Showing posts from July, 2009

Day #9 'Barcelona'

This morning we set off early and arrived at Camp Garrofer, Sitges (half an hour south of Barcelona by the motor way) at 10:00 (UK time). Matt and Kerry set up camp while Zane and Darian went for a swim in the pool to cool off...joined later by Kerry while Matt and Storm had a rest in the van --- the water was sooo refreshing. It was another scorching day today: mid 30's+.

After our swim we ate lunch before setting off for Barcelona. What an amazing city! The neo-Gothic buildings in the Gothic Centre of town just ooze character. We enjoyed a frozen lemoade before embarking on our foot-tour...ahhh. Hawkers lined the promenade which runs all the way from the Marina to the Beach. Darian scored a pair of sunglasses for only 3euros and Kerry got a lovely silk scarf for only 4euros...Bargain!

Zane, Darian and Kerry went for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea (so exciting)... the beach is literally part of the city's edge...WOW! It was really salty but lined with the most amazing pebbles.…

Day #8 'Farewell Zarautz'

Today we head off again from Zarautz. We enjoyed a lovely walk in the town centre this morning and experienced shopping with the Spanish...very hurriedly! They do not wait for anyone and everyone is in such a rush...a very busy little place. The streets were crammed with meat shops, fruit shops, beading/jewellery shops and clothing shops galore.

We are currently packing up the van ready to head out again. Next stop will be somewhere between here and Barcelona...possibly Zarigoza...

This afternoon we drove through the Pyrenese Mountains. It was sooo hot...and the further inland we went, the more arid the landscape became. We couldn't believe the devistation that has been caused by the mining of these glorious mountain...they have been literally cut to pieces and are bare rock...absolutely heart-breaking. Tonight we sleep in a truck stop again...nice and cosy, though (don't know actualy location)...somewhere past Zarigoza. Tomorrow: Barcelona

Day #7 ‘Hola Spain’

Today we hit the beach in Zarautz for some body boarding and a swim. The boys hired body boards and had loads of fun in the beautiful surf. It's very similar to Australian Beaches here: great waves, surfers galore and squeaky sand. Love it! The beach was filled with holiday-making families having fun in the sun and sand. Truly, a sight to behold. The amazing thing about the beaches here are the many lockers/changing tents that line the beach. Stripy colourful fabric encloses them ... so very cool! We strolled along the promenade and even bought Kerry a Spanish bracelet from one of the street sellers, before heading back to camp for lunch and a well earned nap. We are staying again for the night at Camp Zarautz as we have fallen in love with this cultural city.

After our afternoon Siesta we headed off in the car to San Sebastian. The road along the way was very similar to those around Mt Tamborine back in Australia - very windy and lush green. The only difference being tha…

Day #6 ‘Highway trouble…almost!’

We started our day in the pool again today. It’s so warm here in France at the moment – tropical weather. Whoever would have thought? Our friends and family are freezing back home and here we are basking in the sun…not what we expected. I guess we really do take the sunshine with us when we travel…lol.
After our swim we packed the van ready to head off again today towards Spain. When we finally found Matt’s mobile (missing for a day) we found a message from his mum telling us of fires and extreme heat in Spain so we decided to re-check our route to make sure all would be ok. Fingers crossed (and prayers galore) our path seems to be fine. Fires seem to be mostly around Madrid which is not on our itinerary. After packing and checking internet updates we went for another dip in the pool to cool off before leaving for Spain in our ‘now-non-air conditioned’ car…mmm, could be warm.
…The drive to Spain wasn’t too hot. We opened the sunroof a little and put on loads of sun cream…much b…

Day #5 ‘Historical Bordeaux’

This morning we had a nice swim in the pool at the caravan park before heading off in search of the City of Bordeaux. As we drove through the streets of the city we were amazed at the character of the buildings in its back streets – many showing signs that traffic is often high through this area, covered in charcoal looking ageing. Once inside the city centre we parked the car and strolled around the streets of Bordeaux. The boys and I went for a look inside the ‘Cathedral Saint-Andre de Bordeaux’ while Matt and Storm checked out the old palace (now the Town Hall). We stopped for an ice drink (another hot day) and wandered around some more. Bordeaux is a very charming and culturally rich city – a great find!

Next it was off to the caravan park for another swim. We packed some croissants and headed off to find the nearest sandy beach…20 minutes drive away. After a massive walk up a sand hill, which threatened to never end, we finally found the beach. It was beautiful! We ate our croissa…

Day #4 ‘Once upon a time we had air conditioning’

This morning we enjoyed breakfast in the van before heading off again. The drive towards Bordeaux was quite lovely. We found a great MASSIVE truck stop about half way, where we stopped for lunch. I made hot dogs in the van + coffee and hot chololate while Matt, Zane, Darian and Storm went for a walk in the play park at the stop. We all then sat under a lovely tree next to the play park and enjoyed our hot dogs and bevs. Later on in the day we found another great stop to stretch our legs – it even had a great adventure playground of sorts attached to it.

