Goodbye London, Hello Europe

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May 18th 2012
Published: May 18th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Week 1

The 11th of May 2012 signified a sad day for us as it meant that our UK working visas had come to an end. I would never have guessed when we first moved to London that I would be that upset to leave in two years time; I didn’t even think I would make it to two years. We choose to live in London as most Aussies and Kiwis do for a base for travelling, which of course it was but what we didn’t realise was how much we would love living in the city itself. It was a strange feeling knowing that this time going to the airport we wouldn’t be returning in a few days time. Once we arrived in Amsterdam after a very short plane trip we could start looking forward to what could only be described as a journey of a life time- eleven weeks in Europe followed by two months in Africa. For our European journey we have hired a VW campervan which will take us from Amsterdam down the coast of France, into Spain and Portugal, back through the southern coast of France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland (possibly more of Eastern Europe), then back through Germany to return in Amsterdam. For Africa we are doing a 57day Kenya to Cape Town overland trip where we will be on the look out for the big five and visiting such sights as Victoria Falls, the Okavango Delta, Zanzibar Island and go gorilla trekking in Uganda.

We have now had our van for one week and are well and truly settling into the campsite lifestyle. Unfortunately the sun is yet to grace us with its presence and the temperatures have been getting down to as low as about 5 degrees at night. It is hard to believe that in a few weeks we will be roasting hot in the van and wishing for some cooler temperatures!

After picking up our van just outside of Amsterdam and finally locating a supermarket we headed to the coastal town of Noordwijk in Holland. Next up was our first bit of sight seeing for the trip- Keukenhof flower gardens. Keukenhof is the world’s largest flower garden with over 7 million bulbs- Naturally the majority of these are tulips. Having spent most childhood weekends at garden centres, I was pretty excited to see this amazing garden.

Next up we headed south to Disneyland Paris (with an overnight stay in Ghent, Belgium). Disneyland was great as always, but we had a few storms passing through. It was strange being in France but feeling like I was in California since Disneyland was pretty much like an exact replica of the original. We were at the park from 10am until 11pm so was definitely a long cold day. We had our first ‘free camping’ experience that night but have decided to wait until the temperatures heat up a bit until we do that again since we had to sleep in thermals and were still freezing as we had no electricity to turn the heater on (didn’t help that it was our coldest day/night of the trip so far).

After Disneyland we crossed Paris in peak hour to head northeast towards the Normandy region (we even got a sneaky peak at the Eiffel tower). We stayed in a little town called Jumieges, which is located in a meander of the river Seine before heading on towards Mont-St Michel.

Mont-St Michel is a gothic-style abbey on a rocky island dedicated to eh archanged St Michel, and the village that grew up around its walls. the abbey was built between the 11th and 16th centuries and has also been used as a prison over the years. The Island was spectacular to see from afar, but perhaps a bit busy inside- was amazing the amount of visitors- 90% of them French.

We are currently in the town of Nates, and will continue to head south after this. Unfortunatly the weather for the next week is forecasting more rain and cold temperatures so we are undecided as where exactly we go next but will try to chase the sun.

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18th May 2012

Loved the blog Jenny and Mike.oxox

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