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Bosnia/Herzegovnia Croatia France Monaco Spain

Thru the Western Europe South edge

Went thru Western Europe.

After the Dali Museum we dropped off Alana in Italy. We miss giggly, colourful Alana. Now we are only 5. Such a small group. So much less than the 9 we were just a short time ago.

We stopped off in Venice. Dad took lots of touristy pictures of the younger girls feeding the pigeons.

I took the girls to the Leonardo Da Vinci. There were all sorts of machines created from his drawings. We got to touch them and crank them and go inside some of them. Quite fun. We expected Hannah to be in heaven. TJ looked for bones, again, and found them on the wall in some of the paintings. We told her about how DaVinci opened up dead bodies to see how peoples bodies worked on the inside. She thot that was great and would like to do that as well if they let her keep the bones.


We saw some amazing masks in Venice. We bought some plain ones and painted them ourselves.


Andrew has been working on the car electrics. Mixed success.


Abigail got my attention at the grocery store. “Mom”, she said, “That guy is named Jesus”. I told her how that is a reasonably popular name in Spain and Italy. One night in Italy we were parked in one of the  really small and overcrowded rest areas in Italy and this truck driver told us a much better, hidden place to park. Later, we looked at his truck, It said Jesus on the side of it. Thot that was funny so took a photo.

We are now in Croatia. We love Croatia. Not much internet. Sorry for the sparse blog entries. We were last here before TJ was born. We have made it down to Dubrovnik this time. It is a great old city but way too many tourists. We kinda like the hidden fishing villages and the deserted areas best. We found one campground, north of Split, that only cost us 13 euros, no passports needed, no electricity, no trash. Just a couple of clean toilets and a solar shower. An old olive grove. Nice people. We liked that place. Took our blow up Canoe out into the crystal clear water.

We head for places beyond tomorrow. Getting closer and closer to Macedonia. We need to be there by the 9th.

So this is where we have been on this last leg – Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Croatia and Bosnia/Herzegovnia.

Highlights.

Spain – Dali Museum, Beneficio, Salami.

France – great picnic areas to stop at for the night, Motorhome shops, FOOD.

Monaco – well, didn’t see much of it, couldn’t find where to park our big truck – but we went through this tiny country.

Italy – Lasagna, Pizza, Pizza, Pizza – always great pizza – we love pizza – Venice – ice cream – food – downside, can they make their rest areas any smaller. We had to stop so early in the day just to get a spot to park at the rest areas for the nite – poor truck drivers.

Croatia – bakeries, small cheap campgrounds, crystal clear water.

Bosnia/Herzegovnia – we only went through about 7 km of it but it was quite thrilling it being in the news and all. We saw gunshots in a sign. Ooooooh! We saw a bolder in the road and the car that hit it. Ooooooh! What excitement!

What fun. Bit tired. lLots of driving. Looking forward to staying put some when we get to Macedonia. Also, looking forward to seeing some friends.

Categories
France Spain Travel

Liz’s Toilet Terrors in France and Spain

When I asked about the toilets, Hannah not only told me where they were but gave me other advise too. She told me to push the red button to lock the door, which I did confidently. I tried the door again and sure enough it was locked. Just as a smirk of satisfaction crossed my face a sudden, the lights went off and an extremely loud sound made me jump and reach for the door like that was all I could depend on to keep me safe. But it was no use, the water just kept shooting out, soaking the bottom of my jeans and making me feel so scared that the fact that it was only water shooting out at me seemed to have escaped my frozen with fright brain. I pulled and pulled at the door desperately and continuously accomplishing nothing, for it had locked just like i’d hoped it would  3 minutes ago.

Eventually it stopped and when it did I stood there shaking out of control as if someone had just put a knife to my throat. Why I felt like that is beyond me, perhaps I should keep off the adventure books for a while. the lesson from this is very similar to others: “Don’t push the red button” or you may find yourself in the bathroom as it vigerously self cleans itself.

I considered my lesson learned. Or so I thought…

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Another country, another terrifying self cleaning experience. This time I had an audience. As I banged on the door and screamed for help Mum, Dad, Abi, Hannah, TJ, Sam and Donald all watched, laughing! Unable to do anything else.”HELP!” I screamed. “Push the red button” mum said back, but she couldn’t be heard above the chaos.

I came out shaking and told my second story (as you can see in the picture above) as everyone failed to hold in all the giggles they had left. Why does it always happen to me? I asked myself as you’d probably expect I would. Is it some kind of curse or am I just too stupid to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Or do the toilets have it out for me…

Categories
France Travel

French Aire number 2

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Our next French Aire was a parking lot right on a beautiful beach that was next to a small village at the very southwest of France. The boys had a friend to meet and dad could do admin. He had to be creative but it was possible. There was electricity for the truck and access internet in the village with his ipod. Unfortunately his laptop computer cord is still MIA but he got lots of essential things done. The man in the picture above was doing his thing as we arrived. Yes, it is a man sitting in a kite riding the wind. He went back and forth on the current for much longer than we felt like watching.

