France
Arrondissement de Lille

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54 travelers at this place:

  • Day1040

    Port de Plaisance d'Halluin, France

    May 2, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    Jackdaws are poking around amongst the carpet of daisies growing through the grass in front of the van. Beyond them a mix of pleasure craft are moored in the small marina, their rubber fenders swinging gently in the breeze. The Old Leie channel breaks away from the River Lys and curls round the tongue of land we are parked on, acting as the border line between France and Belgium. Every so often an angry buzzing penetrates the air, as lessons finish at the Belgian college over the water and students escape on low powered mopeds.

    Before setting off this morning, Vicky called the company we had ordered the new door handle from. Communicating with a Spanish telephonist through the medium of French was a little difficult but we were told the part would be ready in 4 days (better than the possible 2 weeks but we'll have to wait and see how things turn out).

    Our journey here took us on a wild goose chase through Belgium. Vicky is in need of a specialist yarn to finish a knitting project and had used the internet to hunt down a Belgian distributor, only to find the address was that of a private home, not a wool shop. We consoled ourselves with a trip to a frituur for lunch. They were friendly, spoke good English and even had a choice of vegetarian fare, so we walked away happy with a couple of burgers and piping hot frites in a perforated bag to stop them getting soggy.

    Will had a successful afternoon fishing, catching some decent sized carp, while Vicky tried in vain to find somewhere that sold the yarn she needed, either online or at a shop we were likely to be passing. As the sun broke through the clouds she cleared her head with a walk. Our little peninsula seens to be a 'green lung', set within an industrial, urban environment. It was good to walk amongst the trees and spot the birdlife, including a Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Widgeon and Great Crested Grebes. She even took a short trip over the pedestrian bridge to Belgium and back. We really do love the freedom of movement within the Schengen Area!

    A chilly wind blew on the second day but we wrapped up and took a stroll into the towns, yes, towns. The urban area here spans the border line. The Belgian side, where we began, is known as Menen and the French section that we walked to is known as Halluin. Menen's main street is a busy place, crammed with businesses selling tobacco, alcohol, chocolate and a few seedy sex stores. The border at Place Jacques Delors Plein was subtle, with a small granite plinth marking the spot. We were surprised to find that Menen spoke Dutch and Halluin spoke French. Our previous impression had been that Belgian areas close to the French border had adopted this language, but it obviously wasn't the case here.

    Will had successfully fitted the new chain and gear changer to the tandem so in the afternoon we took it out for a test run, following the grassy walking track up one side of the River Lys, through a corridor of Cow Parsley, then returning on the smooth tarmac cycle track on the other. Will indulged Vicky by stopping at a field where two foals were finding their feet. We spent five minutes watching as one reared up and grabbed hold of its mother's mane, hanging on and tugging like a dog would with a rope toy!

    Although it wasn't an official aire, Halluin was a good spot to stay for a couple of days, providing opportunities for fishing, walking, birdwatching, and cycling. It was quiet enough as well as having easy access to a town (or two)!
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  • Day7

    Day 5 - Seclin/ La Scene

    October 9, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Today was a very short drive. The day started with breakfast consisting of cold cuts, jams, croissants, and an omelette. We then drove only about an hour to Seclin. We walked around a shopping mall and went to a huge grocery store. They had literally everything including every cheese you could imagine. Unfortunately my limited French abilities didn’t get me too far and many don’t speak English.

    One thing that blew my mind was half the store was wine and European beer, especially Belgian. In the other side of the coin they had like five sodas. Coke, Diet, Dr. Pepper, and knock offs. Plus all the potato chip flavors were different.

    The gig was at a smaller restaurant. We got there early and met the club owners. They were very traditional French people and they even initiated faire la bise. We setup around 6:30 and our showtime was at 9:45. People eat dinner late there. So we sat around upstairs for awhile then ate dinner. They served us Coq du Vin with French fries and salad. Wasn’t a huge fan. The chicken was small and mostly bones.
    After the meal they gave us coffee. Usually you get a small cookie or something with it but here they had these miniature chocolate covered marshmallows. Not bad!

    We were supposed to start at 9:45 but it got pushed back to 1030 I believe. We played and the crowd was extremely subdued and didn’t understand a word of English for the most part. Not really our crowd. I thought my playing was pretty good at least.

    After the gig we packed up and drove back. Google took us to a dirt road which took us 15 minutes to get through because of the trailer. We got back then I hung out in the room which was super small and smelled funny.

