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

Mar 22, 2011 - Le Mans - Vroom Vroom

Before I forget....do you know which UK city Le Mans is twinned with? It's only Bolton! So, we headed a bit north west, staying in the Loire region, to a lovely little village called Yvre Levaque just outside the city of Le Mans, and bedded down there at a very nice campsite for a few days. It was a perfect site; good facilities, walking distance to the boulangerie, a leaflet in reception with local walks, and great weather. We did a couple of 7 milers just to get the blood flowing again. Goodness, it's been so long since we did any really...

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Dec 1, 2010 - Back to Gue aux Biches... and it's really WINTER

Nov. 30 to December ?? We are back at Le Gué aux Biches! Did I mention that this translates to « the ford of the female deer » = Doe crossing. There is a small lake just across the road (with fishermen stationed along the shoreline in no matter what inclement weather! Only for the week that the surface was frozen did they stop coming.) From this lake is a creek that runs through the property. I assume the name is associated with this creek. We are happy to be “home” again! We feel really comfortable in this place. I hope we can take Flo...

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Nov 15, 2010 - Chez Le Gué aux Biches

Today we leave the first wwoofing farm at Le Gué aux Biches, where Flo and Chris and their family have hosted us for almost three weeks. We were so very lucky to land at such a place, with such people, for our very first WWOOFing experience! So much to tell... I'll give you Kirianne's notes first, with some [interjections] (of course!) from me: On the 27th of October we finally had made our way to our first WWOOFing farm. There was much to do there because there were so many animals and people. [It was school vacation and there were two...

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Aug 19, 2010 - St Nazaire - Beach

This was planned to be our big day at the beach. We headed to nearby La Baule, where Carl, Jen and the boys had stayed 11 years ago with Grandma and Papa Yves. The beach is much more comfortable in August than in Sept/Oct, and we spent the whole day at the beach. Lunch was a typical French picnic, baguettes, cold cuts, mustard, fantastic cheese, wine and yoghurt. Carl went on a super low wind catamaran sail with Jean, and enjoyed the view of the 9km long beach from afar. The beach culture is amazing, with many sailing clubs and schools...

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Aug 18, 2010 - St Nazaire - Annie et Pierre's

Annie and Pierre’s house was very kid friendly. They regularly host their 10 grandchildren, so the house was well set up for our kids’ enjoyment. A mini pool table and lots of board games meant that the kids were easily able to entertain themselves. The parents got the Wifi working, and checked email and Jen even did some work. Jen’s cousin’s kids dropped by; Sebastien is 10, Camille is 13. The 5 kids disappeared into kid game heaven. After lunch, we headed to the nearest beach. The waves were ok starter sized waves, but the most...

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Aug 17, 2010 - Mont St Michel to Saint-Nazaire

We had discovered that this new building had an indoor pool, so that is where everyone headed in the morning. We then packed up and began driving due south. We stopped for breakfast at the grocery store, and loaded up on Pain au Chocolat, and raisin pastries. We did stop at McDonalds for coffee, but based on how good and different their espresso is, it can hardly count as regular McDonalds, rather a real McCafe. Interesting to note, that while the French continuously point out how much they hate McD’s, the lot in the suburbs of this non...

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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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