A Travellerspoint blog

🇫🇷France part two Bordeux special🇫🇷


sunny 28 °C


??France?? part two Bordeaux special

Hi Harry here, we are still in ??France?? heading to ??Spain?? we have had some amazing adventures and met some great people so this time? around I will gently give you some funny facts about Europe here we go.

The first croissant was invented in Austria?

All the underground escalators in London travel a distance equivalent to 2 trips around the world each year

Sweden has the most number of McDonalds in Europe per capita

It takes 35 minutes to get to Africa by ferry from Spain

Europe has 50 countries - we have seen 8, 42 to gooooooooooo

Europe is the 2nd smallest continent but has the 2nd largest population

??France?? part two day one

We check in to our ?Aussie? owned country home (with a really nice touch of modern) and meet our host Simone. We quickly unload our gear and head out to some winery's for the afternoon (Bordeaux specials in red wine?) anyway see you tomorrow.

??France?? part two day two

After a day's run we take a ?drive to Saint Emilion and checked out the village?. And find ourselves taking a tour through the wonders of Saint Emilion. First we peered into the house of Saint Emilion himself. Emulsion was a hermit and didn't come out much - he was also being a monk?. Then we went in the largest monolithic church in Europe - it is amazing and so big when it's only made out of one rock?. You could only just make out some of the pictures that were painted back then✏️.

After our tour ended we relocated to a pizza bar?. This day just got even better. But it could get worse, because the heavy rain has started to pour down on us. But we are in the red? wine region so mum and dad decide to stop off at a local family vineyard to taste?. Me and Jack are sitting there like stunned mullets - we are so bored??. Our wine host decides to bring out a little bit of wine for me and Jack to smell (and have a little sip). over all that was pretty great (and wet). So what better thing to do than get chocolate and have a feast at home next to the fire watching Moby Dick. See you tomorrow in Bordeaux.?

??France?? part two day three

Today we are going to Bordeaux. Bordeaux is a big city 20 minutes? from where we are staying at Simone's. We arrive to see the mist fountain and the big palace in the old part of town. We start strolling down the Main Street by the river front to the markets (with purchases of heaps of glass stuff from mum) and we try to hurry her up. We cross the tram track to find ourselves smack bang in the middle of the old city centre and decide to stop for lunch in the the park next to the river.

Time for a walk. We stroll along the Main Street looking into shops and bearing off into little side streets.

Lately I have been noticing many cyclists? and they even have there own bike lanes and traffic lights and guess what - they even have automatic bike hiring machines. All you have to do is chuck in your credit card and it only costs 1.50€ a day so about $2.20 NZ. So why not. We cruise around the river front - it's nice and flat ground. On the way we see two skate parks filled with skaters, BMX bikers and scooters doing insane tricks. But we continue down the river to the main bridge in Bordeaux, over it then back again all the way to meet dad for a smoothie and relax session?. And what a great finish to a great day see you tomorrow for a new location.

France part two day four

Today we are heading to a new location (still in the Bordeaux region) but we still have thing to do before that.

I wake up to see mums face staring at me saying time for a run?, as I turn back over to the other side of the bed she yanks the sheets off to send a cold breeze? to awake me. Aaaaaaaahhh. On the way down the driveway we spot two bikes (mint condition) and decide to swap to the bike route. Even all the way out in the country they have bike tracks?. With the flat roads it is perfect for biking because it was built over an old disused train track. And if you really wanted to, you can bike all the way to Bordeaux 40 km away- but not today?.

Me and mum make it home for breakfast? and to relocate. but mum and dad have a surprise installed for me and Jack. We arrive to what looks like a canoeing camp but we walk straight past it, into a massive tree adventures - but it is twice as high as the one in NZ. We suit up into our gear and I start on level two. There are 6 levels and I can go up to level 5 but even the instructor said 5 was hard and to do 6 you have to be over 17. Jack does well and conquers levels 1 and 2. Way to go Jack!!!!!

