The last full day in France. A bit of a lazy day. Everybody was up fairly early (before midday). There was some shopping done so we could get the makings of a BBQ. Simon came along and helped while buying a stack of stuff to take home with him.
The rest of the day was spent with the boys playing board games and cards. Nicki was reading and Bruce managed to slip away for a bike ride. When Bruce was back from the ride the boys and Bruce went for a final swim.
A very early start with Bruce being surprised by the boys being up and showered. Even more surprising was when the boys offerred to start getting breakfast ready…
You can probably tell that Ben and Simon were off on a boys trip out. Even better the trip was a return visit to the Tree Tops Course. With breakfast out of the way everybody set out for the forest. The idea was that Ben and Simon would spend the day on their own while Bruce, Nicki and Daniel went to Dol-de-Bretagne. That all changed when Nicki saw how high the boys were on the course.
The day didn’t start well as when we turned up there was a bus load of kids in front. Bruce however managed to get Ben and Simon put to the front of the queue as they had already been through the training course. Unfortunately Ben didn’t do his harness up correctly and both him and Simon had to go through the basic training all over again. Training out of the way they went around route one as a warm up followed by route three as the pre-cursor to the main event. Route 4 and time and bravery permitting route five and six.
Route three went well with Ben and Simon working well over the obstacles. Previously due to time constraints they had been unable to complete route three so this was good practice.
Finishing the third route they moved to the start of Route four. The start of route four was a vertical climb up 20m of rough cut ladders. There was an issue here as Simon has size 12 feet and the ladders had not been built to accommodate such impressively sized feet. After much discussion with the course safety staff, much to Simon’s disappointment he was asked not to continue with the course as they were unable to suggest a way for him to climb the ladders.
Ben continued on the route and successfully completed the route.
After a large lunch at the local bistro Ben and Simon were left to complete a couple of routes while everybody else went back to the Gite or went shopping.
With the tree courses all finished it was back to the Gite were everybody went swimming, although Bruce managed to fit in a short cycle ride (shortened due to a puncture).
The rest of the evening was spent playing cards or updating the blog.
A fairly early start today – Before lunch time.
A trip to Fougeres had been planned and everybody was looking forward to visiting the Chateau. The Chateau\Castle has been described as one of the most complete and well maintained castles in Europe.
The entry price was a very reasonable €19.50, which, considering the quality of the tour was very good value for money. The price included a multimedia tour of the castle which bought to life the day to day living in the area.
Simon was impressed by the quality of the walls and the sheer height of the ramparts and also the quality of the defences.
The visit lasted over 2 hours and is defiantly a sight we will come back and see.
From the castle we went on a short tour of the town. We moved away from the restaurants near the castle as they were priced for the tourists. In the town we found an excellent restaurant were Ben had Ham and Chips, Daniel had an omelette, Simon had spicy african sausages and chips despite being told by the restaurant owner that English people don’t like them. Nick had a goat cheese and walnut salad while Bruce played safe with Foie Gras and Gizzards salad.
A rest day for everybody today. The big boys managed to drag themselves out of bed at 2 in the afternoon. Just general tidying up and relaxing. Bruce managed to slip away for a cycle ride.
A swim in the pool playing Daniel Water Polo followed by chicken Fajitas for tea.
A grand day out on a D-Day tour of Normandy.
We were all up before 6 in the morning for breakfast. With a long journey to Bayeaux in front of us it was best to start with a pile of croissants and Pain-au-chocolat. 90 miles later we arrived at the Place Du Concord in Bayeaux were we were to meet our tour guide for the day.
Our tour had been organised by Overlord Tours. Our tour guide was Bridget. After loading up in to Bridget’s minibus we started out on the journey to our first stop which was the cemetery at Ranville.
Our next stop was the Pegasus Bridge near Benouville. This was were the first actions of D-Day took place with a daring Glider landing at a strategic location. The guides description of the action and the heroism that day was fantastic. The visit to the Pegasus Bridge Museum was an excellent experience with original documents and personal letters from the soldiers involved.
From Pegasus Bridge we drove past the Grand Bunker on our way to Sword Beach. Sword beach was where the British and French landed on D-Day. From here we had our lunch break at a fine establishment in the town.
From lunch we drove to the Hillman Battery. This was a German observation post linked to several gun emplacements. From the surface there isn’t a lot to see, but walking around the sight you begin to see the excavations that have taken place and when you go underground you see where the Germans used to live and work, you start to understand what the site must have been like.
