Saturday, 31 July 2010

Day 10 - France

Day 10 – Wednesday 21st July 2010 - France
La Rochelle

Today was not such an exciting day as much of it was spent heading towards La Rochelle.

A routine has developed of stopping at local Patisserie / Boulangerie to top up with Baguettes when supplies run low.
... and the occasional Cake!
Fruit and Veg quality in France has also been fantastic, most of it purchased at the roadside from local growers. Tomatoes are Red (not green or orange) and taste like, well..., Tomatoes!

Our biggest challenge of the day was getting our Sat Nav and Map to agree on something / ANYTHING!! - they constantly argue with each other like spoilt little children and this has happened throughout Europe.

This picture is for Jacqui T. who comes from Corby.  Chatellerault is twinned with Corby.  Jacqui therefore must know some of the residents of Chatellerault.


We finally arrive in La Rochelle - the only town that exists in most English School Text Books...

Bonjour, Je m'appelle Richard. J'ai onze ans.
Bonjour, Je m'appelle Zowi. J'ai trente-deux ans.

Day 9 – France

Versailles new Court Jester

Day 9 – Tuesday 20th July 2010 – France

Today we ventured off to Versailles Palace and Gardens.  The grandeur and opulence of the Palace (our new Summer House) & Gardens must be seen - allow a whole day for this.

Soon we were hitting the road towards La Rochelle. Had some camera battery issues today so not as many pics as we would have will just have to visit us in Australia to see the album.

There was a band playing in the Gardens at the Palace which made the visit to the Palace even more enchanting.

La Rochelle was to elude us due to a late departure from Versailles and the night was spent on a quaint campsite / 2CV Museum in the middle of the French countryside.

Now that our routine was down-pat, camp was setup with minutes.  Dinner cooked in darkness (as usual) and our first experince of Cold Water Showers followed. Brrrrrrr!  Fellow campers must have wondered what all the "Oooo's" and "Arrrr's" were that echoed from the Showers.

Day 8 - France

Day 8 – Monday 19th July 2010 – France

After a good nights sleep almost in the chateauzx gardens it was off to "Gay Paris" for a day of pounding the pavement sightseeing.   €6.20 bought us a return train ticket into the heart of Paris.

Eiffel Tower

 Arc D’Triomphe

Champs-Élysées - Queues to enter Louis Vuitton!


Pompidou Centre

Notre Dam

Misc Photos from Paris

We headed home to Versailles and landed in Bed just after Midnight, tired and exhausted. 

'Til next time Paris.  Au Revoir.

Day 7 - France

Day 7 – Sunday 18th July 2010 - Luxembourg to France
Luxembourg, Paris, Versailles

Last night was our first experience at Truck Stop parking. A little nervous at first, we circled the whole Truck Stop a couple of times looking for a place to snuggle in between the large rigs. Barnaby spotted another caravan and so parked behind them where he felt safe and secure.

So after a luxurious night at Luxembourg’s finest Truck Stop (it had great Facilities including good Showers) we headed for Paris.

Driving through France towards Paris the fields were littered with Sunflowers, Sunflowers, and more Sunflowers, a beautiful sight to see and we couldn’t resist taking photos, photos and more photos...

The driving once in Paris was intense, and not too easy to navigate through.  Maybe Paris was a gentle introduction to what may be in store from the drivers in India / Iran / Pakistan?

Escaping to nearby Versailles the traffic calmed down and are eyes were peeled looking for signs of campsites. Finally we found one after hours of circling Versailles, it was expensive and it was full! Argghhh! – Fortunately they directed us to a Campsite on the other side of Versailles, next to the Chateaux and cheap too!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Day 6 - Germany

Day 6 – Saturday 17 July 2010 – Germany - Luxembourg

The Nürburgring is a motorsport complex around the village of Nürburg, Germany. It features a modern Grand Prix race track built in 1984, and a much longer old North loop track which was built in the 1920s around the village and medieval castle of Nürburg in the Eifel mountains. It is located about 70 kilometres (43 mi) south of Cologne, and 120 kilometres (75 mi) northwest of Frankfurt.

