Saturday 31 July 2010

Tali Update

This is the amzing,very rich,delicous,mouth watering, oozy, chocolate cakey thing that I had at a chocolate based restaurant named Angelina's. You see the gold coloured stuff on the top corner, that is real edible gold, that was sprinkled all over the top of the cake! The liquid in the cup next to it is the most delicious hot chocolate ever made, it tasted like brownie as a drink!!

on the road West and South a bit....en Champagne

After 5 nights sleeping in the Campervan car park at Disney (2 days Paris, 1 day in each of the 2 parks) we are on the road again. Gin at the wheel as we whizz through the Champagne region through vineyards and past places with names like Epernay and Troyes. Kids are playing reasonably nicely on the promise of a swimming pool tonight.  We have called ahead to a campsite that looks reasonable and has a pool, and a washing machine.  We are currently all on our last pairs of clean underwear so a major washing session is on the cards for late afternoon :).  Planning to stay a couple of nights and do some cycling and some chilling out after the frenetic pace of Disney/Paris/Paris/Disney.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Paris Trips

Yesterday we went into Paris on the RER and went up the Eiffel Tower, well as far as level 2.  When I was a boy you could walk all the way to the top but nowadays you can only walk to level 2, then you have to get a lift, which had a 1hr+ queue, so we took photo's from level 2 and moved on.  We had a wander around the park betweeh the tower and the Ecole Militaire then we went to the Rue de Rivoli for Hot Chocolate at Angelinas (and a trip to the Paris Branch of WH Smiths for yet more travel books and some fiction), before finishing up with Toy Story 3.  Having checked it would be in English I was concerned right up to the off as all the ads, etc., were in French.  Great movie if you haven't seen it :)

Today we went into Paris again, visiting the Pompidou Centre, Notre Dame, Musee D'Orsay, walked past the Louvre then back here for supper.  Kids will add more detail in due course, and possibly some photo's if we are lucky.

I am now off to the Coach Drivers shower block to take my chances with the Euro Pikeys!!!!

Early start tomorrow for Disney Studios apparently :)

Monday 26 July 2010

Disney - of course :)

Started the day in Bayeux with a walk into town and a visit to the Cathedral and the Tapestry (which actually engaged all of the kids for the half an hour or so of the audio tour).  Then a drive to Disney, with an hour in a supermarket for a break.  Got to Disney about 9pm and whizzed into Disney Village for a nose around - as visitors since 1992 we have noticed it grow and change, but it is reassuringly familiar :).  Tom is particularly excited as you can imagine, he has never been before.

Anyway, just a quick update as no doubt the kids will be up early tomorrow for the first time on the trip!!

Night night!

Sunday 25 July 2010

Don't mention the war ....

Packed up camp in Port-en-Bessin and travelled the few kilometres to Longues-sur-Mer, where there is a very well-preserved German battery of four massive guns, that were part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall sea defences.  Despite 1000 tons of aerial bombs the night of 5th June 1944, they were still active on the morning of D-Day - until some crack shots from the British and French disabled them.  Despite being armed with guide books it is impossible to envisage 135,000 troops and 20,000 vehicles storming the beaches .... an extraordinary feat.  Today was possibly similar to then - blue sky and a very calm sea, excellent visibility.  The land is agricultural with wheat and corn and a  good scattering of poppies which look almost unreal given the location and association.  It all looks unbelievably peaceful, many of the houses seemingly holiday homes and others, beautiful old villas, possibly lived in, but with closed shutters and unkempt gardens as if abandoned .... suddenly not so difficult to imagine 60+ years ago.

My mother's father landed here on D-Day and I must find out which beach - it would have been Gold, Juno or Sword.  He was a doctor in the RAMC, I think attached to the Royal Artillery as his father was before him.  A few years ago the BBC invited people to post memories of World War II to its website.  I wrote what I could remember of Granfa's stories and it is still online here.  I expected to find the whole thing a bit more emotional but perhaps not knowing precisely where he landed made a difference.  Did have a slight wobble when saw an old chap that from a distance looked quite like Granfa .... he walked with a cane and was trying to negotiate some barbed wire at the back of one of the bunkers so I asked if he was trying to do it again and if so did he need any help .... he politely declined but I wish I had asked him more questions but wasn't exactly sure if he was of an age that he would have been here in 1944!

We are now in the Municipal Campsite in Bayeux and have had a quick explore with a plan to visit the Cathedral and the Tapestry tomorrow.  Jess remembers a lot from school about it - will perhaps have to pay her Euros 5 for a guided tour!  The Municipal Campsite is very clean and well-laid out, lots of Brits but that's not the major downside .... our pitch is on the perimeter and seemingly what the mobile youth of Bayeux like to do most is doughnuts in the car park of the Carre Four opposite ..... yay!

The girls are keeping more traditional journals - writing in them every day and so far they are keeping up to date with copious text and illustrations.  I hope they keep going with them .... I have several notebooks from holidays that start with similar enthusiasm but all without exception finish after about three days!

And a composite picture from supper in Bayeux to sign off :)

Saturday 24 July 2010

Grandpa Alans Hat supplier unearthed....

Jess spotted the source of le chapeau de Grandpa Alan in Honfleur today :)
And we enjoyed breakfast and found some Cidre :) for me and some Ice Creams for the kids...

