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    • Day 16–19

      Back to the Rugby!

      October 6, 2023 in France ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      You need a fair amount of kit when travelling and not being held by airline baggage restrictions the packing planning alone was a feat. Bag A has all we need for every stay, then there's a kitchen bag for self catering locations, a cool bag, kevs clothes bag, my clothes bag, shoe bag, laundry bag, top up bag. The only one left in the car every time so far being the coats bag. Thank you to the weather gods for that!
      Car tertris is something I'm excelling at with distinction so far!
      Before our trip my sister in law, Anne, told us she'd stayed in a town near Sables on a French exchange visit. So we drove through La Roche sur Yon to see if there were any sights we thought may bring back memories. The town was really busy but we managed to pull in on Bvd d'Angleterre and take a couple of photos.
      Kev wanted to drive by some château, or is it châteaux? I'm not sure, we did though and the one in the pictures has a bit of recent history. The right hand turret as you look at it is original but the rest of the building was badly burnt. Sadly, a 78 year old man lost his life in the fire.It's currently being restored to its original state
      So, to Nantes, and a straightforward check in at Resid Spa, where are back to çatering for ourselves, or dining out maybe.
      We hadn't watched a France game out in a bar or at a big screen with the French fans yet and wanted to take in that atmosphere. So we headed for the Fan Village on the tram.
      The French victorious 60 -7 but also magnanimous when Italy scored their only try in a very one sided game.
      A great atmosphere with pockets of Welsh supporters also present as they play Georgia in Nantes the following day.
      On that note, its 'home nations' Saturday with Wales, England, Ireland and Scotland all in action.
      Time to dig out the roses from the clothes bags and head off to meet a good friend in the city....
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    • Day 18

      Home nations Saturday

      October 8, 2023 in France ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

      Wales 43 - 19 Georgia
      England 18 - 17 Samoa
      Ireland 36 - 14 Scotland
      A great day in Nantes, meeting our friend Neil who was off to the Wales game in Nantes. We watched that game in an Irish bar, the England v Samoa game at the fan village then the Ireland v Scotland game in the centre of town.
      You couldn't move in some of the old town streets but the fans were brilliant at parting the waves to let Kev through the masses. We managed to find seats in a bar just on the outskirts of the masses and were looked after by more fantastic staff.
      All nations mixed wonderfully. What an atmosphere!
      We think a long weekend to Nantes is now high on the priorities! I have been here before, 42 years ago, but more about that in a few days.
      Today is game day... off to watch Argentina v Japan and to meet more of their followers.
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    • Day 303

      Les Machines de l'île

      April 16 in France ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

      Ein Kunstprojekt auf dem Gelände einer ehemaligen Werft. Eine Kreuzung der imaginären Welten von Jules Verne (geboren in Nantes), des mechanische Universum von Leonardo da Vinci und der industriellen Vergangenheit der Stadt Nantes.
      Schon als wir an der Kasse an standen, konnten wir das erste Highlight sehen - ein 12 Meter hoher, 8 Meter breiter und 21 Meter langer Elefant aus Stahl und Holz bewegt sich langsam in unsere Richtung. Wir haben aber gar nicht genug Zeit zu gucken, inzwischen können wir an die Kasse.
      Der Rundgang beginnt mit der Galerie. Dort gibt es verschiedene Tiere, die später im neuesten Projekt (Ein riesiger Baum, über dessen Äste man spazieren kann. Einen Prototypen von einem Ast konnten wir vor der Halle erklimmen.) ihren Platz finden.
      Die Erklärungen der Mechaniker sind sicher interessant, leider aber nur auf französisch.
      Anschließend sind wir zu Fuß zum "Carrousel des Mondes Marins" gelaufen. Man könnte auch auf dem Elefanten hin reiten, muss man aber auch extra bezahlen.
      Das Karussell hat 3 Etagen und auf fast allen Sitzplätzen kann man durch irgendwelche Hebel und Pedale irgendwas bewegen. Da man mit der Eintrittskarte auch einmal Karussell fahren kann, Jörg aber keine Lust hatte, konnte ich zweimal mit fahren und hatte so viel Spaß!
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    • Day 47

      Back to the Loire

      October 6, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

      I must admit that we all felt quite emotional. It is not easy to say goodbye to friends you have shared so many experiences with over the past few weeks. It was also something of an acknowledgement that our time in France was inevitably coming to an end.

