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Date: 23 Sep 2007 19:45:04
Title: A COUPLE OF WEEKS ASHORE - WE LOVED IT!

A couple of weeks ashore           

 

On August 9th, we picked up a rental car and headed off for a little vacation. Boy did we put in some miles. In brief it was Valencia, Andorra, St Malo, Jersey, St Malo, Castets, Bilbao and Valencia.

 

Andorra is a principality squeezed between Spain and France high in the Pyrenees. In the winter a fashionable ski resort and during the summer stuffed with tourists buying duty free goods. For example a 700cl of Jack Daniels is normally €16 to €18 while a litre in Andorra costs €9. So we picked up some Jack, some foie gras, and some confit, duck margret and other French canned and bottled goodies for a special treat back on board. Stayed the night, did some shopping, bought a lovely Polo Ralph Lauren shirt for our son-in-law’s birthday and a beaut yellow one for me. They have customs on the borders of Spain & France and the lines of traffic being searched are amazing. They waved is through, bugger and we should of bought a lot more.

 

Long days drive to St Malo, via Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Nantes etc.

 

 

   St Malo a quaint medieval town.                         Our B&B in St Malo

 

Arrived in St Malo late in the day without a reservation and after driving around for sometime, we finally drove into a B&B on the outskirts of town, they were full of course, and one thing led to another and following their directions we finally found a beautiful B&B which occupied ½ a chateau and the boudoir was elegant as was the price! By this time it was around 10:30pm and we still had to eat so we sallied forth in a wooded neighbourhood and found a fellow just closing who took pity on us and feed us a rather nice seafood collection.

 

From St Malo it was a short ferry ride to Jersey in the Chanel Islands so we decided to visit for a couple of day. Very English, very cute with lovely walking streets. We also stocked up on English written books and English speaking DVD’s. Managed to get the rest of that great English series ‘New Tricks’ a TV series  and if you have not seen it you should try, it is a wonderful show!

 

St Helena, Jersey Channel Islands

 

Back to the mainland and the real reason for our trip ashore, a visit with Jo-Anne & Jacques Larretche at their newly acquired summer house at Castets, near Dax just north of the French/Spanish border.

 

Jacques, Jo-Anne, Irene & JH all dressed up for the Dax Fair – Red & White is the theme.

 

After a joyful welcome from Jo-Anne & Jacques and their extended family we settled down to several days of being entertained and really spoiled. The following day was the Dax Festival, I am sure I have the name wrong and after publication, Jo-Anne can correct me please. The theme for the festival in red and white and Jo-Anne provided us with the appropriate neck wear and off to town we went. Jacques is a typical Frenchman; he does not really park the car but instead abandons it in an appropriate location adjacent to where he wants to be! In this case as we were turning a corner, a space opened up on the middle of the road, adjacent to a traffic island behind a truck which had been used to truck the bulls into town for the bull fights, I think the truck had special dispensation to park where it did however, Jacques with the urging of Jo-Anne & Irene decide that the space behind was just right for his car and there he parked! On returning to the car it was with relief that we had no ticket! Abandonment works!

 

 

Some of the characters from the Dax street parade.

 

This is my special friend Lou-Anne the daughter of Laure & Guinge. One of the most charismatic children I have ever met. Bright, vivacious, her eyes sparkle with special enjoyment and absolutely beautiful. The tiger was a special delight for all the children.                                                                                                                             

The rest of Jo-Anne & Jacques extended family made both of us very welcome and it was with regret that after 5 days we had to return to Valencia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the left: Lou-Anne, JH, the Princess, Quentin Jo-Anne, Phillip (their son) Emilie (Phillip’s wife) &Oscar, Laure & Guinge

 

On the way back to Valencia, we went via Bilbao in northern Spain as I wanted to visit the Guggenheim Museum. This is the second time I have tried to visit; the first was in 2004 when we left La Sables to cross the Bay of Biscay. We had to give Bilbao a miss because of the weather and the time factor. This time we made it to the museum but there was no parking within 10 to 12 blocks and it was raining off and on so again I didn’t get to see the inside, BUT we did get to photograph the exterior and were absolutely blown away with the flower ‘west highland white terrier’. It must have been 30 feet high (10 metres for those under 60 years of age). Irene and I owned a ‘westie’ called Duffy while our son Paul has two, Teddy & Maggie so the flower sculpture has special meaning for us all.

 

Our very own ‘Westie’ at the Guggenheim museum, Bilbao, Spain.

 

From there we drove back to Valencia and life on board once again. It was a terrific break from Southern Princess but we were glad to be home. A huge thank you to Jo-Anne & Jacques for a great time and all the goodies their daughter Cindy & son-in-law Thierry gave us, foie gras & pate, not to mention a couple of dozen bottles of great Bordeaux wines.

 

Love to all; John & Irene


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