Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Long weekend in the Alps

After a very stressful week and literally losing it on Thursday (as evidenced by my last blog post) I was very much looking forward to a 5-day weekend in the Alps. We planned to stay with friends at their family house in Valbonnais and spend a long, relaxing weekend enjoying the fresh mountain air, hiking, relaxing at the lake and enjoying the company of good friends.

And as if that wasn't enough to make for a great weekend, I also had plans to FINALLY meet up with Crystal of Crystal Goes to Europe fame.  We have been following one another's blogs for years and since I was going to be staying near where she lives we quickly made plans to meet up and she kindly invited me to come visit her in her small town, meet her bébés and see her recently renovated apartment.  We seem to have a lot in common and I've been wanting to meet her face to face for years.  As much as I like Lionel's friends, for me, meeting up with Crystal was going to be the highlight of the trip. 

All in all, it was going to be a perfect weekend away from the stress of our renovations, the CFE, work and various other stresses.

So, for those of you who have not already read Crystal's blog post on the subject, I present you with my fabulous weekend away in pictures:

Lionel hanging out in our Citroen AX at a rest area in Dordogne about 2 hours into our drive.  This is where our car broke down.  We got to spend a good 3 hours visiting this little rest area, next to a toll booth, waiting for Lionel's parents to arrive with his cousin, the mechanic.  And as if I'm not lucky enough, it was one of those fabulous French rest areas that don't even have real toilets, just holes in the ground for women to squat over (hope you enjoy that mental image).  I was so happy to pay for a full tank of gas and 17 euros in tolls to visit this gem of a tourist site in the middle of nowhere France.
Our precious, little, nearly 20-year-old AX being towed to the nearest garage after Lionel's family showed up and confirmed our suspicions that the transmission was completely shot.  Now, I don't know much about cars, but when it would no longer allow us to even shift gears and kept making a horrible, squeaky groan and then stalling out right when we tried to put it into first, I knew all hope of a wonderful weekend in the Alps was lost.
So, needless to say, we never made it to the Alps.  In fact, we didn't even make it close.  I must say, this was not exactly the relaxing, refreshing and fun weekend away that I had planned.  Once the car was towed and we made arrangements with the garage we headed off with Lionel's family to his aunt and uncle's house in Dordogne for dinner.  Luckily for us, his parent's had been at his aunt and uncle's house visiting when our car broke down, so they were already in Dordogne and it wasn't too far for them to come and pick us up.  The only other bright side to this rather unfortunate weekend was I got to meet Lionel's cousins who live in Strasbourg for the first time, and they had been disappointed when they found out we were going to be out of town this past weekend.
But really, I knew this would happen.  About a month and a half ago, just a couple of days after I wrote this post mentioning how our little car was still going strong, she started making some really strange noises on a trip to IKEA with my mother-in-law.  When we got back and popped the hood we made the unfortunate discovery that two of the screws holding the motor in place had rusted through and snapped in half causing the motor to drop and hang diagonally in the car.  Lionel's dad managed to fix it, but I kept telling Lionel we should just bite the bullet and start looking for a new car, especially as we knew we intended to drive to the Alps at some point in August.  Lionel, being a man, didn't listen to my logic and wanted to wait so we could put off spending the money on a new car for as long as possible.  And so, as a result, our much-anticipated trip to the Alps was ruined.  I really should have just bought a car without him.
So, to sum it all up, instead of spending a delightful weekend in the mountains, we spent the weekend at home, with my in-laws, renovations happening all around us, scouring the internet for a decent used car.  And instead of having Monday and Tuesday off, I am now working because I couldn't justify losing money to sit around at home when we now have to buy a car.  The pressure is on to find a car ASAP because once my in-laws leave not only will we have no way to get to the store but we also won't have any way to go look at cars until they come back the next time.  I have to admit, I'm already sick and tired of researching cars and looking for good deals on used cars online!  My head is swimming with makes and models, prices and mileage, features, options and technical details!  And the stress of car shopping added to all the other stresses in our lives is causing me to lose precious sleep.
Anyway, we are hoping to have a new car in the next day or two and then we are going to try to reschedule our trip to the Alps for September, though we won't be able to go to Valbonnais and will have to content ourselves with staying with our friends in Grenoble instead.  Even though that might make for a less relaxing weekend than being far from the city, at least it shouldn't prevent me from meeting up with Crystal.  I certainly hope everyone else had a better weekend than I did!


  1. Lionel is a man and he didn't jump at the chance to buy a new car? You tell me I can go buy a car and I am out the door before the sentence finishes :)

    1. He is a man but definitely not a car guy! He knows even less about cars than I do. And actually, he hates spending money and gets very nervous about spending large sums, so buying a car is definitely not a pleasure for him. In fact, he once spent 2 years debating what video game console to purchase (this is considered a large purchase for him) and it got to the point that I was so sick of hearing about it that I just went and bought him one for Christmas!

  2. I'm flattered that I was going to be the highlight of your trip, and it makes me extra sad now that we couldn't meet up! I hope you find a new car very soon (and I totally hate shopping for them, too) and that you can get here to see me more sooner than later!

    Hang in there...the blogger meet up WILL happen...the bébés and I are waiting :)

    1. Well now that we have a car I will let you know when we get our trip rescheduled! Looking for to eventually meeting you and the bébés!