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  • Day23

    Things go Downhill Rapidly

    September 12, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    I suppose that there are several ingredients for a great ride. These would include favourable weather, amazing scenery, good friends to share the ride with, an absence of punctures and a glorious downhill. Today's ride had all of these things. It also had another ingredient that I would rather we had gone without. That unwelcome ingredient was a crash. To make matters even worse, I was the one that crashed.

    The day began well enough. We left the hotel and climbed back up to the main sqaure of Sancerre where the cafe had agreed to make us baguette sandwiches for lunch. When the whole peloton had obtained their lunch supplies, all we had to go was head down the same very steep hill that had almost done us all in yesterday.

    At first I started walking the bike, but I am not the most patient man in the world and thought it would be better to ride instead. I started to scoot the bike and tried to throw my hind leg over the seat. It was at that point that my life started to flash before my eyes. I managed to get the leg partway over before the seat of my cycling knicks caught on the saddle. With the combination of the very steep descent and the fact that I was involved in some sort of macabre embrace with the bike, things quickly escalated. Although I tried to maintain some sort of dignity and control, after a period of bicycle contortions, I fell over the handlebars and crashed heavily to the road. It was not my finest hour.

    I lay on the road for some time, trying to disentangle my arms and legs from the wheels, chains and handlebars of the bike. Somehow we seemed to have become fused together. Gradually I staggered back up to my feet and examined the carnage. I had taken a large impact to my left knee and managed to collect some of the road gravel in it. The rear of my right thigh was also scraped and I had other assorted cuts and abbrasions over the rest of my body. Not such a bad result under the circumstances.

    The bike had also taken a hit and the front light had been smashed right off its bracket. We managed to secure it witgh a motley assortment of bandages and tape. I tried to assure the others that it was "only a flesh wound" and that I was fir to continue the ride.

    I did manage to complete the rest of the ride, but by the time we reached our hotel in Briare I was conscious of the fact that my left knee had completely stiffened up. This is the same knee that had given me grief in the Baltics and it had taken several weeks to get better again. It now appears that I am back to square one.

    Apart from my unfortunate early malfunction, the rest of the day's ride went without a hitch. The cycling was some of the most delightful any of us had ever experienced. The early focal point was the huge nuclear power plant that we had been able to see from the hilltop of Sancerre. One of the massive cooling towers was blasting a continuous jet of steam high into the atmospehere. No matter how you feel about nuclear power stations, the jet of steam was certainly an impressive sight.

    The towers themselves were so huge that it was very hard to tell just how far away they were. It seemed to take us most of the morning to reach them, but we finally reached the power plant surrounded with heavily armoured perimeter fencing. Large signs warned that taking photos was prohibited (but we cheated ever so little on that point).

    We also managed to find perfect spots for morning tea and lunch. Even more remarkable was our find of a lovely little cafe for afternoon tea. The owner had obviously been celebrating for most of the day and seemed more interested in dancing to his loud music than in serving us. We also discovered that he could not speak French - only Spanish. He did manage to rip me off for about twice the normal rate for a bottle of water and a coke. Such is life.

    Late in the afternoon we reached the beautiful town of Briare, best known for its elevated canal over the Loire. We also discovered that the streets and bridges of the city are liberally decorated with lovely flowering plants. Since I cannot keep any plant alive for longer than about two weeks, I was amazed that the flowers throughout the entire town were all flourishing.

    In the evening we all dined al fresco at the Le Clos des Aromes restaurant. This is one of the very best restaurants in the town and we quickly learnt how they earned that coveted accolade. Their food was simply divine.
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    Kay Everson

    A brilliant day and an absolutely delicious meal. Thank you 😊

    9/12/19Reply
    JOan Horton

    Keep cycling Dennis..the pain passes quickly..that's my experience. enjoying reading about your groups adventure and the photos. wasted opportunity of turning steam into electricity..all that steam from the power station!, GP

    9/12/19Reply
    DaveMc

    I hope that knee is okay.

    9/12/19Reply
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  • Day7

    Made it!

