Europe Trip 2018

France – Rouen, Caen, Bayeux, the Normandy Beaches, Le Mont Saint Michel, Giverney

Rouen

Rouen is where Joan of Arc was executed and there is an unusual church on the site commemorating  her.

 

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We visited that church and the rest of the old town including the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Rouen, Eglise Saint-Maclou, Abbatiale Saint-Ouen and a statue of Napoleon.

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Later we had a walk along the Seine before dinner – fish and chips at Poppy’s near our hotel, Hotel Dandy.

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Caen

We got to the train station to find the midday train to Caen had been cancelled and we had an almost three-hour wait ahead of us. Spent most of the time forward-booking accommodation before getting a bus and checking into an Ibis hotel near Caen Station.

We went for a short walk before having a delicious boeuf bourguignon for dinner at a nearby hotel. There were a lot of youths loitering around the area which made us feel unsafe so we returned to our hotel.

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We booked a hire car to get us to Bayeux.

Bayeux

After breakfast the next morning we picked up the hire car and got them to set the GPS for us in English, then followed the directions to Bayeux. We meet the owner of the house we had hired for three days at the property, Le 4 holiday home. She was lovely and the home was gorgeous, with the most well-equipped kitchen I’ve ever found in our travels. On the outside it was an old building in a cobblestoned laneway behind the cathedral but the inside had been renovated into a modern, stylish, comfortable home.

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The 11th century Bayeux Tapestry is the town’s main attraction and first on our list of places to visit. The tapestry is actually nine embroidered linen bands stitched together stretching 70 metres long and 50 cm wide. It recounts the story of William the Conqueror’s accession to the English throne in 1066. Visitors are issued an audio device on entry which provides commentary in their selected language as they pass the tapestry.

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Bayeux also has a great selection of half-wooden buildings, manor houses and a beautiful cathedral.

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Bayeux is also home to the Battle of Normandy Museum and military cemetery.

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Normandy Beaches

We picked a miserable wet day to visit the Normandy Beaches.

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Le Mont Saint Michel

We had seen photos of Le Mont Saint Michel – the floating castle – and views of it during the television coverage of the Tour de France a few times so we had to visit since we were in the general area.

 

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Giverney

Fitting Giverney into our itinerary was a challenge but I was determined to see Claude Monet’s home and garden so we had to squeeze it in on the last afternoon the day before flying out of France.

Easier said than done! First we had to get the car back to Caen. We were supposed to return it with a full tank of fuel but we didn’t pass a single petrol station on our drive from Bayeux so had to let the car-hire firm do it and charge it to our card which they did and then some!

We got a train back to Rouen then another to Giverney. Our hotel was too far to walk to and there was no public transport so we got a taxi. We thought we would have been able to catch a bus from there to Monet’s house but we were told there was no bus service so we could either catch a taxi there, go back to the train station and get a shuttle or walk. We decided that by the time we walked back to the train station we would have covered half the distance to the house anyway so decided to walk.

We should have taken another taxi! The footpath was in a very bad state of repair. Half-way into the very long walk it started bucketing down. When we eventually reached Monet’s place the reception was as bleak as the weather. The staff were curt and officious and not a smile between them.

Whenever I had thought about visiting Monet’s garden I’d imagined entering a low-fenced garden in the centre of a small town and strolling through the flower gardens in the warmth of the Spring sunshine, then relaxing over afternoon tea on the terrace of a ground-level dwelling. Then in bursts reality – a five-kilometre trudge in the pouring rain out of town to a two-storey house without a terrace in a walled garden and not a drop of tea in sight!

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Inside the house was interesting. If it wasn’t for all the people traipsing through, you could easily imagine Monet living here having just popped out to the shop for more art supplies.

We caught the shuttle back to Giverney and had a walk around the town then back to our hotel along the riverbank.

 

We had intended going to an Indian restaurant we had passed earlier in the day for dinner but the riverbank walk bypassed it so we ended up buying some salads from the supermarket nextdoor instead.

So we settled in for the night. Brian found some footy to watch on the iPad while I wrote the postcards I’d bought earlier in the day. Before going to bed I checked the emails, only to find there was one from French Rail telling us that due to a rail strike the train we were booked on the next day to get us to the airport was cancelled!!!

