Trips in 2006
quick trip over to Dublin via Bournmouth - cost just
£56 return for the two of us, starts the years 'gallivants',
this from Thursday January 6th to the following Monday.
First trip of the year to our cottage outside Josselin commenced Monday
16th January. This corresponded with a cold spell, so we were very glad
to put our new wood burning stove into commission - worked well too.
Almost all our time was spent in our large upstairs room, apart from a
very few small items, the work on which is virtually complete. A lot of
doing the job, but immensely satisfying to think we did it all.
On the final Saturday, we thought we'd take a short trip down to
Vannes. Snow was falling that morning, but when the sun started to show
through the clouds, we took the risk of travelling. The situation
improved a little as we drove, but after a couple of hours, the snow
commenced again, so we thought we should return. Snow covering the road
which had no salt or grit - so I took it steady. I drove even more
slowly when I spotted car tracks heading into a rank of rubbish bins
which showed the results of the smash. A little further we passed
couple of cars
which had ended in roadside ditches - conditions were not at
all good. Almost all this 27 mile or so journey was done in second or
third gear. On this well over hours drive, almost no other vehicles
about - wise people! Obviously we were relieved to reach Josselin
without mishap. Intriguing fact is that I've almost never had to drive
under such poor conditions in Britain, but this was at least the third
time I've been forced to do it on the Continent.
Yet another flight this time to Sweden, commenced on 21st February -
from Stansted to Gothenburg. We had a bit of business to do
in this city, the substance of which I hope to reveal later in the year
on a fresh page of this site - so do keep looking in!
It struck me that Gothenburg - which
second largest city in Sweden after Stockholm,
was the nicest city I'd ever visited. Wide
streets, lovely buildings, and a most excellent closed-in shopping
centre. This latter being well needed. the
walkways being kept nice and warm. The
outside were really cold at this time, snow and ice piled up on them.
The wide river which the city straddles, was filled with chunks of ice,
sometimes giving a free ride to ducks or other wildfowl. Easy for us to
view this as our hotel, believe it or not, was a ship tied up to a
quayside! Both our room, and the restaurant area gave excellent views
of the passing flow. Sometimes large ships passed. All in all, a far
better situation than many 'Ibis's' we've stayed at.
When our business had been completed, we took a train ride to the city
of Karlstad. This being 250 Km's from Gothenburg. The journey itself
was excellent in the smoothness of ride, being as all trains in this
country appear to be, electrically powered, further enhanced by welded
rails. Scenically not so good however, most of the trip passing between
areas of fir and birch trees. Snow was falling too, as it was in
Karlstad (below). We'd booked another Ibis for the night - so no traipsing round looking for a room
in this weather.
Another long rail ride the following day
Gothenburg, taking in a side trip to a town called Jonkoping.
This lies at the southern end of Sweden's second largest lake (we had
travelled west of the largest on our way north) Luckily the train
station was right next to this water, we had a very short time here. A
direct train back to Gothenburg, returning to Stansted the next
afternoon. A short but enjoyable trip.
journey the next day took us to the city of Vasteras, this proved more
interesting than Karlstad, which had been built on a grid pattern.
One of the things I had not known about Sweden was just how much lakes
and waterways it has. Vastreras like our previous town was at the head
of a lake, though this one had I understand, access to the open sea
many miles away. A walk to the former dockside indicated that this,
like so many others, had lost most of its former trade. This though
might have been difficult to use in the depth of winter, the water
being covered with ice on our visit.
That evening, after a good meal, we fell chatting with locals,
resulting in a rather late return to our hotel. There we had a problem - our key would not open the door! What to do? I
remembered that just up the road was a nightclub, which I thought had
some connection with our place. Luckily the bouncers managed to let us
in - what a relief!
A short three day trip to the Quantocks and Exmoor took place in early
March, staying at a hotel in the tourist village of Dunster. Lovely
weather on the first day, when we took a walk along the Bristol Channel
coast near Kilve, clear views over to South Wales, were we could see
the snow peaked mountains. Weather not so good for rest of visit,
therefore I was unable to sample the view from the top of Dunkery
Second visit of year to French base commenced 30th March via
Poole/Cherbourg. Breaking the journey down with a night at the Ibis
From here we spent time visiting the Bay of Mont St Michel, where we
were fortunate to find one of the highest tides of the year, had it
risen much higher, vast areas could have become inundated. This brought
home to us what could happen if global warming really did melt ice caps
and raise sea levels.
