Saturday, June 28, 2014

I went to France ...

I did :)
I went to France!!!
Spur of the moment decision,
needed a holiday,
so I went to France,
(somewhere I've wanted to visit
 for many many years)
and I spent three weeks
 travelling with Jake.
 This is a how I spent my "french'' summer holiday :)
I flew into Lyon,
late at night,
and got to spend the next day exploring the city
before we pulled out of town that night.

Beautiful, beautiful city:)
Crazy, crazy drivers!!!
But hey,
in a strange city
you can get away with making
some pretty dumb and ever so slightly
hair raising mistakes
on the roads!!!
Just so long as you hold your line!
Keep your nerve!
And don't make eye contact with
the driver of the other vehicle :)
We went camping for most of our holiday -
lots of fun,
and thankfully it didn't rain
any of the nights we were under canvas.
In fact it rained for a short time only one day.
Blissfully hot and summery the whole time:)
Next morning it was my birthday.
What a buzz - spending my birthday in France.
Never ever did I imagine that :)
Birthday breakfast camping style,
fresh baguette and strawberry jam,
and a fairly big smiley face :)
We did not venture back to any of the major cities,
after leaving Lyon.
Our route took us through tiny little villages
and larger towns,
and I could not resist taking photos
of the houses.
I would wander off down narrow alleys,
one after the other,
lined with fabulous old houses.
Flower boxes everywhere,
colourful window shutters and doors,
and crumbling stonework.
We stayed several nights in a small town
called Serres.
It was magic :)

While Jake was away doing training rides,
I went walking.
Almost all of the walks
were up into the mountains.
The views from the tops of the trails
were always worth it,
utterly incredible,
but boy do they grow steep mountains over there.
This from the top of the mountains
behind Serres ...
After that we headed south,
to the tiny principality of Andorra.
On the border of France and Spain.
It took us a couple of days to get there.
To be expected, really,
when there were photo opportunities
literally around every corner.
We stopped when we got to Le Masana -
a picture postcard village :)
Soooo pretty.
This was where Jake's first mountain bike race
was being held.
So again I did lots of walking
while he was riding and racing.
I managed to find a track that I was pretty sure
would take me to the border of Spain.
And it did :)
I will admit that it took a little longer
than I had anticipated,
and it took me a little higher into the mountains
than I realised,
but hey,
for some ridiculous reason,
it feels really good to be able to say
"I walked to Spain" :)
Leaving Andorra, we headed back north,
but not before a slight detour to the sea.
I just didn't think it would be right,
not to at least be able to say
that I had dipped my toes into the Mediterranean
when we were so close.
Like every other day of the holiday,
it was incredibly hot,
so it was a mad dash across the sand
to the waters edge,
and dip my toes I did :)
Next stop - Briancon.
We were staying in the old historical part
of this town.

This was in fact
the only town that we passed through
where I found a stitchy shop,
two of them !!
One was a gorgeous little cross-stitch shop
where a couple of fabulous books
found their way into my hands,
and the other was a furnishing fabric shop
that just happened to have
the most divine selection of
ribbons and laces.
And yes, of course I could not leave
without a selection :)
It just wouldn't have felt right
to leave empty handed!!
Next stop - Valloire,
the site of race two for Jake.
The towns and villages just seemed
to get prettier.
To get to this town,
we crossed a mountain range so high.
Over 2600 metres,
and in places it really was quite scary
looking over the side of the road
to the valleys below.
More walking high up into the hills
during the days.
The wildflowers were in full bloom,
and I couldn't resist taking so many pictures of them
but I will leave that for another post.
There was the cutest little church I could see
way up the hillside from the town
and it didn't take long to find the
walking track to get to it ...
... from there I looked down on
the village of Valloire...
... these from around the village ...
... possibly the cutest chook sheds I've ever seen
- individual chook apartments :)
... fabulously neat and luscious looking
vegetable gardens everywhere.
It has inspired me to sort my vegie patch out
this coming season.
Sadly after leaving Valloire
we had to head back to Lyon
as my holiday was nearly over.
Managed to squeeze in a few more
historic villages along the way.
There is something about the houses
that inrigues me.
Not sure if it is the stonework,
or the window shutters and doors
(I have to admit to having taken quite a few pictures,
several dozen I'm sure,
 of windows and doors :)
or maybe it's the colours.
I don't know,
but I am utterly fascinated by them
These are from the township of Crimeu ...

... and a couple more for good measure ...

So ...
this was my holiday in France.
I have a feeling that I just might
have to go back
and see a little bit more :)
Such a beautiful country,
and the people we met along the way
were just so friendly and welcoming.
Amazing holiday,
in absolutely all respects :)