      Kay and Annie were catching an early train from St Malo to Paris airport. In a few hours they would both be on their way back to Australia. A couple of hours later we were farewelling Gael and Gerry as they headed off to spend a few days in Paris. That meant we were down to just the two of us. And where will will be going ? We will actually be heading right back to where we were about a week ago.

      It was time to pam (ie cram) the suitcases again for another train trip. With bulging zippers we said goodbye to the girl at the desk of the Beaufort Hotel. It had been our fourth stay at this hotel and we told her that we both hoped it would not be the last.

      As soon as we started rolling our way towards the train station, we started to miss the sound of the ocean. That continuous white noise of the waves and tides really does work its way into your subconscious. It is certainly a magical way to drift off to sleep.

      Our plan was to travel back to Nantes - the place where we had seen the giant automated elephant and dined like royalty at La Cigalle. That meant catching the train from St Malo to Rennes and then getting a second train to Nantes. Although the French make amazing trains that can cross the nation silently at 300 kph, their station design leaves a lot to be desired.

      It is apalling that so many of their stations still have no lifts or escalators. There is often no alternative to manhandling suitcases up and down long flights of stairs. I cannot understand how anyone with any sort of physical disability would manage. It is bad enough for people of "senior years", like us.

      Even if you successfully manage to get your luggage through the station and on to the correct train, there is almost no storage room on the trains for suitcases. We have often had to jam the case into the same seats we were sitting on and then have an extremely uncomfortable journey as a result.

      At least the train to Rennes was only partially full, enabling us to grab a couple of spare seats for our luggage. We then sat in fear that additional people would board the train and demand those two seats. Fortunately that did not happen and we made it to Rennes without incident.

      With only a few minutes to catch the next train, we performed the "suitcase two step" between the platforms, arriving exhausted at the Nantes train. In the process I think I also managed to do more damage to my back and knee. This really is the not so glamorous part of travel.

      Although the Nantes train was more densely populated, we somehow managed to find a tiny piece of space for our luggage and sat down to enjoy the wonderful scenery outside. An hour later we were getting off the train at Nantes. Ity almost felt like being back home again as the place was familiar. It was also significantly warmer than it had been in St Malo, so we were soon discarding our coats.

      After checking into our hotel we wandered back into the streets of the centreville. One shop caught our attention. It was an optical shop with a slogan "10 Euros in 10 Minutes". And yes, it is true. They can make you a pair of glasses for 10 Euro in 10 minutes. Everything is highly automated and done in front of your eyes. You don't even need an appointment OR a prescription as they can do a high tech eye test on the spot. It seemed an incredible concept and we would have gone inside and given it a try if it had not been a Sunday and if they had not been closed. I could do with a spare pair of 10 Euro glasses.

      Tomorrow we will be colelcting our hire car from the depot and then heading further south to the Dordogne region.
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    • Day 24


      September 7, 2022 in France ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

      Nach unserer täglichen Morgenroutine machten wir uns auf Richtung Carnac. Den dort stehen fast 3.000 Menhire (Hinkelsteine) auf 4 km Länge verteilt. Religiöser Kult, astronomische Stätte oder Gesteinsarmee.... Es gibt zahlreiche Theorien, das Geheimnis der zwischen 5.000 und 3.000 v. Chr. errichteten Steinreihen konnte bis heute noch nicht gelüftet werden. 🤔

