Tag Archives: France


Many of you will have witnessed some sort of eclipse of the sun today. Sadly no such event occurred here in Tanzania where the sun remained bright and full, whilst baking down upon us. 

The moon was I assume somewhere up there in the blue, near to but not over the shining sun.

I have been lucky enough to witness a total eclipse back in 1999 whilst on holiday in Brittany. We made the long trip up to Cherbourg in Normandy to watch the eclipse together with many who had sailed across the sea from Britain, including my parents.


It was a cloudy day and the cloud was seemingly impenetrable but as totally approached the world got suddenly dark, as if it were night. The lights in the harbour came on and the seagulls screeched. Then in the dark the clouds parted, just enough to give us a fleeting glimpse (no photo). Totality lasted but a few minutes and then like someone switching on a light it grew bright (even though most of the sun was still covered).

That was my one and only total eclipse in almost 50 years on this planet. The next visible here in Tanzania will occur on September 1st 2016 (partial).  If I’m still here (as I hope to be) it’s a definite watch!

If you saw the eclipse I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge : Converge

A submission to this Week’s new Photo Challenge – Converge. These images taken on the Causeway to the Ile de Noirmontier in the Vendée in France – taken back in 2007. There are the converging lines of the causeway and the converging of the sea and the land as the road is submerged twice daily.

Corsica 1989

The latest in a series of past travels – for more see Travels section.

In 1989 I embarked on my first Oak Hall Holiday to Corsica (France). Oak Hall is a Christian Holiday Company organising holidays across the world. Popular with young Christian singles it also appeals to older people and some couples. I travelled with a university friend (Jon) and another friend of his from Chorley Wood in London. These pictures are from a time when I did not keep a chronological diary so a representative of the holiday.

First Time Flyer

My first ever plane flight from Gatwick to Ajaccio. This was a very exciting time for me, though I was 23 I had never had the opportunity to fly.

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Our Campsite
Located on the coast near to the capital Ajaccio was our campsite for the next two weeks. A great place for the beach, where we could try out windsurfing and water skiing. Evening barbecues and a midnight swim were highlights.

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The capital of Corsica.

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A Rugged Landscape
Corsica has a mountainous interior with steep cliffs descending to small bays and hidden coves.We took three main excursions; to Propriano by coach, to Sartène by coach and Bastia by train.

Coach to Sartène via Propriano

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Train to Bastia
The train to Bastia took us through the rugged interior of the island.

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The trip to Sartène took in a visit to an ancient Mesolithic settlement…..

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….then on to Sartène with it’s narrow streets.

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Water Park

A day trip to a local water park

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France 2005 – Paris

In October 2005 we travelled to France for a Half Term Break with my (Graham’s) parents. It was a great week away staying on a Fleur Holidays campsite near Paris

Day 1 – Journey to La Croix du Vieux Pont

It was an early start to catch the Eurotunnel train across to France, but a great way to cross the Channel. We were going to France to celebrate Bekah’s 5th Birthday (and Anita’s 36th!).

Crossing the channel joined the fast moving French toll roads, stopping only for a picnic at a Bois D’Arsy.

We arrived at our Mobile Home for the week situated on the ‘La Croix du Vieux Pont’ about an hour from Paris. It turned out that this was the same one we had stayed in on our previous visit.

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Visit to Longpont and Pierrefonds

Having settled in we made the most of the afternoon and visited two local towns.

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Day 2 – Coucy le Chateau

Coucy le Chateau – a great place to visit.

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Day 3 – Disneyland Paris

One of the  highlights of our holiday was a visit to Disneyland Paris.

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Day 4 – Chateau de Sept Monts

Another day another Chateau.

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Day 5 – Vic Sur A’sne, Carrières de Confrécourt and Fort de Condé A day in three parts. Starting with a visit to the local village of Vic Sur A’sne. Having visited the local market we then travelled out and off to Carrières de Confrécourt, caves hidden within a woodland copse and home to the French Resistance. These were really hidden away amidst fields and mountains of sugar beet. Having stopped by a canal we travelled on to Fort de Condé, which was built in the time of the revolution.


Day 6 – Paris

A visit to the region just had to include Paris – so an early morning drive to a tube station and a train into the centre. It was a gorgeous sunny October day, perfect views from the Eiffel Tower of the city below.

