Trips in 2006

(Worth remembering)
A 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 work in 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
is the 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 covered walkways being kept nice and warm. The streets 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.

Image loading Our rail 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!

Another long rail ride the following day back to 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.

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 Beacon.

Second visit of year to French base commenced 30th March via Poole/Cherbourg. Breaking the journey down with a night at the Ibis outside Avranches. 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.

We prefer 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 on Sylvania 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 Cobbs Quay! 

As 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. Actually this 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 the appearance of the racers , a 'caravan' of publicity vehicles pass by, so this gives a modicum of entertainment. Each stage however arouses a high feeling of anticipation amongst those who wait by the roadside.

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 most days.

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 Sherborne.

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.