to Dernancourt Communal Cemetery in the Region of Picardy. We visited Mike's first cousin three times removed, Charles Garrick, who also died in 1917 aged a heartbreaking 19 years old. Mike laid his poppies and we headed to Dijon.
(Mikes cousin, 3x removed)
Now, I must mention that Mike had been in California for several weeks, up until two days before our trip. We got to our lovely hotel the Kyriad Prestige, in Dijon only for us *both to pretty much pass out at 7pm, forgoing dinner and we didn't wake until 7am on Sunday! (*I was not jet lagged but I can sleep anywhere, any time - I had Narcolepsy for years so I've had extensive sleep training!) I had a feeling that there would be a lot of early nights and very early mornings - sleep would become a luxury!