|I want to talk a little about the train situation. Of course, everyone knows that trains are a huge source of travel in Europe both by tourists and locals. It's commonly ok to just go to the station and get a ticket and get on. But in the summer, some of the popular routes are quite crowded so a ticket ahead of time is a good idea. Where to get the ticket online? There are lots of websites but many charge a fee or don't tell you they're charging a fee but jack up the ticket price. I've found that in Italy trenitalia.com was good and Trainline.com in France is a good website. Trainline also searches other vendors than sncf including ouibus and the charges are the same without a fee. From Nantes to Dinan it gave me a good option for a combo trip taking the Ouibus to Rennes and then the train the rest of the way. I'm just now starting to research Germany and Sweden so we will see what I find out.
The train ride from Oslo to Bergen is supposed to be one of the most picturesque in all of Europe. So once I knew my Norway plan I went to book it on the official Norway website and for the date of my travel all but two seats were taken (aisle seats which usually I prefer but I thought a window would be merited for this ride) for the two early trains. There were a few window seats left for the afternoon train and the sun will still be up until well after 10:30 pm when the train arrives so who cares. I tried to book the ticket but it kept refusing my credit cards. All of them. I called the bank. No luck. So I went to some non-official websites to try to get a ticket but they were charging like a 135€ (about $154) for what I could get on the official site for 805kn (about $96) so forget that. I decided to wait until the morning and try again as my patience was shot. I tried again in the morning but it still didn't like my credit card so I called the train line and they told me that since I wasn't signed up with the program I should use PayPal. What program? People tell me at times to get with the program so maybe this is what they're talking about. Anyways, it worked with PayPal and now I have my ticket. Happy face.
Sorry for all these random thoughts but I write this stuff and various times of the day. Not necessarily all at once. Oh, and while I'm thinking about it if I come completely clean as a SAT I have to confess this.
Now I'm not exactly a beginner when it comes to wine. I've done my share of wine tasting - at times 5 or 6 wineries in a day. I know the basics plus some. So, I was sitting at an outdoor restaurant in Bordeaux, minding my own business, and I ordered a nice Sancerre before my dinner. It was quite crowded in this area - actually I posted a picture in my Bordeaux notes. I've always liked Sancerre and recently learned that Sancerre is a French wine Appellation d'origine contrôlée or AOC for wine produced in the area of Sancerre in the eastern part of the Loire valley almost exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc. Didn't know that!! Anyways, I thought I'd see if it had a nice aroma so I swirled it in my glass as one does and put my nose in the bouquet. Wouldn't this be the time that they gave me a good pour of wine - it was pretty full - and as I tried to get the bouquet I snorted up a whole nose full of Sancerre. I looked around but I'm thinking no one saw the SAT and I put my napkin to my nose casually and let it dribble out. Let me tell you, in case you've ever wondered, Sancerre is on equal footing with wasabi for cleansing one's sinuses.
Dinan - what a picturesque medieval town! The Bretagne (Brittany) region is beautiful - extremely green and lush and many of the houses are made of stone block. Hydrangeas grow like weeds here. My room is spectacular in a gorgeous house and FULL en suite bath. The house is completely renovated and is perfect craftsmanship. My host put out enough food for 5 people at breakfast. SAT hits again but I'll tell you about that later. I took the local bus 7 to Dinard which is on the water - the Cote d'Emeraude. THIS IS IT. This is my place. Perfect. Just the right size. Beautiful town square with interesting and friendly shops. A walkway on the sea that winds around the coastline for a few miles all lined with beautiful flowers. I'm coming back here to live. I hope you enjoy the pictures. The city across the water is Saint-Malo. Didn't get there but some day.