Travel Stories

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I ressurected this article as the holidays are upon us and if you are heading to Loire River in the Upper Brittany region this is a must. Kids and adults will absolutely love the Galerie of the Machines de l'Ile and especially the Grand éléphant, known to it's creators as “Michelle!”. The Grand éléphant weighs in at
50 tons and can take (very slowly) 30 people on a voyage of.....well fantasy as you ride in oron an elephant made by craftsmen and women using an incredible mix of traditional crafts such as carpentry and modern techniques of hydraulics and electronics.

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Some 20 years ago this week I was working in my office in the Saudi Arabian capital

-- Al Riyadh

-- I was a F&CO "lifer" setting up security systems for the Saudi MOH hospitals

-- having been there in Riyadh for the previous 13 years !

-- when my boss the British Ambassador called me in.

I thought it was for the normal week end talk

-- "Hows work going?" etc.

But no it was something much more serious. The War... 

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Australian adventure Coming from the UK I should have been to used to driving in the rain. Still, I was more than a little dismayed when I pulled away from Lismore a small town south of Brisbane in NSW' I was setting off on the start of a 6 week tour of Cape York (that's the pointy bit on the top of Australia) and the Outback. It was coming down in sheets, the sort of rain that instantly soaks you through and leaves you in no doubt that you should have stayed at home. I was heading eventually for a small place called Karumba in the North of Queensland. To add to my amusement, I was in a strange vehicle, a massive Australian Holden 4 x 4 with a 4.5 litre engine, and towing an equally massive twin axle caravan, which was connected to the now greasy road by tyres designed for dirt and dust. It was said best to get a twin axle then if you had a puncture you always had a spare!!! OMG how naive was I

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Adelaide to Ballodonia Waving and Kangaroos!

 I started at - 6:00 am - getting ready for another day of serious driving. I was heading from Adelaide along the coast road to Port Augusta. I had decided that I would borrow from my cousin his VW Combi for my journey. This was a much more substantial vehicle than the one that I trekked across Africa in. I had been told to get an early start as the roads got very crowded. I had parked and lived in the Combi at a small vineyard in the Barossa area, which had just finished the harvest.

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Hello everybody First would like to say what a great time we had on the French Rally in the Loire. Me and geezer now wandering Aimlessly round France. We are now in the Dordogne at Sarlat la caneda. The town of SARLAT is wonderful and the campsite we got from the ACSI book is incredible. It has four swimming pools, restaurant, bar, takeaway and lovely weather so far, oh yes and WiFi and that is why you getting this bit of a journal. I did say I would bore you with our travels and thats exactly what I amgonna do. We arrived after 8 hours driving, halfwayalong TOMTOM packed up (blank screen only like it had beenswitched off) so we had a couple of wrong turnings halfway up a mountain and toyboy had to get us out. Of course that was after the screaming match we were having in the roadway while all the frogs were being directed past by yours truly.

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Left Tarn Gorge - Eyes still closed till we joined themotorway south of THE BRIDGE. WE did it singlythe day before and it cost about 5 euros. Course once agaiin when it came to double bubble Geezer was having none of it. So on we went - no mishaps no toll charge and ony one wrong turn which brought us to the campsite LA CASTELLA from Cap D'Agde rather than SETE. You well travelled amongst s will know exactly what I mean.

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Its 9.40 am and its hot enough to take me clobber off !! But thats not a pretty sight I can tell you.

Anyway Our mate Brian and his wife Anna turned up prompt with two bottles of vin to keep us going through the game. We forced the cheese n honey down them poor souls but obviously seeing England win made the evening very nice thank you.

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After a BBQ.

The site owner gave every table a bottle of wine. The said wine was drunk with thanks.

The concert mike could only come 6" away from the front, so that meant all turns played to the left.

WE sat on the right. I got the right UMP !! As there were a few other londoners there - we ALL got the right UMP !!

Toyboy said "Calm down" (he is a northerner tsk.)...Calm down, CALM DOWN I said.............I dont wanna look at some ole boys bum while he is playing the harmonica, thanks !!

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THE FLYING DUTCHMAN

We arrive Vila Nova "30 CAMPING CHEQUES FOR 60 NIGHJTS " is its slogan !!!

Directed to a lovely large pitch. Standing there deciding which way to put the van in when WHOOSH ! KABOOSH ! This dutchman comes flying down the site - guns ablazing - all ready to single handedly put the van on whichever way we wanted it. Although we do have a mover, we looked at each other , geezer and I , and as he was such a nice lowlander we let him have his wicked way.

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Why? The Road of the Seven Wows

The road from Castres through Albi to Villefranche de Rouergue along which I went early in 2002 will forever in my mind be called the Road of the Seven Wows.

Simply it is full of WOWS.

Wow 1 - As I crossed the River Tarn in Albi to the left of the bridge was the Cathedral and the close-by Bishop's Palace. Wow!

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It was just a casual internet search really. Sat in front of the computer, no plans for New Years Eve and a new (well new to us) caravan that we were just itching to use. So, “enter New Year and Caravan as the search criteria and see what comes up,” I thought.

There were a fair few hits, needless to say. I had a look through and one that caught my eye was something to do with Cromer. Now, living in Colchester, I thought “This seems close enough, let’s have a closer look.”

Well, to cut a long story short, the search had turned up the Touring and Tenting thread for the New Year rally at Cromer.

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Close your eyes and imagine the Italy of your dreams, shimmering water, soft hued stunning scenery of terracotta, sienna and green where olive groves and oak trees meander over hills. You have just imagined the treasures of Lake Trasimeno the fourth largest lake in Umbria, Italy.

 The micro-climate of Lake Trasimeno in the basin of the mountains, supports much wildlife and the lake is teeming with fish, the staple diet of the region. Totally unspoilt, there are no factories around the lake, the water of the lake remains clean (a laboratory on one of three islands checks daily). The lake depends purely on rainfall, there are no rivers flowing into it, which also maintains its purity. (There is only one other lake in Europe not filled by rivers, Lake Balaton in Hungary) Lake Trasimeno is very shallow, deepest point only 6 metres, the micro-climate also keeps the temperature consistently warm all year.

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