A Travellerspoint blog

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The night before

Fly to Auckland tomorrow (28th) afternoon. Getting closer to being ready, just a small hiccup with some cash cards that I'm sure we can sort out first thing tomorrow morning. Bags not yet packed but there are growing piles of 'things' to be taken - Dave as usual has a list, my process is more organic!
In the morning we just need to move some of the stock into fresh paddocks, get the piles of things into suitcases, shower, dress and go....more en route!

Posted by Kanumera 00:34 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Auckland

Not much sleep last night, motel too noisy! Relief to get up at 5.30am and head off to airport. Have had coffee and feeling awake now! Boarding call in half an hour or so. Just watching food etc being loaded onto our Korean Air flight. So 12 hour flight to Seoul where we will spend the night.

Posted by Kanumera 12:16 Comments (0)

Seoul

Twelve hour flight from Auckland to Seoul was easily passed by watching six movies in a row! Food & wine average but lovely helpful hostesses even on a very full flight.

Inchong airport is huge but very tidy & orderly. Probably the easiest immigration process ever. We're staying at the Regent Hyatt a 5 minute busride from the terminal.

Dave sensibly put shorts into his carry on baggage so is currently in the gym then intends to go for a swim! I've just got the clothes on my back so am somewhat annoyed with myself.

Posted by Kanumera 03:16 Comments (0)

Paris and on to Ile D'Oleron

Somehow the flight from Seoul to Paris seemed to take a very long time, even though it was no longer than the Auckland - Seoul flight. We finally landed though and waited ages for our bags to come through. Then just as we walked towards the final gate to customs, some very serious men put up barriers to the customs area and blocked the way! Someone had abandoned their luggage and the place went onto full alert! Just what several hundred passengers weary from a 12 hour flight needed! The crowd grew quickly and there was quiet grumbling until some clever official decided that it was in everyone's best interest to just open a gate and let us all out of the terminal. Dazed and confused we all pushed and shoved until we got out through the single doorway. We thought the fun was over, but then had to find where to catch the shuttle bus to our hotel for the night, what seemed simple took us another hour at least...we had finally arrived in France!

When we arrived at the hotel we sat at the bar while the queue of people checking in slowly diminished...very good idea. Figured a beer was a hearty meal for dinner and basically crashed for the night. Slept like a log until about 3.30am then dozed for a few hours until the sun came up. After breakfast we went for a stroll around the neighborhood and in the space of 15 minutes had a truck driver and a man on a scooter stop to ask us for directions...soon became apparent that we had no idea! Then it was back to the airport to get picked up by the shuttle to collect our brand new Peugot 207 car that we have for the month.

So next adventure was remembering how to drive on the right hand side of the road (challenging for the first half hour then like second nature), made much more exciting by having to traverse Paris on the first day of school holidays! Only took us an hour to drive the first 33 km - awesome stuff! Very grateful that we had the foresight to hire a GPS...Mrs Garmin is very helpful!

We had a long drive so rather than take the scenic route decided to charge on down the autoroute to our destination Ile D'Oleron on the Atlantic Coast. So nothing much to see...a motorway is a motorway anywhere in the world really. Was nice driving past paddocks of sunflowers though, will endeavor to get some photos and figure out how to add them to the blog in the next couple of days. Our island destination is connected to the mainland by a huge bridge - very impressive. Our hotel is very cute, nothing flash but run by a lovely couple of men (best guess is 'special friends'), on the smallest of roads, barely a car width, but seems nice and quiet and secluded. We had a quick visit to the beach but the best beaches are on the other side of the island. Then out for dinner at a seafood restaurant which seemed obligatory given that the island specialises in Mussels and Oysters. The local mussels are miniscule compared to our gigantic Greenlipped mussels - felt like I was eating babies!

Now lying in bed watching TV and Dave is just starting to make little snoring noises...so looks like sleepy time.

Posted by Kanumera 12:31 Archived in France Comments (1)

First day of the Tour de France

Action packed day. We packed up and left Ile D'Oleron first thing in the morning and headed north up the coast to La Rochelle (to which Jacqui is pretty sure she has ancestral links!). Along the way past through miles and miles of sunflowers in full bloom. Also saw storks nesting on the side spans of power pylons – they are very big birds and make huge nests.

In La Rochelle the local information office rents out bikes with the first 2 hours free of charge, so we grabbed a couple of bikes and had a quick sprint around the port area, stopping along the way for food and drinks.
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Then it was off to hunt down a good spot to watch the Tour de France cyclists whizz past on the first day of the race. We stumbled upon a small village with a couple of tight corners which turned out to be ideal. So we grabbed a spot on the curb, ate a baggette and had a drink while we waited.

About 2 hours before the cyclists arrive the 'caravane' passes through. 160 vehicles many of which are throwing free stuff into the crowd. There is a mad tussle to grab things as they get tossed, we came away with a fridge magnet, some notepaper, a hat and a packet of cakes! The hat was great as Jacqui hadn't yet got around to buying one and the sun was scorching! That many vehicles take quite a while to pass through so keeps everyone entertained. Lots of loud music and the spectators really got into the spirit of it – cheering and clapping when their favourite sponsors came through.

By that stage the village was filling with spectators and as we'd got ourselves a good spot on a corner behind the railings with our flag draped over we decided it was best to stay put. We ended up standing next to an English couple and Dave chatted away to them happily. The silver fern flag certainly gets some attention with a few photos taken of it by various folks!

A couple of hours later the race proper finally arrived, happened so fast that you barely get a chance to see who's who before they're gone! They certainly go at a different pace than we cycle at!

We were so excited about it all that we decided to try to catch it again close to the end of the race. So set our little GPS going and headed off to Les Herbiers, the town just before the end of the race. Again more by good luck than good management we ended up finding a park really close to the point marking the last 3 km of the race. Found a good spot and again waited for the cyclists.

While we were waiting news trickled through the crowd that there had been quite a big crash with about half of the peleton ending up on the ground. So this time the riders were split into three different groups and there were a few tail enders looking very sorry for themselves. One rider's clothes were all ripped up and there were bandages all over his legs – ouch! Dave ended up chatting to a guy from Te Anau who spotted the flag and wandered over – good grief!

Our bed and breakfast was around 100km north-west of the race finish so we didn't hang around to look at the town. The GPS took us through some gorgeous little villages though with tiny little one way roads, houses right on the road edge, roman ruins, giant cathedrals and flowers in full bloom. Lovely!

Posted by Kanumera 13:33 Comments (0)

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