The contact phone number French Rail provided went to a recording in French naturally, so there was nothing we could do until the morning except go to bed and try to get some sleep. That proved to be impossible. We knew were completely stranded. No trains were running in the region and the town we were in wasn’t on a bus route to the city. Another guest Brian talked to checked his iPhone and found that trains wouldn’t be running the next day either.

The knock-on effect if we couldn’t get to Charles de Gaulle airport by that afternoon meant we’d not only miss our flight back to Ireland but, by the time we rescheduled, we could miss our flight from there to Australia!

The weather deteriorated overnight with torrential rain causing road and highway closures and delays. It was so bad that when, after hours trying to get through and as a last resort, we tried to get a taxi to take us all the way to the airport, we were told they wouldn’t let their drivers attempt the drive.

Trying to book a hire car online proved to be impossible. There were two firms in the area so we left our luggage at the hotel and walked in the rain to the nearest one, due to open at 9.00 am. There were five other people in the tiny office when we got there just after opening, but no receptionist. The guy in charge came in from the garage, said something in French to the waiting group, then got on his mobile and after a lot of gesticulating drove out.

From what we could gather, the receptionist had been held up by the weather and we thought he’d gone to pick her up. Instead, an older lady arrived, possibly his mother, and she proceeded to get the office under way – slowly. Murphy’s Law was in full swing – everything that could go wrong did: the calculator ran out of batteries, the printer ran out of paper, the couple from America didn’t have their  passports with them. At this point we realised we didn’t have ours either. They were back at the hotel with our luggage. So, when it was eventually our turn and we got to that stage of the process, I pleaded in what I could remember of my best high-school French for her to continue processing our application while Brian walked back to our hotel. The garage guy overheard this and gesticulating again impatiently indicated that he’d drive Brian to the hotel. It seemed to take forever. Every possible catastrophe ran through my mind. Apparently it was worse for Brian. The guy drove like a rally driver and, in trying to avoid a traffic jam, took a shortcut and hit roadworks instead! Murphy’s Law continued to rule when they got back and we resumed the hire process. When we reached the last  stage in the process, payment, the system rejected our credit card even though it was the same one we used just hours earlier to pay the hotel bill. Fortunately we were able to use another one which the system did accept but it meant she had to go back and change the details in the system. All the time, precious minutes are ticking by! My nerves are stretched to breaking point. Finally, she hands over the keys. Then, before we could even get up from the desk, CRUNCH!!! A truck had backed into the entrance and was wedged in the doorway.

Luckily they managed to free the truck quite quickly and we were able to get underway using the GPS the garage guy had set up so we avoided the hold-ups caused by the overnight weather. We needed help to find fuel near the airport, but we eventually made it in plenty of time to catch our flight and subsequently made it home to Australia, with a brief stopover in Singapore on the way.

We stayed at Changi Village and had a day trip to the island of Pulau Ubin.

 

Well that was the end of our trip. Thanks for joining us. Hope you enjoyed the pictorial journey. Until next time …

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Europe Trip 2018

Belgium – France

We crossed the border into Belgium on the train from Amsterdam to Brussels. It was pretty uneventful. A couple of officials checked our passports. That was it!

It wasn’t a long walk from the train station to our hotel but it was a bit tricky – cobblestones and luggage wheels do not make a good combination! But it was worth the effort, Hotel Mozart was just amazing!

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Getting to breakfast was an adventure in itself. It was served in the basement, which was accessed via spiral staircases from the ground floor. Our room was on the third floor and the lift only went down as far as Reception, but then only if Brian kicked the door in the right spot. Other times he would have to go down the stairs and send the lift up to me.

Brussels surprised me. It was vibrant with a holiday atmosphere. Not what I expected. It has a great selection of grand buildings, cathedrals, parks, Manneken Pis – the Peeing Boy – and a magnificent plaza with gilded buildings that shone in the sunlight and at night were illuminated with coloured lights. There’s a wide variety of eateries in the square, the streets and the laneways, all offering alfresco dining with entertainment provided by a band of street musicians. We enjoyed Lebanese at La Perle du Liban and Greek at Makonos in our street and at El Greco on the plaza; and sampled various beers along the way!

