A Travellerspoint blog

March 2009

Around the World in 150 Days

sunny 13 °C

A school of dolphins greeted us playfully as we took the ferry home, while Camilla, our cat, gave us a lukewarm welcome that said, "I actually preferred the new people." Thanks to Tony and Janet, the "new people," everything at home is just purrfect ... although spring is certainly late this year and the daffodils are only just bursting.
The past five months have been so exciting and thought-provoking that returning to our serene house on a tranquil island has left us feeling disorientated. Where are the teeming throngs, the persistant touts, and the noisome vehicles? Silence is broken only by barking sea-lions and screeching eagles, and no one has tried to sell us anything from the moment we arrived in London three weeks ago. (In fact, we felt bad about interrupting gossipy shop assistants in England).
The mountains of British Columbia are still deep in winter, but the sun is shining and both sea and sky are blue; not quite as blue as the Mediterannean but close. Here is Sheila pretending to be the owner of a multi-million dollar yacht in Cannes...
...and here is the view from our front window this morning.
O.K. We know very well that we are incredibly fortunate and our time in South East Asia has re-enforced that view.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the fund that enabled us to make contributions to worthy causes during our trip, and we would especially like to thank everyone who took the time to read our blog.
As a reward to readers we will be holding a "South East Asia Experience" in May at which we will attempt to recreate the ambience and foods we encountered on our travels. Everyone is invited, (airfare not included - although accommodation will be provided). For an invite, just email us at Fishkisser20@hotmail.com. We would love you to come.
Now, it is time to say goodbye. We've loved taking you along with us on our Blissful Adventure and hope that you will come with us the next time we go a'travellin'.
So ... Goodbye from us and from Rebecca - the chipper Aussie whose wayward backpack gave us so much fun.

Posted by Hawkson 06:28 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

The Kite-Runners

semi-overcast 11 °C

As we prepared to leave yet another country, and the lovely granddaughter whom we have got to know for the first time as a real little person, we were bouyed by the prospect of re-uniting with family in England and, in just a couple of days, our friends in Canada.
Here is Grandpa Jim flying a kite with son and granddaughter on l'esterel mountains above Theoule ...
... and Charlie quickly learned to make bubbles with her new machine.
Provence became its usual sunny self, after a somewhat wobbly start, and hardy bathers could be seen along the golden shores. Cannes' film festival is seven weeks away and the crews of the super-yachts in the harbour are sprucing up their craft to greet the glitterati. We walked the familiar quays and marvelled at the multi-zillion dollar playthings that are the ultimate extravagance in a world where Ferraris and Lear Jets are just for getting about in.
Markets of all kinds have fascinated us on our trip and Cannes was no exception. However, the Marché Forville in the heart of the old city is no dingy rat-infested germ factory. Only the finest and freshest flowers, fish, meat, vegetables and fruit make it onto these stalls and the prices are steeper than the average supermarket. But don't even think of bargaining.
Here are some of the gorgeous flowers on offer.
Today, back in England, we met for lunch with Sheila's brothers and sisters-in-law.
Here's the happy bunch.
We leave for home tomorrow - our twentieth flight of the trip.

Posted by Hawkson 00:47 Archived in England Comments (1)

Down to Earth

sunny 18 °C

From our apartment high atop the red mountains of l'esterel in Provence, we look across the azure Bay of Cannes to the snow capped peaks of the French Alps .... Sounds idyllic doesn't it? Well it is, and we would coax anyone with a son or daughter to suggest they live here so as to have a reason to visit. Here is another view showing the Alps.
However, after 4 months in S.E.Asia, we finally bumped back to earth yesterday when we had lunch in little snack bar on the beach in Theoule sur Mer.
Theoule is a sleepy seaside village about 15 kms west of Cannes and in some ways it reminded us of Phu Noi in Vietnam where we also ate in the beachside snack bars. Yesterday's lunch was, in South East Asian parlance, Same-Same ... but it was very different. The biggest difference was the price. Lunch for two in Vietnam - 5 dollars, including tip. Lunch for two in Theoule - 75 dollars, not including tip! There were four of us in Theoule and the bill for lunch was equivalent to 5 months wages for the average Vietnamese!
Now the sun has finally been turned on, the temperature is rising and should hit 18 today - a vast improvement from the wintry temperatures we encountered when we arrived. The mimosa trees are golden with blossom in the bright sunshine and summer is just around the corner. The beaches of Cannes and Nice will soon be packed with northerners desperate to escape the colder climes.
Here is a view of one of our favourite towns on the Cotes d'Azure ... it is Antibes with its medieval buildings and Napoleonic fort.
Floating in the Bay of Cannes is the island of Ste. Marguerite. The island's fortress is the legendary place, (as readers of The Dave Bliss Quintet will know), where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned from 1687 - 1698. The actual cell can still be visited ... it lies behind the second window from the left.

Posted by Hawkson 02:56 Archived in France Comments (4)

The Queen at Windsor

sunny 17 °C

We are now near Cannes, (Yes- the place in the Mediterranean where all the world's rich and famous go to watch movies), and it's freezing. But tomorrow they promise sun so until then we'll tell you about our last day in England when we went to Windsor Castle to have tea with the Queen. Here we are on the Long Walk at the castle approach.
Unfortunately, Her Majesty had apparently forgotten our appointment and we ended up with pie and mash at a greasy spoon down by the river Thames. At least the swans were happy to meet us.
From Windsor we walked to Eton to oggle the toffs in top hats and tails at the famous school, then we drove a few miles to Runnymede . As every English schoolboy is supposed to know, Runnymede is the very centre of the first world. It is the place where all modern democracies were born; the exact spot where, on the 12th. June 1215, King John was forced by the Barons of England to sign the world's first, (and still surviving), constitution - The Magna Carta - upon which all other constitutions are based. Apparently no one in Britain thought it worthwhile commemorating this momentous occasion so they left it to the American Bar Association who put up this monument.
However, having put up a memorial to a great British event, the Americans saw no reason why they shouldn't salute one of their own. So the Brits gave them a few acres of England's green and pleasant land to erect a monument to John F. Kennedy right next to the Magna Carta memorial.
What is the message here? Are the Yanks suggesting that JFK was as fundamental to world democracy as the Magna Carta? No answers required - we have our own opinions!

Posted by Hawkson 12:49 Archived in England Comments (1)

A Host of Golden Daffodils

sunny 16 °C

Here at The Pantiles in the Georgian heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells, in the county of Kent - popularly known as "The Garden of England" - the sun is shining and Britain is blooming.
This is a hedgerow in the middle of the Borough.
Great Britain may be densely populated compared to many other countries but there is an incredible amount of green space. We have criss-crossed the south of England in the past week, driving over a thousand miles, and have been in the countryside for more than 90% of the time. Perhaps the best thing is that as long as you don't damage crops or livestock you are free to wander the forests and pastures of this great nation unmolested. There is no general law against walking across private land. Thousands of miles of public footpaths meander across every hill and dale, towpaths snake alongside rivers and canals, and disused rail lines have been turned into cycleways and walkways.
Here are some sure signs of spring we witnessed on our country rambles.
A host of golden daffodils...
... blossoming fruit trees alive with birdsong and the buzz of bees...
....and newborn lambs gambolling in the warm sunshine.
It is so easy to be romantic about this gentle green land - when the sun is shining!

Posted by Hawkson 14:22 Archived in England Comments (1)

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