      Da das Wetter am Nachmittag zu wünschen übrig ließ, erledigten wir unseren Einkauf und besuchten den "Hyper U" Supermarkt.
      Das war ein wahres Erlebnis, wir fühlten uns wie in der Serie "Superstore". 😅
      Wir haben beide noch NIE in einen anderen Land einen Supermarkt mit einer derartigen Auswahl gesehen wie in Frankreich. Es gab einfach alles, was das Herz begehrt und das dann in 30-facher Ausführung. 🙈😅 z.B. gab es eine 10 Meter lange Kühltheke nur mit Butter - verrückt oder? 😅
      Bei der großen Auswahl ist die Entscheidung schwer, am liebsten würde man alles probieren, aber das geht nicht. Es war eine derartige Reizüberflutung, das wir danach fix und fertig waren. 😅

      Gegen Abend fuhren wir zum Stellplatz für die Nacht. Es ging in die Stadt Nantes, die wir morgen genauer Erkunden möchten. ☺️
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    • Day 25


      July 9, 2023 in France ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      Am siebten Tage sollst du ruhen - das nehmen wir uns vor! Wecker wird nicht gestellt, ausgiebig Zeitung lesen, ausgedehntes Frühstück....
      Danach sind wir fit, die Stadt Nantes unter die Füsse zu nehmen. Schwerpunkt heute sind nicht Kirchen und Kathedralen, sondern Kunstwerke im Freien, die überall in der Stadt verteilt ist. Das bekannte Justizgebäude von Jean Nouvel können wir leider nur von aussen betrachten. Schade!
      Hingegen sehen wir den Elefanten, das maritime Karussell, die beuden Köpfe unter dem Titel "in a silent way", und vieles mehr...
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    • Day 304


      April 17 in France ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

      Heute haben wir einen Stadtbummel durch Nantes gemacht. Gestartet sind wir am "Château des ducs de Bretagne" (Schloß der Herzöge der Bretagne), um anschließend Richtung Stadtzentrum zu gehen. Über den "Place Royale" mit dem großen Springbrunnen ging es zur Passage Pommeraye.
      An einer kleinen Patisserie haben wir uns durchs Fenster das Gebäck angesehen, eine ältere Frau hatte draußen Kaffe getrunken und uns sofort von dem Kuchen vorgeschwärmt. Natürlich auf französisch, aber da die Franzosen sehr gerne sehr "bewegend" (mit Händen und Armen) erzählen konnte ich ein wenig verstehen. Irgendwann hat sie meinen etwas hilflosen Blick verstanden, gefragt, ob ich englisch spreche, um dann auf englisch weiter zu schwärmen. Zweimal hat sie sich versbschiedet, um dann doch noch was zu sagen. "Der Erdbeerkuchen ist so lecker und diese Créme, dadrauf!" (Stimmt!) "Die Beste Patisserie in Nantes! 5 von 5 Sternen!" (Können wir nicht beurteilen, wir sind erst den dritten Tag hier.)
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    • Day 97

      #25 München - Strasbourg - Nantes

      August 5, 2022 in France ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Warmer Sommerregen: Unser Begleitgeruch, als wir unsere Rucksäcke die letzten Meter zu unserem Münchner Zuhause schleppten. Wir waren wieder dahoam! Auf Matthias Qualen beim Landeanflug gehen wir lieber nicht näher ein - nur so viel: sein Trommelfell hat es überstanden.

      Eine ganz andere Trommel stand dann erstmal nach Ankunft im Mittelpunkt: Die Wäschetrommel. Denn vom Backpacking zum Bikepacking trennten uns noch einige Vorbereitungen. Kleidung und Gepäck aufs Minimum begrenzen, Fahrräder zum Service bringen, Bike-Setup feinjustieren und natürlich auch ein paar Tage den Münchner Sommer genießen gemeinsam mit Freunden und Familie.

      Und dann saßen wir auch schon im Zug nach Straßburg. Neben uns unsere Räder als treue Begleiter für die nächsten zwei Monate. Außerdem vier Taschen und ein Zelt als unserem Hauptwohnsitz für die kommenden Wochen.