Then we travelled on to the Normandy Beaches having sourced some information and Gin found us a superb campsite.  Having slept in a perfectly serviceable "aire" on the side of the motorway last night and on the side of the A30 the night before the decadence of a night of luxury seems to be OK.
Awning out, airer up
Talia enjoying the pool
Beautiful chef and burgers

Our campsite is on the coast right by Omaha beach, and as James has posted a comment re a gun emplacement we reckon we can walk to that tomorrow.  I hadn't realised just how extensive the Normandy beaches are and the scale of Operation Overlord.  I think the kids may struggle with it if the weather is good so may have to return again one day, but tomorrow we will definitely visit some of the beaches.

Bon Nuit Le Touquet

Nous sommes en France …. and that is about the limit of my command of the language I should probably be more familiar with …. quelle domage

Ahhh …. Le Touquet ….. la belle Le Touquet at dusk.  It lies languid on the northern coast of France, its wide avenues graced with trees uplit by spotlights inset into the municipal but beautifully mown grass.  Winding lanes lead to houses which are huge, in a wide variety of styles, all in their own way elegant but understated.  In the centre ville grand hotels from a more gracious era are set back from the road so one may fully appreciate the architecture and the best form of advertising, the beautiful people coming and going.  Bathed in the warm ReadyBrek glow of the wealthy, the visitors to Le Touquet wander amongst chic boutiques, sip their cafĂ© at stylish street-side restaurants.  Surely Gatsby was born in Le Touquet. 

All well and good but Le Touquet was full!  So we moved on down the road and parked in an Aire, all but empty when we arrived at 2130 but full when we left at 0730.  We are off to Honfleur, as recommended by Jo and Sally.

Friday 23 July 2010

Lunch en route to the Chunnel

We had a great lunch with Bartons and Griffiths families at the Runnymede on the side of the Thames, picture by Jess of Josh, Tom and Jake playing by the river.

Just arrived at the Channel Tunnel terminal, 10 minutes before our check in closes, perfect timing and great driving by Gin.

Ruan Minor to Sourton Cross and onwards...

So at 2305 Velma eventually left the Ruan Minor Car Park headed North (only direction available really!!).  We stopped off at Duchy Hospital to drop off my car and then headed up the A30.  Our glamourous first overnight was in a large layby at Sourton Cross amongst trucks, a huge steam engine and some other campers/caravans.

We are now trucking up the A30 with Gin at the wheel and Costa coffee onboard.  The kids are still sleeping and periodically waking up to bicker :), I am hoping that the bickering may diminish as they work out that we are now stuck together for a very long time!!

We have already realised we left our main camera behind!!  Luckily two of the girls have new cameras and we did bring our old camera, so we should be fine.  I suggested a purchase but at the moment that has been rejected.

James - just passed the Newcott Chef :)  Where we had breakfast after EOTR last year!

Anyway, will stop waffling now, pix later possibly.  Cheers, Chris

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Jess new camera for trip

This was the very first photo I took with my new Camera! It was taken just after I had been to see the play she was in: A very Old man with Enourmous Wings. It was great!

I can't wait to start our trip becasue it is going to be so fun, I also can't wait to use my camera for proper photos of the places we are going to visit eg Paris, Disneyland,Venice, Aqualand!! Because by the way my new camera is Waterproof as well as being shockproof to 1m & freezeproof to 10 degrees (also mildly dustproof) 
Well as I have said I am really excited and I can't wait to show you MORE pictures from our Tour de Europe! :) 

Jess :D

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Testing photo layout things

Just posting this up to test out photo stuff.

Here is a picture from my phone (Talias birthday on the beach in Falmouth):
Looks a bit like an album cover from the 80's, all that nonchalent hands in pocket not looking at the camera stuff, although Talia looks too smiley for that :)

Here is a video from my phone (Jess and Talia joining in with Morris Dancer people at Rattler Cider Festival in late May!!)

Just posting these to see how they look on the Blog site.

We leave in a week and a day :)

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Location Gadget

Wow, that is a bit scary! Very accurate and easy to set up.

Now trying to work out how it can be displayed bigger and view the history easily. I can view the history but I want it to be "on the blog" so our "trail" shows.

Should be at Paddington in 10 minutes, bet it can't locate me on the tube!!!

No news on Velma's MOT yet................

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Velma MOT - fingers crossed!

Just dropped Velma in for her MOT, so wish her good luck!

Treated us to a good sized 12v oscillating fan to go on the dashboard plus a cover to go over the bikes when they are strapped onto the back of the van.

Started to mark potential stopovers in the map book as well. So far we are thinking of France (Normandy, Paris, Frejus), Austria (Lech), Croatia (Plitvice, Dubrovnik, maybe Krk), Italy (Venice), Monaco.

There is a Google tool (Latitude) that looks like it should show anybody that is interested exactly where we are. I have just added it to the Blog and it shows me at home. As I have a trip to Torquay followed by London tomorrow we should be able to test it out :)

Monday 5 July 2010


Does Velma look big enough?

Will Pip be able to hide down the back and ignore me?

Will Tom fit in the overhead locker?

Will anyone other than me empty the toilet?

One Cornish winter has made her look a lot older than this, how will she be after a summer on tour?

Trip Planning

Just a couple of weeks to go, mild panic setting in. Gin is busy running up new curtains for Velma, I am busy working out time/distances between possible points on our trip.

Can we get to Dubrovnik?

How long from the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia to Venice?

Do we need to book campsites or do we have the nerve to just fly by the seat of our pants?

Will I ever drag this lot further into Europe than Disneyland :):)

Stay tuned for more updates...trying to work out how to let you know where we are "live" as we travel, anyone got any ideas?

Cheers, Chris