Dive Bombed in the Camargue

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The White Horses were the star attraction of the Camargue, but this beautiful bird kept dive bombing and swooping in majestically.

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Further Southwards into France

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Went into Avignon by bus which was cheap, clean and let me have a good gander as I was not driving. I did ask, but the driver said, ”Non”. Avignon was home to the pope between 1309 – 1377. Well he had one advantage then, the walls kept people out. They are still an impressive sight. However Avignon was beset by hoardes of tourists, they swept all before them. Really it was too much. Souvenir shops for instance. A few tacky shops are okay, however Avignon had its fair share. Nice bridge too, but when will it be finished?

Took in Aix-En-Provence which was a combination of the beautiful and the slighty grubby gracefulness. Prices for food were bad. Basically what we will pay in Polish Zlotych cost the same in Euro’s. The best way to negotiate this thorny problem was to stop and buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the roadside stalls. Great food from under the provence sun, and far better prices. Even managed to get service with  smile.

Headin’ down we drove through the Camargue. This is one beautiful place, truly. Low lying and flat, none of those pesky mountain passes with inches to spare! Driving past rice fields and then the most beautiful white horses. There are plenty of places to stop take in this area. We alighted in Cassis. Cassis in the sun is great. A long sweeping esplanade with a great beach and a free pissoir in the car park. What more can you want! Although there were tacky shops the place had a wonderful feel to it. Just walking along the roads one could see it was well looked after, with splashes of colour from beautiful flowers thrown in for measure.

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Pottered around and went to the most unhelpful information lady in history. Her Gallic indifference and shoulder shrugs were superb and her English, well, bazik. Anyway we discovered that safaris into the Camargue cost around 120 Euro for the four of us. So no thanks. Eventually we plumped for the cruise which was about 12 Euro for an adult and discounted for the children. The ferry trip went up the mouth of the (Lesser/smaller?) Rhone and although we draw close to some beautiful views, it was all a bit distant. The chop on the sea as we took in the swell of the sea on the return trip was pretty cool for me. Onwards and along the coast…

 

Czech This Out

Moving on in a non-sequential manner. Wyrd, fate, sisters of… Part of the road trip took us back through the Czech Republic. Now we were looking, and looking for a petrol station to buy an vignette in Germany, and tank up.

But the road just changed into he Czech Republic and so we stopped at the first station to make sure we stayed street legal. Into the station and asked politely if we could buy the vignette by card, it being the 21st. I take my hat off to the young lady serving, how she fitted so much spite and disdain into her reply was remarkable.

Looking bewildered we trolled across the parking lot to a booth selling  vignettes. Again cash only, again the reply only lacked being spat in the face. What gives?

On we went. A few kilometers down the road we found a station where we could pay by card forthe vignette. Now I don’t know, maybe it’s part of the test for securing a position in a petrol station in the Czech Republic. Again the staff were, shall we say, less than friendly in a viper kind of way. But we got our vignette and were a little bemused by the lack of manners we encountered.

Later in South-West Poland we went to a Stołowa Góry. More on that later. Again only cash could be used to enter the attraction. As we sat counting our small change, trying to get it to add up to enough, a middle aged couple were watching us. After a while they offered us some small change to make up the difference. We gave them our sncere thanks with lots of smiles and friendly nods.

And where did this nice couple come from? Yes, the Czech Republic! Just goes to show.

 

 

Sweden and Back to Poland

Not stopped by a gate as in Sweden we loaded up and headed to our hotel. Which was in fact a hostel. A blues bar and club with a side line in well priced accomodation. With nowhere to store our bikes with the car the friendly staff arranged for us to leave our bikes in their shop next door. Big thanks for that, guys!!

Cycling. Their are many good cycle paths and we spent some time at the beach in Gdynia. The beach is good and a fine park for the children to play in, as well. Good exercise for me too, as I had to push anything and everything that could swing. No, I’m not a swinger;-)

Then cycling along the seafront which was super. A beach and rocks blocked our way. The next part was a little wearisome as we trudged up the steep roads to find the connecting path into Sopot. But once we found it we sailed along across and then down into Sopot. The party two of the Three Cities.  Food, super tomato soup, which is well priced and consumed along with gofrys and ice-cream then back we went. Such is the wildness of parts of the forest along the cliff tops, that a family of boars ran across our path. Wonderful!

Back to the Blues club for a well earned drink and more low calorie, high fibre food. To cycle around Gydina, Sopot, didn’t make it to Gdansk, was a real pleasure. The cycling was good, plenty for the children to do, and prices must be a dream for those visiting from Sweden. All in all a great trip. Next off to Malbork for camping, which we decided to do on the spur of the moment…but we haven’t a tent!

Nice

Intent last week on relaxing, sightseeing and having fun, the family wandered amiably along the edge of the Mediterranean as part of our road trip. In Cassis, St,Tropez, Cannes and Nice. We had taken into account the terror attacks in Paris, and other assorted incidents, and even the football was weighed up. But we went and it was fantastic. People in Nice were from all of the world. They walked, ate, cycled, drank, roller skated and simple ambled around peacefully.

Then this happens. Words sometimes fail me. Really. Simply that as a species we are so self-destructive, so cruel and so bloody hateful to one another. Some revel in the filth of hatred and pain. The answer to such things is not for here, or now, for the moment. Once again we send our thoughts and prayers for the families of the dead, and for the wounded, both physically and psychologically after this senseless abomination.

I will go back to France with pleasure as it is a beautiful country. And as our way of life, imperfect as it can be, must go on.

Annecy

Annecy is situated at the northern end of Lake Annecy. Their has been a setttlement their since at least Roman times. And this is very important. The roads are flat and normal, such a relief after the Alps;-) IMG_1545

This is the Palais de l’Isle which stands on the river Thiou. To me it is reminiscent of the bows of a boat. The scaffolding dates back as far as a few months ago! IMG_1526

A (flat) canal wends its way throught the town which is wonderful on the eye.

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Well worth a visit with a lovely atmosphere.

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