A Travellerspoint blog

One Day in Lyon

Reporting from Lyon

overcast 14 °C
View Camping Adventure on aboo10's travel map.

Doesn't quite have the same ring to it as "One night in Bangkok", but we had a glorious day today... albeit continuing with our not brilliant weather patterns, fortunately today was just cold and overcast, but no actual rain. Our break between camping destinations meant that we had 2 nights booked into a hotel, and a city to explore. Lyon did not disappoint.

We packed into one day a visit to Place Bellecour - apparently the largest unobstructed public square in Europe (no trees, greenery or structures in the middle), just one statue of a guy on a horse (OK it's King Louis XIV). Had a lovely wander around, and loved looking at the beautiful buildings surrounding the square. The surface is a red clay, like en tous cas on tennis courts used to be, and has little coffee stands around the edge.

From there we walked over to the Old Town (Vieux Lyon) and were heading to the Funiculaire station, where we were heading up to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere. The Old Town is gorgeously quaint with cobbled streets, and lots of little shops. We had a 'quick' look in St Jean Cathedral, which was beautiful, but under renovation, so only about half of the church was accessible, and the whole altar section was screened off.

We headed up on the funiculaire to the Basilica, and it was truly stunning. The walls are covered with mosaics, which from a distance are the most amazing pictures ever and up close you can see each individual tile in the mosaic. Interestingly the Basilica is not that old, being completed in 1884. Underneath the Basilica is the Crypt of St Joseph, and it has gracious high vaulted ceilings, and stained glass windows, which when you are outside the building, can see the stained glass windows at street level. The main Basilica has gold everywhere, highlights in the mosaics, and catches the light from every angle. The stained glass windows and the floor tiles are gorgeous. It is built on a high point overlooking all of Lyon, and the views are stunning.

Afterwards, we got the funiculaire down again, and caught another one up to explore the Roman Amphitheatres. Built into the side of a hill, it provides natural elevation for the audience. I loved that it is still being used as a theatre spot, and at the moment there is a stage set up, and a festival occurring each night. The ruins are stunning, and free to enter and roam around!

Our plan had been to visit a Natural History Museum, however our guide was old, and as much as the kids wanted to see some dinosaurs, unfortunately it wasn't to be as the museum had relocated from the address provided in 2007!! Oops. We had a lovely walk back along the Rhone River, and found a playground for the kids to unleash some energy. Then we looked for an early dinner, easier said than done, as most restaurants were not even opening before 7, but quite a few were open for drinks... luckily we found one which was prepared to accept us for dinner at 6.30. Kids... humph.

Photos are in my album...

Better soak up the luxury in a real bed tonight... will be back on the air mattress tomorrow... heading down to a beach in Spain!!

Posted by aboo10 14:51 Archived in France Tagged churches children family_travel Comments (2)

First camping stop

Reporting from Lyon

rain 15 °C
View Camping Adventure on aboo10's travel map.

Here it is... home for the next 5 days.

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Awesome job setting up the tent, and fortunately with no hiccups remembering how to set up the tent. It was a two hour job, to get everything sorted - tent up, pegs in, table and chairs set up, and mattresses blown up!! And loved that we didn't have any neighbours close by. Campground was really a bit of a resort, with a pool, numerous playgrounds, mini-golf, an enormous Kinder-Zelt (children's tent, read indoor play centre!) a swimming lake (was bit leechy looking) and stunning views of the mountains around.

First night was the start of the adventure... and we were up against a storm. We got the kids ready for bed, and were all tucked in, and the storm started... I thought the tent might have taken off!! The scariest thing with a storm was hearing the constant drip of water, and knowing the bathroom block is a decent walk away!! So I spent most of the night awake, listening to the rain drip! Finally I decided I had to brave the weather, and relieve myself... unfortunately when I returned, I left the flap of the tent door, inside the tent instead of the outside... which meant that we woke to a small river running through the tent in the morning. Oops.

The next day was sunny and bright, and Saturday, so heralded the arrival of the weekend campers! Was nice to have some tent neighbours, but they did spoil the peace a bit, and were a big group who set up and slightly spoiled our view. We swam, and cooked our dinner outside, and enjoyed the campground. The kids loved having others to play with!! A quiet storm free night gave us a peaceful sleep.

We pretty much had rain on and off for the rest of our stay, which meant that we didn't get to use all the outdoor facilities. We went out to a Steam Train Museum, and a cafe for Black Forest Cake. The kids played in the Kinder-Zelt and I took the opportunity to read and relax. Nights were a bit chilly, and Didi woke most nights complaining of being cold, but both kids fell asleep soundly on their own. We have a tent which has two bedrooms, and a living area. The living area has a ground sheet, but is not completely sealed from the elements, so on another night with a violent storm, we were visited by a friendly (actually I didn't take the opportunity to introduce myself!) hedgehog, who had burrowed into our rubbish bag in our living area, and I was sure I could hear someone trying to untie it... fortunately Mike went to save us from being attacked by a killer hedgehog. But the little bugger came back. And again the next night!

