Red Wine, Baguettes & Smelly Cheese travel blog

Trying to look the part in Cambridge

Punting on the River Cam in Cambridge

Quite the combination

Camped on the banks of the Seine at Maison Lafitte

Chateau at Maison Lafitte

One of our new fold-up bikes overlooking Paris

Springtime in Paris - Notre Dame

Amazing who you meet in Paris - Lloyd & Rhiannon Lewis, our...

After one or two drinks

Lloyd after several more drinks

In one of our favourite cities

Bathroom door art

Musee D'Orsay - art gallery in old Orsay RailwayStation

Musee D'Orsay - looking through the clock to the streets of Paris

After a tough day in the office - last train home from...

Our first hike of the trip in the woods around the wonderful...

Clearly the French Environmental Movement has not visited these parts

This year we are planning on hiking throughout South West France with our first stop the Dordogne region.

The first 2 weeks of our new adventure has seen us manically socializing and visiting with family and friends in England, visiting Cambridge and Welwyn Garden City to stay with Ian’s cousin, zipping to France on the Chunnel and spending 3 days in the wonderful city of Paris, where we spent a great day with our good friends from home – Lloyd & Rhiannon.

This time we brought over 2 folding bikes for racing around the towns and to get us to the start of some of our planned remote hikes. So far, they have been a lot of fun and easily fit inside the van when we are travelling. It is so good to be back in our beloved camper van and all the freedom that it offers.

We have ended this week in the tiny village of Eguzan in the middle of France, where we completed our first hike of the trip.

Notable events so far include:

• The good news about bringing 2 bikes to Europe on Air Transat is that it is inexpensive - $30 per box. The bad news is that once you get to Manchester airport, it is almost impossible to physically get the bikes out of the terminal building as there are bollards, narrow “no return possible” exit ways and no one to help. We did consider holding an auction in the baggage area and then buyingi bikes in England.

• In most countries when you enter your name and title to register a product, the options are: Mr. Mrs. or Ms. - not in the UK. When Liz tried to top up her UK mobile phone, she had to register her name and title. Options for title included: CAPT, CPL, DR, Lady, Lord, Miss, Mrs, Ms, Mr, PC, Prof, Rev, Sgt, Sir, WPC. You have to love British bureaucracy and I won’t tell you which title she chose…………

• When you are in the middle of a shower, covered in soap and you realize you have left your towel in the camper van, you know it is not going to end well.

• A couple of years ago we commented on the quirkiness of automatic washrooms in Europe. Well here is a new one. After using the urinal in a motorway stop, I tried to wash my hands by using the “automatic” water tap. After much prodding, pushing, lifting and waving of hands a spray of water did appear – out of the urinal and all over the shoes of the next guy in line. Luckily he saw the funny side.

• The good news about having an emergency root canal procedure is that after a few hours the excruciating pain has all but gone. The bad news is that if your appointment is at 4:30 p.m. and the dentist closes at 5:00 p.m., the whole process is over in 20 minutes and feels like you have been mugged by a Russian construction worker armed with a power drill.

European trivia

Every week we will give you a trivia question, with the answer given the following week. Remember, no Googling!

Which town or city in the UK does the band Deep Purple come from?

Until next week,

Liz & Ian

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