Travels through Barcelona and France
Trip Start Dec 10, 2005
24Trip End Ongoing
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HAPPY NEW YEAR !
Gem sick, Mum and Dad and Wong went to Granada, got ripped for parking and saw cathedral. Supposed to see Alhambra but Wayne got internet booking wrong. New Years Eve watched from balcony with people letting off firecrackers on the beach.
Day 308 -Monday 1st January 2007...New Years Day
Everything was shut today so we spent a lazy day swimming and on the beach. We also packed up all our belongings that we have to post home...we thought we may have 2 or 3 boxes...it turned out to be 5 boxes weighing 50 kilos...
Day 309 - Tuesday 2nd January...Marbella and Peurto Banus
Slept in...took boxes to post office... cost us 353 euro to post...ouch!! Beats paying pound though if we posted them from London or had to pay excess baggage. Drove back to Peurto Banus and we all had a great lunch at the same Chinese restaurant...O.K we have had our fix of Chinese food now. Walked around the port which is sort of like a mini south of France with quite a few super yachts and flashy cars, but not as nice as France. Very posh shops and lots of black boys selling rip off handbags, watches, sunnies and DVD's.
Day 310 - Wednesday 3rd January - Marbella Marriot
Had to take back the car today so the rest of the day was spent enjoying the Marriot. Another Air hockey match and ping pong. Took in a Paella making class where we all learnt to cook Paella on the biggest pan you have ever seen. Wayne was in heaven because he got to eat Gem's as well as it had seafood in it. More lazing around the pool and on the beach.
Day 311 - Thursday 3rd January - Marbella Marriot
Last day of luxury in the Marriot...we could kind of get used to having our own made come in every day and clean the unit and make our beds..
Day 312 - Friday 5th January - Granada and Sierra Nevada
Goodbye to the wonderful Marriot...all four of us were sad to say goodbye. We loaded up Misty and drove to Granada to return to the Alhambra palace. This time no problem, we had the tickets right but nearly got into a fight with some rude German's who pushed into line when getting the audio guides. The Alhambra is one of the most visited monuments in the world and it sits on a hill overlooking Granada. We took in everything and got to visit the palace as well which was very beautiful. The entire place has the most awesome water features everywhere as apparently water played a very important part in Muslim culture as it was quite scarce in the dessert. We then drove to find camping ground on top of Sierra Nevada where it was snowing, but the first placed was shut for renovation, the second one was booked out so next we pulled into a hotel on top of the mountain
Day 314 - Saturday 6th January - Sierra Nevada to Peniscola
Up bright and early and after some breaky at the hotel we gave Misty a big workout and drove 750kms to Peniscola where we found a hotel for the night then had a great dinner at a local restaurant. We were going to go and stay in the aires we had previously stayed in here but the hotel said we could park Misty in the secured car park so that was good.
Day 315 - Sunday 7th January - Peniscola to Barcelona
HAPPY 59th BIRTHDAY RONNY !! We stocked up on some groceries and birthday cake before leaving Peniscola and then it was another big drive to Barcelona. We finally arrived late in the afternoon to El Masnou camping where we had stayed previously
Day 316 - Monday 8th January - Barcelona
We had a full day of sightseeing today on top of the double decker tourist bus. It really gave us a fell for just how big this place is. We took in all the sights and all the beautiful architecture of this city. Then we had dinner at a tapas bar. The weather was good so there were heaps of street performers out on Las Rambles and they were rather amazing to watch. We also took Mum and Dad to Café Zurich were last time Gem had the best hot chocolate she had ever tasted... it was just as awesome again. After more than 12 hours of being on the go we retired for the night...but Ronny wanted to play cards...this time Gem whipped everyone. We also found at the tourist information office, a better place to stay. There is a massive big car park near the Olympic port that is set up for motor homes and only cost 18 euro a night...dam it we wish we would have found this place earlier as not only could we have saved a fair chunk of money but we would not have been getting ripped of by the old cow at the camping ground!! So Gem took a heap of leaflets and when we got back we gave them to all the other motor homers in the camp ground...naughty we know but they appreciated it...we just had to make sure the old cow did not see us and kick us out!
