Sunday, 14 July 2019

LONDON to PERTH


TUESDAY 9th and WEDNESDAY 10th JULY, 2019

Rajid our taxi driver arrived on time at 7.15am on TUESDAY and for the sum of 10 Pounds, delivered us to Heathrow Airport at 7.35am.  By the time we'd checked our bags, been through security, eaten a granola and yoghurt each and walked the long walk to our gate, it was time to board the flight to Singapore for the first leg of our journey.

Our flight was on an Airbus A380-800 and although we've heard and read mostly favourable comments on this plane, we have found other planes to be much more comfortable.  The flight was okay, without incident although as we took off, an overhead hatch flew open and as it was directly in line with Mike's seat, it could have been nasty if the bags inside had shot out.  Members of the air crew and several passengers were aware of this and all kept a close eye on the offending hatch until we reached our cruising height and levelled off, when one of the stewardesses was able to close it.  (Perhaps it hadn't been checked properly before take off!)

We watched a couple of films, dozed on and off throughout the flight and arrived in Singapore at about 5.45am on WEDNESDAY.  After another long walk followed by a train ride from T3 to T1 and a mediocre iced coffee/iced chocolate at one of the airport cafes, as well as another security check it was almost time to board the flight bound for Perth.

The second leg was on board a Boeing A350-900, a considerably more comfortable plane with wider seats and more leg room than the A380,

helped a little by the fact that we had our favoured aisle and window seats with a vacant seat between us.  There's not really much that can be said about air travel, it is a means to an end and it ended on time in Perth at 12.50pm on WEDNESDAY.

In a world record first, we were through immigration quickly, retrieved our luggage almost immediately and were ushered through customs and out into the fresh air in no time at all.  Three minutes wait for the uber to arrive and twenty minutes later....home!

And so ends this year's European holiday/bike ride with a total of over 900kms ridden, but as we sold the bikes in England it is unlikely that there will be a similar trip undertaken so, we'll just have to think of something else!





















































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Monday, 8 July 2019

ENGLAND 2


SUNDAY 7th JULY, 2019.

I don't like goodbyes but there are times when they are necessary,  this morning was one of those occassions when we said our farewells to Marion and Mike.  It's always sad to part with good friends.

The drive to the outskirts of London was free of incident but ever so slightly boring along the motorways so we were pleased to reach our accommodation.  Having checked in and deposited our bags in our room, we drove to Heathrow to return the hire car, took the courtesy bus to the airport and a train back to our hotel.

Later in the afternoon, we went for a stroll around the neighbourhood, which seemed a little 'dodgy' though the hotel is a good one, then visited Tesco's next door for some dinner and breakfast supplies as we have a kitchenette so can self cater, and after we'd eaten, watched TV for a while and had an early night.....a bit of a nothing day!


MONDAY 8th JULY, 2019

We have had a most enjoyable day out today.  Deciding not to  walk all over London looking at sites we have seen on previous visits and when we lived here half a century ago, after catching a train to Paddington then another to Westminster, we arrived just in time to join a cruise to Greenwich.
One of the crew provided an entertaining commentary as we cruised along, adding to our enjoyment and on reaching Greenwich, we almost immediately came across a pub where we had a pie and mash each for our lunch.


House made pies, they were delicious and we shared a table with an elderly gentleman who was a local and remembered the times when, as a boy, his Mum sent him to the pub to collect his Dad's pie....that was in the 1930s!  We walked around a little, through the Greenwich Markets


and in and out of a couple of interesting shops, into a cafe for coffee then back to the river.







On our return to Westminster we strolled along the embankment,



through the Whitehall Gardens


and called in at the Princess of Wales pub for refreshments before catching our two trains back to the hotel.  An easy, relaxing, enjoyable day, our last in England.

Tomorrow morning we will leave for home.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

ENGLAND 1


SATURDAY 6th JULY, 2019

Since arriving in England the weather has been glorious, albeit a bit late but better late than never!

