Friday, 31 August 2012

France - St Cyprien and region

We left Versailles on Saturday and spent all day travelling down to the South coast. We stopped in a few motorway services and also went to a town called Clermont-Ferrand which had a massive cathedral in black stone. It was lovely and cool inside and none of us wanted to leave. On Sunday it was cloudy, we spent all day just lounging about in our tiny appartment which we quickly nicknamed 'The Shoebox'. We did manage a stroll along the beach in the evening and a visit to the local shop to buy essentials. Monday was lovely and on the way to a supermarket we stopped to play Adventure Golf (above).
 The rest of Monday and Tuesday were lazy days spent by the beach. This is Caitlin looking cool in Adrienne's hat and my Ray Bans.

Wednesday was Carcassonne day. It was a 2 hour drive from where we were in St Cyprien via the coast road rather than the peage. When we arrived we ate the sandwiches we brought with us and then made our way into La Cite. The streets are narrow and crowded with people fighting their way in and out of shops. We found our way to the centre of the castle and in boiling heat I joined the queue for tickets. There were two queues with one man in each of the two ticket booths. I lost half an hour of my life standing in that queue. Ridiculous.
 It wasn't much cooler inside the castle than out of it, but it was pretty and we took lots of nice photos. We need to watch the film 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' again now so we can watch out for the shots of the castle and say 'I've been there'. After exploring the castle and the ramparts we found and nice little cafe in a square full of cafes and had a well deserved drink. Adrienne put her thermometre on the table, which was in direct sunlight, and it went up to the top of the scale, 50 degrees. That's hot!

 At the end of the week the weather grew windy, although the sun was still out. This is the view from our balcony. You can see the flags being blown in the wind.

 It meant we got some quite spectacular waves too which we all enjoyed messing about in.

 On Friday we drove into Spain to drop Adrienne off at Girona airport. On the way back we took a detour into the Pyrenees. This is me just before we got lost down a little mountain track that ended up in some French farm. Tomtom didn't have a clue where we were but it got us a bit higher up than staying on the road would have done.

Saturday was leaving-day, us and whole of the rest of the South of France it would seem because it took us nearly three hours to get back as far as Carcassonne and that was using the peage. It was a nightmare! We did get a good photo of the castle though when we stopped at the services. This was just before the air conditioning in Carl's car broke.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

France - Versailles and EuroDisney

 The first part of our holiday in France started just outside Paris in a campsite called Huttopia Versailles. We've been there before and it was very nice. This time was slighty different. We arrived at midday on the Thursday, checked in, then sunbathed by the pool until we were allowed to our tent at 4.00. Then we decided to visit the Palace of Versailles. I'd been to the gardens when I was 12 but that was all.

It was quite late in the afternoon by then but we went in anyway and had plenty of time to look around. The good thing about the visit was that children are free. When you get inside there are big posters that say no photography or filming but everyone else was doing it so we did too. It's a pretty impressive building. We wandered round the gardens too, although we were getting a bit hot and tired by then. So it was off to find a supermarket for bread and milk and then back to the pool for a swim.

The water was quite cold but the kids had fun.
 Dinner was bolognaise and pasta cooked inside our tent and eaten at the picnic bench outside.

 On Friday we were off to EuroDisney. We arrived in plenty of time to make it to the park gates and collect our tickets - 2 free tickets and 3 discounted tickets, thanks to Sky. Unlike America, however, the French do not seem to like opening the park early so although the gates opened at around 9.30 not one of the rides started operating until dead on 10.00. We went to the Studios first and they rode Tower of Terror while I got fastpasses for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. Then they did the spinny and swingy rides in the new Toy Story bit.

 When we got into the Disneyland Park it was more crowded. We got fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain and then wandered round and did rides where the queues weren't too bad - Haunted Mansion (above) and Pirates of the Carribean. If you look closely you will see the train on Big Thunder Mountain stuck on the tracks. Those people had to be walked off the ride. This was just before our fastpass time. It took them four hours to mend the ride, but we got on it eventually. We fastpassed Space Mountain while we waited and did some other rides.

Caitlin and Ellie had their picture taken with Rabbit. It was very hot and we were all tired and sweaty by the time we got back to the campsite.

That night a banging started near us. We didn't take much notice of it at first. Then it was bedtime and the campsite grew quieter. And the banging became more noticeable, more annoying. The kids managed to get some sleep but by 2.00 it was really starting to annoy me. A walk round the campsite in the dark discovered that it was coming from the shed behind out tent. We went to reception and rang the number, no answer. So Carl went to sleep in the car, as he was driving all the next day, I got a few hours sleep eventually. A complaint the next day did nothing. It was the swimming pool pump, but when I told the lady it was not doing it the night before and that I would like my money back for last night she said she would have to contact her boss and would send me an email in response. Nothing yet.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Ellie gets braces

Not the world's best picture, I know, but its the only one I took. This is Ellie's new look for the next two years. She had the yellow bands on today and we go back in eight weeks time to get it all checked and changed. She's been alright so far today, not too many moans, but it was a bit traumatic getting her to clean her teeth this evening.

Friday, 10 August 2012

A Day at the Beach

 Yesterday we had a lovely day at the beach. Well, afternoon really. We got to the Northam Burrows end of Westward Ho! at just after 2 o'clock and met up with Jason, Ness, Ian and Louise and their children. I was pleased to learn that you can actually take your dogs on that end of the beach in summer. So Willow came too and played with Truffle - she spent most of the time running after her ball and making sure Truffle didn't get it.
 The men, and Nessie, all went in the water with surf boards. Carl took the camera down and managed to get lots of shots of waves and nothing else.

The rest of us just went for a paddle. Even Willow went in, although she didn't like it much. We were there til about 6 o'clock then went back to Jason and Ness's for fish and chips and Olympic watching. It was a great day.