A Travellerspoint blog

Avignon to Arles

In search of little Black fungi!!!!!

sunny 22 °C

Dear All

So after sailing for most of the night, we ended up on the outskirts of Avignon and cheerfully dumped overboard onto buses so we could hunt out some Truffles. Well not exactly, but you get the picture I'm sure. The main reason I wanted to do this was so I could pat some dogs. Or hoped I could.

We end up on this place with rows and rows of Oak trees of many different varieties. Kind owner comes out to explain to us simpletons about how he finally makes ends meet farming Truffles. During the course of the conversation, he mentions he used Labradors to do the leg work. Immediately sold to me as far as I am concerned. Really the only dogs worth having are Labradors. Sorry. No offences to other breeds. My opinion anyhow!!!! So, talk continues with owner and assembled. Next thing he brings out his mobile, says a couple of words in French and the next thing, Voila!!!! This Labrador duly arrives with sack and bikkie tin wanders into the group, sits in front of the owner and looks rather accomplished at her work. Of course, a bikkie is provided and then she scoots off and starts to ferret out Truffles. I think it took about 12 nanoseconds and she was scratching and digging at the dirt nearby. Very small truffle found but rewarded with a bikkie. The dog was soon joined by another of 12 months of age and together between the 2 of them, they found about 10 small truffles. It isn't Truffle season at the moment, so not unexpected about the no show. Next thing, the older dog decides she's had enough adoration and bikkies and wanders off back to home so she can rest up. What a life and am I jealous? Hell yes!!!!

Time to bid Au Revoir to the Truffle farmer and to where the boat was docking at Avignon. In between we had a quick walk through Avignon and discovered there were a number of good shops to visit. And we did!!! Hadn't really had the opportunity to do much shopping really, and now looked like a good time to do so. So back to the ship. Drop any excess gear, have lunch and hit the trail running!! Well!! Must say. Managed to give the good old Cash Card a bit of a work out. 2 x pr Jeans, 1 x pr Shorts, 1 x pr Shoes and a new set of frames for my next prescription of glasses.

Today we've been out to an Olive farm and learnt about the harvesting and processing of Olives. Interesting. Wouldn't race off again for a visit, but it got me walking, which really is a good thing.

We also went out to where Vincent Van Gogh ended his days in a Lunatic Asylum close to Arles. Poor bugger really had the odds stacked against him with Mental Health problems, Epilepsy, Syphillis and the towns people all hating him. Probably because he dared to be different. Got so bad, he decided to give himself a one way ticket out of here. Oh! And that's after hacking half his ear off. Seemed like a good thing for him to do at the time I guess. Anyway, I find it gob smackinly amazing that people who are the most creative, innovative and way before their time are one or two sandwiches short of a picnic. Or the magnets are just not quite magnetised as they might be!! If this really is so, the question is, what's happening with me then???? Oh well. I guess some questions are better left unanswered!!!

Today is also packing day. We leave the ship tomorrow and end up in Monte Carlo. Goodness knows how that will go. So will have to wait and see.

Take care all

Cheers

Bryan and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 06:05 Archived in France Tagged holiday Comments (0)

Lyon to Touron

Magical tour continues

overcast 25 °C

Hello Dear Readers

Hope all are well.

Finally I'm able to take a breath without coughing up my lungs and any other content which might be on offer. This bug really knocked the bejeezus out of me. But am rallying now and almost back to the real me!!! Scary thought I know!!

So, we left Lyon, took a few twisties and turns and ended up at a little place called Belleville. The tour delights for that day was a visit to a Snail and Frogs legs farm, or a visit to taste Bourjelais!!! Would you believe it??? Neither of us wanted to do either of those things. So we did the sensible thing and stayed on board ship. Except for an hour walk into the tiny town. The only shops open were either Bakeries with racks of freshly baked bread or the Patisseries. And don't get me started there. I could've dived into the windows and into the cakes on display and not ever surfaced again. They were simply magnificent. Ron has a photo to prove it.

The rest of the day was one of being quite lazy. However, I did finally finish off series 6 of Game of Thrones. Darn it!!!! So frustrated!!! Cersei is still alive!! That woman is Teflon coated Mercury!!! Truly!! What does it take to kill off that B**ch!!!

So! Rant over.

We set sail and came back past Lyon and headed South to finally end up at this little place called Touron. We didn't get to see much of it, because we were all herded onto buses by 09:30 and off to have a ride on a Vintage steam engine. Finally something I really can relate to. Fantastic to see, hear and watch this thing in operation. Apparently the engine was built in 1932 and is a very rare set up of a Mallet engine. Won't bore you with any more details but do have a couple of photos to put onto the web site when I can.

