Au Revoir Faithful Friend: Bonjour Paris

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August 25th 2011
Published: August 27th 2011
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It was a day of mixed feelings today. We had the excitement of driving into Paris for a three night stay. We had the sadness of handing back our faithful Peugeot 207SW that has taken us safely for 20717 kilometres across Europe and back again without a complaint. We have driven over all types of roads: the smooth, rough, wide and narrow. Some roads so rough we thought the suspension would give up. Roads through small villages were so narrow the wing mirrors needed to be pulled in. From the speed of the German autobahn to the slowness of the country road behind a fully laden wagon being towed by an old tractor. It has been quite memorable. But this part of the journey must come to an end and next week a new chapter begins in the United Kingdom.
After a last wander around the town of Illiers-Combray taking a few photos we buckled ourselves in and started our final drive. A few final countryside photos then we plugged in Miss GPS and headed for Paris. At the start of the trip we were told to bring the car back nearly empty of fuel, and with fingers crossed, that was what we intended to do.
Following the GPS instructions carefully we headed for our hotel on the outskirts of Paris in the area near Orly Airport, our drop off point for the car at exactly 4:00pm. Our hotel is in an area surrounded by high rise apartment buildings with a large shopping area. After unloading the car we were ready for the final drive.
Miss GPS has not always been that reliable but we now realise she has been more than a year out of date. She has taken us across country where no roads exist, attempted to have us turn across motorway traffic, over concrete median barriers and up one way streets the wrong way. So surely her last task of getting us to the drop-off depot should not be a problem. There is always a twist in every tale. Just as we were nearing our destination she had us turning onto a road that did not exist. Help! We have a deadline to meet. With some re-calculations we were soon on course but when we had reached the co-ordinates not a depot in sight. With sweaty palms we switched off the GPS and without a quiver in our voices worked out the next strategy. Retrace steps and use eyes! In minutes we found the depot and arrived ahead of schedule.
As we parked the car and signed it over we observed fellow Peugeots being loaded onto a transporter for their trip back to the factory having safely completed their journeys. A final pat on her bonnet and a last glance back and we were headed for the railway station for our trip back to the hotel.
It was just a car.
Another chapter has closed.

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