Level 2 is a breeze - it has two flying foxes and other obstacles including wobbly bridges, see saws and heaps more. Level 3 has two choices, the hard way or the easy way so I take the hard way that includes tight spaces, wobbly planks? and a couple of flying foxes and some big ladders. But once again I breeze thorough it...... Now up to level four now and this is definitely getting harder and I just manage to finish it. But is was a whole lot of fun - it had nets, wobbly bridges and finished with a giant flying fox that went far up in the tree tops and across the river to the camp ground and back.

Now it is time for me to decide if I can do number 5 - it is twice as high as 4 and has all the hard obstacles. Why not!!!! I start with a big rope net connecting to a wobbly bridge then a little flying fox that I have to pull myself up on. But all of that and more lead up to the hardest obstacle of all. The Tarzan jump. The Tarzan jump is a 10 meter platform that you have to jump off and swing into a net. I jump, smashing down to the earth? before, swinging back up into the net and grabbing it. Wow what a great jump and to finish off with another flying fox over the river and back down to earth. Great day- now it is time to head to our new place - see you there.

We arrive to our cool cottage in a typical little French village. It has a pub a dairy and a bakery and now I will give you a summary of what we did over the few days we were there. Firstly most days we go to the lake for a swim. It's really. I r and they have made a man made beach there too - complete with a playground, beach chairs and even wifi. We hang at our house at night and watch a couple of movies including Huckleberry Finn and The Perfect Storm.

Every morning Jack's Job is to go to the dairy and get a fresh baguette for lunch and practice his French skills. We are still in wine territory so we check out some small vineyards.

Well I guess I will see you in Spain - we had to ??San Sebastián?? tomorrow. It is over the French border on the Atlantic Coast. North East ??Spain??.

Off now to brush up on my Spanish (lol)?? ps don't forget to check out my photo gallery

Posted by saltydog4481 04:44 Archived in France Comments (2)

France part one

What a dream

sunny 28 °C


??France?? passing through Switzerland

We wake up to have breakfast in Austria, before we leave to head to France via Switzerland. By this time we have been driving for two hours so we decide to stop for lunch in Switzerland and a four euro coffee for dad - that's 8 NZ dollars. Cha Ching. So we decide to get out of this expensive country and head for France. We arrive quiet late, the house is an old stone cottage with a spa pool on the deck and a great view of the country. Mum has done well with the accommodation. I give this one a nine. Anyway see you tomorrow.

Once again we are in a brand new country??, in a little town called Athose which 100 people live in and it's half an hour over the border from Switzerland. We are out in the country, it's pretty remote and it's nice and peaceful. Also really nice scenery - there's not much in our village - no shops but the mayor has a nice big office. Once again I am going to pitch some facts at you about France - here we go?.

Harry's facts......
The capital of France is Paris

The French Revolution was in 1789

France is the most visited country in the world - 83 000 000 tourists in 2012

There is only one stop sign in all of Paris

In France you can marry a dead person

France was the first country to introduce licence plates for vehicles

Potatoes were illegal in France between 1748 and 1772

In France it is illegal to call a pig "Napolean"

??France?? day two

We awoke to the aroma of horse dung??. (Unfortunately our cottage is next to the horse stables) We wander outside and chat to our host, Lionel, as he is preparing the horses? to take us for a horse and carriage ride in the most grand carriage I have ever seen (something that supposedly Sam's grandma would ride). We leave the stables at about 10:00 on something you would see on a Disney princess? movie. It is so amazing. Lionel takes me, mum and Jack on a big ride all around the village. We see lots of cattle?, horses? and sheep? with bells on. We are out for about an hour and a half? seeing the wonders of the town?. What a great start to the day. Where's dad you ask??? Well definitely not near any horses as he has horseaphobia?.

Now we are heading for the natural spring? caves where water constantly flows from the underground cavern?. We arrive to the most amazing but unexpected? water fall coming from the mountains spring at a high flow rate????? (see photo gallery for an idea of the beast) the water was crystal clear, being fresh and flowing fast I just wanted to dive in but it looks pretty cold?. Anyway NEXT!