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This is the Aire with cold Hannah coming back from the beach. There are over a hundred spaces at this Aire, electricity, a bread van comes around every morning and we met some great people.

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Sam and Donald going swimming even on the coldest days.

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It rained for 2 days of our time at the beach. Some people say we have a rain blessing. The only rain here for months and we bring it. I wouldnt quite call it a blessing. hmmmm.

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No this is not one of us. There was a big, NOISY college party over the weekend next door to us. The party included lots of ketchup and flour, camels and bungie jumping. Hannah really wanted to do some bungie jumping but we had the great excuse of IT IS A COLLEGE PARTY AND YOU”RE NOT OLD ENOUGH TO GO TO COLLEGE.

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Hannah politely asked this boy for a picture. Yes, it is what it looks like. This boy rode round and round the parking lot with his dog riding right in front of him with paws on the handlebars.

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One of our neighbours was this really nice French lady named Gizelle. Abi had just finished her first crochet project. A hat made of cut up old t-shirts. Gizelle showed us some mini hats that she had crocheted. They were so detailed and precise. AND guess what they are made of. You will never believe it. Carrier bags. You know, the ones they try to give you from every shop you go to and you get duped into taking them because you are too lame to remember your eco-friendly ones. Oh yeah, and the guilt is so bad you just cant seem to throw them away, thinking about those poor little turtles that eat them and DIE. So anyways, Gizelle has found and answer to those drawers and drawers of carrier bags. make them into hats.

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Or egg cup holders.

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She showed me how.

Categories
France

French Aires on the way south

Did we tell you we discovered “Stellplatz” in Germany. Absolutely brilliant spaces for free or minimal cost in Germany. So we bought ourselves a little book, in German, that has paid for itself over and over. Actually, I think it would be impossible to find without a GPS. So, we decided to try our luck out with the Aires in France. Now, these cheap places to stop have minimal facilities. Many are just places in a parking lot. Some have electricity. Most you have to bring your own toilet. So to get to these we had the book, a german dictionary, a french dictionary and our GPS. We were thrilled to find that at one stop that  little symbol in the corner meant A SHOWER. We have been shower challenged since realizing that most campgrounds are outside of our budget so we were thrilled.

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Only to find that the showers were very cold and…. hmmmm. how do you say…. wild west…. saloon like….. semi-public. However, we all took advantage of this beautiful, minimal shower.

Categories
Food France

Farmers stand in France

I tell you I love roadside farmers stands. On our way to see friends in Grenoble, France, Andrew stopped so I could get some rasberries to share with our friend. Things always taste better from a farmer’s stand. Mum

Categories
England France

Speaking French, Finally

I am writing a memory to backdate to where it belongs back in 2008 but I would put it here first.

For the last month, or so, we have been working on our french language tapes with Michael Thomas. We tell the kids that soon we will be in France. People don’t like to speak english in France so we will need to learn some french. Every time we stop the truck to get out in a new town TJ has been asking, “Do they speak french?” “No”, I say over and over again.

The kids fall asleep in their beds inside the truck at the ferry terminal in Dover. As TJ goes to sleep I tell her, “Tomorrow we go to France and we will meet people who don’t speak any english and we will need to speak to them in French”. After talking a bit more about these people who don’t speak english and are so clever that they can speak french even when they are babies TJ can’t fight sleep any more and finally closes her eyes.

We need to get out of the truck to sail across. The kids seem to be sleepwalking as they take their sleeping bags and pillows out of the truck and lay back down on the carpeted ferry floor while me and Andrew enjoy the trip with our traditional glass of wine, cheese and bread. Their sleepwalking takes a reverse journey as we make our way back to the truck and Andrew drives us off the ferry and back onto dry land.

fog

In the morning I wake TJ up while everyone else is still asleep. “TJ we are in France now. Do you want to go and get dad a coffee? We’ll surprise him.” We open the door of the truck and find we are surrounded by fog. It is so thick we can’t see but a few steps in front of us. I wonder what TJ must be thinking. Does she think that french speaking people live on a cloud? As we can’t see we take a guess at which direction to find a coffee. We walk in the gas station and see beautiful baguettes and croissants. We look at each other and smile. We know we are definately no longer in England. We put some items on the counter in front of a solemn woman. I prompt TJ to make the order. “Bon jour, je voudrais une cafe, s’ilvous plait.” The woman mechanically makes up a coffee with no change in her stoic expression. I am beaming, busting with pride. TJ follows the lead of the woman behind the counter and keeps a very solemn expression. She wants the woman to think she speaks french all the time. She calmly gives the woman some strange coins, and says, “merci.” We walk out of the shop with her dads coffee, an orange juice for herself and 2 long baguettes. She is trying hard not to smile but it is difficult not to.