A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 11

LONDON

Well, here we are back in London having a day to rest and recuperate before heading away on our Trafalgar European Heritage adventure. We spent morning heading off to Kings Cross Station to book our tickets to Edinburgh in September. What an experience! If we thought London was a busy place before now we certainly saw the best off it around Kings Cross and St Pancreas. People, cars and buses everywhere and everyone in a hurry
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We had to sit down for a coffee just to get our breath back. It was fun just be observers in a big bustling city on a Saturday.
We had a lazy lunch on the way home and relaxed in our hotel for most of the afternoon. Having got our washing done in a laundromat (and lost some of it in the process) we dined at the Earl's Court Tavern and enjoyed a bit of Saturday night entertainment.

Posted by Ian.jenny 08:18 Comments (0)

Day 12

PARIS

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Wow! What a first day of the Trafalgar Tour! It started early in London and we met a few of the fellow travellers at the hotel and set off for Dover by 7.30am. It was fun seeing the ferries for the first time although the crossing went quickly because we sat with some of our new found friends and talked all the way. Calais was unimpressive and it had started to rain anyway. A two hour bus trip to Paris through the old WW1 battlefields was interesting and our tour guide Lucian had us engaging in a variety of icebreaker games.
We spent only an hour in our Paris hotel and then we were whisked away to tour the centre of Paris in the bus.
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We passed many well-known landmarks and spent some time wandering around the Arc du Triomphe. Our group was getting on well together by this stage and some of us were entertained for a while by young Cooper, the only one in the group who should have been at school. It was great to be in the heart of Paris.
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In the evening we all took a ride on our Bateaux Mouches along the Seine. It was a wonderful trip watching the lights of Pari s turning on and seeing the landmarks from a different perspective. The highlight of course was the Eiffel Tower, resplendent in its lights and towering above the boat.
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As we left the boat we found a brightly lit dinosaur which I'm sure Oscar, Jack, Harry and Caleb would have loved. Despite the late night and having the lights in our room blow, we went to bed tired but contented.

Posted by Ian.jenny 14:38 Comments (0)

Day 13

PARIS

What a day! Paris is beautiful in summer and we had many seasons today. But it didn't spoil a great day visiting many of Paris's famous landmarks. We started the day being escorted by our French guide, Emilie, to the hotel de Ville, the Conciergerie, the Plce de la Concorde and then on to the highlight, the Eiffel Tower.
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We travelled to the second floor and after a welcome coffee, we took in the breathtaking panoramic views of Paris. It was great to see all the landmarks from on high and get a better sense of how they all fitted into the Paris scene.
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It was a stunning couple of hours and thoroughly enjoyed by the whole group. By now we were getting to know many of the people on the bus and had formed a group of about eight of us who were getting on famously, even though they were Aussies.
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From there it was on to Notre Dame. It was as impressive as I remembered from last time. We were all very subdued and a bit overawed by the experience.
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The afternoon was free and some of us walked to the Opera and found some shops and a lovely cafe. I just had to get lunch there as it had been recommended to us but was also called PAUL, a lovely link to my Paul.
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In the evening we went to the Moulin Rouge for a meal, some champagne, and a show. What a night! Probably the best show we have seen.
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From the acrobats to the singing ensembles to the comics it was one awesome, fast-moving show. And of course the theme throughout and the finale was the world famous Can Can which brought the house down. The meal was delicious, the setting was to die for and the performances magic. The memories will last forever!

Posted by Ian.jenny 07:44 Comments (0)

Day 14

BORDEAUX

After an early morning start we sadly farewelled Paris and headed south to Bordeaux. The weather was clearing but we hardly noticed that as we were in the bus most of the day. Our first stop was at the historic town of Blois where the chateau we visited was where Joan of Arc was blessed before the Battle of Orleans. The chateaux was impressive as was the old church nearby.
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As we were heading back to the bus an old horse-drawn cart rumbled by driven by a young women who was oblivious to us all. As we looked closer we saw she was totally engrossed in texting. Despite our joking calls of "didn't you know it's illegal to text while you drive, she was not interested in anything around her. Good job the horses knew how to get home!
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From there our next stop was Amboise, a quaint old town beside the River Loire. We enjoyed a stroll amongst the shops and an excellent crepe at our now favourite restaurant.
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The trip to Bordeaux was long and tiring but we arrived time for a very nice meal at our hotel and a chance to catch up on some sleep before a big day heading to Lourdes

Posted by Ian.jenny 10:02 Comments (0)

Day 15

LOURDES

Another big and exciting day. We left Bordeaux early and travelled to Biarritz on the French coast for lunch. What a spectacular and attractive place! Having said that, we haven't been to Nice or Monaco yet!
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After a quick tour around Biarritz we were dropped off by the beach for our own time over lunch. We had a coffee with friends before venturing onto the beach with the young and beautiful for a swim. Jenny and I were the only ones from the bus that swam!
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I would add some photos of our swimming time but they have been censored. We then found a great place for a Biarittz sandwich which Jenny and I devoured with relish. By now we were very hot again, over 30 degrees here, and we were very thankful for the shade for our lunch. So different to when we left Dunedin.
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After a further look around the town we headed off for Lourdes. What a different place this was! Where Biarritz was all glamour and opulence, Lourdes was all serenity and faith. The myriad I'd tourist shops were all geared towards the Virgin Mary and St Bernadette. It was all quite moving and we walked around the town taking in the number of pilgrims and faithful who swell the numbers here so much. We went to the procession in the evening and even the sceptics could not help but be moved by the power of the event. The number of people joining the procession and apparently this happens every day. Quite phenomenal. A very moving and new experience and one to put into the memory banks.
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Our hotel was interesting tonight. The bus had difficulty negotiating the very narrow streets in the centre of Lourdes but Amadio did a great job clearing away the strangely parked cars and backing up a narrow alleyway to get to the hotel. We all found the hotel less than comfortable - hard beds, cold showers, and noise from the street outside our windows added up to an average night.180_50B8FFA3EDA142C749F87E7FD390A9CB.jpg

Posted by Ian.jenny 08:10 Comments (0)

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