Friday, January 31, 2014

This Beauty!

This beauty drove me to blog again.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our Big Adventure Part 6: Following the Charente

Staying in Poitou-Charentes  was not an entirely random decision.  My ancestors came to New Zealand from the town of Rochefort in 1840.  They hoped to be part of new French colony in the South Pacific, instead they got few "Rue" in Akaroa.  The kids wondered why they ever left, and it's easy to agree.  Until you think of Les Miserables, and maybe a French naval town was not the most prosperous place be in the post Napoleonic era.

We followed the Charente from Chez Branger to Rochefort.  On the way we stopped for Pizza in Cognac, a very pretty walled town on a steep hillside.

(We ate here, and it was perfectly acceptable, but the location was the best thing really)
Photos of la scala, Cognac
This photo of la scala is courtesy of TripAdvisor which is why it doesn't fit my blog ;-)  We love TripAdvisor, was a constant companion on our adventures!

anyway here's my pic of La Scala, and a random cool building in Cognac.

 Another town we only visited briefly but fell pretty heavily in love with was Angouleme.  It was probably the wine and oysters and acapella Nirvana and Dead Kennedys in the covered market that did it.

Going back to Angouleme is now on my bucket list.

Could only be France! The road to the coast and Rochefort.

Rochefort is another very pretty town, it feels rather prosperous and bourgeois.

And has possibly the coolest carousel we rode in France.

We liked these beetles with faces like African masks.

Last one for France - one of the prettiest villages in France, officially!  So we had to go there.  turns out being officially one of the prettiest villages in France means your streets are packed with tour buses,  Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is super pretty anyway, and has an underground church which is in fact even cooler than that sounds!

And after that... Easyjet to Milan!  Milan, ITALY!  

Our big Adventure Part 5: 10 days in South West France

Let's start with some random pictures of our cool gite.  not much to see from the front, but inside was magical, and the garden was amazing.  Unfortunately not swimming weather, no matter how hard the kids tried to convince themselves.

I can't rave to much about how great this little part of France is (Charentes).  It's not touristy, although it's an old fashioned holiday area for French people, and it is reasonably popular for "house in the sun" real estate with English and Irish retirees.  as a result there's plenty of affordable accommodation, and enough people speak English (or are used to English speaking customers) for a non-French speaker like me to feel not too uncomfortable.

Our nearest town was Ruffec which had a pretty good market twice a week,:

A very old church:

And an A&P Show!

In our fantasies we're moving to France and Grand Designs-ing this place.

Wandering the lanes around our gite.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our Big Adventure Part 3: More Paris.

Playgrounds, tourist sights, fountains, chocolate snacks, and the marvelous Jardin du Luxenberg.