A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

From the Rhone to the Bourgogne

Feeling much better after yesterdays issues! Headed into Vienne this morning for a look. The town has remnants from both the Gauls and the Roman's. Visited a museum that incorporates the ruins of a roman settlement. I'm not a great museum enthusiast, so whipped through the place at an undignified pace, scarcely listening to the little device they give you that explains everything. Was mighty impressed with their roading, water and sewerage systems though, our district council could learn a thing or two by studying the romans! These shots are from the ruins past the modern museum across the Rhone to the township, you can see more medieval ruins in the distance and a churchy thing IMG_5894.jpgIMG_5895.jpg

So with my fill of history I hit the road and travelled to Cremieu, a village to the east of Lyon. Was chosen haphazardly and turned out to be delighful! Arrived at lunchtime so immediately searched out a little cafe inside the walled village. Had just got my 1/4 litre pitcher of rose wine when the boys rang me from the golf club at home. No need to say that they'd had a bit to drink 6 hours after golf had finished! Quite surreal sitting in a village in France drinking wine chatting to the boys in NZ! Sat there eating my lunch with a ridiculous smile on my face after that! So here are some photo's of Cremieu, I didn't climb up to see the chateau or the ruins further along. 90_IMG_5899.jpgIMG_5907.jpgIMG_5900.jpg

Decided to check the travel plan that I'd put together in Beaulieu (which has not been well adhered to!). Turns out I'd planned to stay in Autun, which is NW of Lyon and SW of Dijon. So I set the GPS to take me there. What a gorgeous drive! Yay me! Wriggled my way through villages and beautiful rolling farm country. IMG_5912.jpg

Quite reminiscent of home except for the villages every few kilometers. Started to see cattle, mostly Charolais, gorgeous white beasts in lovely green pastures. Also drove through an area with lots of 'etangs', small lakes or large ponds depending on your perpective. Plenty of waterbirds and numerous fishermen. After leaving the etangs behind, drove through some lovely oak forests, they reckon there's deer in them, haven't spotted any yet.

So was driving through the last forest, about 5km from Autun when the phone rang....yep, boys still at the golf club, now 3 am their time and barely able to understand them....lots of laughing. Nice to know I'm loved and missed!

Arrived in Autun by a back road, came around the corner and almost lost my breath....beautiful! No photo's yet. Was focussed on finding somewhere to stay. None of the places that I tried in the town centre seemed to be open (doors locked at 5.30pm), so I carried on a little out of town to a good old reliable Ibis hotel. Cheap and cheerful. Sadly the chefs night off, so I'm having 2 cans of beer and a packet of corn snacks for dinner....mmmmm tasty!

Posted by Kanumera 09:54 Comments (0)

Bourgogne to the Jura

With photos

Photos' now added
Started the day with an arguement with the Ibis hotel about whether I had hot water for my shower....I didn't, they assured me that I did. Sigh. Paid and left.

Visited the sights of Autun, a very likeable town. Huge cathedral at the top of the village, in the area that was originally the roman township. Fantastic old houses, some built in the alsacian style, others in the more common stone. Starting to see houses with the second floor build to overhang the ground floor, this allows for larger floor space in limited ground space. Houses are right on the road edge in the villages, and some of the roads are literally a car width wide.

Also visited the Roman Arena in Autun, it appears to still be in use with a temporary modern stage installed. Still blows me away that some of the places I visit are 2000 years old!

From Autun I travelled west to the southern end of the Jura. This entailed travelling through some magnificent wine country and for a while I followed the tourist route the Grande Cru. It also meant that at any moment you could come around a corner and there was another chateau even more impressive than the last just sitting there on the hill!

I stopped for lunch in Pommard, one of the wine villages. Walked into the restaurant to find it jam packed with men carrying out road works in the village. Being a woman alone in a strange place I find that a bit scary, but put on my "pfft, what do I care" face and sat down. To calm the nerves I ordered a 1/4 litre carafe of a white wine grown only in the Bourgogne region, Aligote. It's a fruity little wine a bit like a pinot gris, very nice. Had a chat to the barman after lunch as he was wearing a t-shirt with Aotearoa all over the front, turned out he bought it in the south of France! Stopped at a Cave as I left town and bought a couple of bottles of cremant. A bubbly wine that rivals champagne but for less than half the price...oh happy days!

So from there carried on through the wine county across a wide flat expanse and into dairy country. Didn't recognise the race of cattle, much spottier than our fresian-holstiens. Would love to try and chat with a farmer here to get a better idea of how they farm, but haven't come across any in a position to chat with yet.

Finally came off the plains and back into some hill country. Arrived in Ornans about 4.30pm. Wasn't expecting much as the preceding villages had been a bit dull and featureless, but Ornans proved to be different. It is basically built on a river with cliffs on both banks confining the township to a long narrow stretch. It is in fact so tight that the houses on the rivers edge either hang out over the river, or are actually in the river....quite astounding! It is quite proud to be the birthplace of the painter Gustave Courbet (I've never heard of him but he is apparently quite famous). There is a museum dedicated to him and people sitting around here and there painting. All very arty!

After such a hard day I decided a beer was in order. Found one tiny little bar so went in and ordered the special beer for Spring. A very nice drop! Ended up shaking hands with everyone in the bar and having a second beer. I decided it was time to go when the old drunk at the end of the bar who had been grinning and winking at me the whole time offered to buy me a third one! Good choice, the beer was quite strong and I can still feel the effects an hour later! Funny though, the local bar doesn't seem to change from country to country!

