Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.

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October 7th, 2007

Holiday

Good holidays always feel like they are over barely after they begin. Our tour of Europe (well France, Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium) certainly falls into this category. We set off from London on a Saturday, got to Dover with plenty of spare time for lunch, and took the ferry over to Boulogne. It was my first time driving on the right hand side of the road, and I have a say it was easier than I had expected it to be.

We stayed in a small B&B outside Amiens on the first night, enjoying a good evening of eating, drinking and chatting with the hosts and other guests. The next day we worked our way to Louviers where we spent a couple of nights. We stayed in small village rather than a town or city, a good change of pace from London.

Vianden CastleAfter a quick visit to Monet’s gardens (which get better the further in you go) we soebt a night in a chateau in Courcelles (in the Champagne region) – a fabulous evening of good food, great service and spectacular surroundings.

A further night just outside Epernay allowed for a some champagne tasting (7 in total), the most enjoyable being at the Espace Degustation where we did a sampling of the 5 champagne’s of the week.

Next up was Luxembourg for a night, with a day trip around the Vianden and the spectacular castle (see photo). We ended up crossing the border into Germany on a tiny little single track road, but thankfully one with almost no traffic. Our first night in Germany was spent in Heidelberg, for which the most impressive sight came by walking the steep path up to the castle gardens / park.

Friedrichroda had been mainly selected for it’s half-way point on route to Leipzig, but it also presented an opportunity to do a little walking through the forest which was a good change of pace.

Leipzig itself was much more alive than my memories of it from (roughly) six years ago. There are still a lot of empty,boarded up, properties around, but plans are in place to have them mostly demolished and the surroundings regenerated. The city centre itself is full of good shopping, eating and construction.

Our return trip was faster than our out-bound. We stopped in Paderborn (home to a nifty river and lots of references to Charlemagne), Aachen (good gingerbread, and even more references to Charlemagne) and finally Gent. Gent was a surprise hit – a fabulous series of canals, old buildings and lively atmosphere.

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Copyright 2009 Colin Stewart

Email: colin@owlfish.com