Day 317 - Tuesday 9th January - Barcelona
Up bright and early again to have some breaky and blow this camp site. We noticed a few others were also moving so maybe we will see them at the one in town. We found the parking place in town no problem and noticed that a few of the Italian campers from El Masnou had also packed up and come into this spot. Mum and Dad also found a lovely hotel about 500 meters away...it was very funky and offered an awesome view of the city!! We found our way back into the city and got back onto the tourist bus. First stop was to take in the Sagria Familia which is the massive Catholic Cathedral in the city which was designed by Gaudi and first started construction in 1881 and it is estimated it will take yet another 20 years to finish building. It was rather amazing and very very different. Wayne and I want to come back in 20 years and see it completed. Next we got back on the bus and went to Park Guell which was also designed by Guadi. Again this park with all its mosaic works and weird and wonderful architecture was awesome and it had an amazing view of city. Gem went shopping here as she found the most awesome artistic shirts. Next we ventured back into town and got one last yummy hot chocolate before catching the metro back and working out how to get Mum and Dad to the airport on the train. Bit of an early night tonight as we are all rather tired and we have to leave early in the morning.
Day 318 - Wednesday 10th January - Back to France... yeh!!
Up early again (this is really killing us) to say goodbye to Mum and Dad. We managed to find out way out of Barcelona and onto the highway straight to France
Day 319 - Thursday 11th January - Ville Franche de-Rouergue to Milly La Foret
We were woken up at 5am this morning by the village coming alive for it's market which is held all through the streets and the square in front of the cathedral. We had a great chat with Mike and sorted out a few things and he managed to get us booked in for an MOT at the end of the month. We just love France, the markets here and the food is just great and we had some croissants for breaky! The young girl in the tourist office was so friendly and so excited to be able to practice her English. We walked around the town and took in all the streets and the sites that she told us to see. We were not sure what to do about getting Misty fixed, whether we should rely on getting a message across to them through Fraenzi on the phone or to just go there ourselves and try and sort out the issue. We decided it would be easier to try and get there and show them what we needed. So at 12.30 (after eating a yummy roast chicken baguette from our purchases at the market) we set in for the huge drive to Paris which was about 550kms. Well we drove and drove and we knew we would not make it in time so we decided to stop about 90kms outside at a private aires but getting there was a nightmare as we could not use the GPS as we need to save the battery (because our 12 volt charger broke!
Day 320 - Friday 12th January - Paris
We were both so exhausted that we had a bit of a sleep in to 10am today. Having free wireless we also managed to get all the things done that we needed to do on the internet like pay rates, phone bills etc!! We found out the motor home place would not re-open until about 2.00pm after they have their long lunch so we did not leave Milly la Forest until about 12.00. We could not believe how cheap the aires was as it only cost us 4.50 to stay and for electricity as well!! We said goodbye to the lovely French lady and managed to get to the motor home dealer and had to wait for them to re-open post lunch!! Fraenzi had called them and they knew who we were, problem was that it was the wrong section and they only dealt with new motor homes and we had to go down the street to the repairers....who did not know who we were!! The next 2.5 hours was spent trying to converse with the guys here...who again were very patient and understanding and were able to laugh themselves silly at our attempt at French and their attempts at English. Thankfully we were able to use our French phrase book and sign language to convey our message across. They were also ringing another office where a lady had translation software and was typing things into her computer and reading them to us!
Day 321 - Saturday 13th January - Paris
Yeh we get to see Paris
Day 322 - Sunday 14th January - Paris
We were so exhausted that we woke up at 11am, but it was a stunning day as the sun had actually come out. We walked to the bus through the park and watched all the guys practicing their fly fishing throws in the lake. This time we walked from the bus up the road to the Arch de Triumph which was rather spectacular. We will wait to go up until Garth and Helen get here. Next we walked along the Champs-Elysees and took in all the posh shops. We walked past the Grand and Petite Palaces, through Concorde Place with all the amazing fountains and then through the amazing Jardin des tuileries and up to the Louvre. The Louvre was rather amazing and we liked the controversial pyramid buildings that mark the entrance. We went inside the Louvre and walked around the shops and checked out some great books
Day 323 - Monday 15th January - OPERATION BAGUETTE BEGINS!!
