Thursday, 16 November 2017

France - Monday and Tuesday

Monday, 13 November 2017

As we had not had the chance to visit the German War Cemetery we wanted to do that next.  We knew we would be going on a longer trip, but at least the weather was nice enough again to go out and we didn't really want to miss the chance.  We'd been sitting at home long enough...

So, first stop was the German cemetery.  Completely different, but not less impressive and the sheer numbers of fallen soldiers here too is a terrible fact.  Personally I don't hold it against them that they were German and on, for us, the 'wrong' side.  They were all conscripted and fought for their country.  I consider them quite different from the 'animals' that willfully tortured and killed people in the concentration camps. 

At the far end of the cemetery was a lookout from where we could see the bay and also had a good view of Mont St. Michel, which I hope to visit before I travel on the Netherlands.

As it was still eary in the day we decided to visit Domfront, a medieval town, as well.  However on the way we passed again through Ducey where we wanted to stop for a cup of coffee and a cache.  We found a nice little pub for the coffee and the cache as well. :-)

#1790 - L'eglise St-Pair

The logbook contained a stamped TB which I decided to log as well

The church seems to be missing some walls....

After that we drive on to Domfront where we admired the town and the ruines of the castle.  There are a lot of pictures, but I just can't get enough of all these beautiful century-old buildings...

The views and the autumn colours were also spectacular.

At the end of the afternoon we became just a bit weary and were in definite need for another cuppa. :-)  And when we saw what was on the menu we just had to try one of these:

On the list they had: croque monsieur and croque madame.  We had to ask what it was and learned that they are toasted sandwiches with cheese on top.  Croque madame has an added egg on top!  We ordered the meal complete with salade and enjoyed it, even though it was late for lunch and early for dinner. ;-)

One last stroll back through the ancient streets and back to the car.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Not really a lot to mention about Tuesday.  We packed early in the morning, said goodbye to Michelle and drove to Versailles.  It was a trip of approx. 4 hours, because I did not want to take the toll roads.  Frank and I had done so before on our trip from Montfalcon to Paris, but you don't see anything when you're travelling on the highways.  This was a lot more pleasant and took only roughly half an hour longer, but we had the pleasure of driving through all those little villages and the beautiful countryside.

We had coffee and lunch at Macdonalds, of all places, but it was the only place we could easily find and it was close to the first petrol station where we needed to top up.  As I had also been driving for a while behind a very slow, piloted vehicle, carrying a large yacht, a break was very welcome.

Then it was only a short half hour to Versailles and our airbnb close to the chateau, where we arrived at about 3pm.  We were shown to our room upstairs in one of the real Parisian types of apartments.  We have the use of a big room, bathroom and kitchenette and will feel quite at home for the following days.  (Pictures will follow later.)

As this is just a bit like Paris there is no room to park your car as a visitor.  Most of our spare money will go to the underground parking garage across the road, where we have to park the car for the duration of our stay. :-(  Ah well, it's probably worth it and driving was much more fun than taking the train.

After a bit of a rest, a 4 hour drive takes its toll at our age (haha), we go out for a walk and explore a bit of the neighbourhood.  Our hostess has told us about the nearby market halls, which appear to be very impressive.  I could not take pictures of all the stalls, but one at least caught my eye, because it was all cheese, and goat's cheese at that:

At near dark we walk back to our airbnb through one of the little side streets where it is still busy at this time of the day, even though it doesn't look like it in the picture...

France - Saturday and Sunday

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Saturday was one of our indoor days again, as the weather was still not crash hot (pun intended!)

I think I did a lot of research for possible house exchanges for the coming year, but I can honestly not remember anything else, so whatever we or I did can not have been overly important. ;-)

Sunday, 12 November 2017

First thing in the morning I tried to skype with another 'birthday boy' in the Netherlands as he'd reached the memorable year of 70!  When we finally got on line we chatted for a while and then it was time for lunch.