The old track was nicknamed The Green Hell by Jackie Stewart and is widely considered the toughest, most dangerous and most demanding purpose-built racing circuit in the world. Originally, the track featured four track configurations: the 28.265 kilometres (17.563 miles) long Gesamtstrecke ("Whole Course"), which in turn consisted of the 22.810 km (14.173 mi) Nordschleife ("Northern Loop"), and the 7.747 km (4.814 mi) Südschleife ("Southern Loop"). There also was a 2.281 km (1.417 mi) warm-up loop called Zielschleife ("Finish Loop") or better known as Betonschleife, around the pit area.[1] Between 1982 and 1983 the start-finish area was demolished to create a new GP-Strecke, and this is currently used for all major and international racing events. However, the shortened Nordschleife is still in use, for racing, testing and public access.

It has to be said that Barnaby the Isuzu Bighorn was not designed as a race car.  At the starting barrier, there were Porsches, Ferraris, Motorbikes, Boy Racers in suped up cars, a lot of drivers had helmets, all there taking it very seriously indeed.

Barnaby on the other hand was equipped with; a Rooftent, Fridge, Winch, Cans of Soup and our Mascot for the trip "Monkey", not the typical setup for a quick lap.

22 Euros are exchanged for a card which will give you entry for a lap.  The Card that we had of course didnt work and everyone behind us were revving and beeping in frustration, it was almost like they thought that we should not be there?!?

Barnaby did the 28km lap in a time of just over 18 minutes.  Sure he lost most of his brakes, sure the Automatic gearbox over-heated, but he thundered through the course with a lot of Thumbs up from the Spectators!

Would I do it again? - sure, it was a lot of fun.  Would I do another lap in Barnaby? - Nah, he's more of a long distance travelling vehicle.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Day 5 - Germany

Day 5 – Friday 16th July 2010 - Germany


Stayed at the Campsite next to Nurburgring, used the 2 days to unwind seeing as the whole field to ourselves! We found ourselves to be masters of camping. Repack done. Washing on the line. Meals cooked and feet up with a nice cuppa. Are we sounding like retired folk?, best get moving...

Nurburgring Campsite
A Whole Field to Ourselves! - Time for a Wash?

Day 4 - Germany

Day 4 – Thursday 15 July 2010 - Luxembourg – Germany
Neuerburg, Nurburg

We travelled through Luxembourg on our way to Neuerburg / Nurburg. The countryside was pretty and the petrol was cheap.

Q. What’s the difference between Neuerburg and Nurburg?
A. About 180km!

The race was on. The pace was set. The plan was to reach The Nurburgring for a hot lap.

Day 3 - Belgium

Day 3 – Wednesday 14th July 2010 – Belgium
Brugge, Brussels

All things Belgian...


OK OK we had to indulge a little – the Waffles were delicious.

Beautiful Brugge offered a drenching and a half. The rain poured down and hampered are efforts to see this city, but the Square was well worth a visit. The downpour persisted and soon retreating back to the car was the only option.

Day 2 - The Netherlands

Day 2 – Tuesday 13th July 2010 - The Netherlands
Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Kinderdijk

Having visited Amsterdam previously, we attempted to head out of the city towards Rotterdam. With no map and no Sat Nav, circling the city became the afternoon’s activity before eventually finding an escape route that appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

Rotterdam was a brief visit as we were set on finding the 19 Windmills of Kinderdijk before daylight ended.... “In 1366 and 1369, people worked on their hands and knees to dig 2 canals through Alblasserwaard to Kinderdijk, designed to discharge excess rain water into the river Lek. When the canals were no longer sufficient to cope with rising water levels, Windmills were constructed. 8 were built in 1738 and a further 8 in 1740 to protect the surrounding land from flooding. This World Heritage remains almost unchanged from its original state. Kinderdijk has no less than 19 Windmills sited in close proximity to each other and forming an impressive symbol of the struggle of the Dutch against the encroaching water.”

The site was truly beautiful and indeed offered our cameras a great workout!