still 4 weeks to go
26.06.2009 - 12.07.2009
Thought I would write a word or two (though the kids are doing a fantastic job).
We've been on the road 2 weeks now, travelled some miles and seen a lot. According to Ellie it's 3 castles, 2 forts, 1 garden and lots of walking!
After landing in Frankfurt and picking up the RV (or Camping Car as the French call it) we made our way north up to Koblenz. The drive up the Rhine was amazing. So many castles line the valley and the barges travelling up and down the river are a site to see. We stayed two nights in Koblenz, making our way into the town for a day of sightseeing. Koblenz is situated where the Rhine and Mosel Rivers join. The kids even managed a swim in the Mosel River where our campsite was located.
On the Monday we packed up and heading over to Versaille passing through Luxemborg on the way. We ended up driving over 7 hours that day. The campground in Versaille was lovely and we stayed there four days. Two of the days we headed up to Paris via the train. The first day we went up the Eiffel Tower (the kids were pretty awestruck by the sight of the tower), and walked down the Champes Elysees viewing the Arc de Triomphe (though at 34 degrees we were too hot to climb up that).
The following day we heading to Chateau Versaille. An amazing Chateau. We spent hours wandering around with our headsets on listening to some wonderful commentary. We wandered the vast gardens as well and ended up hiring a row boat and rowing on the "Grand Canal". Once again it was mid 30s and rather a hot experience.
Paris awaited up the next day. We headed over to Notre Dame and were lucky enough to be in the Cathedral when a service started. The organ made a beautiful sound. After Notre Dame we went shopping (as you have to do in Paris!). Luckily for us it's sale time in Paris and a bargain or two were picked up - mainly for the kids I may add! We then wandered back down to the Sienne and jumped on a boat for a ride up and down the River.
Friday we headed up to Normandy and to our wonderful friends Duncan and Lucy's house (vacation house). It was Zack's 12th birthday on Saturday and I must say Lucy out did my past birthday efforts, having made a cake, organised an English Tea Party inviting the French neighbours over (though champagne was the drink of choice, not tea) and we even had a bonfire and fireworks to finish the night off. I think Zack will remember this birthday for quite a while. Sunday was spent just catching up and nattering most of the day.
Monday we started out trek south. We drove around 360kms that day and pulled up for the night near Chatreaoux. Tuesday was even more driving to reach our destination of Cenac.
Cenac was never on our list of places to go until we managed to end up bidding for a house there at the Wilston beach party back in February. I must say though Cenac is located in the Dodogne Valley which has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. (A rather bold statement I know). The area is just sublime and we spent two days there trying to fit as much in as possible. A week wouldn't even do the area justice. The highlight of our time there would definitely be the 9km kayak the four of us took down the Dodogne River. It was absolutely tranquil (though a little effort was required) and a great way to see the area.
After much washing, and repacking of the RV south we headed again. Unfortunately you should not rely too heavily of a Navman we found out as it took us on the most convoluted course possible ending up with Ellie being rather car sick and seeing the rest of the journey out in the front seat with me being relegated to the back with Zack. Once back on course we headed to Millau which is the world's longest and tallest viaduct. An amazing engineering masterpiece.
We stayed at Arles that night (a dive of a campsite) but a very old city we wandered around the next morning where we say probably one of the world's oldest stadiums (built 2000 years ago) that is still being used for bull fighting (but not the killing variety).
We then headed across to St Tropez and Frejus and after one dodgy campsite which we continued on from rather quickly have found ourselves in the hills outside Frejus spending two nights here just to unwind and spent some time by the pool.
I think I can say for all of us that we are having a ball. The kids are making there way through their school work (some more slowly than others!) and we're enjoying not having the idiot box to watch. Many a game of Boggle and Yahtzee have been played after dinner. We've found out that Ellie still has trouble with travel sickness but Zack can spend hours in the back reading or playing his PSP and not once complain. I've had a bit of a drive of the RV but most of those duties have been left up to Ali as he seems to be a lot more confident at it than me. We are even getting used to the rather hard beds though I do still end up whacking my arm if I try and turn over too much at night. We are all picking up the language though Ali is much more proficient at it than us and tend to leave most of it to him.
Our next stop is Firenze (Florence) via Piza tomorrow before making our way up to Lake Como, into Switzerland and back into Germany. We will then head over to Malta on the 23rd July to meet up with the rest of the UK family for a week of sun, boating and relaxing.