Dear Diary – Page 73 (Late 1960’s – French Riviera)

We saw a group of young ladies on Monte Carlo’s beach, who had a no nonsense routine of changing from their street clothes and into their bikinis.

It was literally a case of removing all their clothes from the waist down, and putting on the bikini “bottom”. This was followed by removing all their clothes from the waist up and putting on their bikini “top”! Our history up until that time was with English people who tended to wriggle around underneath a large towel as they endeavored to get changed. Given these apparent local habits, we loved Monte Carlo, but of course could not afford to stay there for very long.

We soon left, and it was Pete’s desire to plan a route which took us directly back to Calais. Detouring was all very interesting, but our cash reserve was getting very low and Pete was uncertain whether we even had enough to get us back to the French coast. We pitched the tent on a large grassy area an hour or so outside of Monte Carlo and settled down for the night.

We were woken very early by the sound of a motorcycle very close by. It was a gendarme! He had parked his BMW motorcycle and was coming over to speak to us. Everything was wrong with this scenario. The gendarme’s English was poor. Our French was limited to a general conversational vocabulary, but we all loved motorcycles. As soon as we realized that his ‘bike was a BMW, we were out admiring it. The gendarme was clearly happy that we were excited about his motorcycle, but was less than happy with us camping in that area. After a very difficult few minutes, he pointed to a sign which was posted nearby, and which we did not understand. From his very broken English, we eventually understood that the sign was a warning about poisonous snakes! We packed up the tent and moved on.

Our next adventure began when, over the weekend, Pete determined that we would soon need to decide between fueling up the car, or eating. We did not have enough French francs to do both so the decision was made to drive through to Sunday and then camp outside the closest town on our route. On Monday we could then go to a bank and Pete could cash his traveler cheques.

The plan seemed sound enough until we went into the town on the Monday, to find that the bank was closed on Mondays! We stayed until Tuesday, and eventually headed off once again in the general direction of Calais. With a new supply of French francs we could now eat as necessary, and Pete could drive all day if he wanted to. He was clearly very happy with the way things were working out that, when it was suggested we really should see Paris before going home, he agreed!

7 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 73 (Late 1960’s – French Riviera)

  1. I remember when my father told me about his vacation with his brother traveling around Italy with their Vespa. Those must have been really amazing times. Such completely different way of experiencing a country. I was smiling when I read about the gendarme and the BMW…. there are things which just connect whether both parts speak the language or not! 😀

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