Europe

A childhood dream was fulfilled in 2006 when we first visited Switzerland. I then had an opportunity in 2008 and now here we are again. It was just I had imagined it to be and I just love the country. Probably Heidi was my inspiration but a young lady named Nadia Briner came into our lives in 2005. She came to South Africa as an Exchange Volunteer Community Worker and spent some time living with us so, when we decided to go to Europe in 2006, we just had to meet her family who live between halfway between Zurich and Basel. They are wonderful people who opened their home to us for 3 days and spoilt us unbelievably. We saw them on this trip as well.

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This is Day 19 of the 30-Day Blogger Challenge and also Day 8 of our train trip around parts of Europe. If you have looked at any of the articles on my travel web page giving ideas on how to make travelling a bit easier on yourself, you may have seen that we have learnt to pack as light-weight as possible because, as I have mentioned a few times on this series on 2010, you have to be able to carry your luggage some of the time. As a result, we now needed to find a laundromat and were lucky to find one just around the corner from the hotel.

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I have reached Day 18 of the 30-Day Blogger Challenge and the task set by Sarah Arrow is to make a commitment today for tomorrow and then to follow it up as promised. As I still wish to tell you about the incredible time we had in Geneva, I do promise to keep my commitment but it will be in blog 20 and not tomorrow. I guarantee that my story will put a smile on your face.

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Millau Bridge 2Millau Bridge from the town side of the riverToday was the day we were to see the ‘big bridge’ the construction of which we had seen on the BBC programme, Top Gear, about a year earlier. It had seemed to be a real achievement in construction. Apparently it had been designed and the building led by British architects and engineers but it was French engineers who had seen the possibility. It is now the longest and highest bridge in France.

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For Day 16 of the 30-Day Challenge I am writing about one of our best experiences on any holiday.

Today we leave Pontarlier and get back on a train to make our way down to Montpelier. The reason for heading that way was to visit the town of Millau and see the longest and highest bridge (or viaduct as some referred to it) in France. We had heard about it from the Top Gear show. It looked so amazing that we just had to see it. What we also learnt from this experience on this particular day was not to plan too long a train ride at one time, to check if it is necessary to book a seat on the train as this is sometimes needed and ensure that you get into the correct carriage according to the details on your ticket. We almost went to Marseilles instead of Montpelier!

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We learnt quite a lot about our train pass and the trains themselves in the very first journey from Koblenz to Liege and Spa in Belgium. The best thing was to learn that we could use the Pass on more than just the trains and the most frustrating was that, although I believed that I had booked us into hotels ‘within a 10 minute walk of the station’ I had not confirmed that it was the station at which we would arrive. This caused a few frustrating walks with our luggage in Liege and elsewhere. There was still plenty more to come of course.

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We arrived in Liege, Belgium on a wet Saturday afternoon. By the time we arrived the rain had stopped but it was still very wet. The main station is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. Very modern in both sculpture and design but finding assistance proved to be rather difficult. We knew no French and every policeman withdrew from the scene once he realised that our French was non-existent. Finally we found a pleasant cop who would listen to our story.

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We started with a coach tour from Munich to Oberammegau, on to Salzburg and then back through various parts of Bavaria to finish in Koblenz. On the 2nd last day we continued a cruise down the Rhine from Rüdesheim to Koblenz.

Instead of writing all about these few hours of cruising I have ‘written’ the blog in pictures so sit back and enjoy the beauty of the Rhineland.


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About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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