Gallivants 2000

It is the intention that this page should be to be a record of our trips, travels, and escapades - in short, a diary of events of the year. I am starting with our trip to Italy in March, illustrated with just a few 'photo's. We had driven down through France and into Italy as far down as Siena. The first one below was taken in St Marks Square, Venice.

We got very tired in Italian towns, as much as anything due to the poor facilities for cars, These of course are not allowed at all in Venice. So we were glad with the cup of tea!

The leaning tower is well worth seeing, but apart from 
that the town of Pisa itself is not worth a look.

Sienna is though a different
matter, interesting streets and shops, and a great deal of character.
The view bottom left is of the main square - the famous 'Piazza
Del Campo', this is paved with brick, and encircled by lovely
tall buildings. As can just be seen in the picture, eight white
lines radiate out like a fan, making segments, each symbolizing
one of the forms of government which at one time ruled the city.

Below is the 'Ponte Vecchio' which crosses the River Arno 
in Florence, this is one of the worlds most famous bridges, 
lined with shops, which nowadays specialize in selling jewelery - 
though in the early days they sold meat - until the local squire got 
fed up with the smell, and ordered them to move away!

Since our Italian journey, our periods away from home have been much shorter, three days at the most. Most of the reason for this is that I've been 'crewing' for someone on his 33ft motor yacht. However the trips he has made have been rather to restricted for my liking, just along the south coast of England. However it was an education, and enjoyable as a change.

Apart from this, our other journeys have been down to the west country a couple of times, also to one of our other favorite haunts, north Herefordshire, close to the Welsh border.

Because of the poor weather in the middle of August, we have taken day some trips from Sherborne. On Wednesday we visited the Gillingham and Shaftesbury show, the following day, we took an afternoon trip to the 'Margery Fish' garden at East Lambrook near Martock.

On Friday, we went down to the Bicton Park gardens, these are situated near Budleigh Salterton, in east Devon. We had last visited these many years ago (I forget how long!) but I do recall the excellent agricultural museum. This is well worth a repeat visit for itself, but indeed for what it cost to enter, we felt the whole place was really good value.

We attended Melplash Show on the 24th August - this agricultural show by the way, is not at the village of that name any longer, but is now held at West Bay, Bridport. On the evening of Sunday the 24th September we took the ferry from Portsmouth to Caen (the Poole ferry being unavailable) The next day we drove across Normandy, staying at Vitre in Brittany that evening. Two following days were at Josselin, this being our third visit to this attractive old town situated less than an hours journey north of Vannes - which we visited, also paying a visit to the largest island in the almost enclosed bay, at which Vannes is at the head. Having looked at properties for sale in the area of Josselin we headed south east.

Our first long stop was at Malestroit, we found that there was a museum relating to the French resistance near by, so spent a long period of time looking round. Virtually all the exhibits were labeled in French, which was rather a pity. That night we stayed at Redon.

After journeying through the Loire region, including a period close to the river, that evening, after much looking round the town, we finally found a hotel next to the station at Thours. Realizing we were relatively close to Poitiers, we thought it would be a good idea to pay another visit to Futuroscope. This is an exceptionally large visitor attraction devoted almost entirely to the cinema, and must cover every available - or thought of - method of displaying moving pictures to an audience. We had paid this place a visit several years previously, spending two whole days there - this time being needed to see it all. However on this visit we managed to see all we felt we wanted to, though we did stay until almost nightfall.

The following day was a Sunday, and we spent most of the day traveling north, though we did stop at a interesting "planned" village called Richeleu, which we walked round, eating our 'alfresco' breakfast at the same time! That night we again had some trouble finding accommodation, but finally just as dusk was coming in, found it at Auney-sur-Odon.

We had booked to sail back on the 6.3O ferry from Cherbourg on the Monday, this allowed us time to revisit the invasion museum at Bayeux. Last November we found that it was so interesting that we could not possibly see it all in the time allowed. So we felt a second look round was well justified.

Towards the end of October we took a trip over to our cottage in Ireland, it was a little over a year since my last visit (though Muriel had visited in the summer) This coincided with a periodof intense rain - even more so in Britain than Ireland - bit unusual this! We had a bit of businessto do in Dublin, and then drove up to the cottage in continuous rain.

We usually take a few days away from the cottage to visit other places in Ireland. On this occasion we traveled through Fermanagh and Tyrone, and then into County Derry. Derry town we found was very busy for its annual Halloween celebrations, and had very little accommodation. However a visit to the tourist office located a good hotel in Buncrana, so there we stayed for a couple of nights. Our day trip was around the Inishowen Peninsula, and up as far as Malin Head.

Our return journey from the cottage was accompanied again by much rain, even the ferry sailing was canceled for the day we wished to sail. However we made use of the extra day in Ireland to explore the south western corner of County Wexford.

In late November, we spent three nights with friends at their farm near Newport in South Wales. The first full day with them was spent looking around the Welsh Museum of Country Life at St Fagans, The next day we were driven up to Tenbury Wells, here we viewed the annual auction of xmas decorations - holly, mistletoe, trees, etc. This was something I'd often heard about, and is I think a unique event. Very pleasant company, and a memorable few days.

A weekend in mid December was spent with our friends in Cheltenham - the Benns. They have a cottage a few miles away from us in Leitrim, and we often visit each other when we are both over there. At Cheltenham, their house is only around five minutes walk from the town centre, which had previously we had hardly visited - though we know its neighbour Gloucester well.