A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: nanny0gg

21. Back home

Exhausted!

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Today was our trip back which went nearly seamlessly!…apart from 30mins delay on Eurostar (power failure), a wait at St.Pancras for a taxi…then a very grumpy taxi driver who dumped us a distance away from Liverpool Street as there was nowhere close for him to bother to stop. Then the lift in the station wasn’t working but a man with a wheelchair bound wife had experienced the problem before and conducted us to find where they hide the spare lift! We did managed to get on a nice fast Norwich train but had to leave our luggage at the back and walk along way through the train to find seats. All a bit frantic, but we made it home.

REFLECTIONS

It has been a fascinating holiday and we’ve seen lots of interesting places (Brussels, Heidelberg, Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Zagreb, Villach, Innsbruck, Basel, Strasbourg and Paris). That’s 12 places and a few extra countries as our journeys have strayed into Slovenia and Italy.

Keith planned and organised it all brilliantly…hotels, trains and buses. The actual execution of the journeys has been balked somewhat …particularly by Deutsche Bahn who make UK trains look good.
We have visited so many places to get an idea if we’d like to go back for a longer visit, but that has not been without its downside.
I’m sure if we’d attempted this as young backpackers, it would have been a lot easier than as pensioners with large amounts of luggage. I found getting cases on and off trains with big “mind the gap” steps up, really taxing and strains have manifested themselves in the course of our time away. I’m also very easily stressed about getting to trains and buses on time and finding the correct ones. So I’ve spent a lot of time away stressed and feeling quite exhausted as a result. Keith seems to have coped far better and as I’ve prided myself on my good health, having so many things going wrong has upset me.
I reckon at our age, we need cosseting…someone else takes responsibility for getting our luggage and us to destinations but Keith doesn’t want to go with other people. So we’ve reached an impasse…for the moment at least…as I no longer want to attempt this sort of touring holiday again either by bus or even car. So this is

THE END

Posted by nanny0gg 15:35 Archived in France Comments (0)

20. Paris in the sunshine

And very hot it was too

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Early October and temperatures into the high 20s is ridiculous but obviously enjoyed by many Parisians and visitors as it was thronged. We decided to walk from our hotel to the Seine via whatever we saw. The new Halles shopping complex is very interesting architecturally but we didn’t shop. We crossed the Pont Neuf to Ile de La Cite and headed for Notre Dame to see how the restoration was getting on and first found ourselves in the flower market …beautiful. From the Front, the cathedral looks pretty good, but there’s still a lot of scaffolding. However, the gargoyles seem to have survived in the main. There’s a lovely series of photographs on the hoardings in front showing different aspects of the fire damage…some are very poignant.
From there we headed back to the river and followed its course to the Tuileries to sit in the welcome shade under the trees. From there, I strolled on as far as Place de La Concorde to see the fanzone constructed for the Rugby World Cup…a one off and a bit of a different view of the Place from the usual. Then we went in search of some sustenance to keep us going until we got back to the hotel…and found a lovely place by the Assemble National Metro where we had a crepe and a very welcome beer before we made use of the metro to return to the hotel. After all, we’d managed about 8 miles in the day, so we deserved to take the easy way back!

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Posted by nanny0gg 05:58 Archived in France Comments (0)

19. TGV

How to go fast without flying!

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We had a very quiet day yesterday. A wander as far as the Halles shopping mall then back to the hotel to get the luggage. Couldn’t find anywhere good to sit nearby until our early afternoon train so wandered into the station. Based on our 1st class tickets and experience with OBB lounges, we tried the SNCF Grandes Voyageurs lounge but hadn’t got the right tickets ☹️ but the “concierge” took pity on us with our luggage and said that as it was quiet there at weekends, she would let us in. So we were able to relax in comfy chairs in a nice quiet area until it was time for the TGV.😁

Wow, the TGV is stunning! It is so fast and smooth as it hurtles along at up to 320kph …it does feel very rapid and you realise that most when it gets into the outskirts of Paris and slows down to normal speeds for the last half hour.
Hotel is near Gare de l’Est and not for from Gare du Nord for tomorrow, so we had a practice run getting to Nord from our hotel to avoid a taxi in the traffic and had a recce of our surrounds here. Plenty of green-shirted Irish supporters ready for the evening’s World Cup Rugby match against Scotland…and a few Scotland supporters around too in the cafés and bars. I enjoyed the luxury of watching the game on the tv in our room…shame Scotland didn’t do better, but Ireland were excellent and deserved the win.

Posted by nanny0gg 06:19 Archived in France Comments (0)

18. Lovely Strasboug

French but German too.

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Such a pretty place with a split personality! It’s architecture shows how it’s been a borderland between France and Germany and it’s street signs are bilingual. It makes it the ideal for visitors from both France and Germany as they can feel they’ve experienced something different…but not too different. We set off from our hotel near the station and made our way to the cathedral. Huge, Gothic and with wonderful carvings, it dominates its square and the mass of tourists there to see it. In front of the building, crowds throng, but there is far more square at the side which is relatively empty and we were able to sit in the sun enjoying the grandeur. On the tourist trail next are the canals of petite France….so picturesque and photogenic is this area, it must adorn thousands of jigsaws! It was hard to decide what to photograph as with the lovely weather, it all was worthy of a picture.
The most difficult task was to decide where to eat out of the many restaurants available…except opening hours were many and varied. Some only did breakfast and lunch, others opened late or closed early. Finally we found one for which we didn’t need a second mortgage and settled down with food accompanied by a lovely fresh-tasting local Riesling. Then we returned to the hotel where as we are in France, I could watch the rugby on tv!
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Posted by nanny0gg 06:09 Archived in France Comments (0)

17. I was so wrong…

About Basel

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I thought it was just a boring modern city without much to recommend it…especially when looking out from our hotel at the huge buildings and smoking chimneys . The hotel was excellent but in a rather industrial area so we caught a tram in to the Marktplatz (free travel on public transport for visitors who are given a Basel card by their hotel…great idea). You arrive at the Marktplatz and are confronted by the enormous red brick Rathaus dating back to the 16th century but restored in 1901. It is amazing and very interesting. From there we walked (with roadworks everywhere!) to the bridge over the Rhine. We could see the location on the lovely gothic Minster so headed in the that direction and soon found we were going up a very steep hill bordered with pretty old houses and then bigger buildings which are part of the university. Really lovely and opening out into the huge Minsterplatz with trees and benches and the magnificent Minster itself. The crypt has some early paintings on the ceilings.
On our tram ride, we’d noticed a fascinating fountain in Barfussplatz so we had to go back to investigate…it’s amazing and great fun. It is by Jean Tinguely who was an avant-garde kinetic sculptor/engineer(?) who enjoyed creating Dali style works. I can’t get my video to work here, so here’s one from YouTube.

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Returning to collect our bags to get to the station was not as straightforward as it could have been, as it appeared that there had been problems with the roadworks which caused the cancellation of several trams, including the one we needed. However having decided to walk back to the hotel, we were about halfway back when a tram appeared so we made it in time to get our luggage and head to the station and our train to Strasbourg (where there was a lovely sunset to admire from our hotel).
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Posted by nanny0gg 07:02 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

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