Once we got near Bordeaux we looked around Andernos Les Bains (on the West coast) for a caravan park with a pool . It was a whopping 36 degrees upwards today. Just as we pulled into the caravan park our air-con decided to breath it’s last breath… not good when we are in the middle of a hot area…mmm

In Andertons Les Bains was a lovely shopping area that runs alongside a glorious pier. We went for a sunset stroll as we looked for a pair of…

Day #3 ‘The famous Bayeux Tappestry’

After a lovely breakfast of pancakes and a fresh pot of coffee (hot chocolate for the boys) we set off for a morning walk to the beach along Allee de Pins, Caen (300 meters from the caravan park). We walked through the sand and all the way down to the waters’ edge for a game of frisby catch. Storm had lots of fun playing in the water and ran around like a young pup again (just when we think she is running out of life…lol). We ran back up the beach when the tide started rushing in faster than we have ever seen before…loads of fun!

The boys made drawings and writings in the sand as we enjoyed the feel of sand under our feet. We even saw some horses with sulky’s attached go by…WOW!

Next we headed for Bayeux to stop for a look at the very famous ‘Bayeux Tappestry’ which depicts the downfall of King Harold of England, when William the Conqueror (William II of England) successfully invaded during the battle of Hastings – October 14, 1066. The tapestry was quite a sight to see. It spans an ent…

Day #2 ‘We’re all going on a Summer Holiday’ – Calais to Normandy

What a perfect day! Matt was the first to wake this morning. He got quite a surprise when he went out for an early morning stroll…the Service Station car park appeared to have become a camping ground overnight…campervans here, caravans there…even a tent. Wow! I was next to stir at around 7.30 (ah, a sleep in). It was lovely and quiet as I lay there waiting for the boys to wake while I watched Matt wander around outside. After finally falling asleep last night we were awoken by a young girl screaming like she was in a horror film because here Daddy had gone outside their van (oh the joy). Once here dad settled her down we nodded off again. Poor Matt didn’t get much rest…the joy of reliving scary events over and over in your sleep.
We took our time having breakfast and a stretch before pulling up the legs on the van and heading off again in the car. We had 3 hours of driving to get through to reach Normandy. We stopped at a great truck stop about half way for a stretch, a cuppa and a gam…

Europe Tour #2: Day #1 ‘A Very Steep Learning Curve’ – the journey to France

We set off this afternoon on our second ‘Tour de Europe’. With the caravan fully stocked and ready to go and with star dust in our eyes we started off on this next chapter in our great journey. This trip has taken much more planning than the last one – especially due to the caravan. We are stocked up with safety kits that include warning triangles, spare bulbs, reflective vests…and so on.
We assumed we were prepared for everything...and we were, until the caravan decided to go into a snake while travelling on the motorway towards Dover. They say that in times of truly scary times your life flashes before your eyes. This is so true. It seemed to take forever for Matt to convince the caravan to go back on the straight and narrow path that we needed for our safety. All I saw in the side mirror was the sight of the caravan weaving all over the road, threatening to take us all on a very bumpy ride. Eventually the calm returned…to the caravan anyway. We were all very quiet as we regained our…

Europe Itinerary...approximate

Planned itinerary (approximate)
23 July Calais France
24 July Normandy France
27 July Bordeaux France
28 July Bilbao Spain
30 July Barcelona Spain
02 Aug Monaco
05 Aug Pisa Italy
06 Aug Rome Italy
09 Aug Venice Italy
11 Aug Milano Italy
13 Aug Lake Constance Germany
16 Aug Strasbourg France
17 Aug Reims France
19 Aug Calais France
21 Aug Calias – ferry back to Dover, UK
22 Aug Dover England
23 Aug Home

Rasberries in the Woods

Today we decided to take Storm for a long walk at QEII Country Park. We have been here several times now and is quickly becoming one of our favourite longer local walks (well, almost local). Imagine our surprise when we found that the woods have been partially taken over (for the summer season) with rasberries....mmmm

We all enjoyed a lovely stroll through the forest as rain threatened overhead and eventually started to drizzle. We all had rain coats so this was of no concern. Absolutely perfect weather for enjoying a walk in the woods. We sat and watched the light trying to enter in through the canopy of trees overhead as Matt and I daydreamed, storm sat by our sides and the boys explored nearby.

We stopped many times to pick fresh rasberries, even feeding some to Storm. She enjoyed them so much that she was soon stripping them off the plants all by herself... what a clever doggy she is! As she lays in her little dog bed tonight she looks completely content and tuckered out.... it'…