A Travellerspoint blog

A wet weekend in Paris

rain 14 °C

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Jack has just left to get the bus back to Holland, deflating us a bit. We've had a fun few days together checking out Paris & catching up. He has less than a month to go in Maastricht and then a few weeks backpacking with Gabbi before he returns to uni in Newcastle. You may also notice a better layout with the blog too as his IT skills have helped us integrate the best of our photos into the text at last.

Market scene

Market scene

The weather has been unkind AGAIN unfortunately and today Monday is a public holiday in Paris and many shops, museums etc have closed for all or part of the weekend. We walked through Montmartre and on to a fabulous market called Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, so big you'd need a week to fully check it out. It is divided into different areas selling amazing antique furniture, glassware and art, Art Deco period stuff, collectable prints, leather goods and the usual tatt!

One of many Aladdin's caves at this huge market place

One of many Aladdin's caves at this huge market place

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Yesterday we checked out the Marais district with Jack, a bit more upmarket than where we are staying, with avenues of small galleries containing all types of art from impressionist to modern sculpture, as well as retail, all so interesting.

The Marias, Louis 13th square

The Marias, Louis 13th square

We stumbled upon a market near the Bastille

We stumbled upon a market near the Bastille

We're not used to queuing, especially in the rain which we did to see the Musee de l'Orangerie with the Monet and other impressionists works. Consensus was the Water Lily's were a bit underwhelming, but the effort to gain entry was rewarded by the other works on display.
The rain continued and was heavy again as we headed home, but this time we were prepared with brollies and raincoats! We ended the day with another lovely meal in one of the many cafe/restaurants on Rue Abbesses.

Last supper together in Paris

Last supper together in Paris

Posted by A M Chaffey 07:44 Archived in France Comments (0)

Vive le France!

Three Chaffeys in a boat

rain 14 °C

Jack arrived late last night after travelling from Holland to Paris by bus. It is so lovely to see him after 4 months of him being abroad and now we can enjoy the fabulous city of Paris together. After a late breakfast of croissants (of course) we walked down the hill toward the city to catch an open air tour bus. We did a similar thing in London & it proved a great way to orientate and see the major sights.

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We spent a few hours on the open air top level off the bus which gives an excellent perspective of the very many beautiful buildings & the intricate Parisienne style of architecture. Among the many were the Opera House, the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Arc de Triomphe. Dozens of the "lesser" buildings would be stars in their own right in any other city, our heads spinning at the number of fine examples.

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We lunched on the Champs de Elysses at a lovely restaurant using our very limited French and received a quick lesson from the waiter, who at the end of the meal demanded we ask for the bill in French before he would comply! The evening we spent aboard a riverboat tour on the Seine which gave a different perspective and was quite comfortable as the weather deteriorated. It bucketed down as we left though, we weren't prepared and choosing the Champs de Élysées as a drop off point was the wrong decision as there was no shelter for about a kilometre!

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And then we ate again. There seems to be a lot of that here. Many restaurants require bookings and are busy but the Cafes are easy with sufficient array of French food.

Posted by A M Chaffey 09:54 Archived in France Tagged paris in chaffey's Comments (0)

Last day in England

Then to Paris!

Ballerina in beautiful Mells

Ballerina in beautiful Mells

After two hectic days up and down western England we explored locally on Wednesday, visiting the small city/ big village of Wells and a quick tour of Glastonbury ( Bellingens big sister). Wells impressed with its history and the unique topography that results in the artesian waters from the surrounding limestone hills welling up in springs that are currently flowing at 40 gallons (192 litres) per minute! The water flows down the streets gutters constantly.

The flow from the spring at Wells

The flow from the spring at Wells

The last evening we went for a walk through Mells, a small village near Vobster that is trending up socially, complete with babbling brook, old church and another historic Free House The Talbot Inn where we had dinner, Margaret sampling the local venison. Our waitress was a typical English lass (20?) that has been "pistol shooting since she was five"! The Vobster Inn up the road was hosting a dinner this weekend for Shoot organisers so the traditional English pastimes are alive and well! The fare at both these venues was exemplary, and highly recommended!

P.S. While in Somerset we had two encounters that later had light shed on them, the first was a glimpse of a hairy fox sized animal caught in the headlights driving home one night, we were not sure what it was but it turned out to be a badger after we found a 200 year old stuffed specimen in an antiques shop in Oxford. The "terribly terribly" 20 something chap in the shop was impressed as he had only seen his first the weekend before after staking out a set for some hours. Not the slow and romantic creatures of Wind in the Willows judging by the teeth!

The second was the too quick for a camera appearance of a WW 2 bomber flying extremely low in the shallow valley below. Turns out it is the 70th anniversary of the Dam Buster raids on German water storage and these guys were training for a re-enactment the weekend of the 19th May in Lancasters! Interviewing a surviving bombardier on TV he said he had made his crew attempt the run 10 times against solid defences before the conditions were perfect to release the bomb. Over 50 crew didn't return that night.

