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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Reze, Pays de la Loire, France

Jul 26, 2010 - 2 days in Venezia

Last leg of the Italy travels - and Venice is worth waiting for. Apart from one ride on a vaporetto down the Grand Canal to view some of the smaller palaces, we traversed much of the mainland on foot (not my idea!!).As the photos show we were in the Piazza San Marco with all our pigeon friends, viewed the Basilica and Doge's Palace and the beautiful church of Santa Maria della Salute. The shops can certainly occupy most of a day, with their beautiful glassware and very extravagant masks being the predominant sellers.Again, much Italian...

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Jul 24, 2010 - 2 days in Firenze

Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, must be one of the prettiest cities to visit. We, of course, visited the obligatory Uffizi Galleries that are "stuffed full" with Boticelli,da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo etc and really only had time for a nibble unfortunately. We dined more generously however on the pan forte,nougat,calzone, pizza and gelatos while browsing the many, many markets (mostly leather products) and wandering through the beautiful little streets and palazzos.We were entertained by very cultured buskers as you may expect;...

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Jul 21, 2010 - 3 days in Roma

Rome - the eternal city : certainly seemed eternal as we sweltered it out in 39* heat with all the masses! Did we walk and walk and walk!! Covered the Colosseum,up the Palatine Hill to look out over the Roman Forum and Palazzia Venezzia. Joined Neptune and his chariot at the Trevi Fountains - that water looked so appealing. Had a break for lunch of some gnocchi and pizza in a dim barely air-conned trattoria and continued on to the Pantheon, a desperate search for ATMs that worked, past all the endless souvenir shops and more jolly...

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Jul 17, 2010 - Visit to family in Clermont-Ferrand

We were thrilled to be able to spend 4 days with my cousin, Craig, his wonderful wife and 6 amazing children at their home in Clermont-Ferrand.This was in the Puy-de-Dome Dept of the Auvergne region(they even have their own coke flavour - Auvergne Coke ! French version of NZ's L & P).The region is surrounded by a chain of extinct volcanoes,the tallest of which we had the ...ahem, pleasure of climbing one hot Sunday afternoon. The view from the summit,1465m over the area, was worth the climb, as was the cheerful company on the ascent!...

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Jul 14, 2010 - Bastille Day and Clisson ruined castle

Byron and Tim rejoined us after their London and Italy trip just in time for Bastille Day on the 14th. We joined with the largest group of people I've seen in Nantes (where do they all go in the daytime?) along a spot in town near the river between several bridges with a large central stage. Various food and wine stalls kept everyone going until the entertainment kicked in at about 9:30pm. An amazing pop/orchestral band performed without stop for 90 minutes, complete with frenzied violinist, cellist,trumpeter,drummer etc. The violinist...

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Jul 12, 2010 - Visit to Clisson, medieval village 20 odd kms from Nantes

The three of us took a train trip to one of the closest villages to Nantes, Clisson. This is about 30kms away, and hosts the infamous "Hellquest" festival just outside it's walls. What an incredible discovery this little town was !! One of the most beautiful little villages we've seen, described as "where Brittany meets Tuscany". It is centered around the River Moine and boasts mainly Italian architecture, which can be seen in the style of building and the typical red tiles and bricks, old villas and shady pine trees. We visited the old...

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Jul 11, 2010 - Downtime in Nantes

Well, what is "normal" everyday life like when we are not traveling : not highly fascinating actually...... more or less like being on holiday during normal downtimes! Books to read, food to shop for - do love the low food prices here and realise how ripped off we are in NZ!! - computers to waste time on (!!), photos to download, walks to be done, Abby's schoolwork to catch up on, spot of laundry and "light" housework (very light I must admit!) and the next bit of travelplanning and on-line booking, which seems to take forever !! Everynow...

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Jul 9, 2010 - Visit to Quimper: Atlantic-Brittany coast

We were fortunate enough to stay with a distant aunt of mine who lives in a large house in the hills of Western France, in Quimper (south-west Brittany) .Quimper is the capital of the Finsitere department and lies in a valley between the Odet and Steir rivers. It is a very scenic setting with cobbled streets, lined with medieval half-timbred buildings, and little bridges crossing the river. The town boasts the oldest and largest cathedral of its type in Brittany (13 - 16th centuries). Not that we were short of cathedrals to see - must be...

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Jul 2, 2010 - Train trip to La Boule beach at St. Nazaire

On Friday we took a train trip of about an hour to one of the many beaches at St Nazaire, La Boule. This is a beautiful seaside town with many apartments right on the beach, creperies with bright umbrellas literally on the sand and pretty touristy shops lining the streets. This is the last day of school term here so the long beach wasn't full. Perhaps the rather icy water (certainly not like the Indian Ocean!) accounted for that too. Still, nothing like saying you've swum in the Atlantic - and in July to motivate hubby and I to take a dip....

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Jun 30, 2010 - whun with the whole whanau....phonetics fun too!

Byron and Tim arrived in Nantes after 3 very full (and hot) days in Dubai with family. Great to have them here and show them some of the local sights, sounds, foods and smells.....not all good in this heat, believe me! Tim has become a fan on the flan (actually not too dissimilar from melktert, although I'm sure purists on both sides would be horrified to hear that :).Many stops have been made to the local boulangerie to fill up hungry people before / after/in between meals en-route to other sights. It's good to just hang around locally...

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Jun 27, 2010 - 5 days in Edinburgh

Glorious weather welcomed us into this historic and beautiful city. Immediate impact is made by the many ancient buildings and cathedrals, dominated by the castle at the highest point, and the green rolling hills. We made our way along the main street, ducking into a few pubs to see the soccer( a NZ draw against Italy!!) and drink cider (okay to take children into as long as before 8pm). Once you've ascended to the castle, you then have an amazing walk down the cobbled Royal Mile, filled with quaint little shops (and their share of touristy...

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Jun 23, 2010 - 3 days in London

Incredible London..... English again, whew! We certainly did it all - or at least did ourselves proud in the 3+ days we had! Buck Palace, cornish pasties in St. James Park (really reminded me of my Cornish nana's pasties), Trafalgar Square, Picadilly market, Leicester,the tower,Big Ben, Freedom Square with Nelson Mandela in place, Harrods..... monopoly came to life for Abby :) We were lucky enough to enter Westminster cathedral as a Mass was in place,accompanied by a beautiful boys' choir.Of course we did the tourist things like The Eye...

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