    July 14, 2020 in France ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

    Pfoehhhh ik weet niet hoe, maar ik heb de camping gehaald. Laatste stuk was bizar pittig. En toen ik na ruim 4km recht omhoog erachter kwam dat de weg eindigde in een doodlopend zandpad... Tja, toen vond ik het niet zo leuk meer. Ik weigerde dezelfde kilometers direct weer af te dalen, dus was er maar één optie: tranen drogen en met fiets en al dwars door een weiland vol graan😂👌🏼 75km op de teller, moe maar voldaan.Read more

    Henny Tweel

    💪wat goed van je. Nu rust verdiend.

    7/14/20Reply
    Miranda Broersma

    Femke, Femke, Femke wat heb ik een bewondering voor je doorzettingsvermogen..Ik had m'n tent allang in dat weiland graan gezet!!! Xxx

    7/14/20Reply

    Femke wat doe je het toch goed. We zijn trots op jouw. [Erica]

    7/14/20Reply
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  • Day16

    Drinken!

    July 23, 2020 in France ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Whaaaaaa nog nooit zo extreem gelukkig geweest met een zeer overprijsde buurtsuper. Drinken uit de koeling en zelfs het fruit is koud😍😍 Waar een mens toch ook gelukkig van kan worden haha! Ohja, zie mij eens sexy zijn met m'n hoofddeksel en zonnebril hahahRead more

    Anne Broersma

    Heel slim hoor, het helpt zeker. 👍

    7/23/20Reply
    Henny Tweel

    Ze kennen je toch niet en jij blijft zo COOL!

    7/23/20Reply
    Corinne Ovinge-Best

    Staat heel cool!!😘

    7/23/20Reply
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  • Day4

    Saint Émilion

    August 6, 2020 in France ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Went on another wee train trip today to the well preserved medieval town of St Émilion, famous for its red wine. Like many French towns, the station was a bit out of the centre and involved a 25 minute walk into the town. However this was very pleasant as it passed alongside the vineyards. Did a recommended walking tour around various churches and monuments which were lovely. However, it got too hot (35 degrees!) so I sat in a lovely wee shaded restaurant balcony and had a very leisurely lunch. The service was painfully slow, but the young waitress was smiling and friendly and doing her best, and I was in no rush. The food was delicious - a very tasty gazpacho, complete with a dollop of refreshing sorbet on top, followed by a lovely roast pork, all washed down with local wine and a much needed litre of sparkling water.

    The train back to Bordeaux failed to appear until 45 minutes after its scheduled time, by which time us passengers were melting in the searing heat at an old closed, unmanned station with no facilities. I tell you it was straight to the on board toilet when the train did arrive after that litre of water!
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    Christine Hughes

    Looks a fabulous mini break Robert complete with the good weather. X

    8/6/20Reply
    Margaret Morris

    What a lovely trip Robert. Maybe we could take a wee Anniversary trip later Teen? ❤️

    8/7/20Reply
    Helen Laing

    Another beautiful town Robert. You must spend lots of time researching before your trips. It always amazes me how well you get around and what you manage to see x

    8/7/20Reply
    Sarah Sneddon

    Looks lovely, nice pics! 😍

    8/7/20Reply
     
  • Day4

    The massacre of Oradour sur Glane.

    January 28, 2020 in France ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    Today we only drove 200km to the monumental town of Oradour sur Glane.
    It was wet and windy ride..
    The destroyed village of Oradour was impressive, it was unbelievable sad.
    Thinking about other places of this earth were this is real.
    Were today people have to live in the ruins of their homes, makes me believe that we need to do more to learn from each other and take care for the needing.

    We stay for the night. No use for pushing on.
    Going to cook our meal outside.
    And tomorrow,..
    Tomorrow we hope to pass Bordeaux. Than...the Pyreneeës. The barrier for Spain.
    Lieske will conquer!! 🤞
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    beestenweer om te rijden , gelukkig rijd je naar de zon, succes.mooi filmpje

    1/29/20Reply

    Het ruine platsje uit de oorlog.