One trip away involved driving down to send a couple of nights at the
Ibis outside Niort. The day between was spent exploring what is known
as the "Marais Poitevin" this being a really large area of low lying
ground extending from Niort to the sea. Yet another part of France
which would become inunduated by a rise in sea levels
Apart from the three day trip away, other days out were to such places
as Port Louis, the western side of the entrance to the Golf Du Morbihan
and Trinite sur Mer. A tour to the north coast also, ending up at Le
Val Andre. We returned 20th April, catching 18.30 ferry back to Poole.
usual, we took our time to travel down to our cottage, which we reached
in the mid-afternoon of the 5th. On the 7th we drove over to Vitre,
here to view the finish of that days stage of the Tour-de-France.
is the second occasion we've viewed a stage finish at Vitre - a stage
finish at all in fact - the
previous being in 1995, which then shortly followed my 'freedom' from
full time work. It had also been our first visit to France for about
fifteen years. Anyone who has never seen a stage of the 'Tour' might be
amazed at the interest it causes. After all, the cyclists really do
'flash' by! You'd be very lucky to recognize any individual riders. It
does have to
be admitted though, vast crowds wait by the roadside for a couple of
hours or more to view it. During the two hours of road closure prior to
racers , a 'caravan' of publicity vehicles pass by, so this
gives a modicum of entertainment. Each stage however
a high feeling of anticipation amongst those who wait by the roadside.
not to travel outside of this country during the Spring, being such a
nice time of year for viewing the countryside.
A pleasant couple of days in mid May was spent in the West Midlands,
staying overnight at Bewdley. Our trip on the Severn Valley Railway
gave great opportunity for photographs. This picture was shot at the
'Victoria Bridge', this being a crossing
over the River Severn, built in 1861. A very interesting piece of
engineering I suggest. There were eight carriages
behind the engine.
4th July we commenced the third visit of the year to France, sleeping
the previous evening. Details of the boat can be viewed on the page
I've put up for this purpose, but just to explain; the distance from
the marina to the ferry port is short enough that it can easily be
reached by walking, as can the
main shopping streets of Poole. We're well situated while berthed at
I've mentioned previously that when in France at this time of year, one
can partake of Bastille Day celebrations. So as usual we attended two
firework displays - on the 13th at Guegon, and on "the day" itself - or
rather evenings in both cases - the one at Josselin. Both very good,
thought the latter understandably had the edge. Weather really hot on
this visit - too hot to work even in the house. Temperature reached 34C
Friday 22nd September we traveled west to North Devon. Stopping first
at Torrington, where we had a good look round. Next, onto Bideford,
were though mid afternoon, started looking for accommodation -
difficult, so onto Westward Ho, here we found a place. Next day we
again looked at Barnstaple, then onto places we did not know so well,
starting with Mortehoe, which is on the north western 'corner' of
Devon. Then onto Ilfracombe, this town we had looked at previously, but
it was all new to us, we'd quite forgotten how it looked. Next morning
we drove through Hartland, and 'landed' at Hartland Quay, here we spent
some time, it being very near Hartland Point, another 'corner' of
coast. Remote, wild, and interesting. Then a 116 mile drive back to
Fourth visit of year to Bleno commenced 11th October via the 4PM
sailing from Poole. Returned 23rd via Roscoff/Plymouth. Apart from a
visit to Vannes and 'Presquile de Rhuyes' area of Morbihan, again time was sent on more 'doing-up'.
Very pleasent excursion to Oxford for the Nimbus Owners dinner on the
evening of the 4th November, this being held at the Hawkwell House
Hotel, were we spent the night. Very enjoyable. Took the opportunity
for a couple of walks round the town, also wandering through Woodstock
before driving home.
The years fifth trip over to our French abode started on December 13th.
This being the Christmas period, we never planned to do work, but just
relax and trips. The major one being a long drive across France to
Switzerland - this described here.
Another day commenced with a drive down the N24, coming off near
Lorient Airport, then passing through Guidel and down to the coast
opposite Port-Menech. Lunch was taken at the "honeypot" village of
Pont-Aven, the day ending at Concarneau.
On Muriels birthday we drove down to the village of Dangan, this being
near where the coastline of France turns to face westwards. A 175 mile
drive back up to Cherbourg on 2nd January completed this trip to France.