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Entries about beaches

Mont Saint Michel

Reporting from Düsseldorf

overcast 22 °C
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We left Bordeaux, not too early, but with a decent drive ahead of us, and a pin dropped on the GPS to take us to Mont Saint Michel. Our GPS has taken us on some magical mystery tours every now and again, with some odd route choices, and today, despite being a fairly significant landmark on the French coast, our search only came up with Rue de Mont Saint Michel, and delivered us about 40 km away from the actual site. Nevertheless, once we arrived there, we knew we were on the right track, and so continued on our way, following the signs to the Abbey, and finally we spotted it in the distance.

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The parking lot for this busy tourist attraction is about 3 km from the causeway, but they do offer a free shuttle bus there and back. We had a moment worrying about what the tide might be doing, and whether that would affect us from visiting, but fortunately it was out, and they are also constructing a bridge to make sure it is always accessible.

I was impressed. The Abbey on the island seems to rise up from nowhere, and the walkways inside are steep, and closely packed with shops and people. You can just walk into the town, through the gates at the base of the island and wend your way up to the Abbey. There are a huge number of steps, and they are uneven and worn down through the effects of time and volume of use. The structure of the church is unusual, to compensate for being built on the top of a peak. The crypts were constructed first with the support of the church above to consider. The stained glass windows, the arches, altar, buttresses and the cloister were all beautiful, and looking through the windows over the beach, I felt the power in its isolation and unapproachability, could imagine that it was an ideal place for reflection.

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I was not very impressed at the price of ice cream though!

Posted by aboo10 02:13 Archived in France Tagged mountains beaches churches buildings children family_travel Comments (0)

Mallorca

Reporting from Düsseldorf


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Given that I 'accidentally' got a job 3 days before term started, our settling in time to our new home has taken a bit longer than planned, and been a bit more tiring than planned. When I was not supposed to be working, the plan was that I would be doing all the unpacking and setting up the house, and grocery shopping, leaving our weekends free to explore Düsseldorf and get to know where we now live. The kids had their settling in moments, missing their old school and friends, and wanting to 'go home', but we've explained and explained that this is now our home, and trying to make things comfortable and familiar. In Germany, everything closes on Sundays. Everything. So Saturdays are crazy with shopping and planning for the week.

So after 10 weeks of school, we had a mid term break coming up... and we debated about staying home and exploring Düsseldorf, or going away and relaxing. Feet up relaxing. Really we knew that if we stayed home, we would spend more time unpacking those last few boxes and doing more school work, and what we needed was some down time... so we found a last minute holiday package in Mallorca... we booked it, a bit blind, not knowing very much about where we were going, and when we got on that plane, we were on our way to 5 days of relaxation!

Being further south, the days were longer, and we cherished the last of the summer, Mallorca was about 10 degrees warmer. We stayed in an all-inclusive resort, which was a new experience for us... not necessarily one we would rush back to, but lying by the pool overlooking the Mediterranean was not too hard to take. The kids were in the pool for hours on end and we were lucky as well to have a kids club on site.

We went for a 5 day break, and didn't take very long to settle in. We went into town one day and visited the stunning cathedral and wandered around the old town, and enjoyed a tapas lunch and a sangria. We got caught in a deluge on the way home, and were lucky to quickly hail a taxi to get us back to the hotel quickly.

On another day we hired a car and drove around the island, and visited some caves on the far side and Bellver Castle on the hill in Palma overlooking the harbour and across to the cathedral. It was remarkable because it is round.

The rest of the time we let the kids go to kids club, swim and play, while we relaxed and read trashy novels!!

Posted by aboo10 12:04 Archived in Spain Tagged beaches churches children family_travel Comments (0)

Good bye Vietnam!

Reporting from Ho Chi Minh City

sunny 31 °C
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Well it's been a fabulous three weeks, and overall gone so quickly! We arrived for our introduction in Hanoi to motorcycle traffic and Pho, and then headed down for two weeks on the beach. The first four days there passed so slowly as we settled into our new lifestyle and routine of swimming, resting and playing. We then introduced some activities like exploring the town, going to My Son ruins and doing a cooking tour, and then suddenly there were only four days to go... these rocketed past and we found ourselves back in the hustle and bustle of a big city of Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon. We crammed a good portion of Saigon into two days and now this morning are waking up, with our room all packed up and time to head back to China... but first a little adventure in Hong Kong.

Hanoi:
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Hoi An:
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Ho Chi Minh City:
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Hopefully we can come to Vietnam again!

Posted by aboo10 16:49 Archived in Vietnam Tagged beaches churches children family_travel Comments (0)

One week away

Reporting from HoiAn

sunny 34 °C
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We've been away from Shanghai for only one week... and here in HoiAn for 4 days, but the beach lifestyle has slowed us right down and we feel already like we've been here for much longer. The resort we are staying in is lovely, and is better than we expected, we have a little two storey 'ocean view villa' with a private pool and garden. We can also use the main pools for the resort, where there are also shallow kiddy pools, sun loungers and of course the poolside bar. We are one row of villas back from the beach. We have spent most of the last four days in our pool, but have also played on the beach, swam in the sea and in one of the resort pools, and have been into HoiAn town a few times.

We are about 6km out of town, but there is a bus from the resort quite regularly, and we have decided that we will go in for dinner most nights, from now on as we have already had everything on the menu here! It is also a good time of day, if we get the 4pm shuttle in for an early dinner, as it has started to cool down from the heat of the day. We went in one morning, and it was so hot and sticky, we couldn't look at anything or walk anywhere, as the kids were whining and complaining, but in the early evenings, particularly straight after dinner they are quite happy to roam around a bit. And then are exhausted and ready for bed when we get home!

The kids were a bit apprehensive about swimming in the sea, the first day we went in there was a bit of a swell, and they weren't quite prepared. But today it was still and calm, and Didi was so pleased with himself for putting his feet on the sand, in the water and walking neck deep in the gentle waves between Mike and me, and back again, and again, and again! He then got braver and was able to go all the way onto the beach and back into the water. I think with 10 more days here, both will be confident in the sea (although the waves are nothing like Coogee!) Didi is also improving swimming in the pool, he relies on his bubble and floats, but he is working his legs and is prepared to doggy paddle short distances between us, always keeping his head out of the water.

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Jie Jie and I woke early on our first morning here, and had a special walk down to the beach to watch the sunrise. The beach was still and quiet, but there were lots of fishing boats out on the water. The sun rose majestically over the Cham Islands, and it was so serene and beautiful!

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Lucky us - we still have ten more days here! We will try and visit some of the actual tourist attractions in HoiAn, and not just spend all our time lying in the sun watching the kids play in the sand or swim! Tomorrow we are up for something different, we have a half day tour planned for the morning... we are being collected at 7.30 - so very early start...

Posted by aboo10 08:57 Archived in Vietnam Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches children family_travel Comments (1)

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