    1/29/20Reply

    Mooi! Maar wel veel spellings fouten 😘

    1/30/20Reply
     
  • Day3

    Day 3 - Urgences, Urgences

    August 6, 2020 in France ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Woke up to discover that Jackie’s throbbing finger had turned even more green. After a bit of umming & ahhing we decided our first stop of the day would be the local hospital, just a 0.8 walk away.

    After packing up, we checked out & discovered the key fob I had got us into the car park. We dumped our bags & marched up to the Centre Hospitalier Métropole Savoie. We walked into the virtually empty emergency department & Jackie showed them her manky finger & most importantly her European Health card. Details were taken by the receptionist & no more than 15 minutes later, Jackie was called by the Doctor. This was too easy!

    And of course it was. A couple of minutes later, Jackie was back out & sat with me waiting to be called........we think. I writing this live time & literally 2 minutes later, Jackie was taken away by another Doctor. Impressive.

    Over an hour later Jackie returned to inform me that the Doctors had cut all the green pus out of her finger. Apparently it was just very badly infected, but if she hadn’t sought treatment, it may have required surgery. It was not the original pharmacy diagnosis of Whitlow Finger, which came as a massive relief which was herpetic and incurable. Jackie said the Doctors were so helpful & pleasant. They filled the now large hole in her finger, then bandaged it & sent her packing with a list of items she needed to get from a pharmacy. Thank god that it was all free because we are still in the EU. Which idiots voted us out?

    Jackie was on a high when we left the hospital, possibly due to the anaesthetic. We had a coronation chicken roll & coffee in a boulangerie, then toured the towns pharmacies, collecting her required medical items. She got everything, except the packing for her wound. One pharmacy quoted her €98 for 4 large sheets of the stuff. No thank you.

    Gone midday & still without the packing, we returned to our car, got out of the car park, dumped off the fob, then hit the road for Italy. We fuelled up out of town, because it is cheaper in France than Italy allegedly. We then followed a scenic route up the Cottian Alps to Modane. It was here we discovered the we had no choice but to go through the Frejus Road Tunnel that links France with Italy. This was ok until we arrived at the pay kiosk & were informed that the fee for one way was JUST €46.

    We had no choice but to pay, then drove the 13km under the Col du Frejus & into Italy. After a volley of text messages from Vodafone & EE, we passed through Bardonecchia in Italy, then Susa & into Bussoleno. By now, Jackie had translated her prescription into Italian & she jumped out at the 1st pharmacy to get her missing wound packing. Apparently it didn’t go well, the pharmacist insisted on trying to sell her Gaviscon.

    We continued to the next pharmacy down the road & Jackie eventually came away with some antiseptic gel to insert into the wound. Finally, Jackie was happy, so we went to the supermarket next door & bought 4 bottles of wine, 4 large beers & some food for the princely sum of €33. Bargain!

    Sixty miles later & around 6.30pm, we arrived at Agriturismo da Mamma in Magliano in the Province of Cuneo. It is a very rural location about 4 miles from the nearest town of Alba. Upon arrival we were greeted by Mamma Maria & her son who checked us in. We have a modern spacious room with a terrace all for less than £50 which includes breakfast.

    Mamma Maria informed me that they have made their money from farming hazelnuts that they sell to Ferrero Rocher that originally began production in Alba. They are clearly doing well from their hazelnuts.

    We spent the evening on our terrace eating & drinking & planning our onward journey.

    Song of the Day : Infected by The The

    Bonus Songs : Emergency by 999
    Tunnel of Love by Bruce Springsteen.
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    Ann Annals

    Glad to hear Jackie has been to hospital a the news was good, am going to send you the dreaded quiz if i can if it gets to you and later will send the answers.Glad you have made Italy stay safe xx😎😎

    8/7/20Reply
    Gavin Farley

    Looks sore! Just noticed you are away again guys, have a great trip! Xx

    8/8/20Reply
    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Cheers Gav, another road trip has begun xx

    8/11/20Reply
     
  • Day55

    Lunettes Pour Nous

    October 14, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    We had a big decision to make. With only two full days in Paris, we needed to choose our activities wisely. One thing we were both in agreement on was that we had no intention of running to and fro all day doing the normal "tourist things". There would be no Hop On Hop Off buses, no Louvre, no Musee D'Orsee, not even an Eiffel Tower in our plans. But what could we do ?