      In Straßburg selbst ging es aber nochmal ins Hotel und von dort am nächsten Tag in die Stadt, um uns so langsam an alles französische von Croissant bis Bonjour zu gewöhnen. Am nächsten Tag katapultierte uns dann der TGV nach Nantes - dem Ausgangspunkt unserer Reise. Zuvor testeten wir aber noch das Radnetz von Paris, als wir dort den Bahnhof wechseln mussten. Bei Abendsonne über die Seine zu fahren kam uns dann bereits ziemlich französisch-romantisch vor.

      Am nächsten Morgen schwangen wir uns dann endlich auf den Sattel. Kaltstart um 8:00 Uhr, die ersten Kilometer noch durch Nantes - und dann schon flussaufwärts an der Loire. Unser Leitmotiv für die kommenden Wochen.
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    • Day 9


      December 21, 2023 in France ⋅ 🌬 13 °C

      O ‘cartão de visita’ assusta um pouco pois, assim que começamos a entrar na cidade, vimos imenso lixo pelo chão, até quase à estrada, e muitas barracas um pouco mais recolhidas. Depois, percorrendo a cidade, primeiro com a Cali e depois a pé, o contraste com os lugares onde estivemos antes é grande, aqui tudo parece um pouco ‘abandalhado’.

      A cidade é bastante grande, com largas avenidas e corredores separados para as pessoas, ciclovia, elétrico e carros; a arquitetura moderna é uma grande salganhada. Ah, mas os franceses têm uma forma engraçada de facilitar a vida aos visitantes… há uma linha colorida no chão que, nos bairros antigos do centro, percorre as principais atrações, sejam a catedral, o castelo, as ruas mais típicas e as de maior comércio, etc; são caminhadas de alguns kms mas ‘muito certeiras’.

      Comprámos um pão excecional e uns croissants premiados que são (mesmo) de lamber os dedos, e visitámos algumas lojas de produtos artesanais - pasme-se o preço do azeite!!
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    • Day 17


      August 28, 2023 in France ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      I was shattered yesterday. I had walked 46 miles in two days with an 10 or 12kg pack and I just needed a rest.
      So I treated myself to a day in Nantes! I love a continental city; always vibrant, cultured and well dressed.

      The sixth largest city in France, Nantes used to be the capital of Brittany when the two countries were separate. It was a commercial port and responsible for nearly half of the French Atlantic slave trade. Instead of downplaying this, the city believes that we need to be reminded how much of the wealth of the city was derived, and to reflect on that when we enjoy its riches.

      To this end it has built the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery. I haven't taken photos because they could not convey the power of the piece which is very large and on two levels. The effect is visceral. One part of the installation is a walkway along the Loire, a bit like a section of the Embankment in London. Inset in the walkway are small glass bricks, like fallen confetti after a wedding. At first sight it is a wonder to see the light reflecting from the many, scattered glass pieces. Then you look at the bricks close up and you notice it is engraved with a name. The name of a ship. A slave ship. And there are so many ships. And it's a walkway so people are just walking over them. Just watching and taking this in is extremely moving.

      In total, it is estimated that twelve million people were enslaved in the Atlantic slave trade, and one and a half million died onboard the boat.

      Naturally this gets you thinking. Of course, I can't change history but I can be aware of the danger of perceiving differences and attaching negative values to those perceived differences. Seeing the difference and not the whole. Slavery was built upon differentiation. In fact, when I think about it, differentiation is at the root of many evils.

      Photos - giant mechanical elephant!, elegant shopping at Passage de Pommeraye, castle, man rolling back tarmac
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Nantes, نانت, Горад Нант, Нант, Naoned, Ναντ, Nanto, Nanti, נאנט, नांत, Nant, Նանտ, ナント, ნანტი, 낭트, Portus Namnetum, Nantas, Nante, नाँत, ਨੌਂਤ, نانتیز, நாந்து, น็องต์, 南特

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