Bienvenue a la Maison Whacky…

Before checking out of our hotel this morning we had a walk by the river towards the Guggenheim. Yes, it was still raining. The river was low, grey and muddy. Next to the Guggenheim a lonely sax playing busker was giving passers-by his version of ‘All By Myself’. Hearing him play, never has a melody been more aposite…

We returned to the hotel and extracted the car from the subterranean depths and began our journey over the border and back to France. Charles was in a bit of a dither as we again ended up on autoroute that didn’t appear on his map but after a stiff G&T he calmed down and directed us properly.

It poured, the heavens opened and a deluge followed us all the way past San Sebastian, across the border into France, into the foothills of the Pyrenees and made mountain streams into raging, boiling torrents. Our final destination, just out of Sare, was not known to the sat-nav, so we had to resort to asking a local. Ten minutes later we were driving down a potholed track to our b&b for the next two nights…

There’s no reception here, in fact it’s rather like popping into your slightly off beat relatives house. We were met by a very camp and very drunk proprietor, who said we should have rung 48 hours before to confirm. We showed him the reservation on which he’d agreed to provide two nights accomodation, breakfast and two evening meals. Sorry he said, the restaurant was closed Sunday and Monday. On closer inspection he noticed we’d booked in December last year, so that explained the mix up….ah, only in France.

The hotel initially reminded me of Fawlty Towers. We were shown a room without a key, but a bolt on the inside, the wiring is from the 1970’s and it looks as though their interior designer had swatches from Laura Ashley, Harrods, Burberry and Selfriges and decided to use them all. Jean (the owner) offered us two coffees by way of compensation for no evening meal and phoned his cousin in the village to reserve us a table for this evening. All this time a party was going on in the restaurant, a couple of steps down into another room. Jean was carrying a small wooden drinks tray which kept falling out his grasp to the floor. I expected Jean to follow it soon after..

But…the hotel is in a beautiful situation, the room is quaint but warm and cosy and we had a lovely meal in his cousins hotel restaurant…..Let’s see what breakfast is like…

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