Page 3 of Trabern Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Dorset » Bournemouth May 23rd 2015

The plan for today was to catch the train on the South-Eastern Line from Greenwich to Woolwich and then swap to the light rail service to London City Airport where we would pick up a hire car and drive to Bournemouth with stops at Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. Bernie was keen to return to Stonehenge to see how it looks after the closure of the A344 and the redevelopment of the visitor centre. The Salisbury Cathedral stop was to view its copy of the Magna Carta which this year celebrates its 800th anniversary. BUT, it's a bank holiday weekend this weekend and the first day of mid-term break for schools across the UK so, of course, that's not quite how it panned out!! We towed our bags back around to Greenwich Station to find a notice ... read more
Heel Stone

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London May 22nd 2015

Today was set aside to re-visit the Royal Museums at Greenwich - the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House Art Gallery and the Cutty Sark. We have visited these museums before but, with my post-retirement volunteer role at Cooks' Cottage, I wanted to see the Time and Longitude Gallery again because of their relevance to Captain Cook's voyages of discovery. I especially wanted to see K1 - Cook's 'trusty friend the Watch'. With the museums not opening until 10.00am we were able to have a bit of a sleep in and a leisurely breakfast this morning. As we were walking to Greenwich Park we passed a barber's shop. With Bernie desperately in need of a haircut we popped in to see about making an appointment for later in the day. One of the ... read more
Greenwich Observatory
Observatory Clock
London Docklands view

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London May 21st 2015

We had another early start this morning. Although we were booked on the Eurostar service from Calais to London at 2.00pm, Bernie checked the Europcar site Wednesday night and they close their rental desk at Calais between 12.00 noon and 2.00pm meaning that we HAVE to be in Calais before noon and it's a three hour drive from Giverny to Calais! Add to that Bernie's need to allow for contingencies and he was adamant that we needed to be on the road by 8.00am, 8.15am at the very latest. I think we made our hosts a bit uncomfortable with our sense of urgency but, with our lack of French and their lack of English, it was difficult to explain why we were so anxious to get away early. Michel kept saying - 'It's only a three ... read more

Europe » France » Upper Normandy » Giverny May 20th 2015

We were up early this morning for another big driving day and because we wanted to reach Giverny in time to see Monet's garden. We were down in the dining room by 7.00am, having breakfast with all the business people, checked out and on the road by just after 8.00am. We set the Sat-Nav for Giverny and off we headed up the A6 towards Paris. With our road map of Southern France about to run out at just north of Macon we stopped at the Aire (services) stop at Macon for a toilet break and stretch. Bernie was prepared to just trust the Sat-Nav, but I wanted to buy a map just to be able to see where we were actually travelling. We were able to purchase a map of all of France, but the scale ... read more
Monet's Garden
Monet's studio
Monet's Garden

Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Lyon May 19th 2015

We were too late yesterday afternoon to book one of the walking tours of Lyons included with our City Passes. Bernie rang first thing this morning and the only tour available today is at 2.30pm ... in French. Bernie asked if we could book onto the French speaking tour anyway so that we could be guided around some of the traboules - the hidden passages that the silk workers used to use to transport goods - in the old city. We figured that as long as we were guided to some of the secret passages to take some photographs we could manage without the commentary. We were booked onto the tour and asked to call at the Tourist Office before 2.30pm to collect our voucher. We caught the train into the Bellecour Station, found the Tourist ... read more
Ponte Bonaparte
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière mural
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière stained glass

Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Lyon May 18th 2015

After 11 days of reasonably leisurely exploration of the south of France it was time to put some serious kilometres on the odometer of the Mercedes. But, before hitting the motorway, we had to try to find somewhere in the Tarn Valley to photograph the Millau Viaduct from a different angle. We tried programming the Sat-Nav, but the only route she could come up with seemed to be an 'as the crow flies' route which was actually impossible for us to drive. Bernie looked at a map last night and decided to see if he could get us to the river working from his memory of the map! Well, we had a few false starts and several U-turns but, eventually, we found a spot where several other cars were pulled up and the tourists were taking ... read more
From the terrace
A bit down the road
Bridge with river

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Millau May 17th 2015

This morning Nicole served another HUGE breakfast. This morning we had strawberries and yoghurt/crème fraîche again which was yummy, but it's still like having dessert for breakfast! Then Nicole presented us with Nutella mousse in martini glasses garnished with cake which she told us is a specialty of hers. OMG we'd already eaten one dessert for breakfast, but felt obliged to eat the Nutella mousse as well. I guess there are worse things that can happen when you are travelling than being served two desserts for breakfast?! We said our farewells to the delightful Nicole and Robert who plied us with gifts as we were paying our bill. Water for our journey, a tin of their home-made pâté (the one we were eating on Friday night) for Bernie and a tea-light candle holder for me. Thank ... read more
Ecluses de Fonseranes
Combined bike run race

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Carcassonne May 16th 2015

I forgot to mention that just after we reached the A9 yesterday afternoon Bernie had an 'Oh no, I left the iPad on the floor beside the bed this morning' moment. Really??!! The more he thought about it the more convinced he was that he just could not remember packing it. I suggested that we pull over to check, but Bernie wanted to get us to the B&B in Béziers before it got any later and then worry about driving back to Avignon for the iPad if necessary. Of course that meant that we both spent the whole trip envisioning a drive back to Avignon. As soon as we pulled up at the B&B Bernie looked for the iPad ... which had been safely packed this morning. All that stress for nothing! We slept well and ... read more
The Porte Narbonnaise
The Comtal Château

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Beziers May 15th 2015

This morning it was cold and windy in Avignon. It was so cold and blustery that Tatiana served breakfast upstairs in the house. We were told when we arrived that the venue for breakfast depends entirely on the forecast! It's hard to know why people act like Melbourne is the only place in the world that experiences highly variable weather; it was 30°C in Avignon yesterday and today the temperature will be lucky to reach 20°C. We are getting better at negotiating our way into the towns that we are visiting! This morning Bernie had picked out a well-located parking garage on a map of Nîmes that he found on the Internet and programmed the address into the Sat-Nav. The Sat-Nav duly guided us straight down the A9 and into the centre of Nîmes without us ... read more
Nîmes Arena from the front
Maison Carrée
Maison Carrée close-up

This morning was mild with a forecast temperature of 30°+ so Tatiana served breakfast in the garden which was lovely. After breakfast we headed over the Pont Daladier ... again ... this time to visit the Palais des Papes (the Papal Palace of Avignon) that was created during the Great Schism - a split within the Roman Catholic Church during the period 1378 to 1417. Effectively there was a true Pope in Rome and an 'antipope' who ruled from Avignon. It's much more complicated than that, but I'm going to look it up again on Google if I want to remind myself of the details. The Palace of the Popes is the biggest building ever built during the Gothic period. Built in less than 20 years, the palace stands in powerful testimony to the presence of ... read more
Palace of the Popes
Palace of the Popes and the Cathédrale
Palace of the Popes courtyard

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