Sunday, 2 May 2010

A change is as good as a rest.

Welcome to Gombeen Nation, coming to you from the south of France – holiday time! All this new-fangled technology is great altogether, and I’ve got the newly acquired laptop plugged in and connected up in our little Premiere Classe motel room in the vicinity of Bordeaux.

These things are the business, they really are. €40 for a room, whether there are one, two or three occupants, and a brekkie when you get out of the scratcher for €4.80 a head. OK, it’s not the Four Seasons, but you have everything you need, including en-suite, parking, TV and - of course - inclusive wi-fi. I’m beginning to sound like a budget Bill Bryson here.

Nice drive down from Cherbourg, where we got off the boat at 1pm. 708 kilometres/460 miles in less than seven hours with four stops for coffee/bladder needs. Not bad eh? Try doing that in Ireland... if Ireland was big enough.

The ferry crossing was very smooth, and it’s great having your little cabin and your own bit of space... and we’re not talking knee room here. I’d rather spend 18 hours in a boat with that than be elbowing my way onto one of Mick O’Leary’s crates any day. But it’s horses for courses, I suppose.

Speaking of comforts. One thing I hadn’t noticed before – and call me a naive townie if you will – is the transporting of live animals by lorry. There were four of these juggernauts (each one a double-decker) as we were boarding the boat, and the noise out of the poor buggers inside was awful. Now, I’m not a veggie, but nor would I beat a trail to Elliot and Son butchers every day either – a Big Mac and a Findus burger and a steak once in a blue moon would be about it. But you have to wonder if it’s strictly necessary to transport live animals over long distances and 18-hour ferry crossings on top of each other so people can chomp something, the origin of which they are blissfully unaware?  It seems like unnecessary suffering... I mean, can they not grow cows in France?

We’re continuing on down to Spain tomorrow, and hopefully there will be no more disasters there this year. More about that anon.  And now that Gombeen Nation has gone techie all of a slap, the blog will continue as per usual. 

You know, given the property-based implosion of the Irish economy, Spain might seem like a home from home for the next three weeks.

But hopefully, at least there will be a bit of sunshine.


Anonymous said...

life is good mr GM off for a spot of sun and sangria at reasonable prices, watch out for les garlick snapping piggies shooting radar, could ruin your whole day,yes there is a lot of ex property zillionaires in spain as in oirland its just not right its heartbreaking infact, btw my friend nick the greek is soooh impressed with the land of a thousand welcomes for borrowing so much money to give to greece it should be in a swiss bank in less than a week CHEERS BH

The Gombeen Man said...

Howdy Mr BH.

So far so good with the old gendarmes. Later today I'll be keeping a beady eye out for Franco's finest. Nothing like a bit of variety!


Rugger said...

People keep telling me to stay away from pigs ... Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain.

But I still hope you'll enjoy your trip.


Anonymous said...

Happy Hols GM!!


SaS said...

Why is the Premiere Classe sign pointing at your arse?

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks folks. Just found a Wi-fi facility in a nearby McDonalds. Good old Ronnie Mac.

Yes SaS, I had noticed that one myself. Maybe the missus was trying to be creative there?

Catherine said...

Yes there's a lot to be said for the featureless cheapo motel chains of France - we did a similar trip in 2002 and 2007 and had a blast - went from Rosslare to Fishguard and then Dover to Calais on day one, then had a breakdown on day two near Chartres and got a replacement car from the insurance and stayed near Poitiers, before hitting our destination of the Costa Brava day three. On way back stayed in Comfort Inns like your place there, and other bargain places that have now hit Ireland. I just found your blog and have to agree with a lot of your sentiments particularly the state of the nation ones. Hope you visit my blog sometimes, it's a bit of a hotch-potch. All the best, Catherine.

The Gombeen Man said...

Will do Catherine. Cheers.