“Came the dawn …”, well, not quite. Anyway, after Wednesday’s breakfast in Beaune it was time to move on. Needing a bit of cash I followed the signs to “Centre Ville” but didn’t get that far. There a km or so away from the hotel was a Carrefour. For those new to things French, Carrefour (“crossroads”) is a chain of supermarkets across France and beyond.
The first thing to do was to take on board some fuel. Having done so, I then located an ATM (and that’s a story in itself) and after trying several of my bits of plastic, I was still sans dosh. Since the ATMs were outside an instore bank I located a friendly face and explained my problem. “Which machine did you use?” she asked. I pointed out the offending item whereupon she simply said “Try that one” and pointed to the one next to it. I did and was rewarded. I never did find out what the first one was for.
It was then easy enough to wander the aisles picking up what I needed, then I went to the self-service check-out. All went well until it came to the bananas. “Where do I weigh them?” I asked the assistant. “Where’s the ticket?” she said. Silly me was expecting a Morrison’s-type experience where you plonk the bananas on the scale and get them priced up on the spot. No, at Carrefour you pick the bananas from the display, WEIGH THEM THERE, get a ticket and stick said ticket on the bag of bananas. This you scan at the self-service. One lives and one learns.
Then it was off to Saint Quentin, all of 270 miles away. There was nothing for it but to press on along the autoroutes, finally arriving at about 18:30 and after circulating the congested town centre a couple of times in search of the hotel. Lori is definitely not speaking to me, and won’t be until I cross the Channel.
As it turned out, the hotel was unsuitable for a variety of reasons. Having received permission to try elsewhere I went to the B&B we used last year, but it was full. So was the adjacent Campanile. There was no alternative but to head on to the next town and try there. After prayer and Divine guidance I finally arrived in the dark at the Campanile in Arras at about 20:30, having eaten on the way.
I passed a restful night and after breakfast set off for Dunkirk and the final night’s stay in France. In the light of day, and having to find my way back onto the autoroute, there’s no doubt that I could not have found that hotel on my own in the dark. Thank you, Lord!