Yes - a long way, but we allowed as much time as was required, in fact we didn't even really have an itinerary.
Drive - stop to eat or drink as we wished, stop to overnight as required .....which is what we did. And yet - something didn't work!
Marseille was a dream.
Hotel and the stay were more than acceptable, and the business went off beautifully - Italian Passport obtained with little fuss, our small amount of "tourism" done with success, and happily completed, we set off to the longer journey, but with no more than 250 to 300km's per day on the programme.Day one towards Charentes, rain......mountains and dizzy spells for me......and things had started on their downward path!Where and why these dizzy spells no one knows, not even right now - unexplained, but they just got worse and worse, until I finally was obliged to take to, and stay in, my bed - such was my holiday!
Finally, a doctor was called to the hotel and he decided that the responsability was too high to take and he preferred to request expert help in the form of hospital. "The best I can get" - said he, and proceeded to arrange transport to the CU La Rochelle....something which did not please me or Tina, my compagnonne one little bit, since the hospital is around 100km distant!
I left the charming hotel "Manoir Souhaite", having spent 2 days in my bed in the bedroom, and that was the last I saw of it!
I must say a big thank you to the owners who I'm told prefer to remain anonymous, they were exceptional - particularly towards Tina Concetta who now found herself presented with the problem of holidaying alone, and driving a couple of hundred kilometres almost on a daily basis!
Just to rub it in, the car, up till then magnificently performing, had decided to strike - for some reason, the battery didn't want to know! A new one was required, but wasn't available until Monday, and this was only Saturday!
The Hotel proprietors were so magnificently benevolent as to place their own car at her disposal - quite magnificent.
Anyway - to cut a long story short, it took 8 days to get anywhere near normality, and the dizziness still comes back now and then.
I didn't see anything of La Rochelle, except the hospital, and those photos Tina took herself, but I'm in absolutely no hurry to go back again.....I think my future, if I have one, is down here in the South of France, where drips of water on a permanent basis from the sky are very limited!
From La Rochelle Hospital, I was what is called "repatriated"! The distance from la Rochelle to our home in Vauvert is around 600kilometres, a long way, and I was not looking forward to the return voyage, with dizziness and sickness in the car, so I can't say I was disappointed tobe told I was going to be flown out, the programme (which I'll go into in another article) La Rochelle to Nantes airport in an ambulance, scheduled flight Nanted to Montpellier and a second ambulance Montpellier to Nimes CHU Hospital.
The advantage, of course, is that it was finished in 3 hours instead of 12 hours or more, but the disadvantages were that Tina Concetta would now have to drive the car back by herself, and would also lose the 5 nights of "holiday appartment" she had taken when we didn't know how long I had to stay in hospital at La Rochelle. OK - repatriation works well, it's covered by my car insurance, but they didn't tell us that we could have both been flown back, and the car could have been driven back to our home address by a professional driver.....well, never mind it's all finished now - Tina did a magnificent job, and managed to round her trip/vacances off with a last night in a nice place in the pre-Pyrenee mountains, which restored a little bit of her faith in herself - quite rightly so! She enjoyed her last foods on the road, and noted (for future use) the directions for the Pyrenees and NOT for Charentes! . I'm not too sure, we have agreed that in future, our holidays will consist of maximum day trips from our home address, and no more than that! There is so much to see and do here, no need to complicate the issuewith hospitals hundreds of miles distant.....!
Next time around, I'm going to try to attack the subject of French Hospitals and the French Health System, which - although seemingly very good, has all kinds of hick-hacks and problems, probably like all systems, worldwide.....