THURSDAY and FRIDAY we spent on a mini tour, visiting Symonds Yat for a magnificent view of the Wye River and valley,


then into the Cotdswolds




followed by a visit to the Thames/Severn Canal & Tunnel we investigated after seeing a sign leading to it, sadly it is in disrepair but an interesting side trip



and finally, Bath.



Our previous visits to the aforementioned have been in the autumn or spring when the crowds were minimal.  This time there were hundreds of tourists out and about and parking was a premium, particularly in the smaller villages so we were pleased we had been before and disppointment was lessened.

After leaving Bath, we spent the best part of some time crawling along on the motorways M4 and M5. due to heavy traffic on both so were pleased to eventually arrive back in Somerset and a delicious meal of coriander chicken cooked by Mike M.

Today has been another lazy day, doing very little and tonight we will have our farewell dinner with Marion and Mike, tomorrow we'll drive to London for our last couple of nights in England.

ENGLAND


WEDNESDAY 3rd JULY, 2019

The ferry crossing on SUNDAY from Roscoff to Plymouth was a smooth one, the sun shone for the duration,


we chatted for most of the journey with John from Ryde who had completed three months of cycling in Europe so exchanging stories with him helped while away the time and we met him again later in a Plymouth Pub for an evening meal.




We found our B&B easily after leaving the ferry and spent a very comfortable night there, followed by a full English breakfast on MONDAY morning.  The B&B was excellent and the hosts, James & Marie, were warm, friendly and extremely helpful.  After breakfast we strolled into the city centre to have a wander around, Mike bought a haircut from one of the many barbers in the town, we had coffee in a cafe that had Portuguese tarts so Mike was in heaven and then we walked to the car rental company to collect a van to transport us and the bikes to Somerset.  First, we had to return to the B&B to load the bikes and bags and then we set off on the A38 and later the M5 north to Somerset.

With mixed feelings, on MONDAY evening we sold the bikes but as we have bikes at home will keep on cycling.

TUESDAY was a lazy day, spent doing as little as possible and this morning, we exchanged the van for a car and are now in the Wye valley, having driven to Ross on Wye via the Dean Forest Steam Railway and the Forest of Dean.


Our hotel is a couple of kms out of Ross, we chose a nearby pub for a meal but found that it wasn't providing meals tonight.  Very friendly fellow drinkers recommended another pub within easy walking distance, we took their advice and enjoyed our shared seafood platter whicch we weren't able to finish, though we did our best!


Saturday, 29 June 2019

PLOUGESNAU to ROSCOFF


FRIDAY 28th JUNE, 2019


The scene that greeted us this morning when we pulled back the curtains!

We left at 8 o'clock this morning for the drive on the fast road to Roscoff, giving ourselves plenty of time to call in at a service station to refuel the van, to find the rental car location in order to return the van and to unload the van.  It was just as well we did as refuelling in France is not as simple as it could be for foreigners....for instance, you cannot operate the bowser with an Australian card and we don't have a French one or an English one, there is often no attendant around to assist or to pay in cash and so the whole process can be rather frustrating.  However, the one we went to this morning was attached to the Casino Supermarket, so having spent about 20 minutes trying to get the bowser to work, Mike went into the shop and came back with a very obliging young man who tried to assist, couldn't, went back into the shop, returned with the appropiate card, the van was refuelled and we were able to pay the cashier in the shop.  Crisis averted and typical of the French people who, with very few exceptions, have been extremely friendly, polite and will go out of their way to be helpful.  Vive la France!

After returning, unloading the van and putting the bags on the bikes, we rode into the old port of Roscoff, sat in a cafe in the sunshine and enjoyed our morning coffee.  Mike volunteered to ride to a nearby laundry to do a load of washing, we sat on a bench overlooking the port and people watched till the washing was done and dried, had lunch and then checked into our hotel.