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Bruge

We had a day trip to Bruge by train.

The highlight was visiting Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child at the Church of Our Lady, Saint Salvadore’s Cathedral.

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It was Market Day so the square was quite crowded. We had lunch at Sintamandje on a quaint cobblestoned laneway before exploring the rest of the canal town including a statue of Jan Van Eyck, ‘Skyscraper’ the Bruges Whale made from plastic waste from the seas and oceans of the world and Beaterio with its swans and a nuns’ priory.

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Next morning we reluctantly handed in the key and trudged back up the cobblestones to catch the train to Ypres.

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Ypres

Ypres is also spelt Ieper and pronounced by our tour guide like the sound of a whisper ‘i-pe’ – the  i as in ‘it’ and the pe as in ‘pet’ .

It is the home of the Menin Gate which used to be guarded by two lion statues, since presented to Australia and relocated to the Australian War Memorial Canberra. The Last Post ceremony is held there nightly at 8.00 pm and on our first night there the Australian cricket team participated in the wreath laying.

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On our second day we visited In Flanders Fields Museum, an excellent interactive experience providing an insight to the realities of war and the people impacted by it.

 

We followed this with an Ypres Salient guided tour of nearby battlefields, cemeteries and places of interest such as Hill 60, Caterpillar Crater, Pool of Peace, Bayernwald German trenches, 1914 Christmas Truce Memorials and Hyde Park Memorial. André, our guide and driver from Over the Top Tours, provided insightful, knowledgeable commentary.

 

The drenching rain lent itself to the sombre nature of the day.

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As we walked back to the bus at one of the sites, our guide André picked up the shell of a bomb from the edge of a field we were passing, just by the side of the road. Farmers continue to find such items when they plough their fields. They just place them by the road and the authorities collect them. Its all part of their normal routine.

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We finished off our stay with a meal and a beer  in a local café before taking in the Last Post again.

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Farewell Flanders Fields, farewell Ieper!

Lille

We has a two-night weekend stay in Citadines Apart’ Hotel Lille.

We explored the old town on the Saturday. It was bustling – people everywhere!

 

The next day it was the complete opposite. No Sunday trading here! No crowds of  people! It made it easy for us to continue exploring though: Saint Maurice Church, Porte de Paris, Hotel de Ville, an Ola Cuba exhibition in an old railway station and the Citadel.

 

 

 

 

It was a lovely couple of days, especially considering it was a mistake. I was supposed to book us into Amiens, so that’s where were heading next.

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Europe Trip 2018

Holland

Whenever we go back to Ireland we take advantage of being on that side of the world to make a side-trip to Europe. This time we visited Holland, Belgium and France.

Amsterdam: bicycles, crooked buildings, canals, flower market, cheese, Ann Frank’s house

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We tried to visit the Van Gogh Museum but after a bus, train, then tram-ride to get there, we found that the only way to get tickets was online and I had left my iPad at the hotel so had no means of accessing the Internet and the museum didn’t provide any. Seems to be a very strange form of crowd control!

We had the same sort of luck with the tulips. Family in Liverpool had shown us their photos of field after field of tulips, each a different vibrant colour. But when we asked at the tourist office for directions to the tulip fields and windmills, we were told the tulip  season was over and the farmers had pulled any remaining tulips out of the ground.

Fortunately in the Zaan Region there’s a dedicated windmill village that can’t go out of season so we went there instead!

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We used 1-day Amsterdam and Region travel tickets to get a bus to the windmills at Zaanse Schans Village; trains to Zaandam where we ate lunch and to Edam where we had a beer across from a cheese shop; then a bus via Volendam and Julianaweg – one of my middle names is Julianna – back to Amsterdam Central.

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Zaandam

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Edam

We had dinner at the waterfront before taking the free ferry over to Buiksloterweg, then back again after a short walk. Its a very popular ferry with pedestrians and cyclists.

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Den Haag and Delft day trip

We caught the Sprinter train from Schipol to Den Haag.

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After exploring  Den Haag also known as Le Haag, The Hague and Le Hague, we caught  a tram to Delft.

