A Travellerspoint blog

South West England

Villages, Castles & Roman Baths

overcast 22 °C
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After a busy day of traveling involving a flight from Grenoble, France to Stansted , London; a drive into the West Country of England to the small village of Stanton in the Cotswolds, our home for 4 nights. Stanton consists of idyllic golden stone cottages set in green pastures with the only commercial establishment the local pub at the top of the hill.
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On our first day we journeyed north into Warwickshire to visit the medieval Warwick Castle – a grand building with towering rampants. The property is owned by the same company that owns Madame Tussauds so wax figures are set up throughout the castle rooms recreating scenes of medieval life.
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There was also a display of the operation of the Trebochet, a medieval catapult firing canon balls, and a magnificent display of falconry which involved eagles & other birds of prey. IMG_1660.jpg
The boys loved it sparking an interest in Medieval history.
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Day two we traveled south to visit the world heritage site Bath and the amazing roman baths. The Bath’s entrance fee included an audio tour that included commentary aimed at children keeping them entertained throughout even Oliver loved it.
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Bath is a beautiful town and we enjoyed a picnic in the parade gardens and wandering around past Pulteney Bridge to the Circus and the Crescent.
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We ventured out onto the Salisbury plain to visit the much anticipated Stonehenge which was amazing
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but straight after these photos it absolutely bucketed down – adding to the atmosphere?
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A local day was called for so the big boys and I walked to the neighbouring village of Stanway to start the day arriving at this lovely thatched cricket pavilion sitting on staddle stones.
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We traveled into nearby Gloucester and visited the Cathedral – particularly for the cloisters for all those Harry Potter fans you may recognize these as the corridors of Hogwarts. We also called in at the ‘Tailor of Gloucester’ for the Beatrix Potter fans.
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Back home for lunch and the boys were very good doing their drawing etc whilst Mum & Dad enjoyed a mid afternoon cheese plate (and wine) at our local pub.
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Another stroll called for so we did a walk between the two lovely villages of Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter with our three young adventures, feeding some ducks along the way.IMG_1904.jpgIMG_1919.jpgIMG_1947.jpg
The final evening back to our pub for dinner – huge servings, nice food
and the boys thought their sticky toffee puddings were the ‘best dessert I have ever had’.
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Posted by aadjoTRIP 19:42 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (5)

Rhone Valley, France

Fabulous visit with Marmilloud Family in St-Peray, Valence.

sunny 30 °C
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We have just enjoyed wonderful provincial French hospitality from the Marmilloud family. Christophe, Muriel and their two boys Nathan and Arthur live just outside the small village of St Peray, in the regional centre Valence. Valence is located 560 km south of Paris just off the main motorway to the south of France. Valence is serviced by the TGV, a very fast train that travels up to 300 km/h. It did the 560 km trip Paris to Valence in a little over 2 hours. IMG_1224.jpg
Amazing, it left and arrived on time, it was clean and comfortable and relatively cheap compared to driving. An infrastructure investment that provides a real boost to the local economy.
St Peray is overlooked by chateau ruins which provided the children with a great place to explore in the long evening light.
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On our first day we crossed the Rhone into the Drôme district and up into the mountains. Our first stop was the village of St-Nazaine-en-Royans framed by a dramatic arched bridge, a gateway to the mountain terrain to come.
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We drove through lovely villages such as Pont-en-Royans,
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through Goulets tunnels, stopping for a picnic lunch at la-Chapelle-en-Vercors, the French resistance HQ during the WWII. Winding our way back down along the cliff edge around 'Rocher de Laval', with amazing views over the valley.
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Day 2 was the excursion in the Ardeche region stopping at the lovely village of St-Montan,
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driving through St-Remeze to the Gorges de l'Ardeche for a picnic lunch and swim.
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Again beautiful drives along the cliff edges amongst picturesque villages, valleys and countryside.
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We also had great fun being at home – toys, cubby house and the pool
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provided great fun for the boys whilst the adults enjoyed great food, wine and conversation.
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The children managed to play well together despite the language barrier which was great to watch. IMG_1542.jpg
It was a special experience for all, something to remember.

Posted by aadjoTRIP 18:29 Archived in France Comments (2)

Paris!

Great apartment, sights & food

overcast 20 °C
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We had a great time in Paris! We had 4 days exploring the city and the boys in particular are enjoyed the sites and the food. What can be said about this city that hasn't been said before?

We had smooth trip from Glasgow into Paris and through the Parisian traffic to our apartment. Paying for the transfer from the airport to the apartment was worth it. After settling in and getting orientated on the Metro we made for the Arc de Triomphe and its 360 degree views of this wonderful city and 9 converging avenues creating traffic chaos.
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Our days start with sight in the morning, back to the apartment for lunch and down time, venturing out for further sight seeing in the late afternoon and back the apartment again for dinner. We have managed one meal out, but more on that later.

