Part 1 - Gemma, Gareth, Mum and Dad
Night Location: St Jean de Luz, France
Mumisode of the Day: "Yes, that would be lovely." Mum's response to the French waitress when offered a choice of desserts because she didn't understand any of the options.
This morning Mum was in her element. She awoke to the sound of the waves crashing against the sand and the call of the gulls. Mum has become increasingly fond of seagulls during this trip. After a later start for the rest of us, we set off to explore the town on foot. Given the brilliant blue sky and the sound of the beach, the beach is where we headed first. It is quite beautiful; it has the shape of a giant banana and you can walk right around the edge on a wide promenade. At the far end of the shore we climbed up the promontory where we looked out to sea. The waves crashing against the break-water were really quite impressive.
At the other end of the shore, part of the break-water connects to an old fort. We made every attempt to climb over this but the climb up is blocked off. Still made for some great photos though. The sun and the sea seem so incongruous with the end of autumn.
Dad was in his element this afternoon as we just drove. We drove all along the coast, up into the foothills and ended up in Biarritz. Biarritz is home to the French surfing competition and today did not disappoint. There were surfers out, attempting to catch a wave and not end up crashing into the rocks.
After a quick hot chocolate, Gareth, Gemma and Dad all climbed the 248 steps of the lighthouse. Even though she was warned, Gemma still hit her head at the top as she emerged into the sunlight. The view was so worth the climb; you could see up and down the coast. The sun was shining through the clouds in such a way that the sea became a shimmering silver and the buildings and rocks merely silhouettes.
The park at the bottom of the lighthouse had a ship's propeller cemented into the ground. Apparently they had a similar experience here to the Newcastle ship that ran aground. It sits now as a permanent reminder.
The four of us sat on the edge of the park and watched the tide come in and the sun go down. It was just beautiful to see the landscape change with the different light. Many photos were taken by Gemma; she can probably create a sunset book just with these photos.
A little further up the coast, in the twilight, we walked out across a bridge that connects the mainland with one of the rocks out in the sea. It was amazing to see the huge waves crash past. Several observers were completely soaked.
By this stage in the evening everyone was fairly starving as we hadn't eaten lunch and had just survived on the contents of the car's emergency food supplies. Unfortunately we were still a good hour from the opening times of most restaurants. Eventually we found a bar that promised a jazz band and although the French waitress looked very surprised when we were requesting food, at last there was food!
Walking back to the car in the evening, it was fantastic to see the lighthouse working with its giant beam shining over the sea and flashing around quickly. So much satisfaction that we had climbed up there. Very sad to be leaving this part of the coast and the last night in France for this trip.
Part 2 - Amber and David
Night location: Paris - France
A fantastic start to our Paris holiday. A lazy morning complete with freshly made scrambled eggs, orange juice and a patchy blue sky! We opted for a relaxed start to our Paris stay and thus avoided the metro and all museums and instead headed for the Jardin de Luxembourg, a beautiful open park not far from our apartment. On our journey we spotted a beautiful patisserie and purchased pastries that we ate beside the fountain and quite simply breathed in the Parisian air.
From here, we headed in the opposite direction towards the river and the Pont Neuf which apparently is the oldest bridge in Paris, in spite of it being called the 'new' bridge! A hot chocolate later and a quick look at the Notre Dame, it was time to head home and enjoy some left over vegetable soup that we had made last night, complete with fresh baguette of course!