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Published: July 22nd 2017
Jersey, in the Channel Islands, that are closer to France than England, was where I used to live 45 years ago when I first left my home town of Oldham to spread my wings, as it were, to start my travel bug off and to see how the other half lived!
Pete and I caught the fast speed catamaran over there from St Malo, France and then explored the island by bus and also toured the German tunnels and underground hospital which was really worth the visit and the queuing. It was amazing to visit the Island again and explore the places that I could remember after so long. I even found the Greek restaurant that I used to work at but naturally after so long it had changed hands and the new owners unfortunately had no knowledge of the earlier owners.
Next stop, back on the north coast of France was the castle of St Michel, a beautiful fort built on an island that can be reached by foot, which we were warned beforehand was very touristy and that proved to be an understatement. it was packed and yet the season has not yet
begun so it was a case of get in there, look around and move on out yet definitely worth the visit but maybe in the winter months only.
We than moved on to the D-Day Landing beaches of WWII which brought out many emotions. We visited Omaha beach where the Americans landed and Gold Beach where the British landed and then the war graves of New Zealanders and Australians which was so hard to grasp as there were so, so many headstones all the same, with literally hundreds with no actual names on them, just “Unknown Soldier” that could not help but bring out tears, plus anger re the sheer volume of loss of lives and the futIlity of war considering how young they all were. They all deserved to live a full life just as most of us do today.
Our next town was Le Quesnoy where New Zealand soldiers liberated the town near the end of World War One and where several of the streets have New Zealand names. They also have a memorial statue and celebrate Anzac Day each year plus they have Cambridge, New Zealand as their sister city and
this is noted on a sign on entering the town. However we were disappointed with the presentation of the town which truthfully looked quite drab and needs some inspiration of some sort to attract more tourists or business perhaps.
We are now in Luxenbourg and spent today exploring the old and new city in the drizzling rain which, however, did not at all dampen our enthusiasm. It is a beautiful place, very clean and with much to see and do. It has a part 10th century wall around it which we explored and managed to get lost on the self guided walk several times! A day pass for $6.00 will get you all over country by train or bus so not bad! Admittedly we did have a MacDonald double cheese chilli burger for lunch to keep us warm and maybe not very European fare but they still tasted good plus free wifi included!
Travelling on now to Lichtenstein but staying mid way at an old German picturesque village of Shiltach with its cobbled streets and timber houses. It is definitely one of the prettiest villages we have seen so far but not one to
chose to live in if you like wearing high heel shoes! We are actually in the heart of the famous German Black Forest and took time out to take a walk on a small trail with its huge pines and blackberry undergrowth.
Vaduz, the capital of Lichtenstein, is a large busy place so we only stayed overnight and just took photos of the palace above the town where the Prince lives as it was not open to visit. On to Switzerland and boy were we not disappointed! The country is absolutely beautiful with stunning scenery of snow capped mountains and lush green valleys. The water running into the glacial streams is turquoise in colour and so too are the many huge lakes that we have passed. Admittedly Switzerland is an expensive place to travel in with the petrol and food etc being much higher than France or Germany but still very much worth while visiting. We are in the pretty village of Grindenvald at the moment and today took a train up to the base of the north face of the Eiger and then hiked several trails close to it before descending by a very very long
cable car down to the village again. We were just blown away by the scenery and so glad we didn’t miss this part of the country. We are parked by a very loud bubbling mountain stream with a view of the snow capped mountains and the imposing Eiger from our motorhome all for free, How good is that!
Only a few days to go so after a brief stop at the huge lake “Le Mans” with the northern side being Switzerland and the southern side being France we moved on to one more lakeside town of Annecy where, like many places now, has swelled in numbers with locals taking their summer holidays. A good time for us now to be leaving.
We have enjoyed the whole experience and although we have not been able to socialise as much as we normally do because of the language barrier we have had some wonderful get togethers when we have come across English speaking fellow motorhomes. I have not missed TV at all and we have instead chilled out listening to Pete’s selection of great music on his IPod along with reading some brilliant books and of
course good cheap French wine!
I think my French has improved and I am much more confident speaking it, plus Pete had no problems driving on the right side of the road so we wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. However, after our next motorhome stint from Darwin to Perth via “Brisbane” we intend to settle in New Zealand for 6 months of the year and the rest of the time we are undecided as yet but it will be somewhere in Aus for the most part.
We had a short 3 day stop in Singapore on the way back to Darwin and as usual had a great time there. The country is so clean and the transport so fast and efficient, the food delicious and the locals so friendly. We enjoyed the zoo, the aquarium, the botanical gardens, the new indoor complexes of Gardens in the Bay which were spectacular and of course I just had to sip on a "Singapore Sling" cocktail at the famous Raffles Hotel!
We intend to stay 4 weeks in Darwin and then over to the East Coast before heading west again to Perth by November so that the
English couple whose motorhome we used last year will be able to use ours for 7 weeks also. It really is all go this retired lifestyle! We are certainly not complaining though!
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