    Today we go to Essen, Germany. Schnitzel time!!!
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  • Day5

    Brügge

    July 5, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Nach einem entspannten Morgen sind wir aufgebrochen zum Tagesausflug nach Brügge. Dort sind wir durch die Stadt geschlendert und haben noch mal Belgische Waffeln gegessen. Super cool war es, dass wir Straßenmusiker, die wo vor zwei Tagen in Brüssel schon gesehen haben, heute schon wieder spielen sehen haben. Da die echt gut sind, musste natürlich auch die CD mit!
    Zum Abschluss ging’s dann zum Abendessen zum Asiaten. Ansonsten geht es heute früh ins Bett, da wir um 6 Uhr morgen früh im Zug nach Paris sitzen.
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  • Day91

    9000 KM ~ 13. Land ~ Belgium :)

    September 21, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Freunde besuchen in der letzten Woche ☺️ ...erstmal auf
    nach Antwerpen 🕊️ Kai und Charlotte wir kommen... 🤗

    In Belgien werden die Sprachen Holländisch, Französisch und Deutsch gesprochen/verwendet - haben wir erfahren. Wobei Flämisch da noch etwas Eigenes ist.

    Mit Englisch kommen wir aber immer überall weiter 🤘Read more

  • Day5

    London to Lille, France

    August 31, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Although we are travelling light, we thought it best to avoid the peak hour in the tube, so packed up early and were on our way to the tube by 6.30am. We had to change lines a few times (and a few more than necessary since we got on one going in the wrong direction, got off at the next stop and backtracked). Ended up at the Eurostar well and trully ahead of schedule and then boarded the train for what turned out to be just over an hour from London to Lille. Impressive! Claustrophobic boy survived, barely aware that we had just passed under the English Channel, whilst the kids got some homework done.

    Picked up the hire car and now for the hard bit - driving it!!! Craig's job (yay) which was not helped by the fact that the minute we drove out of the car park we were on a 6 lane motorway and it his first time driving on the "wrong" side of the road... I was in the nerve-racking position of being his navigator and getting us to our AirBnB with lots of really hard French names in the way of success, so our marital bliss was at stake. Happy to report we are still talking.

    Our converted farmhouse accommodation is lovely and all Frenchy. Pascale, our host, offered to drive us to the supermarche so we didn't need to brave the road again. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    We stopped at her recommended bakery on the way where bread is sold by the kilo! Grocery shopping was a lot harder than you would think it should be, but we ended up with pate, cheese and sausage for lunch, and provisions for dinner including the very necessary alcoholic beverages. We also discovered that milk is not available in French supermarkets in any great quantity.

    Now chilling out for the rest of the afternoon - Craig is serenading us on the guitar and the children are working out how to live without a telly so are making up their own games, which seem to be getting increasingly violent in a fun-loving way ;-). Oh, they are progressing to making up their own jokes now.

    JOKES:
    Q: What did the cow do when he got to London?
    A: He went to the moo-seum.

    Q: What did the Carribean horse say when he went to the Notting Hill Festival?
    A: Hay man.

    Q: What did the sheep say when he got to London?
    A: Can you point me to the Temple Baaaa.

    ROFL?
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  • Day28

    Caen/Nampont

    August 10, 2016 in France ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Rode from Port Saint Avertin to Caen for an overnight stay and then was going to stop overnight, near Amiens, to have a look at the WW1 Battlefields/Museums (Pozieres, Fromelles etc.). The hotel I picked was a disaster,in what looked to be the seedy/dangerous side of town, so I moved on (120 odd kms) to Nampont (the Hotel's english name translation is "poplar" (as in the tree). Well I gussed as in tree, because it can't of been "popular. Wasn't seedy but wasn't fair even for the price (I got desperate as it was getting late) and I didn't pay a lot!!!. Ordinary food, internet best described as non-existent and less than comfortable room I'm pretty sure someone had a dog in the room, or maybe, like me, another smelly biker. Just as well I stpped off at Honfleur along the way - fantastic port town). Have look at the pic - according to Sarah I must be getting good at asking random people to take my pic, and none have runaway with my phone yet.

    Am staying at Wasquehal (only 10kms from the Belgian border). Went to Fromelles to visit the Australian WW1 memorial/cemetary. Not much more to say than sobering, a lot of very brave young men, many just 19 and 20 years old - makes you think. 5,553 Australians died, went missing or were injured in an assault ladting only 24 hours.

    To something lighter - managed to wash my jeans and jocks today with even getting off the bike. It poured for a while and naked bikes don't do a great job of keep water away. But the good part is it fined up and they dried in about 10 minutes. Not because it got sunny (it did), but I took a wrong turn and ended up on a very fast toll way. Not much choice but to sit on the speed limit of 130kph. But, it was actually the wind from BMWs, Audis and Mercs (even VW Golfs) passing me at about 165 (even though the speed limit is 130 kph) that did it!!!! Have only been honked once for being on the wrong side of the road, and at least was in the safety a shopping car park.

    Again, Cya for now
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  • Day4

    Last day in London

    August 30, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    No more hot weather! Craig was delighted to find London had put on its usual, and more expected, gloomy rainy type of weather which makes it altogether a much more English experience. So out came the raincoats and the umbrellas and we set off for another day in London. The kids have become quite adept at reading the Underground maps now and with both Bayswater and Queensway stations almost on top of each other and only a few minutes walk from our accommodation, it has been pretty convenient to get around and for the most part we have had to avoid taking more than one line to get anywhere.

