Life isn't a business to be managed, it's a mystery to be lived!

Archive for May, 2014

The neighbors are moving out…

..through their balcony!

Now I haven’t lived in acave all my life but why haven’t I seen this before? The French can’t be smarter than the rest of the countries I’ve lived in..it?

Anyways, I love it!

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Les Pays Basques and the Midi-Pyrénées

Biarritz

We were aiming to stay in Bayonne but continued as we didn’t really find something amazing over there and reached Biarritz. We found a great parking for camping cars just 300m from the beach.
G and me split up in the mornings sometimes as he is training cycling and I’m not 😛 So he went for a tour on his bike and I went for a walk. Biarritz is a little coast town with a beautiful view of the Atlantic. The town itself is hilly.

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We love eating in this car! 🙂

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Here is another “little” castle. Have no name of this one. Though the location is splendid.

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As it was a hot day we rested some hours on the beach. The water was ice cold! One toe was more than enough.

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We stayed 2 nights and one whole day in Biarritz.

St Jean de Luz

Welcome to the Pays Basques!
In the picture on the left it is peppers you can see. 
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The buildings and houses are all stored in their original facades.

 

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Stayed for a coffee on this square before we continued our road trip.

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Saint-Lary-Soulan

The uncle we visited once lived in this mountain village. G knew it was nice and cute and after an accidental 10 min trip into Spain we turned back north and reached the High Pyrénées. Love it when there is still snow on the mountains. Winter time there are around 50 pistes to discover around the village. A lot of hiking and cycling is done here as well. The elevation differs between 850-3000m, the village is located at the lower part 🙂

 

 

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After another morning cycle tour and a morning walk, G had passed by a nice little spot where we parked to have lunch. Perfect. 🙂

 

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And we made dessert as well – pancakes 🙂

 

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Before we left the Pyrénées we stopped by a lake where we had coffee by the lake and then we took off and found a nice look out spot over the lake Loudonvielle 🙂

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This was pretty cool. We saw these little “houses” from the road while driving and then we saw the sleigh dogs! There were so many of them! I wish I can come back here during winter one day. Beautiful mountains and great nature!

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Arcachon + Dyne de Pyla + St Justin

Arcachon is on the west coast, about 1h from Bordeaux, located beautifully by Bassin D’Arcachon, Arcachon Bay. I’m so happy we had the bikes to ride around. It’s liberating to drive with a camping car and to have the bikes is exactly the same. We took a drive around Arcachon and then headed to the Dyne de Pyla about 10km from Arcachon.

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Dyne de Pyla is the tallest sand dune in Europe with 110 m above sea level. You can choose to get up on it by stairs..or not 🙂 Then it is around 500m wide and 3km long. We almost walked the whole 3km. I can tell you it’s windy up there and I guess that’s how it came into existence. It is situated right on the coast and behind it is a forest that is being covered in sand slowly but surely.

 

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Between Arcachon and Dyne de Pyla we found another little spot were we stopped on the way back to get some coffee.

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Here we are just behind the camping car. Back “home” after a great day spent on bikes and sand 🙂

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We decided to not stay another night here even if we had a good spot. We continued instead south-east to St Justin where an uncle of G lives.

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The next day G’s cousin took us to have a look at a waterfall and we had to cross the river… As the log in the water was moving and I chickened out I got help from this little…branch.. 😛

 

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I started calling his cousin “Tarzan”

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Came back and had a drink before dinner

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And finished with strawberries outside

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Lovely to meet more of G’s spread family 🙂

Bordeaux

And we arrived to the fifth biggest city in France, Bordeaux, with about 1 million inhabitants.

As it was G’s first visit here as well we were both happily surprised by a spacious city. A bit up to date. Wide path walks for pedestrians, wide bike roads and simply beautiful!

Here we are just arriving to the center of the city, passing the Garonne river.

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We parked the camping car and took our bikes for a ride around town. 

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This is our favorite place. Place de la Bourse, sort of like Wall Street 😛 So that’s the building in the back. We are on the other side with this flat “fountain” which every now and then turns into steam 🙂 We cycled on it almost half the time with water, with steam, daylight, evening…yes we like this place 🙂

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Went back to the camping car to have some dinner and here we tried some of the wine we bought 🙂

 

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And then we did Bordeaux by night…and guess where we went by again? Yes more and more pictures of the same place 😛

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St Emilion & Camarsac

St Emilion

We continue driving west. Just before Bordeaux you find all the beautiful vineyards. All the Chateu-somethings. And I can promise you that all the houses…it’s not right to call them that, villas, mansions are simply a jaw-drop! All these are situated around St Emilion which itself is a gorgeous old romantic village.

