Another day, another move. We packed up our barely unpacked bags and flung them in the boot of the car. Yesterday, the GPS had given us cause for concern when the battery ran low and failed to charge. Just when we thought it was best to go back to the hire place to sort it out before they closed at midday, it fell into line and behaved as it was supposed to. Relieved, we went about our business which mainly consisted of acquiring more pastry and makeup (curse that Sephora and it’s magnetic appeal!) and then onto the Cathedral, also called Notre Dame.
In fact, the similarity between Amiens Notre Dame and Paris’ is more than striking, they are almost identical although Amiens is actually bigger and older. It also has the bejeweled skull of John the Baptist on display which kinda makes it cooler too. As well as mentioning Australia on plaque for our involvement in WWI. But my favourite feature is one sad little angel crying way up the back behind the alter. I’ve always liked the imagery of angels as silent observers of humanity, there’s something beautifully tragic about having the power to bear such witness and yet be powerless to intervene. For more on this subject and in memory of the late Peter Falk (who features in this otherwise German film), may I recommend on of my favourite films Wings of Desire (under no circumstances to be confused or substituted by American remake City of Angels ).
Back to the car, we were ready for take off… but the GPS wasn’t. Now it wasn’t working! After much swearing and violence against machinery, we decided we had to take it back to the hire place to sort it out (but had to wait until after 2pm when they open again). They didn’t have another one so the guy asked ‘is it really necessary?’ and emphatic ‘yes’ seemed to scare him into action. We wasted the better part of the afternoon waiting for them to come to the obvious conclusion – go get a new charger!!! I’d like to say I dealt with the situation gracefully and that I took it in my stride as I’d like to think I’d done with yesterdays challenges, but I didn’t. My poor Mum then had to deal with a thundercloud complete with lightening and the occasional shower at the ironic thought that I was ruining her holiday with my lack of planning (as opposed to my overreaction at their faulty equipment).
Eventually we got underway to what has to be one of the happiest regions on earth – Champagne! We drove into Reims, found our very central hotel with relative ease (made easier by the parking station almost directly opposite) and checked in. The hotel is lovely and the receptionist even more so. Her warm welcome and our very spacious room (with an ante-chamber for late night blogging) made us forget all about the earlier problems.
We set off for a little turn about town to find it beautiful and bustling. Broad pedestrianised boulevards and the warm evening air created an ambience of easy living. We went to the restaurant recommended by Esther, the aforementioned lovely receptionist, which at first glance seemed to be a quite fancy – on second (lava lamp), third (printed polo tee uniform) and fourth (skanky, gormless waitress) glances, not so much. None the less, we are in Champagne so with very little hesitation, we ordered a bottle of Louis Roederer to accompany our very average meals (at one point Mum admitted if she had another mouthful of her steak tartare, she was going to vomit!). Despite the incongruity between the meal and the champagne, we savoured every last drop of the latter and even stripped the bottle of all loose labeling to keep as souvenirs (once we established the place wasn’t as swanky as we had originally thought, we felt no need to maintain a sense of decorum).
I soon forgot that I had felt the weight of the world on my shoulders earlier today especially now my head is feeling oh so light!
The day started well with a visit to Sephora and we decided we’d have a Rachael day by wearing her favourite perfure, Coco Chanel. This day continued to be very good until the @?!*% GPS wouldn’t work and not being ‘technically gifted’, I wasn’t of much use to poor Nomi but we got under way and made our way to Reims. It is a beautiful city.
We had a walk around the city at night but only about ‘40km’ this time and had beautiful champagne – Louis Roederer (eat your heart our Gubby and James – hehehe).
What made me smile today: Nomi setting fire to the hairy bits of fruit on her desert. Other diners thought there was a fire somewhere because of the stench. Love to all.