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Published: August 18th 2013
Toulouse to Bayonne and the Pyrennees in southern France 12 to 13 August 2013
We had 30 kms north to drive to Toulouse in southern France. Toulouse is the 4th
largest city in France with 400K people. Its fame is based on its aerospace industry: Concord, Airbus, and the Ariane space rocket originated here.
Our visit was mainly focused around the Cite de l’Espace (the space museum) which was massive. We could have spent a whole day there. It was a mixture of the Canberra Questacon (everything was very interactive for the kids and educational on space issues) and the Washington Aeronautical Museum with its big range of space ships/rockets/robots etc. and a whole lot of information on space exploration. It was definitely well worth the visit at 25 Euros each.
We also visited the very special/unusual church known as Les Jacobins which began in 1229 and took over 2 centuries to finish. This Gothic church features a soaring 22-branched palm tree vault in the apse. I hope the photos do it justice, but it was one of the most striking churches we had seen (and we have now seen 100s!!!!)
We walked the streets of Toulouse in the morning and visited the Space Museum in the afternoon.
We then drove further west with the magnificent Pyrenees Mountains on our left when driving to Bayonne.
Before we got to Bayonne we knew we were going to have trouble finding a camping park with vacancies because it was after 7.00pm and this coast is extremely popular, so on the night of the 12th
August we stopped at a roadside rest stop which had water and toilets. There was also a couple of trucks parked. We cooked a lovely meal and slept well and then drove into Bayonne the next morning (after eggs for breakfast). We have finally worked out our shower so now the camper is fully operational – and running beautifully.
Bayonne is on the Atlantic Coast and is the capital of the French Basque country. The Basque people are the region’s oldest inhabitants and they have their own language. Kerrie, our daughter, who has a friend from England from the area tells us that the Basque people would love to have their own Parliament and independence. Apparently their language is one of the most difficult to learn.
We found a park easily for the camper and walked to the Tourist Bureau who told us where we could access WiFi
As we were walking along the narrow walking malls we saw the green, red and white Basque flag flying as well as green and red bunting criss-crossing the malls. Tom spotted a hairdresser so had a haircut. I visited the Basilica where I found there was a fair on with stalls the 12th
of beautiful pottery, hand-made jewelers, very creative specially designed clothes, paintings etc. It was more of the best quality products that were on sale. I even enjoyed wandering through, being surrounded by beautiful baroque designed church.
I also bought some tasty bread for lunch then walked back to meet Tom.
AS we were on the Atlantic coast, we could feel the temperature reducing. We were about 100 kms from San Sebastian and to the Spanish border. We chose the motorway to travel.
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