Karen F Rose My Painting Journey

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On the Road Again, The Kindness of a French Stranger

Leave the roundabout at the first turning. 

During our trip, we met the most incredible warm and friendly people. 
But my thanks goes out to one man in particular who got us on the road again. 
We had a rental car and of course before we returned it to the train station, we had to gas it up and bring it back with a full tank.
We were at a gas station in Coustelet in Provence, on a Sunday evening with no people in sight. Try as we might we could not get the pump to accept our "plastic" card. 
We decided to return on Monday morning and try again but still no luck.
Getting a little nervous that we might miss our train or worse run out of gas, I asked a gentleman in the car in front of us if he could help. He tried putting the card in upside down, sideways and backwards and still no luck.
He did not speak English, but without hesitation, he motioned to us to "follow him" and he drove us through town to another station that thankfully was open and would take euro.
Now he could have just driven off and not been bothered with tourists, but he took time out of his work day to help total strangers.

Renting a car on a vacation in a foreign country is an adventure no matter where you are, but the kindness of strangers makes the trip even more memorable. 

If you are planning a painting trip to France here are a few tips .

1. Take along a GPS device, it is invaluable to find gas stations, restaurants and places to buy art supplies.

2. Call your credit card company ahead of your trip and tell them you are traveling  overseas so you don't have them deny your card while you are there.

3. Pack light. If you are hopping on and off trains the lighter suitcase the better. Cause you have to be nimble on your feet!

4. Use Rail Europe to purchase you train tickets before your trip. It is an easy site to use and your tickets will be mailed directly to your home before you leave.

5. If you you are renting a car, be sure you know exactly where the rental car station location is. Hopefully you rent from a company that has the drop off location next to the train station.

6. If you use the Paris Metro be sure not to put your tickets near anything magnetic,
like the clasp of a travel purse. They become demagnetized and are useless! Buy a carnet, ten tickets at a time, and save a few euro.

7. Use Trip Advisor to help plan your trip. Get the low down on hotels from people who have stayed there.

8. To and from the the airport book ahead and prepay with Super Shuttle. They meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. You are sharing a van ride but what a great way to meet new friends!

9. If you don't speak the language and you do take a taxi, write down your destination address on a slip of paper and hand it to the taxi driver. Nothing get's lost in translation!

10. If you rent a car and are traveling in the countryside have enough cash to pay for a tank of gas...just in case your credit card doesn't work at the pump!

Any travel tips you would like to share?


Linda Popple said...

Thanks for the tips! Even reading this post makes me want to take a trip to France. Ooooh la la!!

Anonymous said...

well done content!

Kathy Cousart said...

I enjoyed reading these tips too and will file away for when I get to go! Always love to hear about kindness from strangers and try to do one random act per day myself. Love this!

Fay Terry said...

Great and thorough post, Karen. I have been helped by the kindness of the French on quite a few occasions and Provence is such a special place-I do think it helps to learn a few simple phrases before you go, because I think the effort is appreciated by those you meet. I highly recommend Pimsleur language courses for a good start.

Karen F. Rose said...

Linda Kathy and Fay thanks for your comments. Great recommendation Fay. My high school and college French is rusty. But I get by because I can still order a croissant.