San Antonio couple stuck in France during nationwide protests, strikes

Couple finally got home yesterday, now sharing videos, pictures of strikes

SAN ANTONIO – Oscar and Sherry Carrero’s bucket list trip was a cruise through France, but political unrest in the country upended their plans last week. It was not the dream vacation that the San Antonio couple had planned and budgeted for.

“It was supposed to be a simple cruise from Avignon to Lyon, with several stops to several small cities in France,” Oscar said.

However, two days into the trip, French President Emmanuel Macron forced legislation affecting the workforce, including pushing the retirement age from 62 to 64. Protests and strikes began immediately.

“The lockmasters are on strike along the river. The ship was stuck in Avignon, and we never hit the other ports,” Oscar said.

They stayed put for days, but the ship could not restock supplies so they were bussed to Lyon.

It wasn’t just cruise ships that were sidelined. One of Oscar’s videos shows barges and container ships docked along the shoreline.

“People are expecting things to be delivered, such as food, such as medicine,” he explained.

Supply issues and public transportation strikes kept workers from showing up to shops, restaurants, and even hotels.

“All the major components of France are government-run,” Oscar said.

While the Carreros didn’t run into the volatile riots in Paris, finding food and accommodations in the smaller towns was hard.

“Our bus driver had to pass three rest stops because, literally, there was nobody working,” Oscar said.

In most cities, they saw trash piled in the streets as sanitation workers continued strikes.

The country strikes affected anything that would make the government money, like paying tolls.

Oscar captured video of his bus passing through a toll booth, with protesters on each side.

The tour guide inside the bus said, “Because of them, we don’t pay.”

“You had toll attendants with pirate flags out, cheering,” Oscar said.

When asked what Oscar and Sherry were most worried about, they said, “Getting home.”

Luckily, they were able to get to the airport on time, but not without more drama.

“Our airline sent a warning message the day before that if we don’t get out of Germany where our connection was by Sunday night, you weren’t getting out because of yet another strike by German workers that was unrelated to the strikes happening in France. It was just one comedy of errors after another,” Oscar said.

They said they were grateful to touch down in San Antonio at 6 p.m. Sunday.

“It was glorious!” Oscar said with a laugh.

He said they’d continue to watch the fallout in France, but this time from afar.

Also on

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.