Neither of us got a good nights sleep as we were both worried we would not hear the alarm and Garth and Helen would be stranded at the airport!! We managed to get up and leave on time and find our way to Charles De Gual airport...except it is bloody huge and we could not work out which one of the four terminals we had to go to...the airport is also not that friendly for vehicles over 2 meters high so it was difficult to get around and find somewhere to park. We got to Terminal 1 and they told us to go to Terminal 2 (which after getting very lost for 30 minutes and then they told us the plane was delayed and it was going into Terminal 1...so back we went and found a great illegal parking spot as we could not fit Misty anywhere else. We panicking that we had missed the plane but it turned out to be 2 hours late so Wayne had to go back and stand with Misty to make sure she did not get wheel clamped or towed (good luck finding a tow truck big enough!!). Gem stood at the entrance gates with a big sign that said "Operation Baguette" and she got all kinds of strange looks and laughs and one police man came up and was laughing his head off!! Yeh Garth and Helen finally got here and we introduced them to Misty!! We took off on the maze of highways to Chartes which is famous for its magnificent 13th century Cathedral with dominates the town...we could see it miles away looming above the landscape. It was so cold today and the town was covered in fog that for ages we could not even see the top of it
Day 324 - Tuesday 16th January - The Loire Valley & Amboise
Up early for coffee and croissants and were on our way to Chateau country. Next stop was the spectacular Chateau de Chambord, which Francois I had built from 1519 as a base for hunting game in the surrounding forests. The outside and the grounds were all rather amazing but we had been given a tip by a couple of people not to pay to go inside as the inside was not furnished and rather bland in comparison to the other Chateau's we are going to see
Day 325 - Wednesday 17th January - More Chateau's and Chinon
Up bright and early and off to walk around Amboise and visit the castle of Leonard De Vinci called Le Clos Luce. Leonardo came to Amboise in 1516 at the invitation of Francoise and died 3 years later. We got to walk through his lovely castle and see his inventions and gardens. Next it was back into Misty and off to see Château de Chenonceau which we were all really looking forward to as in the pictures we have seen it looked awesome as it is built over the river Cher
Day 326 - Thursday 18th January - Mont St Michel
We woke up to the Thursday morning market being set up in the car park around Misty so we quickly moved her up a bit further and Wayne cooked a great breakfast for everyone for the big drive ahead. We drove for about 4 hours to the region of Normandy to go to one of France's biggest tourist attraction...Mont St Michel
Day 327 - Friday 19th January - Dinan, Normandy, D Day Beaches to Bayeaux
Dinan is the home of the crepe so we just had to go and find some for breakfast...however the French don't consider it a breakfast food so we had to wait a while until 11.00 to get a place open. We had some yummy crepes and then Wayne went into a food shop and did a little happy dance as he got some very yummy sweet and savory French foods. Next on the agenda was a drive to Normandy where we took in several sites of the D Day beaches.
Point Du Hoc - massive craters had been left in the ground from where the Allied battle ships had shelled the entire coast line
Day 328 - Saturday 20th January - Bayeax, Arromanches, Caen, Deauville & Trouville &Honfleur
For some unknown reason Wayne is sick today with a very bad hangover and has spewed his guts up into a plastic bag...he is lucky he was prepared as there is a strict no chucking in Misty rule!!! He is a bit sore and sorry!! Lucky Gem can drive and is not suffering from the Vodka! We headed out to Arromanches which is where Port Winston and the allied troops towed in artificial harbor from the UK, sunk it into the bay and used it to of load 30,000 vehicles in 7 days. Very crappy rainy, windy cold weather so it was a bit hard to enjoy!! Next we drove to Caen where we were looking forward to seeing the memorial to Peace. Not much of the original city is left of Caen as it was destroyed during the bombings, so it is quite a modern town. After getting lost we finally found the memorial, but unfortunately it was closed!! Bugger. So we stopped at the big Carrefours shopping centre and made our roasted chicken baguettes for lunch before heading off on a drive up the coast line
Day 329 - Sunday 21st January - Honfleur, Rouen, Versailles to Paris
We woke up bright and early and explored more of Honfleur tonight in the daylight...yeah the sun has come out for a while and the sky is blue!! Next we drove to the town of Rouen and found the spot in the very pretty old town where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake for heresy. Rouen had so many impressive churches and a very imposing cathedral in its main square. Next we drove to Versailles which is about 23 km outside of Paris. This is where King Louis and Maree Antoinette built their massive palace and lived in luxury whilst everyone else starved. This place was unbelievable, the sheer size of it was overwhelming and the gardens were stunning. We went through the main apartments which were very lush and quite overwhelming. Next it was off to get stuck in the Parisian traffic and find our way to the Marriot Village at Disneyland...we eventually found it and crashed for the night.
