Here the blog takes a slightly different format as the Halliday Holiday continues in two separate parts. Gemma and Amber will attempt to keep you up to date with where they are and what they are up to.
The parting song of the day: This Ain't Goodbye - Train
Part 1 - Gemma, Gareth, Mum and Dad
Night Location: St Jean de Luz, France
Mumisode of the Day: "We aren't taking any notice of him; he's already given me a turn this morning!" Mum telling Dad in no uncertain terms that he was not to follow Claude's instructions to turn down yet another billy-goat track.
The four of us were up really early. We had our last showers in the glass box and packed the car with considerable ease. A people-mover for only four people is ridiculously luxurious. No matter how you put the bags in they are going to all fit. Excellent!
The aim of the day was to collect another country card, this time Andorra. Leaving Barcelona, we wound our way up into the mountains toward Montserrat where Benedictine monks set up home here in the 12th Century. It was really beautiful to watch the sun rise over the mountains. The shapes of the rocks were really unusual; it looked like something out of Mexico.
Next stop Cardona. This town was fairly dead at such an early time in the morning so we were forced to buy breakfast from the local supermarket. Not much choice here. Claude then decided that he wanted us to stay in this town and had us driving around in circles for quite some time. He even led us down a billy goat track where Mum's nerves suffered considerably. The town of Cardona has a castle that looms high above everything and overlooks a salt mine. Other than that, we have seen every other residential street. Not much else to report.
Before we knew it we had the Pyrenees in sight, their snow capped peaks striking against the blue sky. Andorra is a little pocket of a country, basically a valley high up in the mountains. We made good use of the McDonalds Wifi facilities. Gareth tried to withdraw money from a picture of an ATM without success. The town itself seems quite modern: lots of stone and glass. After a few more pictures, we had left the country.
The drive down the French side was truly spectacular. The road winds down the side of the mountain and had there been room to stop, we are sure that we could have captured the perfect picture. Instead, Gemma once again has lots of action shots.
There was a lot of driving today. Luckily for us, Dad was the only one to stay awake for the whole trip. We left in the morning on the Mediterranean Coast and pulled into St Jean de Luz on the Atlantic Coast in the early evening. Not bad for a day's travelling.
The town itself is just delightful. Very much a holiday spot with lots of shops and restaurants. We can hear the sea crashing against the coast from the hotel window and the bathroom is actually a room which makes a welcome change!
Part 2 - Amber and David
Night location: Paris, France
Last night David and I decided that we would not go to Egypt as planned due to the civil unrest that seems to be escalating as each day passes. We have been keeping a close eye on the situation and finally reached a consensus that since we are unable to do all the aspects of the tour (mainly in Cairo), and would feel unsafe anyway, it would be better to call it off. Fortunately we both woke up feeling this was the best thing to do and therefore started looking for accommodation elsewhere. Our Paris trip has been extended and we are now heading to London for a week, followed by Zurich and finally Geneva. This blog therefore will keep you all updated on our new and rather unexpected holiday.
After a relaxed breakfast, David flagged down a cab and away we went to the Barcelona airport. Somewhat Italian style, our driver chose not to wear his seatbelt, however he did stay off his phone which was a plus!
After checking in, David and I had high hopes of some lunch before boarding our Easy Jet flight to Paris but alas, aside from the Duty Free shop there was one shop/cafe that had a limited assortment of snacks. Adding to this, the only toilet that could be located was out of order. On the bright side, however, David when booking our flights had chosen a package deal that included 'Speedy Boarding' which as it turns out was fantastic! We were literally the third and fourth passengers to board the flight!
Arriving in Paris we collected our bags, trekked to the train station, purchased tickets, boarded the correct train on the right platform and soon after arrived at St Michel Notre Dame. No incidents to report except for some random man taking a firm hold of my Country Road bag as I was trying to manoeuvre myself and my backpack through the Paris train station exit. Somewhat startled I said, "No," and hung on to my bag! He let go and walked away so I'm guessing he was either wanting some ladies clothing or was attempting to pull an Italian porter stunt.
Our apartment could not be in a better location. We are truly lucky! Staying in the heart of Paris, Saint Germain, walking distance to everything! Not only that but the apartment is beautiful! Looking forward to six nights in Paris.