Saturday, August 15, 2009

Car Trouble...

Monday 9 August – Wednesday 11 August

We have learnt some French words which we did not wish to know...’depannage’ means ‘towing’ and ‘le garage’ is ‘the garage’.
Yes, we have had car trouble...
We had a beautiful drive out of the Languedoc region through some mountainous country, wooded areas and beautiful little villages. It was quite steep in places and we got some amazing views.
On Monday we drove up through Millau, where we had lunch. Lionel & Josh had seen the Millau Viaduct on a ‘Top Gear’ programme and we thought that since we were in the area we would pay a visit. It is an amazing feat of engineering with the viaduct spanning a huge gorge.
Our trials started about 4pm when the car lost power on a hill. We called in at the next garage and the mechanic said to head to the big Peugeot garage in Le Puy (about an hour & a half away). We didn’t make it that far and at about 4.40 I had to call the emergency number to get a tow truck out. My French really is not that good – especially over the telephone and about an hour and a half later the gendarmerie arrived saying that my directions were not good and the tow truck could not find us...he called the tow truck and it soon arrived!
It was about 7pm by the time we got to the garage and so they arranged a hotel room for us, which was very kind of them and we enjoyed a night in a real bed with sheets!
The next morning we thought the car was fixed and ready to go...but NO. So we spent Tuesday night camping on the Central Massif at a lovely little family campsite. Lunch time Wednesday we finally got away from Landos! By this time we had made contact with Jane & Hannah (friends from Invercargill) and they were going to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. So we decided to meet up with them there. We were very excited at the thought of seeing them and planned on being there at about 6pm.
OH NO....About 40 minutes after leaving the garage the same thing happened – the car just lost all power! I phoned the garage we had been at (unfortunately the owner spoke no English) and I thought he said he would come and get us....after an hour or so he still hadn’t arrived a lovely French road worker stopped to help us and called a tow truck. The garage man had said for us to come back to him... We ended up at a different garage where the problem got fixed. A part which filters the air through the turbo (I think) had worn out with the heat and all the hills and so wasn’t letting air through causing the engine to cut out. Not a problem we would have had in England as it doesn’t get hot enough and there isn’t enough hills!
We were finally on our way at 4.30pm and arrived in Lauterbrunnen at 10pm.
It is so good to see Jane & Hannah and we have 3 nights in Switzerland before heading down into Italy.

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