Ok, I am back on the road again, this time without Kevin, and with a friend who shares my love of France. Look for trips to the Vaucluse, Bordeaux and Paris with the focus being on food, shopping and history. We have credit cards and we know how to use them!

I hope you enjoy it, and make sure you check out Kevin’s blog (NZ4ME) at !

Our next adventure was to visit friends in two places - Miradoux in Gers, and St Cyr sur Mer, near La Ciotat on the coast. As we had been to both these areas before, it was more about getting caught up with friends. Eloise Pommies, Jean-Clement's and Chrystelle's lovely daughter, had just turned 21 and had come to visit so we brought her a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for her birthday. Kevin has been checking prices ever since the purchase at the winery and found 30€ there about the best. It was lovely to see her and to see what a lovely lady she has become since we met them nine years ago. Every time we come in to see the family Pommies they have a new house they are living in. Jean Clement loves ... read more
Jean-Clement's Plum Tree
At the Festival
Las Bastard Aperatif

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Dordogne August 24th 2015

We rolled into St Pierre-Toirac, our house in the Dordogne, on Monday afternoon, being greeted by our lovely hosts, Gisella and Jacky, who showed us around, gave us information and wine, and left us to our own devices. The village, though not very big with only a cafe-cum-bar-cum-bakery (which closed on the 7th for the month) has a wonderful old (12th century) church whose bells are rung at 7 am, noon, and 8 pm. We're here in the area for 10 days, so Tuesday we spent driving and getting to know the area. Driving along the Lot river is a treat, with many small villages built into the sides of the walls above the river. The main town near us was Figeac, and all roads led there. We went to the supermarket and got supplies, including, ... read more
Millefuille at Le Truffe Noir
A Lot Valley village
St Cirq la Popie

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Bordeaux August 8th 2015

Our week in Bordeaux was punctuated by old castles, deluxe wineries and lots of fun dinners in the evenings with friends. We took the TGV down - a wonderful and fast trip. I love the trains in France. After picking up the rental car we arrived at Raymond and Francoise's house. Monday Kevin and I went off to the hyper-marche down the road. These markets are more than markets...they have electronics, cookware and household goods, and even clothes. But we bypassed all that to pick up some food supplies for the week. The highlight was picking up some foie gras that cost only €6 for 200 g and was surprisingly good! You don't need to spend big bucks for the big foods... We came back from the market to be whisked off by Raymond and Francois ... read more
Upper Arcachon
La Cagette Restaurant
Old-time baking

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 31st 2015

Wendy and Ed left, and Ann and Dave arrived. Friday morning we were up bright and early to catch the train to Reims, the capital of Champagne, for a tour of Veuve Clicquot, to learn everything there was to know about the methode champenoise of winemaking. Truly fascinating. La Veuve Clicquot was an innovator in the business, but it was a result of her wonderful sales rep, who set up export to Russia and England. There is a good biography about her,, that I recommend. We also wandered around a bit and had a look in the cathedral, where all the kings of France were crowned, starting with Clovis' baptism. All in all a good day. If you get the opportunity to take tours of distilleries anywhere I suggest you do... The next morning Ann ... read more
Veuve Clicqout
Croissant class
The Somme Australian Monument

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 20th 2015

Saturday brought the Ackmans into town, better late than never. After Wendy had a quick shower we four headed out for walks in the center of the city, Ile de la Cite and Ile St. Louis. Wendy and I partook of a little retail therapy, some of which we had been looking forward to since last year, while Kevin took off to meet a friend and Ed was left holding the bags...(heh,heh...). We met up with Kevin and Fred about 5:30 for drinks, then a quick dinner in Ptomaine Alley (if you have been to Paris, you know where we are). This is an area near the Sorbonne, which has really cheap food but generally flavourless. No one I know has actually gotten sick from eating in any of the myriad establishments. But it must be ... read more
Fred, our Lifesaver
The Gruesome Foursome
Another treasure

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 9th 2015

This week we decided to do a little sightseeing, a couple of places that figure in Parisian history for me. I had wanted to go to Luxembourg Palace, built by Marie de Medici ( So we had a walk out Monday night after dinner, and went there and through the gardens. We stopped, because it was still SO HOT!, for an ice cream and I had coconut sorbet. I think I might have to try this, as it could be a winner with chocolate sorbet (see last year's travel blog...) There is also an exhibit on about the Tudors, which I think we might have to return to see. Kevin had been to the Palais Royale with Harrison five years ago, but I was not really in tune to the place until the last couple of ... read more
Medici Fountain
Trompe l'oiel

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Great Yarmouth July 8th 2015

Kevin and I got invited to a wedding in England for a couple he had met in Fiji a few years ago, and part of the timing for the trip was for the wedding. It was a quick in-and-out on the Eurostar and up to Great Yarmouth for the wedding....Back down Sunday to friends', who are joining us in Greece. Only on the way to their house did I discover how close Hever Castle, the childhood home of Ann Boleyn, was to time.... The good news is that the weather was a little cooler than Paris, but also perfect for the wedding. Back into Paris, to hunker down to some major sightseeing, on Monday.... read more
Carvery dinner
Wedding cake lollies

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 6th 2015

We arrived in Paris on Monday, actually getting to the apartment about 7:30 PM. The apartment is located on Rue Vaugirard, literally across the street from the Metro Station, which makes it really convenient when you are hot and tired. The first three days here were getting caught up on errands. The super-marche is two doors away, so we needed staples, like cheese, and bread and pate. Basics! and cafe of course! And we got ourselves monthly passes for the Metro for two districts, with a bonus that the rest of the districts are free after the 15th. And we got SIM cards, so we are set to go now. Oh and there was shopping, since the fabulous Paris Summer Sales started the 26th June. Kevin had picked up a couple of Groupons (the discounted meal ... read more
Kevin's Egg Mimosa
Poached Pollock with carrots
Roast Pork Belly

Asia » Hong Kong » Hong Kong Island June 30th 2015

The trip has begun... Hong Kong was Kevin's idea. Hong Kong is Chinatown on is hot, and smells of foods. The temperature was usually about 34 C during the day, and didn't fall below 28 C at night, which made us happy to have air conditioning in the hotel room...And let's talk about the hotel room...after much deliberation and looking at various hotels on line, we settled on the Best Western Harbor View on Hong Kong Island. We felt we were playing it safe with a western hotel, but we found it interesting that room sizes were given, in all the hotels we looked at...and with good reason. These rooms are SMALL. But I have to say it is a very productive use of space. I think the rooms are geared for the average-sized Asian ... read more
Fruit Stand
Stanley Bay.
Mt Victoria

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Islands » Russell June 16th 2015

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN! I think it is official – we can call ourselves “Snowbirds”. The weather starts getting cold and we are outta here, north to warmer climes. We are partaking of some of the usual spots: Paris for a month, and day trips out of that wonderful city, with a foray into England for a wedding (who doesn't?). From there we will be travelling for a month around La Belle France, visiting old and new places. In September, we will be heading into Greece for a month with visits to a couple of islands and places Kevin wants to see. I have put in one request – Santorini – and my wish will be coming true. We will, all during this time, be visiting friends (lots!) and family, and, of course, eating. Which is ... read more

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