    When we had been in Nantes we happened to notice an interesting shop with the slogan "10 Euros in 10 Minutes". Although you might be excused in thinking it was some sort of fast food place, it was in fact an optician. Their unique claim was that they could make you a new pair of glasses in only 10 minutes, with or without a prescription. Not only that, but the cost could be as low as 10 Euros.

    I had to admit that it had us both intrigued enough to do some further research. We learned that each store was highly automated and could produce the lenses in only a few minutes. Our problem in Nantes was that we had arrived on a Sunday and the store (like just about everything) was closed. But we were going to be in Paris on a Monday. Voila !

    The more we thought about it, the more the idea started to take root in our minds. It certainly would be an experience to have an eye test in France and go home with new spectacles. And so that's what we decided to do.

    Our research had shown that there was a store on the right bank, about 1 km from our apartment. We arrived right on opening time at 10 am and then had fun explaining to the young staff that we were from Australia and were looking for new glasses. We were soon both ushered into a high tech testing room where we had new prescriptions produced (no appointment necessary).

    The next step was to choose our frames. It was here that we discovered that not all the glasses can be produced for 10 Euro. Most of the frames were from 20 Euro to 50 Euro and the price of the lenses depends on the complexity of the prescription. Presumably it was only people who required no correction at all who would be able to get the 10 Euro special.

    Even so, the prices were quite reasonable. Thirty minutes later I was the proud owner of two new pairs of spectacles and Maggie the owner of one new pair. Even with scratch resistance and transition lenses, the total cost was only equivalent to $300 AUD. And did they work ? Yes they really did. It will also be another fond memory of our brief time in Paris.

    The rest of the day we spent walking (and walking and walking) until we both felt completely spent. The weather still continues to be warm and sunny and we even took the chance to have a lovely snooze on a couple of the chairs in the Tuileries Gardens.

    We returned exhausted to our apartment for dinner, before having another nightime walk around the I'le de La Citie. The tourist boats were cruising the Seine and the distant light from the top of the Eiffel Tower was flashing across the low clouds. It had been just about an ideal day in this wonderful city.
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    Marj Dowie

    What a wonderful adventure you’ve had. I’ve enjoyed reading all about it! All because you’ve taken the time every day to write about everything you’ve seen and thought about. When you arrive in Melbourne, welcome home to Spring, with flowers everywhere!

    10/14/19Reply
    Michael Slattery

    Yes, in the same month - enjoy France in Autumn, Australia in Spring; life can be very, very good.

    10/14/19Reply
    Dennis Dawson

    Thanks guys, we are looking forward to seeing everyone again. It has been a marvelous trip, but it is time to head home now.

    10/15/19Reply
     
  • Day51

    Rocamadour - the Cliffside Pilgrim Site

    October 10, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    "I think we should go to Rocamadour", she said. "It's very close to here", she added. Although I had never heard of the place, she convinced me that it really was one of the most amazing places in the whole of the Dordogne Region. In such circumstances it is futile to resist.

    "When do you want to leave ?", I meekly asked. Soon we were sitting in the car, entering the details into the GPS system. "This time we want the FAST option", I demanded. "No more of those tiny roads in the mountains".

    With the GPS loaded, we wound our way out of Sarlat and headed towards Rocamadour. According to the GPS, it was about 50 km and 90 minutes away. How did that calculate ? Soon I had the answer and it was not the one I had been hoping for.

    Once again we had been directed onto the narrowest, most circuitous, roughest and certainly the most dangerous tracks in the entire district. Where were the wide highways that I wanted ? Certainly not here.

    Within the first 10 km Maggie had changed her mind about seeing Rocamadour. "I want to go back", she screamed, with her fingernails imbedded deep in my right thigh. "It's too late now, there's no space to turn around". I also added "Remember that this was your idea, not mine". I also pointed out that it was about 50 km to the elusive hilltop town, hardly the "very close" that she had claimed.