Day 330 - Monday 22nd January - Paris
Wayne, Garth and Helen headed into Paris today and explored. Gem had a rather unexciting day sleeping in, cleaning Misty for when she goes in to get repaired tomorrow and documenting everything in her and taking pictures for when we go to sell her
Day 331 - Tuesday 23rd January - Paris
We had to be up bright and early to get Misty over the other side of Paris so that she could go in for her repairs. We trugged our way through the crazy Parisian traffic and got told to move Misty's big ass over by some motor bikers...we soon learnt that you are supposed to drive as far over as possible because all the bikes drive down the middle of the traffic!! We dropped her off and crossed our fingers that they understood everything we want fixed up on her!! We managed to find our way back into the centre of Paris and Gem did a spot of shopping whilst Wong read his book in a coffee shop....got to love shopping at present in Paris as it is sale time...and a genuine sale as apparently the sales are highly regulated and they only happen 4 times a year....yippee it may be cold but shopping will help us get over it !!! After having gotten up so early we were rather exhausted so decided to go back to the resort and relax for the afternoon. We stopped off at the big shopping centre "Val de Europe" and stocked up on food so Wayne could make some great French food for all of us for dinner. Garth and Helen returned later that night and they had spent the day shopping and had gone on a massive shopping spree
Day 332 - Wednesday 24th January - Paris
Everyone was a bit tired today and poor Helen sounds like Minnie Mouse as she has laryngitis!! Not to worry she can always get a job next door at Disneyland!!
We managed to relax most of the day and then head out later this afternoon to the massive shopping centre "Val D Europe" where we all went a bit nuts shopping!! Back home tonight for a UNO tournament.
Day 333 - Thursday 25th January - Paris
Up bright and early today for a full day of sight seeing. We found our way to the Catacombs which is described as the most macabre place in Paris. In 1785, it was decided tat to solve the hygiene problem in Paris caused by the overflowing cemeteries all the bodies would be exhumed and the bones would be stored in the tunnels of threes disused quarries. Well we walked down a spiral staircase that took us well underground and well beneath the metro stations...and then we checked out all of the tunnels that were used by the resistance during WWII and are now filled with millions of bones and skulls..
Day 334 - Friday 26th January - Paris
Poor Helen and Garth are a bit sick again today...so while they rested Wayne and I ventured off to Val de Europe to go shopping!! Gem went wild and bought some very posh Parisian clothes, Wayne also went wild and went shoe shopping yet again and bought a nice big warm sexy jacket!!! Rather please with the purchases we went back and got ready to head out for our big night at the Moulin Rouge. Garth and Helen were shouting us to see the show tonight as a "thank you" present...how lovely!! Sporting our new outfits we ventured out into the cold night and found our way to the big red windmill!! We had a great Italian dinner and then into the Moulin Rouge to watch the act with lots of yelping and can canning, flying boobies, feather costumes and gay male dancers!! It was great fun!!
Day 335 - Saturday 27th January - Paris
Wayne and I got up early and took the train out to pick up Misty!
Day 336 - Sunday 28th January - Paris
Off to Sacre Cour this morning. Wayne led the way on the metro and we would our way through the streets and climbed up the million and one stairs to Sacre Cour...this is a massive white Catholic church perched on top of a big hill. It has the most amazing view all over Paris. As it was Sunday it was rather packed, but it was great to look around and also hear all the nuns belting our some hymns. Next we tried to find the Antique Markets but managed not to locate them!!! Bugger. We did walk around Montmarte and found the rather amazingly beautiful opera house though. We also went back to the Eiffel tower and took more pictures during the day and also had a great lunch at a local café with a fantastic view of the tower!! Back home to spend the night packing our bags for tomorrow!!