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Next stop Belgium!

 

Back to Ireland – 5 April 18 June 2018 cont

A last taste of Ireland

During our last days in Ireland we concentrated on places around or close to Dublin.

We discovered a lovely walk along the banks of the River Liffey from Chapelizod to the Memorial Gardens in the shadow of the Phoenix Park.

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Nature’s flowers from the heart!

It wouldn’t be a trip to Ireland without a visit to the Hill of Tara.

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Dowth and Newgrange are other ancient burial mounds.

 

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Newgrange

 

The whole area is steeped in history.

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Slane Castle and Brewery

Slane Abbey

 

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Trim Castle

Closer to Dublin, we also explored Portmarnock, Malahide and Skerries  and a little further as far as Drogheda.

From a photo displayed in reception, I think we might be related to the original owner of Skerries Mills, Richard Flynn. I had an uncle Dick/Richard Flynn, and though not the same person, probably a relation as my Dad’s family came from around that area.

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Skerries Mills – We didn’t need to go to Holland to find windmills.

 

Malahide Abbey

 

Defensive forts called Martello Towers are dotted along the coast north and south of Dublin. The name comes from the tower they were modelled on at Mortella Point on the western side of the Gulf of San Fiorenzo, Corsica.
Read more at – History of Martello Tower

 

Drogheda was a good base to explore from.

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I’ll leave you with this idyllic Irish scene.

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Next stop Amsterdam!

Back to Ireland – 5 April 18 June 2018 cont – England and Scotland

England

From Edinburgh we drove to Newcastle-upon-Tyne where I used McDonald’s’ wifi to book us into the nearby Holiday Inn Express, which was sheer luxury in comparison to the previous night’s accommodation. It was on the outskirts of town so we went for a drive in the evening to find somewhere to have dinner.

 

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Next morning,  after a hearty breakfast which was included in the tariff, we got the very friendly, helpful staff at Reception to print out our boarding passes for our upcoming flight back to Dublin. We were flying Ryanair. With them you have to provide your own boarding pass, or pay something like €50 per person for them to do it at the airport. Your boarding pass can only be accessed within four days of departure an,d if you are not on a European passport, has to be in hard copy not electronic format. So it’s no easy feat producing one when you’re on the road without a printer in your backpack! I have noticed printers for public use in some airports but there’s no guarantee that it will be operational if you’re lucky enough to find one.

The rest of the morning was spent visiting the ancient South Shields’ ruins of the Arbeia Roman Fort. Parts of the site have been reconstructed to provide an insight to fort life at the time, around AD160 to 275.

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Working from home – we’ve come full circle

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Hadrian’s Wall was next on our list of ancient locations.

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The caretakers of Hadrian’s Wall

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View from Hadrian’s Wall

York

We got to York in plenty of time to have a walk on the city wall and around the old town including the Shambles and various churches and ancient buildings.

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The Shambles

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We tried Nepalese cuisine for the first time at TAAS restaurant where the staff were so attentive and friendly I felt guilty when I couldn’t finish the huge meal they’d served me.

Next morning we went for a walk to the River Ouse and around part of the town we hadn’t been to the night before. Saw some interesting wildlife.

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On our way from York to my cousin’s place in Skelmeresdale, Liverpool, we visited more ruins: Sawley Abbey – a Cistercian abbey founded in the 10th century and the Roman baths at Ribchester.

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It was a relatively short drive from Ribchester to Skelmeresdale. My cousin was working late but her husband welcomed us with a delicious dinner. We talked well into the night before going to my aunt’s house next-door to sleep. My aunt is in a nearby nursing home.

My cousin took us to see her the next day.

 

We took her around the corner to The Fox for achat and a cuppa.

She joined us again that evening for another sumptuous dinner at my cousin’s place, along with a family friend and later her sister who lives nearby. We had a good night talking about all of our travels and adventures past and planned.

After saying our goodbyes the following morning, we spent our last day in England visiting Antony Gormley’s Another Place – statues in the sea; and

 

the Beatles statues on the Mersey promenade, Liverpool.

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Then it was back to Ireland for a few days before taking off again to Europe.