From the Bunker we drove to Juno Beach. The photo shows the first house to be liberated by the sea borne forces. Half of the house is now owned and maintained by the Canadian Government.
From the beach we moved to the Canadian Museum. The museum has only been open a couple of years and is staffed by volunteers from Canadian Universities. We had limited time here, but could have stayed a lot longer.
The last stop of the day was at Arromanches. This was this site of one of the Mulberry harbours set up over the first days of the D-Day invasion. Most of the harbour pieces are still around either on the beach or out at sea.
From here we drove back to Bayeaux where we parted company with Bridget and set out to find a place for dinner. After finding a small bistro we had a simple dinner and drove back to the Gite.
A lazy day in bed for all of us. Slightly more lazy for some of us as Ben and Simon didn’t really surface until 2 in the afternoon. Bruce spent most of the day catching up on Open University course work, while Nicki prepared dinner according to Bruce’s exacting instructions. The Coq-au-Vin turned into Chicken Provençal as Nicki explained what ingredients Bruce had left out.
The rest of the day was spent with people lazing around and enjoying the slightly warmer and drier weather. Bruce managed to drag Ben around another cycle ride.
After a fantastic Chicken Provençal dinner an early night as tomorrow is a long day of beach tours.
Today after a slow start we drove to St Malo. The purpose of the trip was to see the St Malo aquarium. Having seen the aquarium 2 years ago we decided to revisit with Simon so he could appreciate how good the attraction is.
The aquarium holds a wide range of fish including Octopus, turtles, jellyfish, sharks and some massive congor eels. There is also an area where you can physically touch various fish. Bruce was in his element as he showed the crowds his fish taming techniques.
From the touch area we moved to the submarines. This was a short underwater tour simulating being in a submarine….
All of this was followed by lunch in the aquarium. Nicki had a salad, Daniel a panini, Ben a cheeseburger with Bruce and Simon having giant hotdogs.
Leaving St Malo we stopped at a local supermarket and bought enough food to feed Simon for a day, or the rest of us for 3 days.
The rest of the day was spent with people editing photos and videos. Bruce went out for a 21km cycle ride.
A day trip to Dinan. Everybody was up nice and early – not. Everybody is still enjoying not having to wakeup to alarm clocks and the normal daily routiine.
Dinan is a very picturesque town in Brittany. Beautiful walls, buildings and a weekly market with fantastic fresh produce. The market was our first port of call. All of the boys managed to spend some money here. Ben bought another wallet,
Daniel his first market leather belt.
Simon bought a T shirt with a suitable caption on it.
But the best buy of the day from the market must be Bruce’s leather hat which Nicki reckons makes him look like a pimp.
The next stop after the market was the local pottery merchant where Bruce bought a beer mug and some very nice beakers. Hungry after all of the shopping we headed to a local taverna for Crepes and paninis. This was followed by ice creams and sorbets from a local ice cream parlour.
Having shopped and eaten we walked back to the car via the narrow streets and a very steep cobbled hill. Watching Simon walk down the hill was entertaining as his shoes couldn’t get a grip on the wet pavement and he skidded and slid his way down the slope.
The rest of the day was spent eating good food and drinking very good drink.
Well, a lazy day after the previous day spent in the high trees. Ben and Simon eventually surfaced from their beds after one in the afternoon. Nicki, Bruce and Daniel had a quiet breakfast followed by a walk up to the bins and a chat with Susan who was cutting her hedge. This was followed by a game of sequence. It was during this game that Ben and Simon eventually came down stairs for a breakfast of Spag Bol on toast.
A bit of shopping followed by a BBQ and the day was over.
An early start to the day, with the boys all off for a day doing the high ropes at the forest of Villecartier. The rope course is a series of routes through the trees with each route harder and higher than the previous route. Having completed the training required to go on the course the boys queued at the start of the first route. This was completed quite quickly with everybody finishing it without any incident.
The second route was definitely harder but there were 2 zip lines across the lake which were very fast. In addition some of the obstacles were much harder and required more physical effort to complete.
After a break for a lunch of crepes, omelettes and Croque Monsiuer it was onto the third route. This route was much more complex, and at its highest was about 60ft above the ground. The obstacles were a lot more demanding and the course took over an hour to complete.