I think some people are getting a little travel weary because there have been a couple of occasions when I've just uttered a word or two as advice/support/assistance and had my head majorly bitten off. So all of that goes out the window now and am keeping company with myself a hell of a lot. Not mixing with people for a while might also help. At this stage, am just a little over other people.

Anyhoo............Take care all

Cheers

Bryan and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 04:17 Archived in France Tagged holiday Comments (0)

Lyon

Surviving in 30c heat with the flu!!

sunny 32 °C

Dear Readers

Apologies for not being in contact for a day or two and not keeping up with the blog thingo!!

So, where to start.

We arrived back in Paris early AM Thursday 8th. I was feeling a little under the weather, and not booze related I might add, but dreadful rigours. I didn't go anywhere but lazed around on the ship, which after all is some of what this holiday is about I would think!! Anyway, missed out on a tour of the Eiffel Tower. Thank goodness I've been before, so no big tragedy really.

The next day, was off the boat by 09:00, a tour of the Louvre then off to the train at Gare de Lyon. If any of you saw my FB posting on that, you'll know I didn't get to see the Louvre. But according to Ron, I didn't miss much. Again, I've seen the Louvre but the tour guide concentrated on moats down in the dim dark recesses of the Louvre which had only been discovered a few years ago. Apparently there was a flying visit to the Mona Lisa but nothing of Bonaparte's apartments.

Then, off like a shot, we were off to Gare de Lyon. Well. All I can say is, I'm glad we stayed with the tour group and not stay on board until about 12:30 and make our way to Gare de Lyon. The place was absolutely jam packed with black taxis, Scooters and all levels of humanity. Finding your way anywhere really would've been a challenge. However, challenge time was on! The train was late!. During all of this time, announcements being made in French, with not a hint of English translation. Guess the French think that everyone speaks French, naturelment!! Anyway, an announcement was made and next thing half of Gare de Lyon moved to a different platform, which was fortunate because this apparently was where we our train would now be leaving from. Keeping the tour guide in sight was a real challenge. And then the plot thickens. We had tickets for car 3 and were standing at Car 3. Little did we know that 5 seconds previously, it had been car 13. And it had filled up with all of the passengers who were meant to be in Car 13. So, offload very disgruntled passengers in narrow corridors and then get into our allocated seats. Phew!!! The trip itself was uneventful thankfully but some people were really in a dither for quite some time!! Including our dear mild mannered Ron!! So for once, it was me calming him down and not the other way around. Who woulda thunk it???

On arrival in Lyon, were are deposited into this absolute heaving mass of humanity. I have never seen so many people gathered together and transiting one point all at the same time in my life. The only way I could keep up was to stand next to the guide, and when she took off, I was in hot pursuit but keeping an eye out for Ron. And of course, you had to contend with people wanting to cross you travel of path at all angles. Was a major feat of navigation let me tell you. Apparently we lost 2 people on the way, but they were sensible and got into a taxi. They arrived at the Quai, the same time we did. Darned hot too, I can honestly say. 32c when we arrived. The weather here is a little strange. The day starts off cool and chilly even, then by the afternoon around 16:00, it heats up to 30 - 32c. Difficult to work out what to wear really. First world problem really I guess.

After getting on board and checked into cabins, it was time for all to disembark for an event gastronomique. I didn't go because I still felt like I'd been run over by a truck. So stayed on board and had about 6 spoonfuls of the best Chicken soup I've ever had but couldn't eat any more. And, get this readers, I refused offers of Wine! Can you believe it??? The poor waiter was truly horrified when I told him apologies to the chef, beautiful soup but just can't eat anymore. He tried all sorts of temptations to get me to eat, but Non!!!!

This morning we've been Basilica Notre Dame, Fourviere. I'll see if I can load some piccies on. And there lies another tale.

I decided to be my own help desk because I was being told the start up disk was full. Tried all sorts of means but resorted to being ruthless and in the process, deleted my iPhoto Library. And now I can't load photos on in Travellers Point. However, I have thought of an alternative method, so stay tuned.

Anyway. The day has been a little easier. I'm nearly over this flu. Nasty cough and feel absolutely dreadful. But certainly better than I was. If you hear me cough, you'd think I was smoking about 60 a day. The rest of the information is classified due to its offensive content.

