Saturday, 25 February 2012

Its all in the small (green) print...

On Thursday we had to go up to Tours to deal with some French bureaucracy - always fun - so we decided that our bus option was the best way to get there.(see here) Now the particular office we were visiting was only open in the morning so that meant we had to get the earlier morning option (there only is two) from Le Grand Pressigny. This meant an early rise as we had to catch the bus at 7.15am. Pauline then noticed there was a bus from nearby Ligueil at 9.20 -much more civilised. So we set off after breakfast for Ligueil and found a parking space for the car immediately behind the bus stop-perfect. There was a girl already waiting for the bus as we arrived,always a reassuring sign. She spent a fair bit of time on her mobile,naturally, circling the bus stance as she did. 9.20 came and went as did she! It wasn't until 9.30 that we realised she must have been told on her phone that the bus wasn't coming, but didn't think to let us know. It's not reassuring to know that the youth of today seem to be universal in their response to situations such as this.(Jim GOM)

Anyway we at least had plan 'B' up our sleeve -so it was back to the car. Not nearly as inexpensive - the bus journey both ways for the two of us would have been 6.80 euro all in. The drive up saw us passing bus stops in places like Veigne where we wondered if we should have let the waiting people know that the bus wasn't coming but traffic conditions made this difficult (the usual Frenchman stuck to my car's rear magnet).

Is it just me, or does anyone else have a problem with orientation within Tours? From LGP, or on this occasion Leguiel, we normally take the scenic route and arrive in Chambery-les-Tours, in case we need a DIY fix, before slipping down the hill onto Route Saint-Avertin where we make our way onto the motorway to cross the Cher. This way into the city then takes you on to Boulevard Heurteloup which is great for getting you to the bus and railway stations and the convenient parking just beside them. As it happens the office we were looking for was also on this street a short walk from the parking - great!.

Now to my orientation problem, no matter how many times I have driven in this way I expect the stations to be on my right hand side and I am always surprised to see the tourist office and the theatre's 'skip' jutting out from my right - it always feels as if the city has been turned on its head! I'm sure the problem is only mine "my name is Jim Craig and I'm a man who finds Tour disorientating"

The office visit was handled very well by Pauline, who always underestimates her French, as she had the necessary photocopies of all we needed and more in reserve, well you never know! It was also made easier by the very pleasant and helpful lady behind the desk.
That done we headed for a coffee - almost as expensive as our bus fares would have been- and then decided that our planned lunch would have to be forgone due to the lack of cheap travel - and anyway we're lunching again tomorrow in Barrou.

Before heading back to the car I wanted an explanation as to why the bus hadn't turned up so did the manly thing and sent Pauline into the information desk to ask - well its she who has the French! She seemed to be doing a lot of talking and I thought perhaps she was negotiating the return of our additional travelling expenses - but no - turns out she had misread the timetable and the bus we were waiting for only runs during the summer or on school holidays. It's as well we didn't tell the waiting passengers in Veigne that their bus was not coming as they were obviously waiting on a different one!  Interestingly our 10.29 from LGP does not run on Wednesdays as its not a school day nor on public holidays, so she can be forgiven for this misunderstanding. Anyway she never did pass her diploma in French timetable reading -I'm sure there must be one - nor indeed geography - but then that's another story...


  1. Perhaps the moral of this tale is to get up early next time!

    Our trouble is beginning to be that our arms are not long enough to read the small print on the timetable ...

  2. We've tried to read timetables in Belgium... makes the French ones easy! Everything is on the timetable... and everything has a little number against it that refers to the exceptions smallprint... which is on the back of the timetable [only space large enough]... alright, if fiddly, when you have a folding pocket copy and there isn't a high wind... but they use the same timetable, unfolded, in the bus stop. If it was trapped between two windows... fine you just need two people... one outside the shelter, one inside.... but, more often than not I've noticed that they are in a metal-backed timetable window... you can't see the back! A local timetable for local people.
    And the ones in Mallorca are obviously printed by the same firm...