Page 5 of TheMcNamaras Travel Blog Posts

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Sarlat-la-Caneda July 4th 2011

Hugo has fallen in love. With Framboisiere. We drove the prettiest roads from Tamnies to Sarlat today, and by the time we got into town everyone was peckish and I was dying for a real coffee, which did not disappoint. The next thing we stumbled on was a little boulanger/patissier on the Avenue Gambetta that is destined to become a daily destination from now on. Everyone tried a different cake - from chocolate jaffa delights to fruit flans to eclairs - but the clear winner was Hugo's Framboisiere. The lightest layers of almond sponge, sandwiched together with real raspberries and raspberry cream, and lightly dusted with icing sugar then cut into fingers. Until now, he has been a little shy about trying some French, but he has wrapped his tongue around this word, and it rolls ... read more
Imogen and Hugo, Sarlat
Serving the Snails
Not sure!

Europe » France » Aquitaine July 3rd 2011

The house at Tamnies has lived up to expectations - last night after hunting for the key, the five children raced around bagsing bedrooms, exclaiming at how beautiful it all was, and generally exploring. It felt good to drop bags and know we wouldn't be packing them again for a week! There is a truly opulent feel to this house - lots of very high ceilings, chandeliers, and plenty of room for everyone to sit together around dinner tables or the pool, or to spread out on the couches in the living room. There are 5 bathrooms, 5 bedrooms, and a big kitchen equipped with everything you could need, including a separate fridge for drinks! Astrid and I have taken turns at loading up the washing machine as it's been a while since we've had access ... read more
Our bedroom
Sunset, Tamnies
Looking for bumblebees

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Carcassonne July 2nd 2011

Frank and I were just talking while the children had a sleep in the back seat en route to Carcassonne. It's amazing how easy life seems on holiday, with no mail, phone calls or e-mail to return, and no household jobs calling! The other advantage of holidays is that when there's no rushing around to school and various activities, the children are incredibly co-operative and I'm not having to yell at anyone to hurry up. We are all enjoying each others' company so much. I don't know how you re-create this environment at home, but we are enjoying it while we can! If Verona was Isabel's request, a knight's castle was Hugo's. We certainly found a beauty at Carcassonne! My photos are a little disappointing because the scale of the place from a distance is truly ... read more
Picnic time
Great glace
Entry to the castle

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Uzès July 2nd 2011

It is amazing how infectious someone who loves life can be. The colourful and eccentric Peta made us all laugh a little harder and let go of some of our inhibitions for a while. For someone who had sounded a bit frightened about planning a market tour which included four adults and five children, she soon settled into her new role as Mother Hen, and our tour became something the children rated as one of their "Top Ten" holiday things to do. We had been keen to visit the market after talking to Brad and Jane, and my correspondence with Peta over the months before our trip resulted in us settling on a market tour so that we could buy what we needed for a picnic at Carcassonne Castle. "You'll have to go very early", Peta ... read more
Breakfast in the garden
The Legendary Annie and her cheese
Group shot in the kitchen

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Uzès July 1st 2011

Well, who forgot to put Uzes in the guidebooks? Someone who wanted to keep it a secret, we think! What a magical place, and we only had one night there. Our next trip will include at least a week's stay. But I'm getting ahead of myself..... We did really well getting away from Monterosso by 6.30 am, considering we had nearly missed the end of breakfast at 10.30am on a few mornings of our stay! Looking at the long drive ahead, we decided to forgo a side trip to Santa Margherita and aim for Alassio, on the Italian Riviera, for breakfast. Good decision. We found a gorgeous little bakery with fantastic coffee, and became addicted to their little hazelnut meringue biscuits on the drive to Uzes when of course, it was too late to go back ... read more
10.  Sunbeds looked inviting...
7.  A little chilly!
13.  Sitting at Cafe Terroir in the Square at Uzes

Europe » Italy » Liguria » Cinque Terre » Corniglia June 30th 2011

What is it about meals set on fire that makes them so exciting to eat? Tonight's dinner was quite memorable because of the flaming pasta, and also because we made a bit of an occasion of it and went to a slightly swankier restaurant than usual. Apparently Miki has one Michelin star, and it was certainly packed but could have used some air conditioning! It was a slow start this morning after arriving home from Vernazza after midnight. We all got our second wind puffing up the hill from the station, and luckily Hugo didn't conk out on the train because I don't think Frank would have managed piggy-backing him! Luckily we could sleep in, although we almost missed breakfast, and charged down to the terrace with sleep still in our eyes with only about a ... read more
Setting Hugo's pasta crust alight
Frank and the kids, Monterosso
Church, Corniglia

Europe » Italy » Liguria » Vernazza June 29th 2011

It would have been easier to just stay on the beach and finish with a lazy meal on the strip. However I've never been a big fan of easy, and I was dying to do the big walk to Vernazza although all the reports we'd heard were a little scary. One family told of coming across a mother and her pre-teen daughter crying on the trail - the child because her feet were a mess from walking in thongs, and her mother from having to literally push her crippled daughter up the hundreds and hundreds of stairs because they were in the no-mans land of half-way between towns! Again, we decided an evening walk would be the go, and we did have a lovely day on the beach. Isabel settled for trying the Monterosso jumping rock ... read more
The big game, Vernazza
Almost there,  Vernazza
Another day at the Beach

Europe » Italy » Liguria » Riomaggiore June 28th 2011

I think I am starting to think more like an Italian. I can't remember which town was which in the photos I took tonight, and I'm fairly unconcerned about it. (Sorry all you friends who may be planning a trip and would like to know!) We had a really funny train ride to Riomaggiore - completely in the dark, as the lights weren't working in our carriage and the train trip through the five towns is mainly tunnels. It could have been quite freaky I suppose, but it didn't worry us. (See what I mean about the Italian influence?!) I love the fact that the long evenings allow us all this 'stolen time' to have almost another day's worth of fun. We didn't even set off until after 7pm, but it was hot and sunny. When ... read more
Sunset, Manarola
Sculpture in the Via dell'Amore
Manarola Harbour

Europe » Italy » Liguria » Monterosso al Mare June 28th 2011

Some days are just perfect. We didn't plan much for today, but it all unfolded as though we had mapped it out carefully. We woke up keen to explore, after only getting a glimpse of Monterosso from high up the hill at sunset last night. I threw open the big green shutters on our French doors and couldn't believe how gorgeous the view and the garden was. There were brightly coloured flowers everywhere in the garden, and we were aware of the fragrance of the jasmine before we walked down the path to breakfast and saw it. I can't believe I'm writing this, but I had the best coffee I've had in Italy from a MACHINE at the breakfast buffet! Strong and milky, just how I like it - nothing like the old cafe bars at ... read more
The beach, Monterosso
The road to Monterosso
View from B&B Il Parco

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Verona June 27th 2011

Sud, Est, What? I thought I'd done a good job getting us out of Venice and on the road to Verona, but the Autostrada exits did us in. We ended up going the long route via the Nord exit which was annoying as it cost us about half an hour. Anyway, hoping to avoid any more lost time, I entered "Juliet's House" into our trusty Google Maps on the i-pad. Miraculously, it did come up with only that information. I am still not sure whether we should have parked where we did, (it was too good to be true), but Juliet obviously wanted Isabel to visit her house as there was no parking ticket when we returned. The town of Verona is gorgeous, with a beautiful fountain in a square bordered by cafes. The old Roman ... read more
Casa di Giulietta
One Happy Girl
The streets of Verona

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