    We did a walk by of St Paul's Cathedral (mainly for the Mary Poppins reference for the kids - birds not there, perhaps because they are no longer fed). An educational walk by Newgate and Old Bailey via Temple Bar, where I was able to be impressed/surprised by Kate's recall of both from her convict unit at school. We then skirted around St Bart's Hospital on our way to the Museum of London where we spent several hours. I first visited this back in 1991 and was impressed then, not only because it was really well done, but also because it was free - an important criteria if you were travelling on the cheap! It has been completely updated since then, but importantly, it is still incredibly brilliant and free!

    Our one and only pub lunch for the visit provided another bit of respite from the rain before we jumped on a tube to Tottenham Court Road and to visit a specialist guitar shop and bought a guitar for the trip. Too wet to walk along the full length of Oxford Street, we jumped on another tube to get to the other end. Since Craig and I have recently watched the miniseries Mr Selfridge, we decided to go and look at the real deal. The place was jam packed with people which is a testament to the vision, but also hard to believe he died a pauper. Kate declared it the best toy section she had EVER seen in a shop.

    We then ducked around the corner to The Leonard Hotel and met Lesley for a very English afternoon tea in a very English drawing room. It was lovely to meet up again - last time we visited, Finn was only 10 months old. I lived with the Watters family in London in 1991.

    We popped home quickly to ditch the guitar and dress a bit warmer, and headed back to Drury Lane in the West End to see the "School of Rock" musical. Another bunch of talented kids performing and it was great to be caught up in the live atmosphere of the production. The character of the kid bass guitar player was called Katie, and our Kate had a conversation this morning about perhaps learning base guitar, so it obviously made an impact. She did look cool!

    A whirlwind tour of London in 4 days - off to Lille in France tomorrow for some self-driving of the battlefields of the Western Front.
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  • Day29

    Lille Wasquehal

    August 11, 2016 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Hey all, decided to stay for 2 nights (might need to stay a 3rd....more on that later). When you travel light you need to wash reasonably often and usually you can tell when it's time, and if you can't, well some kind person sitting next to you on a train makes it obvious (great way to get a seat row all by yourself!!!). Most of the budget hotels I'm staying at don't have a fridge let alone a laundry so had to find one in town. You meet some other interesting travellers at self service laundries and I learnt that if you travel really light you sit around in your jocks while your two pairs of jeans are washing/drying - no not me, just a Kiwi travelling with nothing more than a very small backpack.

    Heading off to Belgium (booked a room with shared facilities cause that is one expensive country). Decided I'd lube/clean the chain and check the oil. 2 hours later and the bike was on the back of a trailer getting towed to a BMW bike shop. Went to check the oil, unscrewed the plug and heard a snap. The stick part of the dipstick snapped off and slid into the oil tank..yay!!!!

    Should be easy to fix, remove the bottom plate, take out the plastic, put the plate back and refill. Well thats what I hope anyway. At least I know the road assist works. Hopefully will be done early enough to let me get away tomorrow.

    Wasquenhal, part of the Tour de France in 2004, but not much else to talk about (but it is close to the Belgian border for a jump-off). Really just a place to do your washing and have some bad luck with your bike....

    Not my pic, but what the hell, I did buy lunch there.

    Bye for now
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  • Day8

    Braderie de Lille

    September 3, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    We caught the metro into Braderie de Lille this morning. We didn't realise we had to change lines along the way, but luckily a young French guy started talking to us on the train and his cousin just so happens to live in Brisbane, so he helped us change lines and set us in the right direction before he got off to go to work.

    Apparently this antiquities and flea market dates back to the 12th century. It was cancelled last year due to terrorism fears as there are around 2 million visitors to the event each year and their safety could not be guaranteed. Not sure what made it possible to guarantee the safety of visitors this year, but there were a lot of police with rather large machine guns at the ready standing around! There are so many people arriving by train and so much rubbish on the streets, I can't really see how they could have a hope of foiling the plans of a would-be terrorist.

    It seemed busy to us, but one stall holder who started talking to us said business was so-so as it was not as busy as recent years. We had lunch in a little cafe off one of the main streets. We were jammed into a bench seat and the man next to us started talking to us. He was born and still lived in Lille, but had travelled a lot. We had a great conversation with our almost non-existent French and his better English. He was an avid cyclist and obviously followed the rugby as he was asking about the All Blacks (we set him right that he needed to go for the Wallabies!) and Phil Anderson (first Australian to win a stage and wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France - I had to look that up!).

    Back at the farm, our AirBnB host Pascal asked if the kids wanted to go for a swim in her pool. 29 degrees, so off they went. We started talking to her and her husband (also named Pascal) about their hobby farm and all the rabbits we saw on the lawn the night before, which led to picking plums from their tree, checking out their quince, pear and walnut trees and collecting eggs from the chickens. The kids had fresh-from-the-chicken boiled eggs and plums for dinner. Can't get much more direct to the plate than that! We've been having last season's walnuts in our salad at night as there is a bowl in the apartment with a nutcracker. This AirBnb has been brilliant!
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Arrondissement de Lille

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