    There was no denying that the scenery was beautiful. With the trees now fully decked out in the full range of autumn shadings, they were simply breathtaking. At times we drove above the Dordogne River, but the roads were always too narrow to stop to take a picture.

    A couple of hours of very nervous driving later, we finally arrived at the ancient town. The records of this place date back to the 12th century and it is surrounded in myths that have attracted pious pilgrims walking the Way of St James for hundreds of years. Whenever you see the way that the ancient stonemasons were able to build massive churches and abbeys precariously clinging to almost vertical cliffsides, you have to appreciate their skill and hard work. And all without the assistance of power tools and computers.

    Rocamadour was once one of the four most important pilrimmage sites in Christendom and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perhaps the reason for the religious importance was the discovery of an apparently incorruptable body in this location, way back in 1166. Early pilgrims used to climb to the summit on their knees but, since my knee is not yet fully recovered after my accident in Sancere, I decided against that option.

    In one place a large number of plaques testify to a range of miracles that have been attributed to divine intervention. Many of these miracles relate to ships at sea. That is why there are numerous models of boats in the church sanctuary.

    Of course Maggie took one look over her head and stated that she would NOT be climbing to the top. I reminded her that, if I could drive here, she could make the effort to overcome her fear of heights. She promised to think about it.

    After a lovely lunch on a terrace with a panoramic view and a little retail shopping therapy, she felt a little better. All women do. She reluctantly agreed to come to the top and, once she was there, she was thrilled at the unbelievable views we were rewarded with. Perhaps it really was worth all that we had gone through to get there after all.

    The drive back to Sarlat did not seem anywhere near as frightening, probably because we took a completely different route that time and avoided the tiny tracks.

    We finished the day with an evening walk around the centre of Sarlat and then returned for dinner in our apartment. It had been quite a day.
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    Kay Everson

    Well worth the effort ❤️

    10/11/19Reply
    Kay Everson

    Well worth the effort ❤️

    10/11/19Reply
    Dennis Dawson

    Thank you Kay, it certainly was fascinating.

    10/11/19Reply
     
  • Day53

    A Long Trying Tour to Tours

    October 12, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We knew it was always going to be a long day. With around 400 km of driving on unfamiliar roads to get back from Sarlat to Tours, I had not exactly been looking forward to the challenge, especially considering the propensity the Peugeot's GPS seems to have to keep directing us into the narrowest roads in France.

    Although we checked and rechecked the route on Google maps, the first 75 km was still rather tortuous. On the positive side of the ledger, the difficult roads rewarded us every few minutes with absolutely delightful scenery. If at all possible, the autumn colours seem to be changing by the day, and the colour palette that is displayed is amazing. Although we have often travelled in Europe at this time of the year, we have never stayed around long enough to witness the full cycle as the trees shed all their leaves for the coming winter. Maybe one year .......

    It was not until we finally hit the first toll road that we were really able to make up for some lost time. I wound the cruise control up to a little over 130 kph and was finally able to see the km start to fly by. We also started to see the first road signs pointing the way to Paris and counting down the km. In a way we felt like we were already heading home.

    The next long section of road was even better - not only did it have a 130 kph speed limit, but it was free. The GPS told me that there would be no turns for over 200 km. It was a little boring, but we needed to get to Tours before 5 pm to return the rental car.

    All was going very well until we saw a flashing light by the side of the freeway. It warned that there was a traffic accident ahead. On went the brakes (hoping that the cars behinds were equally alert). We were soon stationary in an endless line of vehicles. I was quite impressed that the GPS display on the dashboard had already turned red, indicating that there was a big delay on this road. I am not sure how it worked, but it was interesting to see technology in action.

    For the next 30 minutes we sat there. I started to have visions of us still being there at nightfall, but eventually the line of cars started to move and we were on our way again.

    It was then that another problem started to raise its ugly head - we needed fuel. Although we were still on that 200 km section of freeway, they do have "Aires" every 20 km or so. These are large rest/fuel/restaurant stops that are frequented by the huge tour buses. Every few minutes one of these awful buses pulls in to disgorge their bored passengers to make a beeline for the toilets and to buy some horrible plastic sandwiches. What a disgusting way to have a European holiday, but that is the way that millions of people get to experience France.