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For the ones who know their wine, not me, these are well known names and basically that’s all you can find here. Well heard of wines, Grand Cru and Grand Cru Classé! The top of the top, if you know wines that is. If you don’t really care..here are some names:

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In the village we found this old square. Well it’s not a square it is a place where women came to wash clothes in the old days. Beautiful little spot and nice that they decided to keep it. If you could not imagine how they were doing I’m demonstrating in the second picture 🙂

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Pomerol is another well known place where good wine comes from

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Chateau Camarsac

 

The next day we started driving towards Bordeaux and stumbled on to this old castle. Yay! And this was both a real castle and a castle that made wine. Also this was someones “house” i.e. it is inhabited, well part of it and the rest it being rebuilt.

We had some wine tasting and bought some bottles to go as well.

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Oradour-sur-Glane and Rochefoucauld

Tragic things have happen around us. Here is another one.

The year was 1944, a summer day 10 June, when the total amount of the village inhabitants of 642 people where all massacred and so the German Waffen-SS burned down a whole village.

Their original plan was to attack Oradour-sur-Vayres because this village had some resistance movements in the village. They failed to reach the correct village as they attacked from south and reached Oradour-sur-Glane first which is just south of Oradour-sur-Vayres. As the German Waffen-SS reached the village it was too easy to take the whole village down, as this one did not have any resistance movements whatsoever.

The village was never rebuilt and everything is left just as it was found as a monument and remembrance. If you ever have the chance to visit do enter the museum as it gives you more details of the story. Oradour-sur-Glane is in the Limousin region. Image Image

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These is the village’s church. All women and children were thrown in here and they where all burned to death. One woman tried to escape. They were waiting for the roof to collapse and kill everyone.

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It was impossible to find out who everyone was because there was basically only ashes to be found. The men of the village were thrown in different places of the villages. Someones house, a school, a store of some kind and tortured separate from the women and children. The only trace was the list of names of the inhabitants kept in a register where it indicated who lived in the village.

Garage

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Someone was cooking while this happened, the pot is in the fireplace.

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A room in someones home

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And a Butchery

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After this visit it was time for lunch and happy as ever we had our first lunch in the camping car in another town. Refilled some water and emptied some of that used water too. Great stuff can be found along the way to do this for free. Why pay when you can find for free right?

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Rochefoucauld

On the road we saw a sign hinting about a castle. And as much as we love castles obviously we turned! 🙂

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Here we go

As promised I finally organized all the photos taken from our camping car road trip to and through South West of France.

I said I will only drive this thing on straight roads…now it’s kind of hard to find straight roads…especially on the country side. Since G’s parents already like me and they recently bought the camping car I didn’t really want to risk any of that so I didn’t touch it at all.

First stop then. A cousin of G who lives in central France. He’s got horses, dogs, boars and wild boars. You can literally get lost here as their property is 120 hectares!

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17 horses, including one that is on it’s way any day now.
We couldn’t ride them as these are horses for competitions, races and jumping. I liked the one on the left in the middle. Was very gentle and curious, just like me 🙂

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With all this land you can put things or an occasional old vehicle aside

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50 dogs, 3 races and 5 puppies!! Lucky meeee! (3rd race was Bernese Mountain Dog 🙂 )Image

We took a walk around the land. It sure is great to see that all these animals have lots of space to move around. He had sheeps before too and I can see there is no problem to have a whole zoo here and everyone would still have their privacy.

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Lovely oak right?
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It’s nice to do some of this work. In the evening the horses, the females with small ones and the one carrying one, are taken inside in the evening.

And it was really cool to see this little one on the second row, check out the muscles on this little boy!

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Then it’s time to feed the other ladies, and one male. I waited to enter here as I’m not the most confident when it comes to big animals like these. The females went a little nuts when all three of them are close to male.

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Then we fed the boars…the land is so big you have no idea where they can be and also they are an animal that moves around during the night.

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And last the wild boars. Nothing to be kidding about here. G’s cousin showed us a spot in the cave where one wild boar managed to brake a piece of the cave. He sells them for people to hunt. But to catch one is not a piece of cake!

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This is from the view from the opposite side of the house over the lake.

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And at last it was time to drive back to the house 🙂

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Two days and two nights on the farm was amazing. Not only because of the animals but great people too!