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Day 7 –  Journey Home and Lille

We broke our journey home with a visit to Lille.

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It was a great holiday, a fabulous time together – little did I know it would be the last holiday with my Dad, who passed away the following year.

Pierrefonds 009

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between (Buildings)

A submission to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Streets are the arteries that run between our buildings in our towns and cities. I could have chosen streets from any number of places I’ve been to, but decided to showcase one town on one island in the Mediterranean.

These pictures of the narrow picturesque streets of Sartenne in Corsica. They have recently been scanned as part of digitising our lives in preparation for our move to Tanzania.

I took these photos way back in 1989  in an era where I didn’t journal at all so the memories are vague. The photos are definitely Sartenne as I have postcards to back them up 🙂

France (Loire) 1997

Click here for Week 1 – Brittany



Having left Chateaulin early we headed for our second Gite located in the Loire region in the village of Erbray.

On route we passed through Quimpèrle, then stopped off in Josselin.

We arrived at our Gite in Erbray late in the afternoon.

Hol 1997 (92)

In the evening we headed out to the nearby town of Chateaubriant.

We ravelled to the town of Vitré where using a guide-book we walked through the old streets and around the Chateau walls.

Leaving Vitré we journeyed on to the Chateau at Fougères. We had great fun clambering up and down all the many turrets and towers.


We drove into the Loire Valley, whee we visited some vineyards at Beaulieu du Lattay and the Rose Garden at Foué la Fontaine. Finally we drove to Saumur. Unlike Fougières, Samaur’s chateau was very much a stately home, which we were able to look around.



We drove the short distance to Voireau Reservoir, where we swam and relaxed on the beach. We also hired a pedalo and traveled around the lake.


We journeyed to Clisson, which is known as little Italy due to it’s architecture.

We had a great lunch outside of Clisson, before looking around the gardens of the nearby stately home at Menezhom. The gardens here went down to the river’s edge and followed the interesting footpath across the weir and viewed the Italian Architecture.


We traveled to Chateau Gontier and took a boat trip along the river.

In the evening we arrived at Le Lude for the “Son et Lumière” show we had read about in the Guide Book. The Chateau was impressive although we were too late to go inside. From the bridge we observed the rows of seats where we would later see the show once dusk had fallen.

The show was impressive. Countries from around the globe were depicted with music and pictures and fireworks.

It was a great way to end our holiday in France

France (Brittany) 1997

Week 1

Click here for Week 2 – Loire

In 1997 Anita’s cousin Jacqui married Stéphane in Brittany. This was a great opportunity to have a holiday in Brittany. So we decided to book two Gites. The first week with Anita’s parents and the second on our own.

Continue reading

Vendée 2010

The Vendée 2010 Page is now live in the Travel Section along with the Vendée 2007 page.

This time we crossed via ferry from Dover to Calais before journeying South along the Fast French Toll Roads.
We stopped off on route in Angers on the Loire where we had a wander around the town and grabbed some lunch.


Leaving Angers we headed South in the warm sunshine arriving at LPO in the evening – amazingly we had the exact same pitch and tent as our previous visit.

The weather was good so we made full use of the pool. This time around we generally spent a little more time on sight relaxing, but used our afternoons and evenings to visit local towns and beaches.

Le Pas Opton

Saint-Giles-Croix-de-Vie (S-G-C-D-V)
A lovely place to spend the evening. To stroll through the streets, enjoy an ice cream, browse market stalls,soak up the atmosphere.

Grand Plage
The weather remained good throughout the holiday and we spent a few afternoons on the sandy beach near S-G-C-D-V.


We had a great evening watching the sun go down and enjoying a meal. There was also the opportunity to try the bungee trampoline.

Water Towers
The Vendée region is low lying and is dotted with ornately painted Water Towers.


This island joins to the mainland via a causeway which floods at high tide.


La Rochelle

Beyond the Vendée lies La Rochelle a good place for a day trip – with its medieval fortress in the harbour.



The Feeling Forest
This place was similar to “Go Ape” in the UK series of high level walk ways, obstacles and zip wires. There were two different levels of difficulty based on your height.

The River at Apremont
Returning to Apremont we decided to spend time on the river and enjoy a pedalo journey complete with a surprise swimmer!


Le Trou du Diable

We returned here one evening, Anita having missed out on our previous visit). Then a walk along the beaches watching the waves crash.