    It is always a confusing process to purchase petrol. We have had this problem before, when for some unknown reason, many petrol stations do not seem to recognise our VISA cards. We thought we had hit the jackpot when we discovered that this one was happy with our card. It was a pity that we could not follow the rest of the instructions. I should have felt the inner feeling of foreboding doom as I happily filled the car, but I was just relieved to hear the fuel sloshing into the tank.

    After filling the tank, I looked again at the instructions. The bowser already had our credit card details and I wondered how I was meant to tell it that the transaction was finished. I stood staring at the little images, until Maggie yelled at me from the car to "Get going". Maybe she was already needing another toilet stop. I climbed back in the car and continued the drive. It turned out to be an expensive mistake.

    The next couple of hours went by without incident (apart from several more toilet stops for Maggie), until we were on the outskirts of Tours. Since we needed to return the car with a tankful of petrol, we needed one more petrol station. We found one without much trouble, however this one would not accept our card. In such circumstances you have to resort to "Plan B".

    We noticed a friendly looking Frenchman at the next pump and indicated that we needed help. In a mixture of fractured French and sign language, we explained that our card would not work. He agreed to use his card and we immediately paid him back in cash. He seemed happy and so were we. It was another example of the fact that most human beings will treat you well if you are friendly and smile a lot.

    All that remained was to safely navigate the final few km into the centre of Tours and return the car. The rental depot was right at the train station and we happened to arrive at the same time as a major train. The streets near the station were jammed with cars trying to pick people up from the station. On top of this we had no real idea of where to return our car. The stress levels started to soar again.

    Fortunately I managed to find a blind alley and decided to leave the car there while Maggie walked to the rental car office. I figured that I had got it safely this far, they could figure out what to do next. A few minutes later a friendly young fellow came out, checkout the car to make sure we had not written it off and then bade us "Au Revoir". It was another chapter of our long adventure which had been successfully completed.

    All that remained was to catch a train to the Gare de Tours station and then find our hotel. When we emerged from the huge central station we immediately felt home. On our left was the huge Grand Hotel which had been our home about three week's earlier. The sky was clear and the temperature was in the mid 20s - it was delightful.

    A few minutes later we were searching for the nearby Hotel Linxa. We were a little underwhelmed to find that it consisted only of a door with a tiny sign. The door was firmly locked. We pushed the tiny button and eventually a middle aged guy came out to meet us.

    The listing on Booking.com proudly announced "We speak your language", however this must only be true if your language is French. The guy spoke not a SINGLE word of of English. In a country where we have been told over and over that all the children learn English in school, they must all be shocking students since most of them forget everything they learn as soon as they walk out the school door.

    Even more daunting that his lack of English was the fact that hotel had no lift, only a very narrow and very steep staircase leading to our room on the second floor. We were both tired and this was almost enough to break us. We dragged, pulled, heaved and lifted our luggage and then both collapsed onto the bed. This type of holiday is hard work.

    A little while later, when my breath had returned, I decided to check the on line banking to see that the day's transaction had been processed correctly. To my horror I found that the petrol station had charged me over $200 for the petrol I had used. Since the car could not hold a fraction of that quantity of fuel, I have to assume that whoever used the pump next was able to fill up on my account. It was another example of the perils of petrol purchasing in a foreign country.

    Although it was a rather unpleasant discovery, it was not the end of the world. We had survived the long drive, we had enjoyed a wonderful holiday and we were back in Tours. Tomorrow we will be in Paris. In the overall scheme of things, losing a $100 or so is a rather trivial matter. Perhaps we will regard it as a learning experience, in the meantime I can gain many brownie points by continually reminding Maggie that it was her fault, and that she will have to greatly reduce her spending for the rest of the trip.
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    Dennis Dawson

    We made it safely to Tours, after a very long day on the road.

    10/13/19Reply
    Margot Schuhmacher

    Hopefully the $200 fuel money is a pre-authorisation charge which should be refunded when the actual amount is processed

    10/14/19Reply
    Dennis Dawson

    Nope it is definitely a fuel charge. At least someone else got a free tankful or two of petrol. Worse things can happen. C'est la vie.