In addition to the Arc de Triomphe we have battled the crowds at the Eiffel Tower,
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Musee de Orsay,
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the Musee de Louvre,
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Jardin de Luxembourg,
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and the Cathedral de Notre Dame.
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The Jardin de Luxembourg, a park on the south side of the Seine, which has a large children's playground and the boy's favourite so far. Paying 11 euro ($20) for the privilege, the boys played on numerous whiz bang play things. They struck up a friendship with a few of the local boys and through a bit of English and French negotiated games of “hide and seek” and “tips”.
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We continue to see interesting sites and other tourists. Of particular note is this American family of 4 who on the different days we came across them were wearing matching tie dyed t-shirts, different colours on each day.
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Our apartment is in rue Rambuteau within a block from the Centre Georges Pompidou. The convenience of self catering at the apartment is great and we have all we need on our street block, with a number of fruit and vege shops, bakeries, butchers, cafes, bistros, supermarkets and a fish shop. It appears they take it in turns to close for a day and on the days they are open they close for 2-3 hours a day. Whilst busy on the street all the time, as soon as we enter the solid timber doors into our apartment block it is quiet. The apartment is small but adequate, we just make sure we get the boys out and about.
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Wednesday night we splurged on a meal out at the restaurant Auberge Nicolas Flamel, located in the oldest house still standing in Paris which dates back to the 14th Century.
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It was the house of the alchemist Nicolas Flamel, now made famous as a sorcerer in Harry Potter. We were not disappointed by the food, Angela and I went for the 5 course degustation menu with matching wines. IMG_4561.jpg
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The menu featured fois gras served with a caramelised fig, prawns, fish, lamb and a rich caramel tart matched with champaign to finish.

On our final afternoon we wandered around our local area – the Marais.
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We bought some delights from the Patesserie and enjoyed them in the grounds of Place de Voges.
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Our final stop was the Pompidou – Museum of Modern Art at the end of our street.
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Posted by aadjoTRIP 17:49 Archived in France Comments (3)

Mallorca Villa & Villages

Fabulous Villa, Food, Siestas & Picturesque Villages

sunny 30 °C
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We had the pleasure of staying at Finca Bennassar on the outskirts of Pollensa, a beautiful stone farmhouse owned by the Bennassar family for over 200 years. Set amongst the olive groves in the northern pocket of Mallorca. It provided comfortable accommodation for the 10 of us with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, indoor/outdoor living and eating areas, gorgeous courtyard, pool (no fence) and BBQ casita. IMG_0695.jpg IMG_0693.jpg IMG_0523.jpg IMG_0498.jpg IMG_0506.jpg
The Spanish know how to survive the heat and the finca is designed well with thick stone walls and shutters to make the rooms dark and cool in the middle of the day. This made it easy for us to have a siesta. Our routine was morning visits to beaches (see other post), lunch washed down with rosado, siesta and then late afternoon/evenings by the pool. IMG_0649.jpg IMG_0592.jpg IMG_0719.jpg
We enjoyed the culinary offerings of the Pollensa on a couple of evenings also washed down with local rosado. IMG_0490.jpg
Lots of fun – the kids loved it. Some great food – enjoyed the salami, jamon, tomatoes, mushrooms & stone fruit washed down with the local rosado.

Pollensa is one of the larger of this pocket's villages with a delightful historic centre of picturesque placas and cobbled lanes – a heritage planner's dream. IMG_0573.jpg IMG_0566.jpg
Pollensa hosts the local produce market on a Sunday which enabled us to purchase our initial supply of local fruit, vege, cold meats and cheeses. IMG_0419.jpg
Had a couple of nights out for dinner in Pollensa IMG_0604.jpg IMG_0612.jpg
enjoying the food and ambiance of the town square with one of the highlights being the boys joining an impromptu game of football in the Placa Major with children from all around the world. IMG_0636.jpg IMG_0631.jpg
You may have guessed we drank a lot of rosado, the local rose.

On the last day we took the scenic route back to Palma down the Western side of the island where the mountains meet the sea - very windey roads but gorgeous scenery.IMG_0767.jpg IMG_0790.jpg IMG_0832.jpg
A Magic Holiday.

Posted by aadjoTRIP 22:32 Archived in Spain Comments (6)

Mallorcan Beaches

Sun, Sea & Sand

sunny 30 °C
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The rugged but picturesque Mallorcan coastline provides for dramatic cliffs plunging into aquamarine depths and secluded sandy coves. Sun, sea & sand are in abundance. The northern pocket of Mallorca is away from the hustle and bustle of the island's largest city of Palma and offers some of the islands best swimming spots. By far the most dramatic beach setting we visited was Cala Barques, part of the tiny holiday village of Cala Sant Vicenc. It is a pebbly beach, no good for sand castles, nestled in amongst high rock cliffs. IMG_4324.jpg IMG_4318.jpg
Dotted around the Badia de Pollenca we visited Tamarells, IMG_4326.jpg IMG_4340.jpg IMG_4363.jpg IMG_4361.jpg
Platja de Formentor and Bonaire, IMG_4456.jpg IMG_4455.jpg
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the highlight being Formentor which demanded a second visit. IMG_4530.jpg IMG_4382.jpg IMG_4400.jpg IMG_4409.jpg IMG_4433.jpgIt features fine white sand, which the children and Dads find perfect for sculpting the most intricate of sand castles. The beach is lined with shady trees providing welcome relief from the sun and make for a delightful picnic spot. IMG_4523.jpg
We traveled to Formentor via a tight windey road with a clear drop into the sea on one side for most of the way.IMG_4374.jpg

Posted by aadjoTRIP 16:58 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

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