Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

to Bretagne (Brittany), France 30 October to 3 November

FRANCE | Wednesday, 3 November 2010 | Views [565]

30/10 Rained all night, it's quite nice sleeping in a nice cosy spot with it on the roof, but cleared in the morning. Long straight roads today, fairly boring, on the southwest of France to Bordeaux but no views of the coast. We passed a nice lake at Sanguinet which had golden sand beaches around the lake edge matching the golden autumn tones of the trees, the day has been mostly overcast. Managed to negotiate the full on motorways around Bordeaux with only one argument and popped out the other side no worse for wear. Immediately after heading out of Bordeaux city we are back in golden and red vineyard country. Starting to shower, looks like the rain is back for the evening.

The countryside in Europe is open, except where animals need retaining (often they are not retained but have a bell for locating them) there are no fences. Not like NZ where everything is fenced – THIS LAND IS MINE, DO NOT TOUCH OR ENTER! - Yes we have a lot of animals needing retaining but we fence EVERYTHING, - KEEP OUT!!! Where did this attitude come from, instead of – I understand that you will respect my property if you enter on it so I don't need a fence. Here in Europe despite there being trees full of ripe fruit and grapevines full of ripe grapes right beside the roads we never saw anyone stopping and helping themselves. Are we so afraid of being ripped off by others that we will spend thousands of dollars on fencing or does some influencial manipulative Kiwi own the 'Buy Fences Here' shop?????????

Actually funnily enough in contrast the very thing we often do not fence in NZ (nothing to steal?) and they fence here with high concrete structures is the cemeteries...

1/11 French road numbering is terrible, a signpost at roundabout will show route number (which usually agrees with Google map) but number will change to something else ½ mile down the road. Morning here is bleak, 10.30am and sun can't break through the low cloud, almost foggy and cold. The area is very flat, farmlands in all directions. Buildings are like in Spain, no colour, front doors right on the street. Passed thru Luçon, a reasonable sized town, nothing appears to be open, places often look like this until mid afternoon but this was more so than usual, we checked and discovered today is All Saints Day, so is a holiday. Daylight saving ended yesterday.

We have arrived in the very pretty countryside of Bretagne (Brittany), green pastures and lots of trees. We have decided to head to see the Loire Valley with it's vineyards and grand chateaus. The weather forecast is for showers, we have had great luck in Europe so far with the weather so can't complain.

It was an easy drive to the first chateau we picked on the Loire tourist trail but it was not the most beautiful, they are expensive to enter so we will just be viewing them from the outside and the countryside as we go. The scenery again enhanced as it is with the red and gold colours of autumn is beautiful even with a grey sky. We wound about the valley for a couple of days viewing some quite spectacular chateaus and one extremely interesting museum of old things collected over 60 years by a Mr Dufresney. The only negative has been that we're a bit sick of turning up to places and finding them shut because it is lunchtime (1pm – 4pm usually), including the tourist information offices. We are beginning to realise how lucky we are in NZ, England and USA to expect everything to be open between the hours of 9am and 5pm with no breaks.

Life is not always easy (as you can imagine) when you are constantly together in such a small space, we manage well but have had a couple of really difficult days. You can't just storm out anywhere and if its raining you have to stay in close confinement...  :) All good though, we are sorted and continue.

To see our photos  http://cjb.pascoe.net.nz/   (click on or copy and paste into browser)


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