How the time flies…
Celebrating 3 years of wedded bliss - where else but in the city of love, Paris xox
I don’t think I’ve ever walked so much in my life! Museums, galleries, gothic cathedrals, markets & monuments. I felt guilty for feeling like a sleep in because there was too much to see but the days were so full on.
Paris certainly lived up to the hype and I can’t wait to go back in a few weeks (even if only for a bite of a freshly baked pain au chocolat!!)
Happy anniversary my bumble bee
Love, your hummingbird x
55 cities/towns in 111 days!
I actually can’t believe what was suppose to be a 2 year work/travel holiday has ended up being our gap year! Its been exactly 8 months tomorrow since we first arrived in London before moving up West Yorkshire way for a couple of months and tomorrow we’re embarking on day 1 of 111 around Europe. We’ll be arriving back home in Sydney just 5 days shy of 12 months away from home and by the looks of the itinerary will most likely need another 12 months to recover from exhaustion!
In order of appearance:
London, Amsterdam, Bruges, Rennes, Mont St Michel, Montpellier, Nimes, Marseille, Cassis, Nice, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Cinque Terre, Florence, Pisa, Venice, Verona, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Vatican, Positano, Sorrento, Athens, Santorini, Vienna, Split, Milna, Hvar, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mljet, Makarska, Zagreb, Budapest, Prague, Munich, Istanbul, Ibiza, Barcelona, Andorra la Vella, Valencia, Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Costa del Sol, Fez, Marrakesh, Casablanca, Rabat, Seville, Lisbon, Fatima, Salamanca, Dubai… SYDNEY!
Watch this space!
Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
A real life postcard!
We were fortunate enough to have perfect weather when visiting this beautiful part of the world today. When the sun broke through the clouds Le Mont Saint-Michel actually looked surreal… breathtaking. I guess its one of the reasons this rocky island and its bays are part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Inside the walls are a maze of narrow stone paths, lots of overpriced cafes, even more tourist shops and again even more tourists! Wikipedia info says the population of the island was 41 in 2006 yet it has over 3,000,000 tourists annually! Go figure.
It took us about 2 hours to walk the entire path once inside and boy were there a lot of steps. However, once up there the gorgeous vantage points of the surrounding area make it all worthwhile.
I’ve become really unfit from eating too many pastries - I need to stop eating so many pastries!
03/05/12 – 05/05/12
We’re in the south of France!
My cousin Virginia and family lived in Montpellier for (6 or 7?) years … and ohhhh the timing couldn’t have been worse as they just moved back to Sydney in the last couple months! As we walked the streets I kept thinking ‘maybe they lived in this house.. or maybe that one.. or that one?’
Our first impression of Montpellier was quite bad as we got ripped off by a cab driver who covered the meter then sneakily pressed a few buttons which ended up tripling the fare… we didn’t catch any cabs after that!
However the lasting impression of Montpellier is definitely a good one. The people were so friendly to us. Strangers would say “bonjour” in passing, something we didn’t get once in the 6 months whilst living in London and it’s also less touristy than other parts of France we’ve done.
The train ride from Montpellier to Marseille was funny; there were 2 really really really loud and naughty boys about 5yo I think? The Mum and Grandma just let them run a muck throughout the entire carriage and all you could hear was the 2 of them (obviously) then “shhh”, “shhh”, “shhh’s” from different parts of the carriage from all the annoyed passengers. It didn’t help halfway into the trip when the cart came around and the Mum decided to purchase (of all things..) Coke!! I put my headphones on once the sugar hit kicked in :-/
The Calanques cruise, Marseille
A Calanque is basically a steep walled inlet developed in limestone or dolomite. The best formations that exist are the ones we did, that is, the ones along the coast from Marseille to Cassis.
Unfortunately because it was overcast yesterday we didn’t get to see the beautiful crystal aqua colour of the sea, (Google image ‘Calanque’ and you’ll know what I mean) nevertheless the dramatic landscape was still remarkable and we had the added bonus of sailing past Chateau d’If – made famous by Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo.
05/05/12 – 07/05/12
I have to say, I do have a mixed bag of feelings towards Marseille, the second largest city in France. I loved the bustling fresh food markets, promenade with a long row of seafood restaurants, sailing the incredible Calanques & seeing Chateau d’If, amazing views from the Notre Dame and the main port lined with locals selling their fresh catch of the day.
On the downside, it just felt really really dodgy. Dan had a conversation with a nice local who warned about the dangers of tourists that get targeted and just told us to be very careful even during the day but especially at night. He was quite adamant that we not even consider withdrawing money from an ATM because once you have your €€’s, a group may follow, bash then rob you! Yikes – I don’t know if he was trying to scare us, but it worked!
On our second night we decided to go out for a seafood dinner and didn’t even need to look at the menu – we knew we’d be getting the 1kg of mussels and fries! 1kg each that is! Halfway through dinner people started cheering, then a lot of cars started honking non-stop and we wondered what on earth was causing all the commotion?? On leaving the restaurant a massive group were gathered at the port screaming, singing and celebrating…. It was like NYE on steroids, people hanging out of their cars waving flares and even setting off little firecrackers!! I asked a local what everyone was cheering about and he said it was because a new French president had just been elected. He then asked where we were from and when we said ‘Australia’ he then advised us to not hang around too long as trouble will probably break out soon and it wouldn’t be a good place for ‘people like us’. So after getting 2 warnings from 2 locals in less than 2 days we listened, power walked back to the hotel and live to tell the story :)
07/05/12 – 12/05/12
+ Cannes, Antibes, Villefranche sur mer, Monte Carlo & Eze.
‘Nice la Belle’
Our last destination in France was 4 days in Nice of the stunning Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. While we were planning the trip I knew we would be in Nice during May so wasn’t expecting beach weather as such, however when we arrived it was really hot and the forecast for the week was going to be in the 20’s and sunny! Yay!! I hadn’t been to the beach since August 2011 (who’s counting?) so there was a much needed dose of Vitamin D on its way :)
On day one we decided to get formalities out of the way and spend it sightseeing. We wandered through the main city, along the promenade des Anglais, through the traditional Cours Saleya and finally up what seemed like a never ending staircase of Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill) for sweeping views over Nice.
On days two and four we just veged out on the beach of pebbles, no messy sand business here! The water was freezing yet refreshing, aqua blue and clear! I enjoy lazy days like these… we had no agenda whatsoever and a simple walk across the road into the food markets of Cours Saleya for lunch (or gelato) to take back and eat on the beach was perfect!
The highlight of this leg of the trip was hiring a tiny Smart car on day three and driving along the coast at our own pace. We started at 8am and didn’t get back until 10:30pm so it was a massive and tiring day. Starting from Nice to Cannes, then Antibes, Villefranche sur mer, Monte Carlo, Eze and back to Nice. The scenic route of the Moyenne Cornish (on our way back from Monte Carlo) is a winding road tacked on the side of the cliffs providing beautiful views of the coast and Mediterranean countryside…nothing short of exceptional.