Day 337 - Monday 29th January - Paris to UK - END OF OPERATION BAGUETTE
Up bright and early to take operatives Foi Garth and Helen to the airport
Day 338 - Tuesday 30th January - Sandgate
Up bright and early to find the MOT centre in Canterbury. Gem unfortunately forgot to bring NAVMAN with us but Mike had kindly printed out directions anyway...we made a few wrong turns but found it in the end. Unfortunately, this guy was not as easy going as the one in the North who did it last time and he said we had to get the back light's changed to meet the UK standards (stupid given that we drive it most of the time on the continent)...anyway we managed to get it booked in for Thursday so he could do the work, get the TAX done and we will still be able to get back to France on Friday night
Day 339 - Wednesday 31st January - Sandgate
Gem went for a walk today with Casey through Sandgate and along the beach front...it was so nice to have a dog to go walking with but made her rather homesick for Ruphus. Today Caroline took us back to Dover. Gem was keen to go back as all our photos from last time got wiped when the computer had a spac attack!! We went up into the hills and had a nice lunch and then set of for a walk along the cliffs. Casey was very excited as this was her third walk for the day!! Tonight we fulfilled one of Wayne's wishes...to eat Indian food whilst in the UK.. and it was fantastic!
Day 340 - Thursday 1st February - Sandgate
The boys got up early and dropped Misty off at the mechanics so she could get the things fixed to pass the MOT. The rest of the day we just spent reading and relaxing...it was nice to be able to appreciate someone's home and watch a bit of TV as well. Gem also wanted to stay close to home in case the Indian from last night erupted (commonly referred to in these parts as an ass like a squeezed orange!!). Tonight we went for a drink at a groovy little bar down the road and then out for traditional English Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas!! Cracking!! We went home and laughed our heads off watching a 'Little Britain" DVD.
Day 341 - Friday 2nd February - UK to France
Caroline was kind enough to drive us to pick up Misty this morning
Back to Sandgate to have dinner with Caroline and Mike...Chinese...Yum!!! Mike was also telling us stories about the fires that have happened in the tunnel...he worked as an engineer there for 3 years....that was comforting!! At 7.30 we had to leave for the drive to the tunnel...so it was sad to say goodbye to these guys as they are so much fun and have been so kind to us...but we will see them again when we cross back over to the UK in a couple of weeks. No problems going through the tunnel. We kill ourselves laughing at French customs as it is so different to the UK customs...we just pulled up to the passport window...the guy looked at us and said "What Nationality are you?"...we said "Australian" and he said "OK" and waved us on... no passports no nothing!! We got through the tunnel without catching on fire and we found a great spot to park for the night up on Cape Blanc-mez overlooking the English Channel. Of course Mike and Caroline had told us about this awesome spot and it was rather tranquil watching all the lit up boats and ferries floating past at night. We even had 5 other motor homers to park with.
Day 342 - Saturday 3rd February - Cap Blanc-mer to Paris
Woke up late this morning after a nice sleep in
Day 343 - Sunday 4th February - Paris
Our mission today was to find the antique Markets at St Ouen!!! We did and they were huge and rather awesome...it made us so sad that we just can't buy up and take home some of the awesome stuff that they have over here....we particularly liked a Parisian street lamp (now that would not fit in the suitcase) We spent the entire day roaming around taking in all of the weird and wonderful stuff on offer
Day 344 - Monday 5th February - Paris
We went back to St Ouen today to finish checking out the antique markets. We had fun but certainly not as much stuff is open on a Monday as it was on the weekend.
Day 345 - Tuesday 6th February - Paris
Gem is sick today so Wayne ventured out on his own into town and spent the day wandering around the streets around Hotel De Ville and Chatelet...taking a million pictures, read his book in a café and watched the Parisian's go by. Came home to get his arse whipped at UNO!!
Day 346 - Wednesday 7th February - Paris
Gem still sick but that is not going to stop her...the goal today was to spend the day wandering around the streets of St Germain. We walked for about 8 hours and checked out Chatelet, Hotel De Ville, through St Germain and Luxembourg. We had a great time finding all these quirky little shops and checking our some amazing book stores.