Starting in Frodsham at Al's on June 7th. Joined by the Whitehorse gang x 5 and Tara on June 9. Traveling in Wales x 7 days then to Londonx4 nights. France from 20-26 June
  • Day21

    Les Parrys en Paris

    June 26, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Hello from very hot and steamy Paris. Forecast is for 38 degrees today. Fortunately, we are getting out of Dodge this afternoon and taking the Eurostar back to London where it is a very reasonable 19 degrees.

    We arrived in St. Malo last week. Lovely spot on the north coast of France in the Brittany region. We enjoyed wandering around the old walled city and had a couple of good meals - finally eating al fresco was a bonus. We particularly enjoyed the galettes which are a Bretagne specialty ( buckwheat crepes with savoury fillings) . Always followed by a sweet crepe for dessert. We tried the local cider as well. The 3 boys were able to start using their French as soon as our feet touched down in France. Our St. Malo hotel was good and the boys were pleasantly surprised by the extensive breakfast buffet. They just kept going back for more crepes and croissants until Niki and Ryan put the brakes on them. We spent a few hours on Saturday morning visiting the family DePrats who live 30 minutes from St. Malo . These are old family friends of the Logan clan from a time we lived in Fontainbleau. They currently live on an extensive property with alpacas and a number of relics from the second world war, as the Germans took over the large home and grounds during the occupation. Once again, it was great for the boys to be able to use their French. Ryan and Tara are also fluent so there was much lively conversation. Monsieur DePrat loves showing people around the property. Madame cornered me and we exchanged news of the 2 families. She was a bit troubled by the fact that I was the only offspring of M. et Madame Logan to have offspring. She herself did her duty for France and had 7 children. Her 2 daughters alone have 12 offspring between them. In the afternoon we headed to the oyster capital -Cancale -for a coffee . Tara committed to having oysters at supper. We then headed to Mount Saint Michel. Mike and I found a place with a view to sip a beer while the rest climbed up, up and visited the abbey. I think everyone was suitably impressed.
    The following day we took a leisurely drive to Bayeaux in Normandy which is the main centre closest to the D Day beaches. On the way we had a good walk around the medieval town of Dinan. For lunch that day, we picnicked on the steps of the town hall in the picturesque town of Villedieu les Poeles. (See picture of is drinking wine and eating baguette and cheese. )The group quickly adopted the French habit of grabbing a baguette, cheese and wine for a picnic. Sometimes we even included a nice French pastry, much to the delight of the boys..
    . In Bayeux we enjoyed the tapestry museum which houses a very long cloth with a series of embroidered pictures depicting the Norman conquest of England back in the 1000s . We also took some time to explore the magnificent Bayeux cathedral, knowing that we would be unable to see Notre Dame in Paris. On our full day in Bayeux we visited the Juno Beach centre at Juno Beach where we took a short guided tour given by one of the 4 Canadian guides who work there. The whole Normandy area was full of flags ( British, US, Canadian and French), posters and pictures as the 75 th anniversary of D day has just passed and there were many commemorating ceremonies. We also stopped for a walk through The Canadian war cemetery at Beny sur Mere. So many young, young men are buried there. We gave the boys the Veteran’s Affairs 75 anniversary pins that I picked up and asked them to place a poppy on a headstone of their choosing. We hope that they will remember the visit. As the generations pass, fewer young people will have contact and stories from war Veterans. I’m afraid young Mason found the Juno museum, especially the movie, a bit hard to see. Understandable.
    After two nights in Bayeux we dropped off the cars in Caen and took a train to Paris. We were all immediately bowled over by the crowds and heat. Seems we hit Paris just in time for an extreme heat wave. Our hotel, while well situated, did not have AC. We only had a day and a half so we spread out. Niki had visited Paris with her Mom Diane in the last couple of years so she knew what she wanted to show the family. First they did a tour on the hop on hop off bus to get an overview then stopped at the Eiffel Tower where they CLIMBED up to the second level. Hats off to them in the 34 degree heat. Mike, Tara and I headed to the Pigalle area and then up toSacre Cour in Montmartre. It was very humid, dirty and smelly given the temperature and crowds. We met the Yukon gang strolling along by the Seine and we had a quick picnic before enjoying a cruise on the Bateaux Mouches., a great way to see the sights from the river.
    Yesterday was our only full day in Paris. We joined Tara for a 20,000 step walk from the Arc de Triomphe through to the Bastille. A bit like doing the Caesar shuffle in Rome. The heat made it a long, thirsty and challenging day but Tara got a feel for the Paris and we saw the outside facades of buildings, at least. Tara felt the timings were too short to join the long queues to see any one attraction in detail. We enjoyed a typical French lunch with wine in the Marais. The boys found a better way of beating the heat and splashed around one of the large Parisienne fountains.
    Last night we met up with Al’s eldest son Chris who lives in Paris. He brought his two children Leo and Lilly. Lilly and Mason kept happily occupied playing cats cradle which has made a resurgence with the kids.
    This morning we bid au revoir to Tara who should be on her way back to Canada by now. Unfortunately, she is right back to work tomorrow morning. The rest of us are now hurtling along at 300km perhour on the Eurostar to London. The Yukon contingent leaves from Gatwick in the morning via Vancouver where they have an unenviable layover of 8 hours. Fortunately, no big plans for their weekend except playing with their dog Muddy and, for Niki I suspect, load after load of laundry.