Our host Lionel had told us to go a fort called Fort de Joux where we take an auto guided tour around the castle and here's some mind blowing facts about it.....

First up as the walls of the castle got old, instead of knocking down the walls they built more around it, so now it has 3 surrounding walls for the fort and two moats?.

The castle had 600 soldiers, 200? would rest 200? would clean and 200 would guard? the castle with rotations every 8 hours

It was built in the 11th century as a castle then it was made into a fort?

It was used as a prison in the 17th and 19th centuries including the French Revolution

Up until world war 1 it defended the region

In 1879 they had 155mm cannons - the largest artillery at that time??

The fought in and held off lots of battles - mainly the Spaniards?? and Germans??

??France?? day three

Dad takes us on a tiki? tour - we check out lots of local villages?, eat baguettes by the dozen (what's new) and visit a Fromage Cave ( cheese shop) - we are deep in cheese land around here - we pass lots of small fromages and enjoy the cheese making tour and tasting? the weird and wonderful cheeses e.g smoked cheeses and cheese cooked in ash.

We leave Athose tomorrow - we are heading to St Amand de Coly,? but as it's a 6 hour drive?, we are overnighting to break up the journey.....

??France?? continued.....
Now we are in a different location in a little cheep and cherry house but there's nothing much to say because we are only there for one night but enjoy......

Arrive to our cottage? and we decide to unpack and head out to some of the surrounding villages. We arrive in a little town called Charroux - it has been voted one of France's nicest villages where we have fun exploring all the little French side streets and take photos of all the light blue shutters on the houses. We get there just as a large convoy of customised motor bike side cars have stopped in town for a snack. So we sit down to relax and watch all 200 of the side cars go past - we are eating crêpes? and watching the sun set?. Could the day get any better.

Sylvie's place - St Amanda de Coly- we are here for 3 nights

We arrive to meet our host Syvlie - Syvlie has 3 stone? cottages on her property and rents out two of them to tourists. They are 300 years old? and are really cool- this makes us feel like we are definitely in ??France?? - chickens? run around the backyard and there is a country lane out the front and vineyards just along a bit. We feel at home here so decide to hang out here for the day after a quick trip into the local town just in time to get supplies from the weekly market. Our backyard is full of walnut trees - we help Syvlie collect them as she makes oil from them. Next we go into the forest to collect wood? for dad as he is making a bbq tonight and we also need it for the indoor fireplace......but we see a fox? so we race back home as soon as we can.

The next day we are ready to explore - it doesn't get light here till after ?8.30am? so we have been sleeping in a bit.....after a run with mum through the forest (I told mum bears live in it) we hit the road.

First stop is la Mason Forte de Reignac and wow it's a beauty...... Here's a run down for you..

From the outside it looks like a small castle - the outside facade ?was built in 1386 but when you step inside it is huge. It is been well looked after and entirely decked out to how it would have been back then. True fact - it is the only intact cliff castle of its kind in ??France??. We step through the kitchen, private studies, lush dining rooms, the great hall of honour and bedrooms. They also have a torture room and dungeons. It had all been carved out of rock and prehistoric cave men lived in these caves 20 000?? years ago. mind blowing stuff!

Next up we head to La Roque Saint Christopher - natural caves occupied by prehistoric cavemen 55 000 years ago and then modified in the Middle Ages to become a fort. It is a limestone wall 1 km long and was dug out to provide homes and shelter. It was destroyed by the English in the 17th century when they invaded France.

Sylvie joins us for dinner and we get to practice our ??French?? - dad's kitchen French? comes in handy......(not)

The next day we head to a Chateau - it's mum's? choice....., we go to Chateau des Milandes - built in 1489 and where the famous French singer, Josephine Baker lived for many years. It is very grand, and has been setup as an exhibition dedicated to her life. Mum loves it and us boys enjoy it more than we think we will.