We loved watching the birds circling around, and often spotted a yellow winged eagle who seemed to be narrowing in on something, but we weren't sure what! But circled above our camp most mornings.

We also spent a wet afternoon in Konstanz, on the Bodensee. It is a pretty little town right on the border of Switzerland. We looked at the Bodensee, and would have liked to get out on in, but the weather just wasn't favourable. Our campsite was so close to Switzerland, that our mobile phones kept on switching to Swiss carriers (which meant that we could have been charged international roaming while still in Germany!)

Yesterday we packed up the tent and drove to Lyon. Two nights in a hotel, before the next camping installment!!

Posted by aboo10 13:08 Archived in Germany Tagged children camping family_travel Comments (1)

Summer Holiday Adventure

Reporting from Tengen

sunny 26 °C
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With much coercion, Mike managed to fit all our stuff in the box on top and the boot of our car. We are off on a camping adventure! Our basic plan is to head south to Stuttgart, where we stayed for 2 nights, and to be closer to our first camping destination, right down on the border of Switzerland,
on the edge of the Black Forest. During the next 4-5 weeks we are planning to intersperse city breaks (such as Stuttgart) with a longer stay camping. We hope to explore the regions where we are camping, but are also looking for a relaxing holiday!!

Our drive to Stuttgart, was an estimated 4 hours, but due to traffic and roadwork took closer to 6. We stayed in a cute hotel (which included breakfast) and spent a day out and about in Stuttgart. We enjoyed wandering around the town, and loved roaming through the market square, and comparing it to Dusseldorf, much wider and more open. Other differences included specifying where you were headed on the U-Bahn. Highlight of the day was our visit to the Porsche Museum. The history of the 'peoples sports car' was interesting.
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Posted by aboo10 05:49 Archived in Germany Tagged children adventure camping Comments (2)

Keukenhof

Reporting from Düsseldorf

sunny 15 °C
View Tulips and Easter! on aboo10's travel map.

I've had some difficulty uploading photos over the last few months, which has contributed to the interruption to usual services, or black and white screenings (ie no pictures!). Fortunately though the upload system seems to be up and running again (or could be due to upgrade on my laptop)... so my photos are here, and for nothing more beautiful than our recent trip to Keukenhof.

Keukenhof has been open to the public showcasing displays of spring flowering bulbs since 1950! It is near a town called Lisse in the Netherlands. We were on spring /Easter break from school and our trip was a driving holiday, heading first for 2 nights in another nearby town called Leiden, and then across to the UK for Easter.

Last year, about the same time we visited the Shanghai Flowerport, and when I shared photos people wondered if I was already living in Germany! It was stunning, but comparatively to Keukenhof, was so manufactured, and really a little out of place. Keukenhof was the business. The displays were gorgeous, the greenhouses lovely, and wandering around the gardens so relaxing, and lovely. And perfectly positioned in the Netherlands.

Anyway, pictures will speak louder than words. (More are in my photo album.)

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We had a great day, loved climbing up the windmill, playing in the adventure park, eating Dutch delicacies, listening to music performances, and admiring the tulips... and the other flowers, and loving the natural beauty of it all!!

Posted by aboo10 14:48 Archived in Netherlands Tagged landscapes children flowers family_travel Comments (2)

Pregnant Sister

Reporting from Düsseldorf

overcast 10 °C

Jie Jie and I went on a very quick weekend trip to London in November, to visit my sister who was expecting her first baby in December. We went to help her prepare!!

We left straight after school on Friday, and arrived in London at 6.30pm and were greeted at Gatwick by a tremendous crowd trying to get tickets for the trains into town. Fortunately my sister had sent me a fabulous birthday present of tickets for the Gatwick Express, so we just waltzed on by!! She met us at the station closest to her house, and it was a delight to see her in full bloom!! We got to her house around 8.30pm, but because England is an hour behind Germany, poor old Jie Jie was collapsing with each step, after a long day at school and now hungry and travel weary.

On Saturday we headed in to John Lewis. It was a delight for me to see all the Christmas decorations, properly done, after years in China. We looked at all the baby supplies, muslins, cot sheets, nappy change set ups, and bought several bags of necessities, and then headed out to a show! We went to see a puppet show called 'The Night before Christmas' - loosely themed around the traditional Christmas poem, but quite creatively done too. It was at the Little Theatre in Islington, apparently a long time puppet theatre.

The next day we had breakfast, packed up and headed back out to the airport, as our brief sojourn in London was over, and we were heading back home, to start another week at school!!

Posted by aboo10 12:11 Archived in England Tagged children london family_travel Comments (0)

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