    It has been so much fun traveling all together on this adventure.We will have so many great memories of our time with Ryan, Niki , Tara and especially with the boys. They are such good travellers and hopefully the trip has ignited a love of travel in the boys. I will always have memories of Mason helping his Taid up the last steep pitch of Mount Snowden; of Kaleb’s wide eyes when he saw the breakfast buffets in France; and of Rogan confidently chattering away in French whenever we needed help with logistics. I think Rogan will also remember Natalie insisting that he drink some of her Gin and Tonic. All meant in good fun.

    Mike and I head to Helen’s tonight. After that we have 6 days with no plans although laundry will have to factor into our plans. We stay in England until the 8th as we have tickets to the International music festival in Wales from 4-7 July.

    That’s it for now. Signing off from somewhere under the English Channel.
    Love Heather / Mom xx
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  • Day10

    Palaces, pasties and more pubs

    June 15, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Hello from London.
    We’ve had an interesting week. Last Thursday we drove in tandem from the Northern parts of Wales down
    to Pembrokeshire on the west coast of Wales. For 3 days we rented a holiday cottage near the town of Cardigan, (as in the sweater. ). The cottage had a personal hot tub which we all enjoyed and there was a pool for the kids. Our first day in the area we hiked part of the Pembrokeshire coastal path. ( thanks Cathy and Doug for the very useful guide) It was very muddy and slippery in parts from, evidently, record rainfall this month. The hiking was scenic and a bit more challenging than the gang was expecting. We were rewarded for our efforts with a pub lunch in the very picturesque sea side town, Tenby.
    We spent our second day exploring the locale near our cottage including visiting a working flour mill that is still using a water wheel powered by the local river. Kaleb loves to bake and he really enjoyed seeing the workings of the mill with the very old grinding stones. We also visited a prehistoric burial site with the same rocks as in stonehenge. Unfortunately , the weather in Wales continued cool and damp but we managed to enjoy ourselves between showers. Mike and Tara ventured to the southern town of St,David’s for a day trip.
    On Sunday we dropped off the rental cars- much to our drivers’ (Mike and Ryan) relief- enough narrow roads and left-hand driving. We took a bus into London. It was more excitement than we wanted as our bus broke down on the M4 and the traffic was horrendous. But we finally crawled into London and Helen welcomed us aboard her lovely home.
    We’ve spent the past three days seeing different parts of London. Since the boys were first-timers, they did the hop on hop off bus for a day seeing the usual palaces, churches but mostly lots of London traffic. Mike, Tara and I wandered through Chelsea and NottingHill. It was very rainy yesterday so our choices were a bit limited. The London jail museum was a hit with lots of torture devices to play with! We’ve had the full London experience with lots of bus rides, packed tube stations and boat rides along the Thames. The family is spread between a 2 bedroom Air b and b and bunking in with Helen. Last night we headed to the Soho district to take in a musical theatre production, Matilda. We all thoroughly enjoyed the evening. A great show and always a memorable experience to see live theatre especially a good musical. A first for the kids but hopefully not their last.
    Today we all hit the British Museum to check out things like the rosetta stone and the Elgin marbles, the Egyptian exhibit and even a head from Easter Island. Mike and I split off to the Portrait Gallery while the rest of the Parrys did the Harry Potter tour. Tonight the adults are out for dinner and the kids will stay in with a movie.
    Tomorrow we head to Stanstead to fly to France for the next week of our trip.

    Mason says the best part of the trip so far has been the big castle and the Musical; Kaleb says climbing Snowdon and Matilda and the flour mill; Rogan says Snowdon, Matilda , the coast trail and all pubs ( 1 through 20)

    That’s it for now. More from France
    Tata for now.
    Heather xx
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  • Day8

    The Parry Family Summits Mount Snowdon.