Take care all

Cheers

Bryan and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 07:33 Archived in France Tagged holiday Comments (0)

Les Anderlys

Our second last day of this leg of the tour

sunny 27 °C

Dear Readers

Yesterday we went to the Somme Battlefields and saw first hand a minute glimpse what our diggers had to endure. All because some Prussian King did't like things the way they were with regard to territory. I'm sure there were many other factors contributing to WW1 but the fact in one day alone, 6,500 Aussies were killed speaks volumes for the irrationality and ridiculousness of Wars.

Was a long day. My day started off really well when I tried to get into my bus seat and some fatty Boomba (2x in fact) complained about her space being invaded. This was just me getting into my seat. It was first thing in the morning too. All contributing factors for Bryan to nicely but firmly suggest I was only getting into my seat and that was all. The fact my teeth were gritted at the time was not lost on Mrs FBB and equally obese hubby and surprisingly she shut up momentarily!! Then continued to complain and whinge the whole trip there, during the tours and the way back. Along with occasionally hitting the backs of our seats whilst trying to get jackets on and arguing between the two of them. I think WW111 was about to start all over again on the Somme with this person.

Then she had the cheek to complain to the tour director about the tour guide and that he didn't do this, didn't do that. I went back to the Tour Director after that and put her straight on this person. Her response was it was always the women and always the one's who have difficulty walking due to obesity, diabetes, blood pressure etc. But the reality is, all of that is within that persons control.

Anyhoo.........enough of a rant!!! We went to the Canadian, Australian and British war cemeteries and memorials. Saw some of the trenches left over from the war and also huge craters in the ground where shells had struck. At one site, we also saw where Australians had dug under the German lines and placed huge amounts of explosives in big barricaded rooms, then detonated them. The craters left were about 60 - 70 feet deep. But this tactic was not successful. Along with walking through no mans land and being mown down because you were ordered to by some stupid British officer. The Germans had a field day during those times. And the thing is, the lines were only a couple of hundred metres apart!!!

Today we are in Les Anderlys. Beautiful little provincial town. I've stayed back from the tour group because I'm not feeling the best. Darned rigours, coughing and I'm sure you get the drift with the rest.

I'll put some photos up but I don't have any of Les Anderlys. I might need to swipe Ron's camera when he gets back. He was going to stay with me but I convinced him that it would be for his benefit (read saving his life) if he went on without me!! Did have a small wander around this small beautiful town but not for long.

Take care

Cheers

Bryan and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 05:02 Archived in France Tagged holiday Comments (0)

Normandy travel

Being let loose in former battlegrounds

overcast 21 °C

Dear readers

Sorry for the no show for a couple of days

Been really flat out travelling, eating, drinking and generally having a great time.

The first morning of this trip, we went to this beautiful Chateau. Filled with all sorts of antiques and paintings. Apparently there was a relation to Bonaparte involved. The owner of the Chateau still lived there with 2 of her sons. All had private wings of the Chateau along with gardeners who looked after the place. Just amazing places like these still survive really.

In the afternoon we went Monet's Garden. I've never seen so much colour used in ways I could never have imagined. People think I'm crazy about colour, but Monet was positively Psycho. Each room in the house was a particular colour and no other colour was in the room. The kitchen was all in Blue with accents on raised surfaces. Was really a challenge to the eyes I must say. Just all of this blue shouting at you and attacking the eyes. The gardens were beautiful. Of what we could see, anyway, with half the population of France there all at the same time. Everywhere you turned, there were more people and you couldn't get a decent look at anything.

Yesterday, we went to the Normandy battlegrounds and were suitably amazed at the courage and tenacity of the Allied forces and the D Day invasion of Europe. Remnants of the artificial harbour still exist along with some saved pieces of artillery and bunkers left over from the war. We went to a couple of memorials and it just reinforces, in my mind at least, the senseless waste of lives and resources war really is. When the reality is that a few people have decided they don't like what might have been happening in the past, so they crank up the population into following them and next thing, people are being shot, blown up and wounded and ultimately, why?? One thing I did which I never would've thought possible in my lifetime. I actually stood on the Gold beach, Juno and Sord beach. All of these beaches were use as the landings for D Day. Sent more than a few shivers up my spine, but very glad and feel very privileged to have been able to do so.

As the trip out to the battlefields was a whole day affair, the ship sent us off with a packed lunch. More like breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 3 days really. And of course, we get back to the ship just in time for, you guessed it, dinner!!! Certainly can't complain the quality or quantity of food we've been served. Magnificent is all I can say!!! Sometimes horrified about what I'll need to do when I get home though. Particularly if I want to get into the Red Chinos I bought a few days ago.

Anyhooo..........we are off to Rouen soon.

Cheers

Bryan and Ron

Posted by BeeandRon 23:19 Archived in France Tagged holiday Comments (0)

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