THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Autoroute du Soleil
Going home

Last driving day

All went well on the way to my meh hotel in Dijon yesterday. I had left the booking too late because I was hoping to stay longer in Bandol if a couple days delay allowed the dealer to fix Speranza. Once it was clear I’d need to go home and return to Luxembourg later, I decided to stick to my original schedule. The American chain hotel was all that was available on short notice. It was like being in the States but with grumpy staff. The French do good customer service usually, but these guys seemed ashamed to have betrayed their country by signing up to serve “fries with everything.” It was forgettable and I already regret the time wasted on this paragraph!

IMG_1828I decided to breakfast en route and hit the road as soon as I’d showered and dressed. In the end I paused for a leisurely brunch.

My hosts in Luxembourg were returning from a holiday themselves and were not due home until 2pm so I replaced what would usually have been a Ferrari dash with a Kia saunter. It was a pleasant and relaxing journey through Bourgogne and onwards. The weather was beautiful, the scenery was picturesque and I actually found myself singing along to my driving playlist, while allowing the adaptive cruise control to keep me broadly legal.

Nira and I arrived at 1440, unloaded my luggage at my friends’ home and spent a couple of hours relaxing in their garden before heading to the airport to hand her back to Hertz by the 6pm deadline.

Annyeong, Nira

Their guy told me the likely approach to the costs I’d incurred when Yoko broke down would be that I’d be reimbursed for the recovery truck but have to pay for the repairs from my €1,300 insurance excess. That was better than I hoped and so I went cheerily (if expensively — wow, the Luxembourg taxi drivers lobbying to ban Uber has paid off!) back to my friends’ home for espresso martinis, a delightful meal and a lot of chat and reminiscence.

The percentage of trip days requiring recovery or rescue is 20% as of today, Sunday. Let’s hope the Eurostar doesn’t break down! If it arrives without problem and my onward Uber gets me safely home the final trip percentage should be 18.75% tomorrow. 

Thanks for coming along for the ride, gentles all.


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Thank you, Tom. Enjoyed the read. Your route yesterday is a road I used regularly when touring on my (motor)bike the better part of 20 years ago. One of the unexpected delights was a stop in Metz, which I expected to be an industrial city better avoided; it is after all surrounded by cement works and the like. In fact, the centre is medieval, the riverside lovely for the most part, and the Cathedral more-than-averagely breathtaking - I enjoy wandering round a decent cathedral to photograph the interior and the glass. A pleasant few hours.

Hopefully, you'll have Speranza back reasonably quickly!


Always a delight to read your well-written accounts.

Mark in Mayenne

Thanks for thé ride!

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