France and Luxemburg
01.01.2009 -5 °C
20 December 08
First Stop - 3 nights in Paris!! What a city of contrasts amazingly beautiful yet so dirty... We loved wondering the streets window shopping, perusing the arts and tasting the vino in little street cafes.
Stayed in a little hotel right near the Arc de Triomphe. What an ordeal finding accommodation in Paris that has good reviews. We were just off the Champs Elysées so handy to everything and easy to navigate. It was done up very pretty for xmas with markets and lights etc.
Arc de Triomphe
Visited the Louvre - massive! The building and grounds are as amazing as the art. Visited the Mona Lisa - nearly lost an eye when shaz turned round into a camera lens. There are just masses of people taking photos that you can’t even get close to look at it. Also visited the Venus de Milo - the two of them are the compulsory visits it seems - all the signs point to them.
Also called into the Modern Art Gallery - would definitely recommend it! Much more our thing than the Louvre. Crazy seeing the originals of pictures we studied at school.
Didn't go up the Eiffel Tower but sat in the park and watched the lights come on - so romantic yet saw no proposals - maybe they only happen at the top...
Mostly spent our time cruising round the streets, trying out a variety of vinos and people watching.
23 December 08
Spenny has arrived and we even managed to get out of Paris in the rental car. Bit stressful and witnessed an accident (then argument) between a bus and car before we had even left the airport. Spenny and Gaz did well driving on the right (most of the time) though Gaz did try to change gears and grabbed his left knee a couple of times and for a while there couldn't handle turning left.
But we made it to our Gite in the Loire Valley in one piece. And what a beautiful secluded spot we got.
24 December 08
Yah Bridget has arrived!! And we managed (just) to do some shopping for Christmas dinner - shopping in France is one experience I don't think I will try to relive. The boys spent half an hour trying to decipher what type of bird was which and we couldn't find most of the ingredients for Spenny's desert.
25 December 08
Champagne and fresh French croissants - what a way to start the day. A lot of eating and drinking was had in front of the open fire. And a new game was invented - 'Scrabinary' (patent pending).
26 December 08
Thought we should do a little more than eat and drink in the Gite so set out to explore a local chateau. It was built over the river - very fairy tale. Not surprisingly we found the kitchens to be the highlight - they (yes plural) were massive.
Gaz and Spenny standing in just one of the ovens!
the Loire Valley is Beautiful!
27 December 08
Have to leave our Gite and head north - probably for the best as we had run out of fire wood and it is freezing (and not just shaz thinks so). Our B&B in Reims is 'interesting' - lovely place but the owners were a little different. They started out by insulting Spenny about being a smoker and commenting that he will contaminate the air!!! They pretty much kept up this commentary for the entire stay. But the Champaign makes everything ok with the world. It is easily shaz's new favorite!! Jec joined us in Reims and we did a tour of Pommery Caves - 18km of caves packed with champs! amazing!
Poor Spenny had to drive..
30 December 08
One night flying visit of Luxemburg on our way to Germany. Had a great night out followed by not such a great morning. Gaz got up to put more money in the meter and discovered the world was covered with half a centimeters of ICE! There had been an ice storm during the night and it coated everything. We skidded along the paths but no accidents. Jec was easily the most graceful. We tried to de-ice the car - discovered that we could wind the windows down and the sheet of ice would remain. Bloody cold! Shaz's sole has forgotten what it is like to be warm!