The weather had slightly improved after a very cold and frosty morning, so we decided to chance it and went out for a drive.  The aim was to visit the American and perhaps also the German war cemetery. 

On our way to search for the cemetery we discovered a water tower and tank very creatively decorated:

After a quick look at the nearby cemetery where a few Morrocan soldiers were buried we travelled on to the American one at Saint James.

As with the concentration camps, seeing all this: the many graves, the names and where they all came from, and so many (!) it really hits home again what a serious scars all these wars leave behind.

Later on, as we drive through Saint James we decide to stop and look around.  This building, the town hall, looked particularly nice in the few rays of sunshine against the background of a dark sky.

As we strolled through the streets we discovered a coffee shop and took time for a cuppa. 

We also new there to be a cache close by, so we quickly went and looked for it, as the rain was threatening.  Besides that there also was an icy cold wind all day.  There was a yellow alert in the morning and that really meant something!

#1789 - Les Saint Jamais  Tour de la Redoute

As I am far behind with my blog again I think that that was all we did before we drove home again.

At least we had had some fresh air and a chance to stretch the legs after a few days indoors.

Friday, 10 November 2017

France - Tuesday through to Friday

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Another cold morning with a touch of frost in the air.  We're definitely heading for winter.

At about nine I skype briefly with Kevin to wish him a happy birthday. His day of course had nearly passed, but it is still Tuesday in Australia, so not too late... :-)

Undecided as to what else we want to do we are just having an easy morning until there is a knock on the door.  It's Michelle, coming to ask us if we want to join her for a short trip to a goat farm to get some cheese.  Of course, we want to, so we pile into her car and off we go.

It is at St Berthevin La Tanniere, not very far away. I have not been able to take a lot of pictures, but I may get some from Michelle at a later stage.  She took one of a huge 'snow man' advertising a Christmas market on the 9th of December and later one of Patricia and me in front of a goat figure at the entrance of the farm.

We had a choice of cheeses, the long rolls or the little round ones.  We did go for the latter, one natural and one with pepper.  At home I don't eat a lot of goat's cheese, because what you get tends to be very dry, when in fact the fresh cheese is nicely soft and creamy.  When we were exchanging in Montfalcon Frank and I tried just about all the different goat's cheeses available, because each farm produces their own distinct flavour and texture.

Following a few photos taken on the farm, Chèvre fermier Le Rouërie:

I understand that these are all alpine goats

Michelle feeding the goats

Aren't we a cute couple?

Baby goats, born a month ago

Lunch was delicious, as of course I had to taste the cheese and after lunch we had a quiet afternoon, only broken by a short walk around town to get rid of our rubbish and recycling stuff.  Rubbish is not picked up here, you just walk to the nearest dump point for it and drop the bag in the big (clean and not at all smelly) containers.

The rest of the evening was taken up by work on the computer, like looking for an airbnb in Versailles, looking into more exchanges for the next two years, responding to email messages, etc. etc.  Never a dull day in my life! ;-)

Wednesday to Friday

Well, what can I say?  The weather has definitely turned and we are now experiencing real autumn weather, including fog and rain.  So, there is no real reason to go out and explore. 

We take care of our daily chores, including the washing and shopping.  In the meantime we are trying to look ahead and hope for a few dry days, as we want to visit Versailles and Paris next week.

Like I mentioned on Tuesday, I have been spending a lot of time on my laptop to do the bookings, respond to the last of the long list of outstanding email messages and now I am looking into further exchanges for the next two years.  

We still see Michelle on a regular basis to 'talk' about daily goings on, like Patricia's blocked drain in her bathroom and a lot of vegetables from their own vegie patch that we are allowed to use, like leeks, carrots, black radish and potatoes.  It looks like I have to go out now and buy some stock or stock cubes for Patricia who offered to make potato-and-leek soup. :-)

That's all for now folks!  Not even a cache has been found....