 

Back to Ireland – 5 April 18 June 2018 cont – England and Scotland

 

Scotland

Wallace statue

Wallace statue, Stirling Castle

After a Full English Breakfast we got back on the road and drove to Stirling Castle.

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Wallace Monument

We could see the Wallace Monument in the distance but drove around in circles for ages trying unsuccessfully to find the turn-off to it. We gave up and continued on to the Falkirk Wheel, an enormous structure that moves boats between the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal.

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Here’s a slideshow of the wheel in motion:

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From the Wheel we drove to Falkirk town and negotiated our way through a very complex one-way system to our hotel, probably the worst place we stayed in throughout our overseas trip. The website had warned that the lift didn’t service all floors, in fact it didn’t service any. It was out of order due to a brawl the night before! That will give you some insight as to the class of hotel I’d booked us into. Our room was up several flights of stairs, interspersed with long corridors, badly lit with sensor lights not all of which worked. The white towels were grey and threadbare, the heating was temperamental and the bathroom flooded in the middle of the night. When reception wasn’t staffed you had to go into the bar for service. It stank! Fortunately we only had to spend one night there.

We had a walk around the town and found somewhere to have dinner, the Orchard Hotel, where the food was tasty and the staff were friendly and renewed our faith in Scottish hospitality.

After that we went to Helix Park to see the Kelpies. These are amazing, giant, metal horse-head structures that are illuminated at night. Normally you can do a tour to see the structures from the inside, but there was a crew recording a TV show when we were there so the tours weren’t operating.

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Helix Park is a vast community-use space incorporating wetlands, canals, the Kelpies and the Wheel.

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We drove to Edinburgh the next day. We parked in the city and walked up to the castle, then down through the gardens. I looked for the floral clock I’d seen there about 40 years ago but it was too early in the season so it hadn’t been planted yet.

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Next, back to England.

Back to Ireland – 5 April 18 June 2018 cont – England and Scotland

Dublin to Liverpool and beyond 

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Catching up over high tea and dinner

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Note to self: Take your phone out of your pocket before going through airport security.

It wasn’t the metal implant from my hip to my knee that set off the security alarm, just my phone.

When we approached Security at Dublin Airport we were asked to remove our belts, loose change, keys, watches, jackets. I was even asked to remove my cardigan. We put everything  into trays including my walking stick and proceeded to walk through the scanner. Brian went through OK but I set off the alarm and even though we established that it was my mobile phone that I’d left in my jeans pocket, I still had to undergo a full body scan and pat down. Then our hand luggage got pulled off the conveyor belt for checking – mine twice because the first time they found liquids, as in shampoo I’d taken out but Brian put back in thinking I’d forgotten it, and the second time because they let me keep it!

Then we tried to exchange Euro for Sterling at three ATMs unsuccessfully. Fortunately, when we got to John Lennon Airport, Liverpool, we found one that worked. My phone didn’t though, so neither did my iPad because they were connected to the one SIM card.

We were very grateful to the Budget salesperson who, when we couldn’t find the car hire firm we’d booked a car through, phoned them on our behalf and got them to come and take us to their office which was off site.

It took forever for them to process our car rental, so we were running really late when we left to go to my cousin’s house, following the directions she’d given us via the Birkenhead Tunnel. The first problem was the Birkenhead Tunnel. It was closed for repairs overnight so we had to take a detour. Eventually, that took us to where we would have come out of the tunnel where our directions were to take the first left, but there was another detour! By the time we finished following that, it was only Brian’s good memory that got us to our destination because he recognised the final turnoff from a previous visit many years earlier. My cousin and her husband were more than glad to see us, firstly because they were worried about what could have happened to us, also because  they were hungry as they’d held dinner for us. Needless to say we made short work of the delicious meal they had prepared and we had a great and late night catching up.

Most of the next morning was spent trying to get the phone to work but when it worked the iPad didn’t, which was extremely frustrating as we needed both to make bookings and keep in touch with family and friends. I resented spending time on that instead of with the people we’d come to visit but it couldn’t be helped.

We made up for it in the afternoon though when we visited another cousin for afternoon tea and caught up with almost all the rest of the family. The remainder met us that night for a sumptuous dinner at Risa Spice Indian Restaurant.

