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An Annoying Day in Montpellier – Day 34
Saturday 15th August 2009 – France
My journey now was going to take me to the French Riviera. I wanted to head for Marseille, but my first stop was Montpellier. I packed my things and said goodbye to the campsite, but first I needed to stop at the supermarket, so I headed into Carcassonne, and what a nightmare this turned out to be.
The streets about this town are very small and narrow. There are main roads filtering most of the traffic, but the smaller roads take you on a journey of discovery through the tiny, one way systems that make up most of the rest of this place. I ventured into such a system in search of the supermarket, as lead by my sat nav, and soon found that I was following a newly placed, mapped out one way system that I couldn’t get off. It was taking me further away from where I wanted to be, and meant that I had to backtrack significantly in order to reach the road I needed. Unbelievably, moments later, I found myself down the exact same system, cursing myself for being so stupid.
After a while of repeating myself down the pleasant, yet aggravating roads, I changed direction to alter my route, only to be faced with a no-entry sign. I hastily reversed the way I came – luckily no other cars were in the way, or coming the opposite direction – and continued down the familiar, annoying system. Once I found myself at the traffic lights onto the main road, I took the right hand lane and waited for the lights to turn green. At the crossroads I knew I didn’t want to go left, and straight on would lead me back to the campsite, so I opted to go right. The lights turned green and I turned right, immediately noticing something was wrong. I had driven into a one way system, into 3 lanes of oncoming traffic, cars bearing down on me. I’ve never moved so quickly in my life. Into reverse, swung the car round and entered a side road that ran parallel to the main road. I turned right to go back the way I came and pointed the car at oncoming traffic yet again. What is with this place!? I had to do a hasty 3 point turn to get the car going the right way. After this I threw the towel in and headed out of town.
The heat was adding to my grief this morning, and with the numerous other cars on the roads, I just needed to get out. I realized I was the danger on the roads today, so I did everybody else a favour and set off in the direction of Montpellier.
En-route, I saw a sign for a supermarket, and decided to follow it as I had nothing in the car in the way of food or water. It would only be a small detour, I thought. The road continued for many miles, and took me to a small town. I was lead, following the signs, left, right, up, down, over the bridge, here, there and everywhere. Some time later I was presented with the car park to the shop, and with a sigh of relief, parked up and went in to stock up. Upon leaving the store, I knew I had to go all the way back again to rejoin the road I was on initially, and of course, I went the wrong way.
It was a long while before I reached the extremely busy campsite, and was told there was no room, but the girl phoned another site nearby to confirm they had a place for me. There was a couple next to me who were told the same thing. So I took my new directions and set off in search of this place.
In contrast, this place was out in the sticks, and was nothing special. I turned up just behind the couple I’d seen in the previous place, and they took the last of the good spots in the site. I had to settle for the remaining place at the very top, out in the open and exposed to the crippling heat. At least I was next to the facilities though, although on closer inspection it turns out that I would rather not have been. They were disgusting to say the least.
I had my lunch and went into town to find the information place. I was after a list of campsites in the Southern area of France. It was the usual story though as there were road closures, roadworks and one way systems, and naturally I got lost, but ended up in an underground car park under the main square. It was quite lively in the square with things going on all around, including a tribal band and street entertainers. It all seemed fun. There was a gathering of people near the bus stops, seemingly huddled around a group of young lads doing some kind of dance. Some were break dancing.
At the opposite end of the street was the rather large information office. It looked big enough to hold the information I was after, and I was sure I would come away with a list of campsites. So I came away with a leaflet about a couple of sites in Montpellier, which was the opposite of what I was after, and completely useless. I also had a guide for Nice. The girl said it was for Nice, and even asked her boss to confirm it, but surprise surprise, it wasn’t. There wasn’t a single campsite in the guide for Nice, so equally as useless. The tourist offices have been a waste of time for me this trip, and I had no idea why.
I passed the time back at the campsite and got a little annoyed with all the small flies that constantly fly into your eyes and ears and don’t leave you alone. Its fair to say I’m a little grumpy today, so its best I just go to bed I think. But as luck would have it, there is some kind of public holiday today, so there was a fireworks display that went on for most of the evening.
I cant wait to get to the Riviera and just kick back and relax by the beach.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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