Hmmm, am slightly disturbed to discover that the upstairs residents seem to be elephants and that when they flush their toilet it sounds like I've got a gigantic waterfall in my bedroom! Dinner and a couple of glasses of lovely red wine should make that less important.

Posted by Kanumera 09:17 Comments (1)

Alsace: My favourite part of France!

Was a bit slow getting going this morning, something to do with 2 beers, a glass of Cremante (bubbles), 250 ml of lovely red wine chased down with an extraordinarily large digestif (a local alcohol that is a bit strong!). Then had a little trouble due to several of the roads heading my direction were closed for some reason...GPS lady gets quite grumpy when you defy her, then she goes silent! Finally found a road she was happy with and off we went.

Main goal today was to get to the Ecomusee in Ungersheim. It is an entire village devoted to the history of Alsace. They have moved a whole bunch of old houses onto the site and done them up. Then they have set up different traditional activities in tne different buildings and areas. Quite a big focus on farming with cattle, sheep, horses, donkeys, geese, pigs etc on site. There are different presentations during the day all quite fun really. I wandered around for about 3 hours. So here are some pictures...

Had thought of staying at the hotel on site, but decided to carry on to my favouritest of all villages in France...Riquewihr. I adore this place, I've been to France four times now and have managed to come back here every time! Aside from the fact that it has an awesome xmas decoration shop it is just cute! For the first time I'm actually staying here, here's the view from my window, just a hint of village.

Sat on the terrace enjoying a glass of gurwerstraminer after checking in, then wandered through the village checking out dinner options. Picked one near the bottom of the village in the end so that I didn't have to tackle the cobblestone roads after a few more glasses of gurwerts! Happiness!

Tomorrow morning a bit of shopping in the village then directly to Strasbourg to stay with Renee. Won't have internet for blog so will be away for a couple of days.

Posted by Kanumera 11:38 Comments (0)

Riquewihr and 48 hours in Strasbourg

Time to catch up...left you in Riquewihr a couple of days ago. Had a nice morning in the xmas decoration shop! Buying lovely sparkly things. Took some photos of the village to show you how pretty it is:

Headed off to Strasbourg to stay with Renee for a couple of days. Arrived in time for lunch; rabbit and noodles along with a couple of glasses of cremant...lovely! It was a really hot day, at one stage over 31 °C, crazy for early spring. In the afternoon we went to Offendorf, a small village near the Rhine. Had a look over the river to Germany, nice day there too!

We then went back to Strasbourg and visited the catheral before going out to dinner with the 'Widow's Club'. The cathedral is very impressive. So many intricacies and little secrets contained in its ornamentation.

This little dog is on a stairwell, the dog belonged to the artisan who crafted the stairwell, so he incorporated it into the design, it is good luck to rub its head.

Dinner was fun and a great way to distract me from one of the driving forces behind this trip. One year since my darling Dave died. Was a bit shaky for a couple of days, but being distracted by being busy and not being in familiar surroundings certainly helped to soften the blow.

Yesterday was another busy day. Headed off to wine country in the late morning, after wandering around a few gingerbread shops we stopped at a restaurant for a fish lunch, 3 types of fish in a creamy sauce with noodles. A speciality of Alsace. It's a great advantage being able to stay with a native Alsacienne. Renee know the place, the food, the wine and the people like the back of her hand. 90_20130418_123329.jpg

After lunch we went to pick up some wine for Renee. Not being a driver I was able to enjoy a full tasting experience, divine! Bought 3 bottles for myself....that's what happens after drinking 7 small glasses of awesome wine. Returned to Strasbourg through the small villages in time to head out for mussels and chips for dinner.

This morning, I wandered into town to post a parcel of goodies home to myself and to have a look around the shops. It is a nice city.

They have a new sculpture which shows the inner city:

The cute thing is that they have included a copy of the little dog from the cathedral. IMG_6028.jpg

From Strasbourg I headed straight to Epernay arriving early this evening....so the adventure continues!

[Staying with a friend for the next few days...not sure about wifi availability]

Posted by Kanumera 13:10 Comments (0)

Epernay and on to Lille

Have arrived in Lille. Not a great deal to say about today.

After breakfast at the Hotel de Champagne (love it!). Went for a walk up the main road coming into Epernay. Some serious money in this town! Some of the buildings are just gorgeous...and enormous! Walked past Moet & Chandon, almost went on a tour of the cave but there was already quite a queue and I needed to check out of the hotel so just wandered around and took a few photos.


So once checked out set off in the trusty little black peugot for Lille. Took the lesser known roads that wind through the little villages. Noticed two things: 1. The further from the main tourist routes the less cafes and restaurants there are, and with that a lack of toilet options!, and 2. The buildings in the north are mainly built out of bricks.

Managed to arrive in Lille and find a park right outside Lionel's apartment building, quite by chance! All rather perfect really. He lives right in the centre of the inner city. So a short walk to the cafes, bars and restaurants, and also the shops and many of the tourist sights. We did a whirlwind tour of the old part of town then sat and had a beer on a terrace in the last of the afternoon sun. Very cold wind today so didn't loiter after we lost the sun.

Beautiful buildings, flemmish style. Nice compact city with lots of life....so far so good.

Posted by Kanumera 15:24 Comments (0)

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