A little seaside town south of S-G-C-D-V where Anita and I escaped one afternoon for a cuppa while the kids were at a group!

The Journey Home

Having had two glorious weeks is was time to return back to the UK, but we made the most of the journey visiting two places on route.


Anita and I had first visited Fougére back in 1996 on route to our Holiday Gite near the Loire. It is a fabulous ruined castle with lots of ramparts to climb and towers to see.


Leaving Fougere we headed for the coast of Normandy and a chance to visit Mont-Saint-Michel (St Michael’s Mount)

Weekly Word Challenge : Travel

A submission to the Weekly Word Challenge : Travel

As a child I wanted to visit every country in the world.
As yet this aim has not been achieved. However, I have traveled widely in Europe and can count the following in the list of places visited

Although I have been fortunate in recent years to travel more widely in Europe many of these countries were ‘ticked off’ in two family holidays as a child.
My dad drove for a living as a Food Technologist, so the thought of travelling across Europe with only the Ferry and first night’s accommodation booked was no problem to him. The first trip, in 1980, took us through Belgium, down through Germany following the Rhein, staying in towns (e.g Boppard) along the way – veering across Southern Germany and into Austria. We entered near Salzburg and tracked back towards Switzerland. The small town of Telfs in the Alps comes to memory as does Bregenz on the shores of Lake Constance. We then travelled on through Switzerland and back through France. The last night was memorable. Seeking to find a place in Luxembourg we did not realise that they did not accept French Francs and so ended up in Northern France in a run down town. The hotel was old and the owner somewhat intimidating – we asked for steak and were served horse (Dad was a Food Technologist and so knew the difference.

Our second trip in 1981 began as before but this time we travelled via Mannheim ( where we spent a surreal day watch the wedding of Charles and Di on TV in a Lounge accompanied by a German lady whose repeatedly commented “Schön Schön”). Leaving Manheim and on to to Southern Austria staying near Klagenfurt before crossing into what was then Yugoslavia. We turned up in one town Opatija in what is now Croatia, liked the hotel so much we stayed a week. We use the time to visit the caves at Postojna as well as spending a fabulous time on the beach. We travelled from there into Slovenia and up to Venice in Italy. Leaving Yugoslavia via Italy and Southern Germany where we stayed in the Black Forest before returning home.

These holidays were tremendous experiences in an age when petrol was a lot cheaper and company mileage included holidays! We couldn’t do it today unfortunately.

Other than this my only childhood experience of foreign parts were a German exchange and a day trip to France.
In more recent years I have travelled further afield travelling to

  • West Africa visiting The Gambia (with a brief sojourn into Senegal)
  • South East Asia visiting Vietnam and Cambodia (with an 8 hour stop over in Thailand and a journey across the city between airports – so it counts – just).


France – 2007

We have travelled to the Vendée Region in France on two occasions and both times staying on the same site Le Pas Opton.

Our first visit to LPO was in the summer of 2007.


Find out more by clicking here15 Puy De Fou 16513 Rough Rocks 04810 Causeway 00706 Water Park 00905a Jardin 02111 Zoo 00703 Chateaux_Tower 05902 Le Pas Opton 04602 Le Pas Opton 01002 Le Pas Opton 07101 St Gilles 011

Long Time Away

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As a family we have been able to travel a little within Europe. Our holidays have been either to France or Spain. Continue reading


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Gandalong is a nickname used to represent us.

We got engaged in Swanage, in August 1994, whilst away for a week Youth Hosteling in Dorset. One of the first things we did was plan our Honeymoon Continue reading


I always wanted to go abroad and after years of family camping trips, my first trip was to France on a  school French Exchange at 14 and a 2nd one at 15 – my French was rubbish Continue reading


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As a child I wanted to visit every country in the world. As yet this aim has not been achieved. However, I have travelled widely in Europe and can count the following in the list of places visited Continue reading

A thousand views :-)

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Wow! I started this blog 12 days ago and in that time we’ve had over a 1000 views from all over the planet.

Thanks for taking an interest in our ramblings. It’s very encouraging. Some may recognise who they are, based on the country. Interestingly people have viewed us from every continent apart from South America.
We’ve also been followed by some interesting people and (to be honest) some more unusual ones.


This blogging lark is quite addictive you know. 😀