Cyber-crimewave hits Provence

May 10, 11 Cyber-crimewave hits Provence

Posted by in Holland-Paris-Provence 2011

Have you seen this man? Caught on camera by his shady Dutch accomplice secretly priming his iPad hidden in his rucksack to download ‘The Times’ newspaper by hijacking unsuspecting locals unprotected WiFi networks. Whenever this man walks down the street lights dip and power surges as the “Bandwidth Bandit” strikes...

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Our Gite

May 09, 11 Our Gite

Posted by in Holland-Paris-Provence 2011

Our gite is located quite near to Avignon this time in a small place called Les Vignieres, about 25km to the south east. Ideal for exploring further to the east in the direction of Aix-en-provence this time around. The gite itself is in the heart of the countryside and set amongst orchards of cherry trees, some of which are ripe and ready to pick. Our hosts have said we can take as many as we like … and they are “delicieux”. The inside of our gite is typically rustic French in character. That is to say “a bit tired and in need of a clean!” 😀 Lovely all the same...

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Provence en Grande Vitesse

May 07, 11 Provence en Grande Vitesse

Posted by in Holland-Paris-Provence 2011

Another first for us … travelling on the French TGV (Train de Grande Vitesse) The experience was a delight. In just 2.75 hours we traversed practically the whole length of the country in smooth and elegant comfort. We travelled at speeds of up to 320km (200 miles) per hour through grand vistas of French bucolic tranquillity. Merveilleux ! France is a beautiful and vast country and during our trip we hardly saw any conurbations of size at all. Viewing the large green patchwork of fields, gentle rolling hills and somnambulant villages that flashed past our window was superb, especially for a lad from a small island in the English Channel ;-D The TGV itself was clean, smooth, quiet and comfortable. I’d heard about the famed speed and comfort of the TGV before and I have to say it is all they have said it...

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La Bonne Vie

May 06, 11 La Bonne Vie

Posted by in Holland-Paris-Provence 2011

Our hotel room, although the size of a large closet, even has a very small balcony which we can sit on overlooking some typically Parisienne street life, cafes and terraces (tres chic :- D) We’ve thrown ourselves into Paris with abandon combining some regular touristy stuff with some “haute culture”. Over our 3 days here we’ve visited Note Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel tower, Montmartre and Le Sacre Coeur as well as “La Musée du Moyen Age” (Museum of the Middle Ages) which contains the famous “Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries” and of course the Louvre. We resisted the obvious of going to see the Mona Lisa and instead opted ( well Annelies opted seeing as I’m the original cultural barbarian who can’t tell the difference between a Reuben and a Robin) to go and see the old Dutch masters such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Vermeer and Reubens to mention but a few. The Louvre is truly a stunning and massive edifice. The entrance via the famous glass pyramid was very impressive. Underneath the pyramid it houses 2 floors all excavated out out into separate underground galleries. These in turn take you up into the main Louvre buildings ( the open quadrangle that surrounds the pyramid) via escalators. It’s all very modern and yet quite harmonious with these centuries old buildings. We also visited Le Musee d’Orsay which houses an impressive collection of Impressionist paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Manet, Gauguin and van Gogh. Being able to see these famous art pieces so close up was even for me exciting. They were truly spectacular. The museum building itself was also impressive. It was a former railway station but even the restaurant was a 19th century fantasy spectacular with gilt edged encrusted decorated mirrors , chandeliers and classical sculptures … the prices weren’t 19th century though … £8.50 for a piece chocolate cake ! That said I could definitely get into Paris cafe culture. All our meals have been gastronomic delights and our many cafe...

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Tot Ziens Oldebroek … Bonjour Paris

May 03, 11 Tot Ziens Oldebroek … Bonjour Paris

Posted by in Holland-Paris-Provence 2011

Goodbye Oldebroek and hello Paris. We took the train from Oldebroek in Holland to Roterdam, from which we took the high speed Thalys train and … bingo, 2.5 hours later we’re in “la belle Paris” … Amazing! An hour after that we were walking along the banks of the river Seine admiring the huge gothic cathedral of Notre...

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Mont Ventoux

Sep 09, 10 Mont Ventoux

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

We had a lazy start to today with a tasty French brunch of cheeses, pates and fresh French bread. This afternoon we drove up to Mont Ventoux which is a dizzying 1912m above sea level. The views were breathtaking, literally. The wind was so strong it felt like it was sucking the air out of our lungs. The temperature dropped from about 25C at the base to about 9C at the top. Mont Ventoux features every now and then in the Tour de France. It’s certainly popular with cyclists on holiday. The village we stopped at at the foot of the mountain was filled with cyclists who were on their way up or had just returned from the 21km trip up the mountain. In fact the road way up to the summit even has its own cycle path. Most of the cyclists were in fact Dutch, we counted at least a few dozen. I guess they’re learning the hard way that not everywhere is flat! Overtime it seems that the various cyclists have written messages of encouragement on the roadway up to the summit. A lot are in Dutch but the one that caught our attention was on the very summit itself. It simply read thuis, “Home”...

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More Romans …

Sep 08, 10 More Romans …

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

Today we went to the nearby town of Orange to view the Roman Theatre. It was pretty spectacular and as Annelies & I sat in the stalls that could house 8 to 10,000 people you could quite imagine the plays and mimes so beloved by the Roman masses taking place. Orange is of course also famous as the principality associated with William I the leader of the independence movement in Holland. In 1568 he declared the Dutch republic and led the revolt against the Spanish rule ….. here my knowledge runs out and much to Annelies chagrin so does hers ! We had an interesting evening meal in Orange during which I spent most of the time trying to coax any facts out of Annelies. (there weren’t many!) By the way … completely unrelated …. but the owners of our Gite have got a really cute little dog called Robbie...

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Taranis is still angry …

Sep 08, 10 Taranis is still angry …

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

01:20 – Wow … we’ve just come in off of our balcony after spending 20 minutes watching the biggest thunderstorm I’ve ever seen. It’s been going now for about 5 hours and looks set to go on throughout the night. 11:38 – Storm is over and the gorgeous Provence weather has returned. We must have had about 5cm(2 inches) of rain last night but all seems back to normal...

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“Le Petit Pompei” – Part Deux

Sep 07, 10 “Le Petit Pompei” – Part Deux

Posted by in Cornwall & Provence 2010

After last night’s storm we had a leisurely breakfast (which lasted the whole morning!) until the afternoon wind seemed to waft back the warm Provence weather. We decided to go back to Vaison La Romaine again to see the Medieval part of the town. It was well worth it. The Medieval town was built on the opposite bank of the river to the Roman town around a large 12th century fortification. The medieval town is not only perfectly preserved but is still in contemporary use today. Its cobbled streets wind upwards towards the castle through a maze of small houses, shops, art galleries and restaurants. The view from the top was fantastic. Below the fort and adjacent to the Roman town is a 12th century cathedral on a site that traces its origins back to the fourth century when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity. It’s been extended and rebuilt in places but has been a place of Christian worship for over a staggering 1600...

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Taranis is upset …

Sep 07, 10

Taranis, god of thunder of the ancient Gauls, is displeased. After days of sunshine and almost stifling heat we’ve had continuous thunderstorms, lightening and torrential rain all last night and through this morning. However I have to say I find it rather refreshing and invigorating.

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