We went for a ride after settling in, to nearby Santec but it was closed!  Thinking we might find a cafe there where we could have coffee and f.a.c.c.s or an ice cream, we were disappointed to find the few shops there were closed so we returned to Roscoff, found a cafe where a beer and ice cream were consumed (not together) and are now having a break before going in search of dinner.

A heavy mist has settled over the town so I hope we don't get lost!

ROSCOFF


SATURDAY 29th JUNE, 2019

Roscoff was still shrouded in a heavy mist this morning and though it had lifted considerably by midday, there is still a bit of it about.

We had a late, lazy morning, not falling out of bed until well after 8 o'clock, showered, dressed and strolled to the centre ville for breakfast.  While in the cafe, we decided to catch the 11o'clock ferry across to Ile de Batz,  so bought tickets, walked along the very long pier.


to the boat and boarded for the 15 minute journey.  It was a bit eerie sailing through the mist, not a lot to see on the way but the island was well worth the visit.

Ile de Batz is home to the Jardin Georges Delaselle which was established in 1897 and comprises more than 2500 different species.


While it is possible to walk around the island by following the walking path, we took the easier path along the bitumen road (marked in red on the map)

and visited the very impressive gardens, the ruins of the St Anne Chapel

and the Notre Dame du Bon Secours before returning to the jetty to await the ferry back to Roscoff.  The mist had lifted somewhat and the tide had come in so we were able to dock at the quay, instead of at the very long pier.

A very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

Strolling back to the hotel for a rest, we called in at the bar across the road for some light refreshments, then at the hotel entrance met a couple from Melbourne who have just completed a 3 month motor bike tour through several countries in southern Europe and were checking in for the night.

The hotel here is old and tired (a bit like us!) and needs some TLC but is clean, comfortable and cheap (just like us!)  Our favourite feature of the hotel is the miniscule lift, which is just about big enough for two people to squeeze into and saves us from climbing three flights of stairs.

Tonight is our last in France before ferrying back to Plymouth tomorrow.  The forecast is for sunny weather which should make for a pleasant crossing, hopefully there will be no heavy mist so we'll not get lost!

ps : The lack of TLC mentioned earlier was evident when I tripped and fell when entering the lift               which hadn't aligned with the floor in the hallway and after helping me up, Mike also tripped               and very nearly fell.

pps :  The sun decided to make appearance at 7.30pm and is still shining brightly an hour later!

Thursday, 27 June 2019

GUISSENY to PLOUGASNOU

THURSDAY, 27th JUNE, 2019

It was still windy this morning and overcast though we had no rain and it was reasonably warm out of the wind.

We headed east today, in the northern part of Brittany and our planned visit to the Chateau de Kerjean fell through when we discovered that opening time was not until 2.00pm, too long for us to hang around.

Our first stop was in the rather pleasant town of Cleder where we had coffee in a bar/tabac, followed by a short stroll around the town, watching a couple of gardeners planting new flowers in the church garden and the vacuum cleaner man hoovering the paths.

Then we went on to St Pol de Leon which was our first port of call 6 weeks ago when we first arrived in France.  This time we drove down to the port and though the wind was still blowing, the sun had come out making our whole world much brighter!  We climbed the Rocher Ste Anne for magnificent views

and walked through the park back to the van, then visited the beach at Carantec before taking the scenic route south along the Bay of Morlaix.

In Morlaix, we made a quick visit to the patisserie where we had bought lunch on our first day and again bought a filled roll, then made a u-turn to head north along the other side of the bay, stopping at Dourduff where we sat on a stone wall, due to the absence of a picnic table or bench, and ate our roll.

Next stop was at the 'Great Cairn of Barnenez', the largest mausoleum in Europe, built between 4,500 and 3,900 B.C., 75 metres long and 28 metres wide and features eleven burial chambers.


We have a small apartment tonight and have a kitchen so we're self catering, have a wonderful view of the beach just across the street so can sit and watch the waves, the kite surfers and the people strolling along the sand.

It's very relaxing.