    June 13, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌫 9 °C

    We are in the pretty village of Beddgelert in Northern Wales for 2 nights. On the way here from Al’s place we made a great stop at Caernarfon where the 3 boys raced around the castle. It’s a good castle if it’s your first one because it’s intact and you can roam up and down the various towers and hide in little nooks and crannies. Mason was heard to yell “ peasants” over the wall at the tourists below. We also took some time to check out the Museum of the Royal Welch Fusilliers which is housed in the castle. Interesting regimental history and the boys looked for all the Parrys. They also thought the “ mascot” ( a goat ) was pretty funny.
    We are in a lovely country inn in Beddgelert and have enjoyed the full Welsh breakfasts provided each morning.
    Yesterday we tackled the mountain - our reason #1 for visiting Wales was for Mike to climb Mount Snowdon with his 3 Parry grandsons - Rogan, Kaleb and Mason. The weather was looking very bleak but we headed out dressed in all of the clothing we had. It was a very tough climb made harder by the slippery rocks and very damp and windy conditions. We finally reached the summit after 3 hours of slogging and were rewarded with absolutely no view at all because we were in the clouds! But the cafeteria had hot tea and chocolate which we enjoyed. A few of us made the wise decision to travel down by train. The rest of the gang did the walk down on a much less steep track to Llaamberis. Last night we all had some well deserved drinks and pub dinners after long hot showers. Al and Natalie were with us and Al’s sons Dan and Mike ( the younger Mike Parry)

    This morning we visited Gelert’s grave and Al soulfully recounted the sad story of the dog named Gelert who protected Prince Llewellen’s baby son from wolfs only to be killed by his master who mistakenly thought Gelert had attacked the baby. A sad tale and a good example of why one should never quickly jump to conclusions. It’s also a great example of good marketing as the whole story was concocted as a way to attract visitors to the village. Al didn’t include that part of the story but I know that.
    Today we say goodbye to the UK Parrys and point our cars south to the town of Cardigan where we have rented a holiday cottage for 3 nights. That’s it for now.
    Heather x
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  • Day5

    The Parrys have Landed

    June 10, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Hello from Frodsham, England
    The Parrys have assembled.
    Mike and I had a long but smooth journey via Frankfurt then back to Manchester. ( long explanation than involves not wanting to fly Rouge). Al and Natalie met us and we had a fairly quiet first couple of days that included the required first trip to pub to help with jet-lag. Mike assures me this is evidence-based- [picture enclosed]. On Sunday morning , very bright and early , the Parrys from Whitehorse and Ottawa arrived bleary-eyed but smiling. Natalie and Al have been the perfect hosts and they filled everyones’ bellies with porridge, toast and bacon upon arrival. Sounds like Air Transat was fine to travel with but they didn’t waste extra money on a hot breakfast . We all managed a walk in the fields and some shut eye before we headed out to pub for a rendezvous with Al’s sons Dan and Mike and their families. It was a great evening with lots of laughter and photographs. Mike and Rian brought Welsh soccer shirts and hats for the boys which they have been proudly sporting. Tara mentioned over and over just how nice it was to see her cousins again and to meet their families. We returned to Al’s place for the “after party. “. Then we all crashed for a long rest last night. Rogan was first up at 5 am and completed a workout before the rest of us got up. He is committed to his training for paddling this summer.
    Today after another hardy breakfast we headed into Chester. Mike led the group to see the old Roman city walls. We then headed into Wales with a stop at another great pub The Eagle and Child for lunch. More large plates of hearty food including huge, stacked hamburgers. The boys are in heaven! We visited the village of Meliden and found the graves of Mike’s Aunty Joyce and Uncle Bill. Some of you will have met Mike’s Aunty Joyce. She died only 2 years ago. We also found Mike’s Grandparents’ grave in the church cemetery. Finally, we climbed the Gop ( a large hill) where Mike’s parents ashes were scattered. Beautiful views over Wales from the top. So it was a day for Mike to share his stories and memories. Tara, Ryan, Niki and I also have some memories from the area and it was nice to go back.
    We now have two rental cars. Ryan and Mike are driving with Niki and I taking the lead as navigators. Some of the Welsh laneways we were on today were very, very narrow and the car alerts were beeping often. Tomorrow we load up and head to the Snowdonia area. Unfortunately, weather forecast is not looking great for the “big Parry Mount Snowdon ascent” planned for Wednesday.
    More to follow from Bedgelert.
    Hope all is well at home.
    I’ll send pictures in a couple of batches.
    Love Heather (Mom) xx
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