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France

28 - 29 November

Ah 'la belle France" where the beggars of the Riviera smoke tailor-made and bring a packed lunch, 'l’occasion de pieces d'autos' - the wreckers! look like the car park of a Bulgarian country club and there is literally a shopping centre on every corner.

The only sad thing is the loss of the classical French language as we learnt it at school! (albeit 30 years ago).  The modern French have lost the subtlety of the original language as we know it. So severe is their embarrassment when confronted by our classical French sentence structures that they quickly lapse into English to mask their loss of ability to speak their own language as Napoleon did!  

St Tropez is usually home to the rich and famous. Brigitte lives here! But this time of the year it is a pleasant port town with medieval streets - free parking! and uncluttered streets.

 Autoroute 'Aires de Service' are legendary for the quality of their over night parking areas. Just outside Aix en Provence we stayed in one that had almost as many services as most of the camping grounds we've stayed in. Toilets, showers (cold) waste disposal, water and a great view of the Provence countryside.

 The loss of our credit cards in Romania has come back to haunt us! Seems that none of the bills that are auto-paid from the Visa account have been paid for two months - oops! Without our SMS message link to the world we are dead! And what will the girls at home do if the home phones are cut off? But modern communication has saved the day again (we hope!). A few e-mails, some quick SMSing to Liz and we had a number to (free) call Optus C&W from any public phone in the world - Well it worked a treat in France at any rate. All seems well again on the phone front.

Today (29th) we visited Avignon and the Pont du Gard. Not much for a whole day but we seem to be getting more laid back with our 'touriste' visits these days. With wanders around towns and the inevitable hassles parking it can take a whole day to 'do' one smallish town! Avignon was exceptional though as it provides free (guarded) parking for visitors PLUS a free shuttle bus into town. 

Tonight we are again in 'motorway-world' in an Aires de Service just outside Nimes. Tomorrow we are serious about our driving and are off to Spain - a whole 200kms away!

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