March 2006 Andorra

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Andorra visited twice this month... Map from art in SW France site, showing the area.

Mikes visit continued for a few more days. We all enjoyed a day out in Andorra, Mike posing with his new sun glasses, bought in this duty free country. It was a most enjoyable drive. Visited several ski resorts, this was not possible in Jan, due to the heavy snow around. We enjoyed visiting three countries this month, no one checked our passports, hope this map helps you with some of the places we visited.

 

We explored the vines and surrounding area's of Carcassonne, taking some time for a good photo shoot, Mike and I enjoyed the Medieval City especially at sun set. John drove us around for the best places to stop and shoot.

John cooked a roast turkey dinner, how we savoured this meal. John's cooking continued throughout the month and we enjoyed some great cuisine on board. A wonderful night to finish Mikes holiday with us.

Back in Carcassonne we enjoyed touring the area and taking in some great views as you can see.

No matter which direction you are coming from, you can’t miss the imposing silhouette of the City of Carcassonne which is encircled by a huge double row of fortified walls that run almost 2 miles long, wonderful to walk around these walls, it's accentuated by 56 watchtowers, it's history is impressive. We never tire of taking our visitors for an up hill walk, a coffee or a beer, many trips to the cite this month. We also discovered a 5 minute movie DVD of the Canal du Midi, made this year, I was thrilled to see that all the boats who spent winter here in the Port of Carcassonne are on this DVD.

First boat to leave marina was Silver Fern the lift went well, arriving safely in Saint Jean de Losne.

The first boat to leave this month was Ray & Yvonne their boat was transported back to Saint Jean de Losne, followed by Gary & Raewyn. They both will be cruising to the Netherlands.

Three boats in all are being lifted and transported from three different ports to save time (traveling the river Rhone). The Canal du Midi was closed until 24th March due to problems on the canal. This held up some of our friends leaving. Lawrence's delay was a blessing for Sheila, Raewyn and myself, as he offered us free art lessons on the Moet. what fun we all had, producing some good art work after our tuition. I continued to draw and paint and learn, when ever I could.

Lawrence, Raewyn & Sheila, with some of our art work, very proud I am of my work.

 

John was able to get on with painting the boat, the roof, the decks, and the gunnels, between visitors. We also managed to start the work necessary for our cruise. I managed to make new sun covers for the outside of the boat. A new shower pump was installed also a new water pump, and all the general maintenance after a winter on the boat.

Sewing the new window covers for boat aged me a little, (big boat). John & I enjoying a rest.

 

Willem hoping the rain would help his hair grow.

Willem drove 1200k for a weekend visit from Chagny. We had a fun weekend and thoroughly enjoyed our time together as always. It was my birthday and Willem's visit made this special, celebrated we did.

Willem has made changes to the web site he's worked hard as always. Much help I received, teaching me, is not always easy, he has much patience. A new page now added with some of our favourite sites for you to explore.

We had little time from Willem's visit, to prepare for our eldest daughter Teresa's arrival the following morning, she booked time off work to come celebrate my birthday and mothers day, many cards and best wishes sent thank you all so much. What a lovely week we all had together. Teresa brought wonderful new supplies of music and Dvd's, we enjoyed shopping together in many different cities.

This impressive double rainbow took our breath away, lighting up the valley below near Mazamet.

 

These two rainbow's were impossible to photograph, an amazing scene, shared with Teresa. We could see the start and finish of each rainbow, the views and colours so vibrant. I have used these two photographs to help you imagine this beautiful scene.

The weather is Carcassonne has been good, odd day we thought winter's here again, to sunbathing in 27 degree. We also experienced extreme changes in weather staying over night in Andorra and then driving to Spain for a two day break. Teresa felt topped up with more sunshine thank goodness.

Andorra 2nd Visit wonderful driving Teresa around.

 

We enjoyed driving through Andorra, always choosing a different route through the Pyrenees Mountains, we could never tire of this drive. We bought over the limit of duty free cigarettes, (for a friend), our hands were slapped at the boarder by the customs, but they let us drive on, after searching the car with a fine tooth comb. Teresa almost disowned us. We wont forget that day in a hurry. We booked into a very nice hotel in Spain, and laughed later of our experience and fear's at the boarder. Teresa, John and I enjoyed shopping and looking for presents in Andorra and Spain. We have many birthdays coming up next month.

 

Church in Lloret-de-Mar also Salvador Dali museum in Figueres, which opened in 1974.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed visiting The Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain, which was built on the old theatre of Figueres. It contains a broad ranging collection of works illustrating the artistic career of Salvador Dali (1904-1989) from the earliest works and his surrealists period up to the creations of the last years of his life. I viewed with a different eye, some outstanding pieces of work, not all to our taste's, my art course's have helped me appreciate art a lot more. We sat and enjoyed lunch in the sunny square after our visit. I watched a wedding take place in the church next to the museum, taking photo's as I do, love a good wedding, while John & Tree enjoyed a beer.

Blissful time paddling in the sea in Lloret-de-Mar, dancing with the waves.

We had two days driving along the coast of Spain, we thoroughly enjoyed our over night stay in Lloret-de-Mar, Costa Brava. Sitting in the sunshine with a glass of vino, and taking in the atmosphere and sea air.

I thoroughly enjoying a paddle in the cold sea, my feet tingled for some time afterwards. I was carried out to sea here 23 years ago, John swam out to save me, it was scary, both our mum's and 8 of our family watched us struggle to get back, the beech was closed to the public one hour later, we lived to tell the tale, it was good coming back here again, though it's very different today. It was a good journey back to France, and our friends.

 

John was presented with a chief's hat after a speech by Raewyn at a farewell dinner for 25.

 

John being presented with a chief's hat for his cookery efforts, duly signed by everyone in the marina. The ladies admire his adventures with cooking, and wanted lessons for their husbands, says he can't handle this fame, ladies stop him and ask what are you cooking today John.

Teresa enjoyed meeting our friends, It was a chance for us all to enjoy a meal together on mothers day, before we leave the port one by one. We are all heading in different directions. We will be heading west for Toulouse next month (click on map above page for route). We hope to have a steady year's cruise this year, all the way to Bordeaux and back, cruising all the canal's that we can in the south of France.

The French strikes and the chaos it caused to our family.

Teresa's flight home was cancelled. We met some really nice people also stranded at the airport. We managed to book another flight leaving from Nimes the following day. John drove Teresa, John & Geri (also stranded) to Nimes airport (two hours away). John & Geri drove Teresa home to Manchester, from Liverpool. Thanks John & Geri you are stars... I stayed on board to get the boat ready for John mum's arrival following day.

John's mum Olive looking for John on a visit to the medieval city, what are you cooking tonight!

 

John's mum arrived safely no problems, strike delayed her arrival by one hours and John had problems getting to airport due to roads blocked off. Mum's first visit to France, she thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine for her arrival sitting on deck for lunch. We spent time catching up with all the family news back home. We visited some new places and some of our old favourites too, mum was able to keep up with us and never seemed to tire, what a star. She was very impressed with John's cooking too.

Sunrise in the Carcassonne Port, will we be moored here next winter? No bookings accepted!

The Mayor and VNF are in dispute over booking us a mooring here next winter. No one can make a decision, many meetings. Unsure if the port will be emptied for major work this year or next. People are now booking places else where, we will be disappointed to leave here without knowing if we will be back.

 

A Happy Easter is wished to you all.

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