A Travellerspoint blog

The day that disappeared


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large_5550_12533112401963.jpgAt the Pont Marie metro station, Marie and I were magically transported to Istanbul ... it is a poster.
We travelled back to Paris [Paris-travel-guide-471458] today ... it was an early morning wakeup ... it was dark at 7am as Loix is in the west of the country. 1.5 hours on the bus followed by 3.5 hours on the train followed by another bus ride within Paris meant that the day disappeared :-(

It would have been rather uneventful but we managed to brighten up the day with dinner at Chatelier restaurant, a Parisian institution. The food is good and cheap, the decor is absolutely Parisian ... a bit like Denny's with style.

At times the staff were amusingly rude ...

* Our waiter snatched the menu (printed on just A4 paper as it changes daily) back from us and put it back in the rack behind us. We were given a rude look later when we tried to take a copy back for another perusal. Maybe people steal them as souvenirs.


* Later on, he put down a carafe of water on the table while clearing up ... but quickly snatched it back when we picked it up to pour. It was destined for another table ... he did quickly give us another carafe though (two-thirds full since we had finished dinner an didn't deserve a full one).

It was more amusing than offensive though. They do work hard ... seemingly non-stop and very quickly too!

By the way, we cruised straight to a table about 7:30pm but by the time we left, the queue was out the door and around the corner ... no exaggeration! It must be good!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in France Comments (0)

St Michael Jackson in Ars


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After a miserable wet morning, the sun finally shone and we cycled to Ars ... yes, in full it is Ars-en-Re. It is only about 7km each way this time. Ars has a church with a black-and-white spire, so I call it the church of St Michael Jackson. It was probably a white spire which broke and they rebuilt it in black ... a bit like the white and green one in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Black clouds gathered over Loix as we headed back. The scene was beautiful as the dark sky contrasted with the blue sea and gree seaweed. We cycled quickly and missed a thorough drenching when we got home ... but only by seconds!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in France Comments (0)

Cycling


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Ile de Re has many cycle tracks ... they seem to have been converted from the old narrow roads once the new roads came in, but I could be wrong. They link the different villages, taking cyclists through bays, salt pans, vineyards etc.

Today we cycled to St Martin, which was about 9km from our "home". We seemed to be slower and younger than most of the French mainlanders. There were some people on tandems and other with their dogs (either in a front-mounted basket or a trailer). Yes, the French do love their dogs ... perhaps nearly as much as us Chinese but in a different way.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in France Comments (0)

On the island of Re


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Today we zoomed down somewhat towards the South West to La Rochelle [La-Rochelle-travel-guide-1313568] in the TGV. It was the first time I've ever travelled in a high-speed train. The higher speed wasn't too obvious apart from the more blurry scenery.

From La Rochelle, we travelled to the village of Loix on Ile de Re by bus ... it took 1.5 hours as we stopped numerous times at many other villages along the way.

After a bit of wandering around lost(!) we found the holiday home that we had been graciously lent to us by Marie's friends. It was bigger, nicer and better equipped than most people's homes :-)

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in France Comments (0)

Leaving Portugal for Paris ... with a feeling we'll be back


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Today we left Porto with the feeling that we'd one day come back to Portugal. It is one corner of Western Europe that is still affordable on a New Zealand income (or no income in my current situation).

The price of many things are on par with New Zealand. Fruit and ice cream in particular were cheap and better! Strangely, they don't have a habit of inflating prices of food and drinks in heavily-touristed or landmark locations!

It is still a bit rundown with graffiti but that adds to the authentic charm. And it isn't overrun with McDonald's or Starbucks or any major international chain.

Arriving in Paris [Paris-travel-guide-471458] through Beauvais airport was relatively painless ... probably just as easy as the big airports overall ... it is about 2 minutes walk from the plane to the bus, making up for the slightly longer travel time into the city.

We are staying with Marie and Bernard in a typically Parisian apartment near the Seine and Notre Dame.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in France Comments (0)

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