 

Liverpool to the Lakes District

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After a lovely breakfast, we left my cousin’s and got on the road to the Lakes District to visit our friends Gail and Steve. They own the beautiful Meadfoot Guesthouse in Windemere, an ideal base for touring the Lakes whether driving or walking.

We enjoyed dinner and a fun quiz night at one of the local pubs, The Brookside.

Next morning, after a delicious Full English Breakfast, we went for a drive and did the Aira Force Waterfall walk.

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We finished off our stay with dinner at the Cafe Italia.

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Next stop Scotland!

Back to Ireland – 5 April 18 June 2018  

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Welcome back! Sorry for the long delay in posting but I found it impossible to maintain this site while travelling. A recent knee operation has forced me to stay still for a while so I’m going to take the opportunity to bring it up to date. As I will be relying on my diary and camera to jog my memory, it will be mostly photos of our visits to more of Ireland; parts of England and Scotland; Holland, Belgium and northern France; and a different part of Singapore on the way home. Hope you enjoy the trip!

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Up the mountains

We enjoyed spending times with friends and family in the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains, including a visit to Avoca Mills and the Meeting of the Waters. It was great to be able to have a look around the mill which is still working – the oldest working mill in Ireland I think and free to enter. Afternoon tea in the coffee shop wasn’t bad either!

 

Cobh to Clare

or the scenic route from Dublin to Doolin

 

It was a beautiful sunny day when we left Dublin and we had a lovely drive to Cork to visit my cousin and her family. We took a detour to Cobh on the way so as not to arrive too early. By this time the wind had started to get up and rain was threatening.

Next morning the rain was horizontal so we enjoyed a forced rest-day indoors with good company, good food and a bit of forward planning for our trip to Normandy later.

 

 

We drove into Cork the following morning and had a walk around the English Market and St Fin Barre’s Cathedral before getting on the road to Tralee via the Dingle Peninsula; the ruins of a Celtic stone settlement from 500 BC; and, Slea Head.

 

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It was so bitterly cold and wet in Tralee that night, I nearly didn’t stop to photograph this mural, but now I’m glad I did.

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We visited Ardfert Cathedral on the way to Talbert to get the ferry, then on to Kilrush, Kilkee, Doonbeg, Quilty, Spanish Point and Lahinch.

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It was a short drive from Lahinch to Doolin. Lucky we didn’t want to see the Cliffs of Moher on the way as they were shrouded in rain clouds. Visibility didn’t improve throughout our stay but we’ve been there before so no great loss.

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After checking into our accommodation at McGann’s Pub, we caught up with the family at the Doolin Hotel for our grand-nephew’s post-Confirmation function –  something like a wedding reception with the bride and groom replaced by 100-plus children and their families, all in fine attire.

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We had dinner at McGann’s that night with some of the family, then enjoyed the session afterwards.

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We drove through the Burren on the way back to Dublin.

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Next stop: parts of England and Scotland.

 

Sydney to Darwin – The big drive home

Sydney – Tamworth

On Monday, the first day of our 4200-kilometre drive home, we left Sydney just after 11.00 am and drove through the Hunter Valley passed vineyards, coalmining, horse breeding and sheep and cattle rearing country to Tamworth, stopping only at Wilberforce for fuel and Bulga to eat lunch.

We got to Tamworth around 6.00 pm.The information centre was closed but we managed to find the tourist park we’d stayed at before.

Tamworth – St George

We did a bit of shopping before leaving Tamworth next day, then stopped for fuel at Barraba and had a pitstop at Warialda Apex Park. After getting an hour back when we crossed the Queensland border, we stopped for lunch in Goondiwindi and visited the information centre and the statue of Gunsyng.


We got to St George just after 4.00 pm, checked into our cabin and went for a walk along the Balonne River.



St George – Barcaldine

On Wednesday we left St George for Barcaldine. On the way we saw an echidna, a very special privilege, scurrying into the undergrowth by the side of the road; and, a couple of herds of cattle being driven along the ‘Long Paddock’; again, not  something you get to see every day..