Venison for dinner

Venison for dinner

Wells cathedral

Wells cathedral

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Mells

Mells

Drove back to London and caught the Fast train (300k on our GPS) to Paris, and safely to our apartment. Spent Friday exploring Montmatre, great art, jewellery, fruit and cake shops at the top of our street, Moulin Rouge and red light district at the bottom! Jack arrives for the weekend late tonight!

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Posted by A M Chaffey 08:04 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Essex and Oxford

rain 10 °C

Monday morning we made our way to Essex with stops at Yeovil, Tintinhull and Montacute House. It was still raining, windy and at 10.30 am it was 7 degrees outside! Tintinhull is where our ancestor Joseph left from in 1854 to migrate to Australia. Interesting to note many of the surrounding towns names are also towns around Tamworth in NSW where he settled. Things were so bad in England at the time the population was decimated by migration to the opportunities in the new world. Joseph's dad had died young and his older brother Sam stayed in England with his mum Honor (Russ) to help run their bakery until they too migrated a few years later. To confuse things a bit, another 18 year old named Joseph Chaffey, together with his older brother Samuel ( same age as our Samuel), also from Somerset, migrated on the same vessel (Kate)!
The old bakery is still there, and the whole town is picture postcard stuff, well looked after with lovely gardens and I was told St Margaret's church graveyard holds at least one Chaffey but we couldn't locate evidence of it. Many of the headstones were missing or illegible.

Old Post Office Tintinhull

Old Post Office Tintinhull


St Margaret's Tintinhull

St Margaret's Tintinhull

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The Old Bakery Tintinhull

The Old Bakery Tintinhull


Essex cathedral is another engineering marvel, parts of which date back to the 11th century, and in a continuation of the nursery rhyme connections, it contained the earliest known cathedral clock. In the photo of the door to the clocks workings you will see an extra hole has been added at the bottom to allow access for the cathedral cat, as the clocks mechanism was being sabotaged by vermin, giving rise to the Hickory Dickory Dock rhyme!

Essex Cathedral, clock mechanism door with the hole for the cat to catch the mouse that  ran up the clock in hickory dickory dock!

Essex Cathedral, clock mechanism door with the hole for the cat to catch the mouse that ran up the clock in hickory dickory dock!

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The Chaffeys have history here too if research by an American member of the family is to be believed. As an adviser to Emma of Normandy, (Queen to Ethelred the Unready and later Canute,) in the 900's our French/Norman? ancestor was rewarded with a controlling position in the young market town, but his alliegence was with the Danes and in retaliation to Ethelreds recent order to massacre all the Danish in the kingdom, he opened a gate to the walled city to the Danes who killed all the inhabitants and levelled the town!

Tuesday we made the trip to Oxford, it's university status evident by the hundreds of students throughout the city, lovely despite the continuing deterioration in the weather! Had a nice lunch at a typical English pub, with a typical english barman/Dr Who devotee type that impressed Marg no end by making her a pot with loose leaf tea!

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Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

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We managed to get to Woodstock in time for a look at Blenheim Palace and the work of Capability Brown. The scale of the landscaping effort without machinery is truly mind blowing and matches the opulence of the palace itself. We made our way back to Vobster and the local 17th century Vobster Inn for a surprisingly posh dinner with a local brew and American wine.

Posted by A M Chaffey 16:23 Archived in England Comments (1)

Out of London

Somerset

overcast 12 °C

Picked up the car Saturday morning and made our way out of the city and took the advice of our last taxi driver to visit Salisbury, a medieval city with a fantastic cathedral. Unlike most of its' contemporaries which took centuries, Salisbury was completed in the architects life time! The building is showing its' age though, with cracks visible in the domes and the spire now 750mm from its original position! Up the road a bit we passed Stonehenge but were happy to view from a distance.

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The slug

The slug

We arrived in Somerset and our digs at Vobster later that day, just a lovely part of the country. Where we are staying is still owned by the descendants of Little Jack Horner, who was commissioned to relay the concealed deeds of the local estate to London but "stuck in his thumb" and stole the whole estate for himself! There is also a local Primary School where stands the well and hill from the original Jack and Jill nursery rhyme. The area is crossed with walking tracks using "kiss gates" to negotiate the fences and driving around you have to be aware of the groups of hikers and their guides crossing the narrow roads, as well as deer.
Sunday we travelled to Bath to see the Roman baths, another majestic, well preserved cathedral, more of the beautiful countryside and the river Avon.

It is still bloody cold, today's top about 12 degrees and similar for the next couple too! The car, a Vauxhall, is a real slug, feels like it is powered by malnourished hamsters!

Posted by A M Chaffey 13:37 Archived in England Comments (0)

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