A Travellerspoint blog

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

In Bruges

Gorgeous sunny day in Lille. After a slow start we wandered into the centre of the city and checked out the market place, a bit more urban and upmarket than the markets in smaller villages, but still the usual array of fruit & vege, cheese, meat, flowers etc. Love the variety of mushrooms available.IMG_6034.jpg

Sat an enjoyed a glass of wine and a plate of chacuterie (cold meats) in the sun after the market, then slowly meandered our way back to the apartment.

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The inner city has some beautiful architecture, much of it Flemish in style.

In the afternoon we drove to Belgium, about 15 minutes up the road, and then on to Bruges. Very touristy spot with Japanese, American, English, German, French, Italian and even the odd kiwi accent to be heard! Also very beautiful, with some gorgeous buildings, canals and horse drawn carriages trundling up and down the cobblestone streets.
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Faced with the choice of a horse carriage ride or a boat trip we decided on the boat. A nice meander around the canals being shown some of the main features of the town. The guide spoke Flamish, English and French, all with a really strong accent. Understanding both french and english meant we could figure out what he was talking about!

Belgium is of course famous for its chocolate, waffles and moule frites (mussels & chips). We enjoyed a waffle, but steered clear of the chocolate! Also decided that the moule frites needed to be consumed with a beer, so we drove back to Lille where they were much cheaper and we could relax over the meal.IMG_6059.jpg

Posted by Kanumera 01:01 Comments (0)

A day by the sea: Les Deux Caps

Off to the seaside today, the Channel in fact. An overcast day with a very cold wind....Brrrrr!

Drove past Calais where the Chunnel starts (or finishes depending on your perspective). Quite a complex. But our destination was to visit the white and grey cliffs (Cap Blanc Nez & Cap Gris Nez). The white cliffs were first on the agenda. A site occupied by the Germans during the war to prevent the Allies entering France. The bunkers are still there and the monument dynamited by them has been reconstructed.
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On a fine day it is possible to see the white cliffs of Dover, but today was not one of those days! Otherwise England is behind us.
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We headed off to the next village along the coast to warm up with some lunch. Settled for some seafood...found this sign amusing. In French seafood is called Fruit de mer...here a direct translation....doesn't quite work!
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In addition I ate Advocate Crab....otherwise known as crab and avocado....bahahaha!

At the grey cliffs we walked around the site, amused by the activites of several branches of the military who were diving, rapelling down the cliffs and generally having a busy time of it. Didn't take any photos of the cute young things in their fatigues. Again, evidence of the past with bunkers dotted here and there.

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Our next stop was Wimereux, an clearly wealthy village with lots of holiday houses along the beach. In summer the locals have their little shelters where they sit tanning themselves. In winter they provide welcome shelter from the cold winds while allowing one to appreciate the sun!
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Some gorgeous houses. I imagine that in the middle of summer its a lovely spot. 90_028CF1502219AC6817A49A17B2F53DB5.jpg

I particularly liked this house....
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Our final visit ofr the day was to the fortified city in Boulogne. Fabulous church, but couldn't visit as they were preparing for a show.
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So we had a look at the Chateau, it even had a moat! I still find it incredible to walk down cobbled roads that people walked down in the middle-ages!
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Voila! After that home, wine & dinner.

Posted by Kanumera 11:56 Comments (0)

Rest day in Lille

Decided that I needed a day to just chill, so Lionel went off to the office while I slept in and then hung around the apartment for the morning.

Headed into town in the early afternoon for lunch. The old part of the city is really very attractive.
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Several large squares with a mixture of shops, bars and restaurants available at each one. They are also very weill set up for pedestrians while still allowing for vehicle access.
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Enjoyed an omelet with fries and a beer for lunch. Still can't get over the strength of the beer! My lunchtime one was 11% alcohol!

After a wander around the shops I went back to the apartment and then was entertained by a pro-gay marriage march passing the building. The pro-gay marriage camp are delighted with New Zealand, the odd news broadcast I've caught we're mentioned often!
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Lionel had a rough day at the office so as soon as he got home we headed out for a beer in the square by the cathedral. Accidentally ended up with cherry flavoured beers, not ideal! Next we headed to a cute little restaurant he likes where we proceeded to eat and drink way too much! Late night!

Posted by Kanumera 08:26 Comments (0)

Driving to Caen

No photos taken today. After last nights merriment struggled to get going and didn't leave Lille until well after 10am.

Today was basically driving. Did my best to stay off the auto-route which improves the scenery, but made a 3 and a half hour drive into a 4 and a half hour drive! Only stop was for petrol and lunch at an intersection in the middle of nowhere! Sat next to a German and a French man, it was a business lunch where neither spoke the others language, so they both struggled away in dreadful English, took all my strength not to help them out!

At one stage thought I was hallucinating when I saw some camels in a paddock, and next to them a zebra! Circus was in town.

During the afternoon left the North of France and entered the Normandy region. Some absolutely gorgeous homes and Chateaux along the route. Lots of horses and cattle. Country-side is once again undulating and the roads a little more windy than the flat, straight stretches in the North.

Was intending to visit the Normandy beaches this afternoon, but the trip was long and tiring. Instead I have stopped in the city of Caen. Am in the middle of the old city with a glimpse of a cathedral from my hotel bedroom window. Have started seeking out Best Western hotels. A little less charm and a little more expensive than others, but they are reliably good, always have coffee and tea making facilities in your room and if mutli-storied have a lift....none of the other hotels I have stayed in have had either of those! The beds are also comfortable and roomy! So far haven't had any trouble just rolling up and asking for a room.

I wanted to go to the beaches today to mark ANZAC day in my own fashion. The 25th is tomorrow here anyway so I will visit the Memorial museum here in Caen and head out to at least one of the landing sites of the Allied forces during WW2. I've deliberately booked in for 2 days so that I can do that. Hmmm, I can see people drinking beer in the square below...must be time to go and raise a glass to the diggers to coincide with the dawn parades in New Zealand.

Posted by Kanumera 08:44 Comments (0)

Memorial de Caen Museum

My own ANZAC day

Today did my own ANZAC day commemoration. Went to the Memorial de Caen Museum which is dedicated to the build up to the second World War, the war itself, and the aftermath. It also has a section on the cold war. Went by bus rather than driving, which gave me a chance to see the town and surrounding area from a different perspective. It also stops right outside the Memorial which is handy!
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The place is huge I was there until after 4pm and didn't see all the films! Started out reading everything and spending time at each section but really a bit much to take in all in one visit. The part I didn't spend too much time in was the haulocaust section, a bit too much for me.

This city was completely hammered by the allies on D-day. Not to attack the Germans directly, but to disrupt the communication channels. Unfortunately, thousands of French locals lost their lives.

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Along with 11, 000 plus allied soldiers. Dreadful waste of young lives is war.

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Posted by Kanumera 11:58 Comments (0)

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