Michael and Pam's Travels

Venice to Paris, Belgium then Normandy. 2013

 

FOB Venice, Italy.  2013

FOB Venice, Italy. 2013

 

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Our 5th week starts with our cruise drawing to a close. Our last port of call is Venice and the Silhouette will stay an extra day allowing us to enjoy Venice without relocating to a hotel. The weather doesn’t do us any favours but we have fun anyway. We wander the narrow streets and squares, take a gondola ride and spend the evening in St Marks Square. Another one off the bucket list. It has been a wonderful 12 days.

 

The Grande Canal, Venice, Italy.  2013

The Grande Canal, Venice, Italy. 2013

 

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Michael and Pam doing the Gondola thing, the Gondolier obviously the business, Venice.  2013

Michael and Pam doing the Gondola thing, the Gondolier obviously the business, Venice. 2013

 

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The Grande Canal, Venice, Italy.  2013

The Grande Canal, Venice, Italy. 2013

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It’s an early flight and Easyjet has us in Paris (Orly) by 1130 and on our way to Avis to pick up our motorhomes for the next leg of our adventure. We arrive at 1230, lunchtime apparently. Sorry we are closed until 2 pm. What a way to run a business. ย Anyway the 4 off us set off in our two rented camper-cars, on the wrong side of the road in the Paris afternoon traffic. ย The traffic is heavy and we place our holiday in the hands of our garmin gps. ย Once out of the city the freeway is well marked and our anxiety levels have reduced. ย However I can tell we will not make the planned camping ground by closing. ย So we stop at a servo and I call the camping ground the manageress cannot understand me and I cannot understand her. ย  Two and a bit hours later we arrive in Corbie, the campsite is locked up like Fort Knox. ย As we stand looking at the gate, a little man appears, in reasonable english he asks if we are the Australians and lets us in ! ย Corbie, a small town on the edge of the Somme in Northern France, it has the closest campsite to the Adelaide Cemetery.

 

Left hand drive, this is a little different, Belgium.  2013

Left hand drive, this is a little different, France. 2013

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A chilly morning in Corbie.

A chilly morning in Corbie.

 

The Town Square, Corbie, France.  2011

The Town Square, Corbie, France. 2011

A misty morning, The Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, France.  2013

A misty morning, The Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, France. 2013

The next morning we visit the Australian National Cemetery in Villers-Bretonneux. The morning is wet and cold but the Cemetery and it’s gardens are beautiful. The monument itself providing a wonderful view of the surrounding valley.

 

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By late morning we are driving through the fields of northern France. ย That afternoon we cross into Belgium and make our way to Ypres. ย After a little confusion regarding a one way street we are safely settled in a council campsite.

 

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That evening we attend the last post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres. The service has been conducted every night for more that 80 years commemorating those allied serviceman killed in the Great War with no known resting place. I cannot recommend attending more highly and visiting Ypres itself which was a wonderful experience.

 

The impressive Ypres Cloths Hall

The impressive Ypres Cloths Hall

The Kasteelgracht, Ypres.  Its a beautiful walk from the campsite to the Gate.

The Kasteelgracht, Ypres. Its a beautiful walk from the campsite to the Gate.

The Menin Gate.

The Menin Gate.

The Menin Gate, inscribed with the names of 54,896 Commonwealth Soldiers with no known graves.

The Menin Gate, inscribed with the names of 54,896 Commonwealth Soldiers with no known graves.

Our little gang enjoying a drink in a little pub across from the Gate

Our little gang enjoying a drink in a little pub across from the Gate

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Wind turbines line the roads and hills everywhere

Wind turbines line the roads and hills everywhere

 

Overnight in Condette, mmm someones got a wet towel

Overnight in Condette, mmm someones got a wet towel

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We say goodbye to Belgium and head south west into Normandy, staying overnight in Condette before continuing on to Honfluer for lunch. The Lonely Planet Guide describes Honfluer as one of the most beautiful seaside villages in France. Although we note many similar villages as we travel the Normandy Coast most with far less Japanese tourists.

 

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The Harbour in Honfluer, a very pretty place.

The Harbour in Honfluer, a very pretty place.

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Honfluer, the tourist trap.

Honfluer, the tourist trap.

 

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Sand appears to be a bit courser than Cronulla

Sand appears to be a bit courser than Cronulla

We camp in Arromanches where we visit various sites along the D-Day beaches and the nearby museum. The remnants of Mulberry Harbour constructed in the days after the landing still clearly visible in the bay.

 

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Walking Sword Beach where Pam's Father Des worked on D Day

Walking Sword Beach where Pam’s Father Des worked on D Day

D Day Museum Arromanches, lots of interesting war stuff

D Day Museum Arromanches, lots of interesting war stuff

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Walking the coastline north of Arromanches, the remnants of the Mulberry Harbour still visible in the bay.

Walking the coastline north of Arromanches, the remnants of the Mulberry Harbour still visible in the bay.

Moving away from the coast we head south-west for Bayeux. ย Its our first real experience in driving through the French countryside on the D roads. ย Through small villages open farmland and narrow roads. ย There is little traffic and we roll along in convoy. ย Arriving in Bayeux we find a carpark near the cathedral and museum and head of to explore.

 

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Its another cold and windy day and getting inside is a pleasure.

 

Pam and Julie enjoying the early Autumn weather, Bayeux

Pam and Julie enjoying the early Autumn weather, Bayeux

No picture of the Bayeux tapestry allowed, but its a bit like this except longer

No pictures of the Bayeux tapestry allowed, but its a bit like this except longer, much longer !

Old mill, now restaurant adjacent the museum, simple beautiful.

Old mill, now restaurant adjacent the museum, simple beautiful.

Cathedral Notre-Dame de Bayeux, 1077. Original home of the tapestry

Cathedral Notre-Dame de Bayeux, 1077. Original home of the tapestry

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We have all settled into the touring by camper-car life style. Driving for a couple of hours a day, then setting up camp, going for a walk. Drinks in a little bar or the campers and chatting about our day.

 

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