2013 France, Spain, USA & Canada

Thursday 4 April – Day 1. Enjoying a complimentary visit to Qantas Club Sydney as I reached Silver Qantas Frequent Flyer status at last Great way to start to our 3 month overseas trip.

Friday 5 April – Day 2 Arrived Paris after 34 hours on board a variety of planes and happy to arrive at the house in Thaias we have for the coming week. Longed for a great dinner on our first night however tiredness overtook us and we settled for a pasta in a box dish instead and an early night to bed – sleeping lying down instead of in an airline seat!!

Saturday 6 April – Day 3. Meg and Nick arrived early afternoon from the UK so then enjoyed that great meal we promised ourselves yesterday with them. We explored our urban Paris neighbourhood, including the local boulangerie and the largest supermarket we’ve ever seen – a Carrefours that is 3 floors high. The weather is very cold – colder than we had expected and so far no sun has been seen. Not many people out and about perhaps due to the bleak weather. Not sure we are kitted out well enough to manage the Camino in our lighter clothing.

Sunday 7 April – Day 4. Walked to the train to take us into Paris to visit Le Louvre. Galleries offer free entry on the first Sunday of each month so we managed to see the Mona Lisa this afternoon when the crowds were reduced. Walked along the River Seine from Gare de Lyon to the gallery taking in the ambience of the city and watched a marathon taking place along the way. We walked home from the train somewhat tired but enjoyed our BBQ dinner – a semblance of Australian normality – despite the absence of sunshine and warmer weather. Maximum temperatures so far have been 4 degrees!!!

Monday 8 April – Day 5. Drove to Fontainbleau to visit one of the French Royal palaces or chateaux which was inhabited by the French monarchy till the French revolution. After the revolution Napolean Bonaparte and his son and grandson then became the residents of the chateaux. In true French style tonights dinner out was at a Japanese restaurant.

Tuesday 9 April – Day 6. Trialled packing backpacks for the walk and decided lighter and smaller sleeping bags were needed. So walked to the nearby large Decathlion shop which sells all manner of inexpensive sporting and outdoor equipment and returned with all that a budding camino pilgrim could wish for. Another trip to Carrefours and the continuing very cold weather encouraged us to cook a meal in a Le Crueset casserole dish, enjoyed with plenty of French wine, of course.

Wednesday 10 April – Day 7. A train trip to Paris to Musee D’Orsay, the former train station that is now the great gallery housing vast numbers

of the best paintings from the

Impressionist era. For a treat we lunched in the upmarket restaurant entertained by a charming French waiter skilled in art of genteel upselling. McDonalds has much to learn!!!! image

Great label – shame the wine was’nt up to it. <img title=”20130413_113725.jpg” class=”alignnone size-full” alt=”image” src=”https://2bikeriders.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/wpid-20130413_113725.jpg” />

Au revoir Paris image

Hello Lons -le-Saunier, the birthplace of Rouget de Lisle, composer of the French National anthem, Le Marsellaise.

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We once again enjoyed the fine Servas hospitality of Eliane and Albert at home together with friends Francois and Bernard. Unlike our summer visit last year dinner this time was taken inside their elegant home.

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Dinner included Alberts ‘to die for’ French Apple Tart’ which he served last year as well – recipe below

French apple tart. Place sliced apples over a prepared pastry base then pour over a mixture of 2 beaten eggs, 125 mls cream, 1/4 cup ground almonds and sugar to taste. Sprinkle sugar over the top and bake till light golden brown in moderate oven. This is served on its own after the cheese plate and before the coffee.

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After a long uphill walk to test the walking boots we arrived at a very old buy now disused chapel on top of a hill overlooking Lons – a regular walk Eliane enjoys.

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The return path was formerly a railway track making for an easy gradient over which to walk. Just one more day till the Camino starts So far our feet are doing well.

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Eliane showed us this small Hermitage on our return walk that her community group restored and now maintain.

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The view of Lons from the Hermitage window

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