We stopped for lunch at Meat Ant Park in Augathella, then fuelled up and drove on to Barcaldine through Tambo and Blackall.

Barcaldine – Mt Isa

Before leaving Barcaldine on Thursday morning, we visited the Shearers Memorial and the remains of the Tree of Knowledge. 



Longreach
was our first top for fuel then Winton where we watched the reconstruction of the Waltzing Matilda Centre while we ate lunch. The original was destroyed by fire in 2015.

We had a pitstop at McKinley and fuelled up again at Cloncurry before arriving at Mt Isa around 6.00 pm..

Next day we intended doing a tour of the Hard Times Mine but it was closed for maintenance so instead we just had a walk around town, drove to the lookout, went back to the cabin for lunch, then drove out to Moondarra Dam.



Mt Isa – Renner Springs
We left Mt Isa at 9.15 am and drove to Camooweal where we stopped for fuel before crossing the border back into the Northern Territory and getting back another half an hour, so it was now 10.55 am not 11.25 am as it was in Queensland. 

We stopped at the Barclay Homestead around 1.oo pm and ate lunch, then at the Threeways for fuel at 3.10 pm before getting to Renner Springs at 4.15 pm, where we stopped for the night.

The walking tracks were shortened by the recent rain but we saw plenty of birdlife around the motel and dam.

Found this pair on our way to dinner.



Sitting outside our room after watching our last outback sunset, I suddenly had a green tree frog land in my lap! 
Renner Springs –  Darwin

Between the resident cockerel and the ‘ventilated’ curtains, we didn’t need a wake-up call the next morning.

So we started the last leg of our journey and left Renner Springs at 8.40 Sunday morning. We stopped for fuel at Elliot and Mataranka and had a pitstop at the explorer Alexander Forrest memorial cairn. We were going to eat lunch at Bitter Springs but it was closed due to a crocodile sighting so we continued on to a roadside stop just before King River.

After lunch it was less than an hour’s drive to Katherine where we fuelled up, then on to Adelaide River for our last pitstop before the final drive home, arriving in Darwin at 5.30 pm.


It rained for a week after we got home!

Well that’s it, the end of another journey. Thanks for joining us. Hope you enjoyed it. Bye for now!

Adelaide to Sydney highlights continued

Bairnsdale to Eden 

After the very informative and enjoyable tour of St Mary’s Church and visiting the information centre nextdoor, we started our journey to Eden – as in the town, not the ‘Garden of …’.

This was one of the most enjoyable day’s drive. The misty mountain roads made driving enchanting without being too dangerous and the walk in the Drummer Rainforest after lunch was just magical.

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I love Eden. We stayed there once before. Again, the only accommodation the information centre  could find us was a motel. No kitchen facilities meant we had to eat out. First we checked out the views from a couple of lookouts before having dinner at a lovely Chinese restaurant, the Golden Ocean, where the food and service were excellent. The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome and nothing was too much to ask. It even said on the menu that if there was something you wanted that wasn’t on there, they’d do their best to make it for you.

Eden to Batemans Bay

Before we left Eden. We drove down to the very popular Aslinn Beach, the beachfront of the local tourist park.


From Eden we went to Merimbula and the Blue Pool, though it wasn’t very blue due to an algae outbreak. From there we drove to the beautiful Bermagui where we stopped for lunch.


At Batemans Bay we checked into the tourist park, shopped for groceries, then went for a drive to the beautiful beaches nearby, before going for a walk along the seafront.DSC07366

On our second day at Batemans Bay we finally had the big breakfast we’d been carrying with us since Broken Hill!  We walked that off at Eurobodella Botanic Gardens on our way to Mogo, a picturesque little town we’d been to quite a few times, the main attraction for us being the cheese tasting, although many go for the fudge, ice cream and pies. Overall it’s a very tasty place.

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Community Building Mogo

We went back to the cabin for lunch, then drove across the bridge to Nelligen, another historic little township.

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Batemans Bay to Sydney

We started the last day of our Adelaide to Sydney roadtrip around 9.00 am, stopped for lunch and a visit to the craft shop at Berry, then at Bald Hill Lookout, before arriving at our destination around 4.15 pm.

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