TRIP PLANNING

“Knowledge is learned but wisdom must be lived” – Anne Wilson Schaef

Travel philosophy ~ But of course, to plan an unbelievably memorable adventure that can be cherished in your minds and shared.

Map of Trip

Map of trip

THE GOAL is to travel locally; to see the culture, history, architecture and art; to meet wonderful new people from all walks of life and countries while trying to stay mostly in private homes or home based B&B’s and camping when a convenient room cannot be found, if equipped. If a hotel is the only place available try to stay in small family run hotels. What better way to learn about your host country and their culture than to meet and stay with the people and see how they live? Learn to live and think locally, enjoy the new experiences. Respect the cultural and leave your dogma at home, relish in the differences. I live with Americans every day but when traveling I like to be with the people of that particular country. Try to travel with a small group or even individually, as people will be more open toward you rather than if you are in a large tour group.

“We have arrogantly assumed that our way of living is better when we have not experienced, known and/or participated in other ways of living, Sometimes what we learn from other people and cultures doesn’t have to be political or spiritual. It can be something that is just good to do. – Anne Wilson Schaef

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Oradour-sur-Glane, a town lost in WW II

Written by Jodi Pickens

So traveling on an equal mix of small country roads and highways we make our way to the town of Oradour-sur-Glane. Driving into the new town of Oradour we buy a sandwich and eat outside the entrance in a park area before touring WW II martyred town of Oradour-sur-Glane.

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France Adventure, Part 20

10-7-08 Paris, by Jodi

Rue Cler

Rue Cler

A full day to explore Paris, we start with our pastries and milk that we bought at a local patisserie and start our planned walks. On and off the metro all day, going to the specific neighborhoods we wanted to see. Even though the metro saves tons of time getting around, my butt cheeks are sore from all the stairs and walking, he he!

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France Adventure, Part 19

10-6-08 Disneyland Paris, by Jodi

Picture heavy.

Disney Paris-10Up early, get ready, and go down to Rue Cler to buy patisseries and milk, mmmmm. 3 metro changes to the RER A train and almost an hour later, we are at Disneyland gates right at opening time of 10am.

 

Walt Disney Studios Park

Walt Disney Studios Park

We decide to go into the Walt Disney Studios Park first since we had never been. We ride Tower of Terror, Rock n’ Roller Coaster, see Animagic puppet show, and then walk around and take photos. There is really nothing else to do there that we haven’t done elsewhere, it is such a small park. We have lunch in the food court on their Main Street type movie studio, just burgers and fries but decent.

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France Adventure, Part 18

10-5-08 – Paris, by Jodi

Today we make sure we are in the dining room at 8:30 to get a jump on our drive into Paris. Kristen once again provides an elegant breakfast, same as yesterday except a different selection of meats and cheeses and she treated us with a small tray with Belgium chocolate bars and nougats. All our being spoiled, piggy breakfasts, come to an end today. We know we buy breakfast on our own from patisseries in Paris.

We check out and profusely thank Kristin for the wonderful stay; she truly made it perfect. So far, we both count Bruges as our favorite town to visit. Today is a bittersweet day. After the 3-½ hour highway/toll drive into Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, we say goodbye to our little car. We enjoyed everything about it – how it drove great, got 55 miles to the gallon, roomy, held all our luggage and other stuff like food and water we stored in the back seat. Drove up to the car return, signed some papers, and got a courtesy ride into the RER train station in the airport.

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France Adventure, Part 11

9-28-08 – Verdun, by Jodi

We are both getting very tired. We’ve had a lot of consecutive one-night stays and are on the go constantly. We are looking forward to changing gears and moving into Belgium and Netherlands for a change of scenery and some multiple night stays in nice B&Bs.

This morning we eat the hotel breakfast, not wanting to even try to find anything open on Sunday morning. Everything in France is closed on Sunday except restaurants for dinner and the churches, which is the way it should be.

Verdun road monument

Verdun road monument

The 3-½ drive is a mix of small roads and some AutoRoute. The landscape is changing to rolling wheat fields, more cows and lots of big wind turbines that power the small towns; it is good to see alternative power sources at work. The tiny villages are quaint and are typical farm towns. Other than the food they grow, where do they shop for other incidentals? All the sizable towns worth any kind of market, are not close by, they must stock up on 1-2 week runs. But, just about every town has a patisserie – shame on them if they don’t!

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France Adventure, Part 10

9-27-08  –  Dijon, by Jodi

Got ready this morning and opted for the corner patisserie for bread, croissants, and milk for breakfast, the hotel breakfast didn’t look like it was worth the E8 each for basically the same darn thing we got at the local patisserie. We ate and left Avignon early on Saturday so we lucked out with no traffic and it was pretty easy, except through Lyon. The 4-hour drive to Dijon was all on the AutoRoute, France’s toll system, and boy is it expensive. To drive 4 hours cost us E30, our only other alternative would have been about an 8 hour drive on tiny village, farm roads . . . um, let’s see . . . no.

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France Adventure, Part 9

9-26-08 – Avignon by Jodi

I slept a solid 11 hours – I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that! We actually had CNN news in English on our TV so we were able to catch up on home news last night. Still no internet to upload this, hopefully soon. We may stop at another McD’s tomorrow to use theirs. We walk downstairs to the nice buffet breakfast, fill up and head to our first stop of Pont du Gard.

Pont du Gard is a huge, 3 story section of Roman aqueduct which serviced Nimes. It is the 2nd tallest Roman ruin other than the coliseum in Rome. It was built between AD38 – AD 62.

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France Adventure, Part 8

9-25-08 – Arles, by Jodi

We decide to pass on the hotel breakfast at 8 euro each and instead stopped at a patisserie for fresh croissants to eat on the road, mmmmmm. We travel on more country roads for about 2 hours until we reach the Mediterranean. We have now driven the whole country from north to south.

day 8-4We stop at a deserted beach for a short walk to stretch our legs and a short rest. The sand is very fine and white, with seashells in abundance. Of course, I have to stop and collect a few.

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France Adventure, Part 7

9-24-08 – Carcassonne, by Jodi

This morning Alain gave us yogurt, fresh croissants, homemade spice breads and jam, coffee and hot chocolate. Francois pulled out his maps and wanted to see our intended route and made some recommendations of things to see along the way as we sat and had a wonderful breakfast at the family table. Unfortunately, we knew we wouldn’t have time, but he was a wealth of information and we appreciated his time. We thanked them both for being wonderful hosts and kept his notes for our next visit. We left with them both waving goodbye to us, just like a Mom & Dad, he he!

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