    10/14/19Reply
    Dennis Dawson

    10/14/19Reply
     
  • Day1

    Paris Arrival!

    March 30, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    After we FINALLY made it to Paris, we had the best day ever. But the trip here was exhausting! We sat in traffic all the way from Richmond to Dulles. Then had a yummy airport dinner before our redeye flight to Iceland. We each got a couple of hours of sleep on that flight and then a couple more on the flight from Iceland to Paris. We arrived in Paris at noon yesterday and we were both very tired. Our Airbnb host had told us to take the train to his stop in Paris. But the train was closed for maintenance, which we found out after we had already bought a ticket! So we waited in the longest line ever for the replacement bus then transferred to the train and then got off at our stop. Then we were planning to turn on cell data briefly to get walking directions to the Airbnb but the cell data wouldn’t work! Fortunately, all of the Parisians we met were the nicest and most helpful people ever. Three different people tried to give us directions and a random hotel let us use their WiFi. We arrived, about 2 hours late, and our awesome Airbnb host was still sitting there waiting for us!

    We were tempted to take a nap but decided to push through “until 8:00 or so”. That’s when the awesome part of the day started. Our Airbnb is in the perfect part of town. It is just south of the Latin quarter, right off of Rue Mouffetard, the oldest street in Paris, and probably the coolest street ever. For a couple of miles, the street is lined on both sides with everything you can imagine - bakeries, fruit stands, fresh seafood shops, butchers, cheese markets, cafes, bars, restaurants, creperies, shops, ice cream parlors, markets, and anything else you can imagine. Live music is played on every block. And it’s pretty much all Parisians, very few tourists. We started at a cafe with a cheese plate and wine. Four amazing types of cheeses and a basket of French bread. We sat outside and people watched and listened to a band and ate and drank for awhile.

    After we left the cafe, we walked north up Rue Mouffetard to Notre Dame and the Seine River, passing a beautiful old Church and the Pantheon on the way. We walked into Notre Dame during their Saturday night mass, which was pretty cool. The architecture, both inside and out, and the stained glass, was incredible. Next, we tried to go into Sainte-Chappell’s on the next block, but it had closed. We’ll try to go there today before the Louvre! We stood on a bridge over the Seine River and people watched and waved to the boats passing by.

    Then we wandered around the city for awhile. We ended up in an Irish pub (on accident) for a beer. While in the pub, Tim noticed that his phone was missing. We thought for sure he had been pick pocketed but decided to walk back to a restaurant that we had previously sat down at outside but had left before we had ordered anything. We poked our head around outside and a nice group of people asked us (in French) if we had lost a phone. Sure enough, it was sitting at the host stand!

    At this point, we were ready for dinner! We ended up at a restaurant back on Rue Mouffetard where Ernest Hemingway used to live! The place was packed with Parisians and had a TripAdvisor sticker and had a prix fixe menu so we figured it would be amazing. The wine was amazing, the food was just mediocre, but we had a blast. We each ordered off of the prix fixe menu. We both started with the duck salad, which was fantastic. Then I had the seafood plate (shrimp, scallops, and salmon) and Tim had the flank steak. Both of those plates were okay. And I had a delicious creme brûlée and Tim has a delicious chocolate mousse. The whole meal took about 3 hours (and 2 carafes of wine)! We had a great time sitting outside and eating and drinking and people watching. We finished the meal off with a couple of coffee drinks and headed home. After dinner, we got completely lost, but eventually found our way.

    To be honest, Paris was never really on my bucket list. I was thinking of this had more of a stopover on the way to Amsterdam. I was completely wrong. Tim and I both agreed yesterday that this may be our favorite city we’ve ever been to. Definitely in the top 3.
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    Sunshine Bwamp

    Lovely. Weather looks perfect also.

    3/31/19Reply
    Liz Corallo

    Looks like you’re keeping busy! Glad you’re having such a great time!

    3/31/19Reply
     

You might also know this place by the following names:

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