Today was a lot of driving. We were heading from Normandy to south of Lyon. It is our first leg of the journey back to Marseilles where we’ll catch our plane back home. Since we were driving by Versailles, we decided to drop by. We didn’t have more than a few hours at Versailles. You could really spend days exploring Versailles. I visited Versailles in 1986 and it hasn’t really changed since then. It is really an impressive palace. This time, we spend time walking around the gardens a fair amount. I suspect that during the summer that place must be really special. Much of the gardens was still closed, and in better weather I can’t really think of a better place for a picnic. Amy was really fascinated by the floors and ceilings of Versailles. If you like artwork, you will like Versailles.
After Versailles, we drove and drove. Fortunately, France has some great highways with a speed limit of 130 KPH (80 MPH), so you can get places pretty fast. These are all toll roads, and that caused us some serious problem. The biggest nuisance on the trip was that our American credit cards don’t work consistently in France. European credit cards use a smart chip in addition to a magnetic strip. So, if the card reader you are using only works with a smart chip, you are out of luck. We never could use our credit card to pay for gas and had to pay in cash. While we figured this out early and managed to still get gas when we needed it, we ran out of luck today on the toll road. Up to now, our credit cards had worked on the toll roads. But today, we got caught in a credit card only lane at a toll booth. It took about ten minutes to get an attendant to the gate so we could pay with euros. Thank goodness we had the exact change available and that the attendant who answers the SOS button spoke a tiny bit of English. After getting unstuck, we managed to drive to our hotel for the night. It was a long day and after we got to our room we chose to eat in their restaurant. Expensive, but very tasty.