We visit the old town of Sarlat - enjoy wondering around the small cobblestone streets - we head home and stop at a nice small village by the river for afternoon tea? and some slingshot practice across the river.

We really don't want to leave but we are heading to Bordeaux tomorrow.........✨?✨

Posted by saltydog4481 01:44 Archived in France Comments (8)

Austria and lunch in Germany


sunny 19 °C



Now we continue our adventure in Austria, where we have a bunch of fun in a little village? 20 minutes from Innsbruck in an Alpine Village called Seefeld in Tyrol and if you haven't heard of it - well once again, let's slap some sense into you - here we go.

Seefeld has hosted the Olympic games? for cross country skiing? many times and most recently has hosted the Winter Olympics in 2012

Since the 1920s,? Seefeld has been transformed into a tourist resort - a well known location for both summer and winter sports☀️P❄️

Austria day one
We arrive in Austria in the afternoon ⛅️- we hit the village and there is a food market on - we try wieners, sausage and cheese - dad tries the Austrian beer and mum of course checks out thE vino. It is so amazing here. I love the style of houses - totally different to Italy and NZ?. Big, 4 story houses?, balconies, flowers? on the balconies and sloping roofs. Very picturesque.

We can feel it's getting colder as we move north⏫, but like a good✅ kiwi I am still in shorts, jandals (sorry Ken no crocs today) and a t-shirt. The house we are staying in is a big old typical Austrian home. It was turned in to lots of apartments in the 1970s, complete with an underground indoor swimming pool, trampoline and a bunch of ride on toys. The best place yet. It was built by our host's grandfathe?r - he was a keen hunter and he has proudly displayed his trophies on the walls in the house - think large pigs?, bears?, deer? etc......a bit disturbing for my vegetarian mum.

Austria day two
We wake up really early (about 8am) and get ready to head up to the mountains. None of us have really gone up a mountain before, so we didn't really dress well?. I am in shorts and a light sweatshirt. This could really back fire on me!!! We arrive at the mountain and OMG everyone is dressed up (totally over kill) think full snow gear with big snow boots and face masks and Nordic walking poles - looks like they are ready for Antartica. We are in a bit of trouble.

After a vertical mountain tram? ride, then another gondola ride we are at the summit - it is so nice and amazing. I have never seen anything like it and you can see for miles all around. Check out the photo? gallery bros..... But one thing is bad. It is so freezing cold that I am literally melting so we have a quick look around the summit which is 2019 meters above sea level. Mum and I then go for a good hike around?.

We go back down to the half way point which conveniently?? has a large bar,cafe and comfy outdoor deck chairs (and blankets) plus the best kids adventure playground in the world. A perfect place to relax and take in the view - they even have a big jump set up. I jump 4? metres onto a giant bouncy castle - even Jack has a go, doing the 2 metre jump. Go Jack!!!!!!

Austria day three- lunch in Germany
Mum has organised a surprise for us? - we head to the train station (just a one minute walk from our digs) and take a 20 minute train ride to Mittenwald, Germany. Did I talk about crossing borders and landing in another country - there are no Welcome to where ever the heck you are signs so sometimes it is hard to tell where we are......

We arrive in Germany?? to the small town of Mittenwald. The famous October Beerfest is on in Munich and Mittenwald are holding their own mini one. The village is in full Beerfest swing and all the locals are dressed up in their kit..... It's hard to describe so be sure to check out the Photogallery?. Dad is loving it and of course joins in. If you haven't heard about it.... Read all about it here.......Oktober fest is the world's largest beer fest? and it is held for 17 days in September and October every year in Munich and has been going since 1810. More than 6 million people from around the world attend every year. 7 million litres of beer is drunk each year.

We notice the difference in houses here - it is like the houses are tattooed?. They are hand painted with complicated designs - they look majestic. Fact of the day day day... Mitten Wald is famous for making violins - how's that for a musical? fact.

