Figeac, France

I can’t get used to walking into toilets to find a man standing at the urinal. In country towns the toilets are combined!
I  also can’t get used to seeing dogs in hotels, which eat with their owners at breakfast in the dining room.
It amazes me how often you drive on a goat track to the middle of nowhere with no cars in sight, only to reach the ‘quaint little village’ and find a boom gate with a 3 Euro charge for parking and tourists everywhere. Our trip to Figeac, sent us over the Millau Viaduct and via a little fortified village called la Couvertoirade (which was ‘out the middle of nowhere but had a parking charge). We arrived late in the day at our 2 bedroom appartment, about 35 minutes before our friends Tony and Lorraine.


Our first day together we drove off to Rocamadour to see the breathtaking view and visit the village. Colin decided it was a good idea to visit the caves as well. The only problem was that there was only one cave, we were on a tour and the guide spoke in rapid French, for what seemed like 3 hours. Colin almost ran out of the cave crying as it was too much for him to cope with. We are now calling him ‘cave man’. Luckily, Rocamadour made up for it and far exceeded our expectations.
Today’s adventure was Cahors and, Saint Cirq Lapopie. The later sent us on a goat track but was again a gorgeous place to visit with breathtaking views and beautiful gardens nestled in a cliff side.


Our arrival at Palavas-les Flots was met with a giant thunderstorm which went for 12 hours (continual rolling thunder and flashes of lightening). The rain poured all night and met us in the morning with humidity and eventually more sunshine. This seaside town has the best sandy beach we have seen so far but lots of tourists as well. It has the funniest chairlift, which goes over a small canal to the other side so you don’t have to walk to the bridge to cross it. It’s about 50m long and costs 2 Euro.

I have almost saturated my desire to shop at markets… having been through  100 of them now… but I managed to fit in another one here. I found myself today getting into the back of a van (encouraged by a French man) with a curtain with canonball sized holes in it, to give me the necessary coverage for privacy, to try on a dress. ‘What I am doing?’ I asked myself. I must be desperate! I managed to get the dress on without exposing myself or getting driven off in the van and happily paid for it afterwards. I swear it was worth it!

Ordering tea off a menu and not knowing what you’ll get because nobody can explain it to you is quite an adventure. Last night I almost ordered bulots but discovered they are whelks, or sea snails in the shells. I should have tried them but I didn’t want to walk out hungry! So far we haven’t had a bad meal in France. Is it possible?

Surprises at Tarascon, France

An hour before we left Guissan we found the  biggest market ever!! We were late giving the keys to the owner because I wouldn’t stop looking at bargains. Neverthe less… we ended up on the road at 11am and stopped at AiguesMortes on the way to inspect the beautiful fortified village by the sea. We ended up there until quite late and arrivede at Tarascon at about 5pm… hot and weary from walking in the sun.

Our accommodation at Tarascon was a little more shabby than Guissan but comfy enough. We took off to have tea and when we turned the corner, there were 2 huge castles to be found. What a surprise!!

We will save them until tomorrow as by the time we had tea and arrived back at 10pm we were zonked (and here I am on the computer typing a blog post!).

Tomorrow we inspect Arles , which has a massive ampitheatre built by the Romans and it was fashione in the style of the Coliseum.and is still used for bull fighting (it’s in better condition than the Coliseum obviously!!).

We also have Nimes and Avignon on the agenda for the next couple of days.

Hooray!! I have fast and free wifi here.

Gruissan oui oui!

Guissan pron: ‘Gwissen’.

I’m glad these blog posts were prepared before departure. The internet is both expensive and slower than dial-up!!

After parting from our new friends at Estagel B&B, we arrived at Guissan to meet the owner of the appartment we are staying in for a week. He had carefully written out translations on a piece of paper such as ‘follow me’. If we tried to divert from his limited translations he got very flustered. We, of course, are very used to playing French charades and managed to get out point across as usual. We have extended our French vocab no end. Now we can say ‘Fromage’ (cheese), and many other useful words. We need to learn how to say ‘We are lost please help us’, although most of the time we can’t define where it is that we are going to. Most likely the questions would be ‘Where did we park our car?’ or ‘where is our accommodation, which we cannot remember the name of or pronounce properly?’.

Gruissan is where we hit the wall. The first morning I woke up at 10am which is the latest I’ve ever woken up in my life!! After spending 2 weeks climbing mountains to the castles on top, walking up stairs and hills all day in the hot sun, we hit our beach side accommodation, where we are staying for a week and passed out. Sitting on the beach and walking on flat ground is just what the doctor ordered for this stage of our journey.

Last night we were strolling along the beach at about 8.30pm, when we discovered a French rock band playing. They were wonderful and played The Easybeats, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling stones. They had the English accent and pronunciations almost perfected. Col was in his element. We were the only ones who knew the words and called out ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’ after the Easy beats… (like a couple of deadbeats!). The band played until midnight non-stop and our weary bones were even wearier at the end… which is why I slept until 10am this morning.

Our list of places to visit this week are Agde (2nd oldest village in France), Carcassonne, Narbonne and Beziers with about 6 other small villages thrown in if we have the energy. Right now I’m planning a day on the beach…my favourite place on Earth. The internet access remains a problem as the Careforre mobile card I bought in Spain doesn’t work in France. Stooged!

Stand by for the travel journal

picture-4-copyWe have all been bored before by travel photos. Now is your chance to bored by a travel blog!

On the 5th of June we will be traveling through Italy, France and England for 6 weeks. I will update the blog/Facebook/Twitter whenever I get the chance on my cute little PC. Of COURSE… I am taking it with me!

It is our second overseas trip… but we won’t be on a tour this time so its going to be VERY different for us to the last one. We will be taking trains around Italy and driving (hopefully on the correct side of the road) around France and England. Starting in Rome and ending in Cornwall where my Nan and my Great Gran (from the other side) are from.

And while we are away… Sophie won a travel scholarship (go Sophie!) to China where she will do her placement for 2 weeks and then spend one week ‘living it up’. She leaves on the 13th of June just after us and return before us.

View a larger map of our trip here

Here is our itinerary:


6th, 7th, 8th and 9th of June: Rome, Italy

10th of June: Siena, Italy

11th,12th, 13th of June: Florence, Italy

14th, 15th, 16th of June: Venice, Italy

17th June: San Remo, Italy (Col almost booked accommodation at the one near Phillip Island LOL)



18th &19th  June: Marseille, France

20th June: Orange, France

21st-27th June: Tignes, France (French Alps)- we will ‘pop’ over to Switzerland for a day or 2 from here

28th June: Lyon France

29th, 30th, 1st & 2nd July: Paris, France (including cycling trip to Versailles Palace for a day)



3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th July: London, UK (staying with her majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace)

7th-13th July: Marazion, Cornwall, UK

14th July: Plymouth, UK

14th & 15th July: Bath, UK (great to have a bath at last after all that time traveling)

16th July: Return to Melbourne- arriving 18th July

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