Wednesday 2 December 2015

European Road Trip - The last part!

Mike and I were on the last leg of our European Road trip, after leaving Tuscany we were both weary and dare I say it - hung-over!

First stop; a fleeting trip to Lake Como, we were only there for a few hours but it didn’t disappoint. Lake Como it’s 56 sq miles in size and the third largest lake in Italy. Even though where we stopped was busy, the lake somehow made us feel very serene. I can see why celebrities love the location for living and vacationing, there was an abundance of luxurious houses and expensive cars. I would love to go back and stay one day but we had somewhere else to be.

Lake Como

We were on our way to Chamonix, a town situated on the borders and mountains of Switzerland, France and Italy. This was my favourite drive of the whole trip; I made a comment that momentarily confused Mike – “Oh my God, mountains, my first mountains” he couldn’t believe I’d never seen a snow-capped mountains in person, my camera had an excellent work out, I was mesmerised.

We arrived at Hôtel du Bois, which is a wooden clad snow lodge and it boasted some incredible views of the mountains. Waking up with this view was exciting and a real highlight although slightly marred by the fact we forgot to put the “Do not disturb” sign on the door and a poor maid walked in on me completely in the buff – there was a shrill of “Oh PARDON” and I was left red faced!

The view from our room!

Once my cheeks had gone back to their normal colour we made our way back to Dijon since we’d slept through it the first time there! I, being a foodie, had to stock up on real Dijon mustard and Ginger cake. The centre of town was so charming and reminded me of a real life set of Beauty and the Beast movie. Sadly, like at Como we had very little time to appreciate Dijon as again we were on the road, this time to Versailles.

The Palace of Versailles was yet another item on my bucket list and we arrived at the Hôtel Le Versailles which was so close to the palace that we could see it from the balcony in our room!
We were looking forward to some delicious French cuisine but it seems that on Monday’s France seems to shut down at 6pm leaving us eating crisps and marshmallow bars for dinner! We got an early night ready for an epic day at the palace.

I got up very early as it was our last day in Europe; we had 67,000sq feet to cover before driving back to the Euro Tunnel.

Just like all the big tourist attractions the palace was great to me as a disabled visitor. We didn’t have to queue, so I didn’t get swallowed up by the humongous crowd already eager to get in by 9am, plus we had a dedicated lift at our disposal.

Inside the palace was astounding, so opulent and luxurious, full of history, secrets and so much furniture! I was most excited about the hall of mirrors, photos and videos do not do the hall justice it was beautiful with an exquisite ceiling (regular readers will know that I have a ceiling fetish!) and then something awful happened, my camera died, Mike and I had both thought each other had charged it and extra batteries – I think travel fatigue was setting in.

Hall of Mirrors

It was a glorious day and we walked through the palace grounds exploring the maze’, fountains and Grand Trianon, poor old Mike was exhausted he must have walked miles by the time we left 6 hours later. We went via the gift shop where Mike bought me an extensive book about the palace with lots of photos to make up for the lack of my own photos – what a love!

The grounds at Versailles 

And so it was time to leave... as we drove back to Calais, Mike and I were already reminiscing about our 3000 mile epic drive through the Italian countryside and the French cities, laughing over drunken wedding memories and salivating over all the scrumptious food and wine we’d indulged in.

From my personal perspective I think this road trip was great for Mike and I, we’d had a difficult few months before the holiday and I think we were both stressed and mentally worn out, but two weeks of time to chat, reconnect and laugh until we cried was amazing and I can’t wait to do it all again!

L xxx