Austria day four
Today once again we are catching another train tooooooo......... Innsbruck where we are going to explore and look around the old part of the town?.

First up we check out the Goldenes Dachl - the famous golden rooftop with its 15th century balcony with a gold roof on it. It is one of Innsbruck's famous sites - it got its name from the 2657 gilded copper shingles that are on top of the structure - it was built around 1500. After that, dad plays tour guide (again) and we stroll around the old town exploring the local parks buildings and the big palace in the town.

I have been secretly looking out for a knife shop so that I can purchase a genuine Austrian pocket knife. A long walk full of getting lost and taking little side streets, I find myself the perfect shop where I choose a polished wood, thick blade knife? - it's a beauty.?

Another great day learning and enjoying the culture of Austria - also managed to try out some Austrian pizza? while we are in town. Jack says it's the best pizza in all of Europe......

Austria day five
So far we haven't really had a relaxing day or a day just chilling out as we have had so much to see and do. Mum says it's time to chillax today ? - mum and I go out on our daily run (I try my hardest to get out of it but mum doesn't listen ever) and we come across the Olympic Village pool Complex. It has 2 hydro slides, heaps of different temp indoor pools and an outdoor pool and a really grumpy life guard. Today is going to be a good day on the water.

The hydroslide is extreme - dad and I get thrown around and we have plenty of bruises to prove it. It is like white water rafting to the extreme - if the Glenfield slide is a 2/10 fear factor this is a 10 plus. Dad calls it a terrifying white water rafting ride, without the canoe.

I will be sad to leave this town? but we are heading to France?? tomorrow - we won't have Internet for a few days so the next blog will be a week away.

A big hi to Mr Howard and Room 1 BIS - I miss you guys. ( kind of)

Posted by saltydog4481 12:52 Archived in Austria Comments (7)

Lake Garda


sunny 27 °C


Lake Garda??

??Salo, Lake Garda, Italy. Day one??

We arrived after the ?tedious? car? trip sitting next to a talking boom?? box e.g my brother?. And started to settle into our lake side ?village? of Salo. It was about 4:00pm,so what better thing to do than get pizza? and gelato (my idea) on a courtyard on the lake side. So Hoover? (me) decide to order a large pizza? to myself?. And I may have eaten ?it all. I was feeling pretty full so we went for a walk? along the lake. And we ended up in a guy's garage playing guitar? and drums?. It's a shop with all sorts of stuff that he has gathered and collected⛵️ from around the world (Debbie Tubb you would love it!!) He also sells local wine, oils and chocolates. ?. At night his friends come to jam - using guitars, bongos and even the grand piano. They all sing in Italian - we have no idea what it is about, but it sounds great. Think Karaoke, Italian style. We had a blast that night, but it all ended at about 10 pm and we decided to meet up tomorrow for another session??. Anyway by that time is time to reset the batteries.

Time for day two.

??Salo, Lake Garda, Italy. Day two??

Today we are going on a big wal?k, so we start on our journey early. But whoops a detour - we stop off at the local bakery for some cream donuts and biscuits. Now the walk is on. Half an hour later and it is so hot- I am literally falling over. Has anyone swam at Lake Pupuke - well it's cold. So think ten times colder ??than that. Guess who went for a swim - me, and it's so cold to the point where my fingers might have fallen off?. So I quickly dive under and run back out again.

Next we decided to do what Italians do and have an afternoon siesta from one till three......... Wakey wakey Harry it's six? o clock time and to go out?. Whoops over slept. Again!! And by the time I have got up and recovered, it's time for dinner?. Dad made a real Italian feast?? with all his efforts there is fresh pasta and pesto and a green Salad with dressing. After dinner it now it is time to go to go back to Rubicus Garage, with the guitars??, drums and other instruments⛄️. We get there to be greeted by Eugene? who was playing his guitar and singing along. Soon enough Jack joined in, making a good sound on the drums. Dad and I check out the cars. The first a 1950 MG????? convertible sport so nice. Then a light blue fiat 500 in mint condition? on the other side (mum really wants it).

