Charlie's feedback on our trip, this is for Abbie who wanted me to write some of this blog! Here we are sitting at Charles de Gaulle airport both excited(not) about our imminent plane trip home, feeling like s***. Didn't sleep much last night but that aside.....What a wonderful trip we have had. Can't believe where we've been and what we've seen. The whole trip has been amazing. We started in Scotland and had a great week just doing what we wanted, and going where we wanted to. Highlight for me was Isle of Skye, the rugged scenery was so different to what we see back home, dark, gloomy, sheer cliffs and rocky mountaintops, but beautiful. Some of the roads were a bit narrow, (thank's Kate) but the scenery was great. The history around Stirling was great also, bringing back memories of Mel Gibson in Brave Heart.
Then on to Italy. The stay in Greve was one of the highlights for me. It was slow and relaxed, except for the driving, but great to get the feel of a small Tuscan village. The food was great, (we cooked most nights) all fresh local products we bought at the local markets. Very relaxing.
Then on to the Cinque Terra where we caught up with Vince & Julia. It was great to share the experience with friends. The rugged coastline was amazing and how and why people chose to live there and build where they did is mind blowing. They were even able to eek out an existence, by terracing the mountain sides. We have plenty of stories about our stay, ( ask Vinnie about the girls on bikes, and the rabbit).
We bid them farewell in Pisa, and on to Rome to pick up our tour. Some of the highlights for me were, for a start Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Very similar to Cinque Terra but a little more touristy. The visit to the Isle of Capri was good, but a little crowded. Then onto Orvieto, Tuscany, Assisi, Perugia with lots of hillside towns, with lots of amazing Churches, the narrow streets, and the history dates back to who knows when. A meal in the Tuscan hills was a stand out. We ate everything produced or made within a 5 km radius, including wild boar shot on the property that morning. It was delicious. Onto Florence (ok, but not great) but Venice was very good. So different to anything I have seen. The waterways, the way people live and travel is so different, everything and everybody moves around by boat. A beautiful city with lots of charm. Part 2 to come after we get home as we have to pack up & board our plane now.
From Venice we headed back east to Chianciano (a Roman spa town) through the Apennines mountains south to Montepulciano in Tuscany. You should see the road systems in Europe, they don't go up and down dale, they go through mountains and straight over valleys, so much better than here. The Chianti wines of Tuscany were not too bad! Heading back towards Rome we stopped at Tarquinia and went thru the Etruscan tombs, (dates back hundreds and thousands of years B4 the Romans) amazing place. In Rome we did all the usual things like the Vatican, St. Peter's basilica, the Sistine chapel and the Colosseum, so much history, I still can't get over how they built those things that long ago. One of the good things of doing a tour to these places is that you don't have to line up to get in, you are taken to the front of the line.
We leave Rome and fly to Paris, the only thing is the weight in the baggage, a bit of juggling to get sorted.
In Paris we have a great little apartment right in the centre of the old part of the city. We explore by foot (because it was so central) all the sites of Paris, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe. It's a great city, we ate great food and drank good wine, we had a ball. We also managed to fit in a day at the races, Long Champs, one of the best race tracks in the world.
We started our tour of France in Paris and headed into wine country, Troyes, Burgundy and Dijon well known for Champagne, Chablis and many other fine wines. We head from Dijon into the Alps to Chamonix, a beautiful town at the base of Mont Blanc. The trip to the top of the mountain in a cable car was quite nerve-racking as I don't like heights, but well worth it as the view was spectacular. One of the prettiest towns we have seen. Then on to the lakes district of Annecy and Aix Les Bains also very pretty. Next we are on to Monaco and the French Riviera, a place for the rich and famous. Two nights at the Fairmont Hotel right on the water was hard to take. Beautiful coastline but you would need to be a multi millionaire to afford to live there. Then on to Avignon for 3 nights, where we visit a three tiered Roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard. Unbelievable I still can't believe how they could build these things so long ago. Also a visit to Stes Maries de la Mer down near the Spanish boarder, very Spanish with bull fighting arenas, flamingos and cowboys. Next stop was Carcassonne, a very quaint walled town, medieval looking with ramparts and towers. Then onto Rocamadour and the Dordogne valley. Rocamadour, a town built onto the side of a cliff above the Alzou river, again medieval and I don't know how they built where they did. We then visited Lascaux, the site of the world famous prehistoric cave paintings, we saw a replica as the original cave is closed to preserve it. We head for Limoges to catch a fast train back to Paris. We finished the tour in Paris with a river cruise and a sightseeing drive.
We used our last 4 nights in an apartment in Paris to unwind and relax a little before heading home. The trip home was very long as we had an extra stopover in Singapore which was unexpected but uneventful.
What a trip it was! We met some lovely people, saw amazing places, ate great food and drank beautiful wine. What more could we have asked for? Nothing!! The whole trip was unbelievable!