Pam and Beryl's Europe 2013 travel blog

Chauvigny

Sarlat

Wedding car

Autoire

Our lady of rugby

Rocamadour

Carennac

Sarlat

Albi


Hi everyone

This will be my last post as will be home in a couple of days.

Since I last wrote we had a lovely time driving through France from Perpignan to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. We had an automatic VW Golf which was great to drive and I didn't make the wrong side of the road once,

Only hassle was a flat tyre on my birthday which took up a bit of the day getting it changed and then repaired in another town.

We were only overnight in Perpigan after a long day travelling by train from Seville through some lovely countryside. Perpignan deserves a bit more time exploring - a French town with a Spanish influence being so near the border. Then to Carcassonne where we stayed at a B & B nearby when we got lost but it turned out to be a good find as it was run by a 50 ish woman and her mother. They were grape growers as had been the grandmother. House was 15th century - some lovely old furniture. When we asked where to get dinner they invited us to join them "en famille" for a simple meal of soup, cold meat, salad, cheese and fruit - home grown grapes. And wine from her grapes which is made at a local winery. Next day we explored the old castle at carcassone before heading north to Albi stopping along the way at lots of lovely villages. Albi is lovely, on a river with interesting bridges, a church which claims to be the largest brick one in the world, is the birthplace of Toulouse Lautrec ( museum contains many of his paintings and a stunning garden) as well as La Perouse who arrived in Sydney just a few days after Cook - or was it Phillip? There is a statue of him in the town. On to Souillac on the Dordogne River but actually in Lot. As we drove in it had good vibes so found a pleasant hotel which had a great restaurant and we kept extending our stay till we had been there 3 nights. It was a good base for exploring towns in the Dordogne and vicinity such as Sarlat, Carennac, Martel, Loubressac, Chauvigny and last but not least the magnificent Middle Ages Christian pilgrimage town of Rocamadour, which clings to the cliffs above the Alzou River. We spend the best part of a day there exploring. They even have a chapel dedicated to the saint of the local rugby team, complete with rugby jerseys!

Our last night before Paris CDG airport hotel was at a small town called Montbazon near Tours.

Lovely dinner at a local restaurant. The next day I planned to show Beryl some of the castles as we drove along the Loire but sadly it was an extremely foggy day and visibility was very poor. We did manage to spend an hour or so at the excellent market at Amboise, a city which looks fabulous so I will return. Beryl says she is coming too. After some slight hassles we found where to drop car off at airport - no scratches and I had managed not to drive on the wrong ( left) side of the road once! Beryl is an excellent navigator. We were sad to leave France and Spain after a great holiday, no disagreements - I think we made very compatible travelling companions.

And so on to Penang. A good flight on Malaysian - upstairs on the A380 - economy unfortunately not the pointy end. Very comfortable . Am very disappointed in Penang - after loving it in 1987 I was looking forward to a nice time, eating lots of terrific food and relaxing before heading home. We are staying at a resort in Tengung Bungah, near to Batu Ferringhi. Very comfortable room with a living area and a kitchen which has no utensils except tea making facilities. Had to borrow a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine we were given in France by a hotel which stuffed up our booking at Albi. But Penang is now so big and developed, traffic jams out to the beaches even though it is 3-4 lanes each way, rubbish everywhere. Dangerous footpaths, few facilities for pedestrians! Filthy beaches. Like a lot of Asia it is a mix of poverty and affluence. Still it is cheap - we just had dinner - 2 murtabah and 2 lassis for about A$5. Bus fare about 40 cents Australian . The food hawker stalls are disappointing.

So homeward bound tomorrow, arriving 9.05am Saturday all going well and bush fires allowing. Just reading about it - what are you doing about climate change Tony Abbott?

See you all soon

Love Pam

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