Must finish now with Harry's Lake Garda facts.....

Lake Garda is Italy's biggest lake (not to be confused with Lake Como - Where George Clooney also has a house).

The lake was created at the end of the last ice age when lots of glaciers? melted and made the lake.

The lake is 370 square⬛️ kms - compared to Lake Taupo which is 616 square km.

The depth of the lake is 350 meters and Lake Taupo is only 186 meters deep?.

First settlers came in around 2000 BC??.

We farewell Italy tomorrow - we are heading up to Austria.

Posted by saltydog4481 08:29 Archived in Italy Comments (3)

Santa Margheritta next door to Portofino

George Clooney Watch

sunny 28 °C


After a smooth ride? from ??Pisa?? ( I think dad has finally mastered driving in ??Italy??), we have arrived in ??Portofiino?? - it is breathtaking?. We drove? through around 30 tunnels? to get here over the Autobahn - they are pretty swag? and the longest was over 3 kms? (more fun facts about tunnels to come LOL).

So here we are back on the Coast? again and we love? it - it's 30 degrees, not a cloud in the sky☀️ and the water? is the clearest and bluest we have ever seen?. We meet with Francesco and get the keys to our apartment - arghhhhh luxury, Jack and I get our own rooms and double beds. That's once in a life time stuff - I won't be leaving here easily?.

After settling in to our cribs we wander? down to the village? for some refreshments? and pizza? of course - we meet some great Aussies who are on a sweet trip also and we hear about their adventures. They tell us about the beauty? of Lake Garda and the amazing Austrian alps? - oooppps I feel a Detour coming on from our Italy, France and Spain trip judgjng by Mum and Dads's conversation with Jenny and Grant.

We have 3 days in this majestic place- here is what we get up to......

Day 1 - a relaxing day is in order to get over the nerves from dad's driving?? (jokes) we spend the morning exploring our town, then the afternoon chillaxing at the beach. Crystal clear water with fish swimming at our feet- oh it's another choice day in the Med. Bur the beaches aren't sandy like Devonport! They are rocky and are really tough on our feet. We all get a good dose of sun - some more than others...note mum is looking very red. We meet our new Aussie friends for drinks in the evening - they are great fun and have lots of funny stories to tell.

Day 2 - we take quite a scary bus ride (10 minutes along narrow coastline practically just enough room for a mini but it's a 2 way road) to the stunning village of Portofino. It is like something out of a movie - we are all blown away by how beautiful it is (check out the photos). Mum has us all on George Clooney look out - as he has a house here. There are screams Of excitement as Jack thinks he has spotted him, but it's a false alarm. It was a hippy in a bright pink shirt and long hair. I don't think Jack knows who George is.

After that big blow we climb up to the most amazing old castle that gives off a perfect panoramic view of Portofino. The castle was built in the 1400 hundreds and was garded by 3 to 4 gaurds. In 1798 Portfono was renamed Port Napoleon then it was changed back to Portofino, after a few battles were lost over the years.

We see lots of super yachts here in port - we take a walk up to the public beach and have a refreshing swim. We see the most amazing houses perched right on the cliff overlooking the water - it must be one of the nicest places in the world to live. You must put this area on your to do list - you really need to get up here!

Day 3 - we decide to head over to Camogli. There are 2 ways to get there - 40 minutes on a very windy road by bus or 5 minutes by train.... I am sure you know which mode of transport we take. A really cool little town - and a good, almost surf beach. Mum and dad think they could retire here - but I am sure they have said that about most places we have visited in Italy.

We leave here tomorrow- we are heading 300 kilometres north to Lake Garda - up towards Milan. From here we will cross into Austria - mum has found a nice alpine village for us to stay in - 20 minutes by train to Innsbruck and 20 minutes the other way takes us into Germany.

Chow for now, I'm off to swat up on my Austrian......and I've just mastered my Italian and it's nearly time to leave?????

Posted by saltydog4481 09:43 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

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