Page 4 of Freedom 55 Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Lanarkshire » Glasgow July 1st 2015

Rather than writing too much this time about the history of all the locations we visited, whenever possible I've included links that you can follow to learn more about the various places if you want to do that. The ferry to Scotland is not too far from us, in the town of Larne. We had some difficulty finding a taxi that would take us to Larne early Monday morning. I had to call five different companies on Sunday before finding one in Larne, of the few that was open and willing to start work early enough on Monday to pick us up at 7:00AM. He arrived 20 minutes late, after phoning me twice, having difficulty finding us. Our cottage sits right on the edge of Garron road which is the coast road from Larne all the ... read more
Alexander Thomson hotel, a block from Central train station
Stirling Castle
Doune Castle

The sun broke through this morning but perhaps not for long. So we quickly pulled on our hiking shoes and headed out to find the path up to Garron Tower and St. Killian's College. The trail starts out next to a home across from the little Garron Point park next to us on Garron Road. You walk up the driveway for the house and continue on into the forest along a nearly invisible overgrown path. It widens out after a short way, turning into dirt and rocks as it winds its way back and forth beneath the trees, up the hillside towards the tower. You eventually reach a stone wall and it follows along that, in front of the tower, until it reaches a gate and takes you onto the grounds of St. Killian's College. Once ... read more
St Josephs Dining Room
Calvary statues at St. Killian's
Dalesbred Sheep

Another rainy day at Garron Point but I'm keeping our little wood stove going to keep the cottage nice and cozy. It did stop raining for a while so we went for a walk out of our back door and climbed around on the shoreline rocks during low tide. There's a little park next to us with a few signs explaining the history of the area and our cottage. These four cottages were built around 1850 and were originally coastguard cottages associated with a lookout station on Garron Point. Within a short time, it was raining again so we headed back inside to dry off for a while. Later in the afternoon it cleared up a bit again so we decided to head off walking north along Garron Road to see what we could find. We ... read more
The Famine Stone
Garron Road.  NOT a walk-friendly road.
Sea stack in front of cottage

Long day yesterday Marseille to Belfast; dragged our suitcases down the street five blocks to the Metro station. Down escalators and stairs and onto the subway then up escalators and stairways into the train station to catch the bus to the airport. All of that actually worked out very well with no problems. After a VERY tight connection in Munich we arrived in Dublin, but, ... our suitcases did not. The counter staff knew they were still in Munich and would arrive in Dublin by midnight. Not much use to us as we were immediately getting on a bus to Belfast. So off we went, just with our carry-ons. Quite nice actually not having to drag those suitcases along! Arrived into Belfast Victoria Street station and walked across the road to the Days Hotel. Quick check-in ... read more
A little fire next to our hotel this morning.
Coastguard Cottages, Garron Point, Antrim, N.I.
View from our cottage on a rainy day

Starting from the Old Port (Vieux Port) there is a little tourist train you can take for a tour around the city, instead of the usual Hop-on, Hop-off bus. It takes you up to Notre Dame de la Garde, driving along on the seaside road, past the forts, the Pharo Palace and St Victor’s Abbey. Along the way up the hill to the basilica, you can see the beautiful “marseillaises” houses perched on the hillside. It gradually climbs to a total height of 162 meters from which the “Bonne Mère”(The Good Mother) watches over the people of Marseilles. This is the only stop where you can get off and you have 30 minutes before it returns to take you back down to Vieux Port. Notre-Dame de la Garde (literally Our Lady of the Guard), is a ... read more
View across Mediterranean from Notre-Dame de la Garde
View of Marseille from Notre-Dame de la Garde
Notre-Dame de la Garde

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Nice June 16th 2015

Early on Monday the 15th, we walked the few blocks to the Desiree Clary Metro station to ride the 3 stops to the train station to catch the train to Nice. It was a comfortable 2 1/2 hour ride from Gare de Marseille-Saint-Charles to Gare de Nice-Ville. Hotel La Villa Nice Victor Hugo was about a 10 minute walk from the train station in a nice part of town, only a couple of blocks from all the restaurant and shops and 5 blocks from the sea. As we arrived at 11:00AM, only one room was ready. We dumped off our bags and headed out for lunch at "Le Gustave 5" restaurant on the Promenade Des Anglais along the Mediterranean coastline. The water is a startling blue colour; more like a swimming pool than the sea. The ... read more
Sunbather in Nice, on the Côte d'Azur
View of Nice from Castle Hill

The old part of Aix (pronounced like the letter X) is all class: its leafy boulevards and public squares are lined with 17th- and 18th-century mansions, punctuated by gurgling moss-covered fountains. Aix marks the spot where Roman forces enslaved the inhabitants of the Ligurian Celtic stronghold of Entremont. In 123 BC the military camp was named Aquae Sextiae (Waters of Sextius) for the thermal springs that still flow today. In the 12th century the counts of Provence proclaimed Aix their capital, which it remained until the Revolution when it was replaced by Marseille. The city became a centre of culture under arts patron King René (1409–80): painter Paul Cézanne and novelist Émile Zola are its most famous sons. Our guide Victorine picked us up this morning at 9:00 for the half hour ride to Aix-en-Provence then ... read more
Paul Cezanne "The gulf of Marseille seen from l'Estaque."
Cassis beach and shoreline by the harbour
Fountain of Hot Water (Fontaine Moussue)

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Avignon June 12th 2015

Our day started by meeting Cedric, our Viatour driver and guide for the day to Les Baux, Pont du Gard, Avignon and Chateneuf-du-Pape. Besides the four of us, two Americans and two Brits joined us in the van. The day was cooler and cloudier than we had seen so far and under threatening skies, our first stop was Les Baux. We were already here two days earlier but spent the entire 90 minutes eating lunch. Today we were determined to tour as much of this mountain fortress as possible. We climbed to the top of the town and paid our 8 Euros admission to see the fortified area with the siege engines and admire the views over the surrounding valley. Dark clouds surrounded us and the thunder and lightning was a constant companion as we walked ... read more
Pont du Gard Roman Aqueduct
Palais des Papes in Avignon
Pont Saint-Bénézet in Avignon

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Arles June 11th 2015

On our walk to the beach the other day, we discovered Elyssa, a great little Tunisian restaurant facing the south side of the harbour at Vieux Port. The owner is a lovely young woman who open it just last September after gaining experience at her father's restaurant, in business nearby for the past 40 years. The service was friendly and attentive, the food was great and very affordable. Chris had the Tajine d'Agneau and I had Couscous au Mechoui (lamb). and we paired that with a house Rose for a total cost of around 42 Euros. Highly recommended! As Marseille is the birthplace of bouillabaisse, we looked into what price some of the best restaurants are offering this dish for. Based on local recommendations and googling for info, we learned that we would be paying at ... read more
Couscous au Mechoui
Vieux Port Fish Market
The market at Saint Remy de Provence

Marseille can claim to have existed for 2,600 years and therefore qualifies as France's oldest city. In 600 B.C., Greeks from Phocaea (in present-day Turkey) arrived in the Lacydon creek which was then inhabited by people belonging to the Ligurian branch of the Celts. According to legend, Massalia (as the Greeks named Marseille) was the result of a love story between Protis the Greek and Gyptis, daughter of the Ligurian chieftain. She rejected princes and fortune-hunters and chose the handsome adventurer. In 1666, however, Louis XIV gave instructions for the city to be extended southwards. Entrance to the port was protected by two forts: Fort Saint-Nicolas to the south and Fort Saint-Jean to the north. The last few days the weather has been hot and sunny, near 30c every day, while we've been walking around 10K ... read more
Tunnel of 1,000 Signs
Natural History Museum
Fontaine Castellane

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