A Travellerspoint blog

The Jura and the Fromont’s

How much can you stuff in a kiwi.


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While not in Jura (region of France next to Switzerland) our first stop back in the French land was Dijon, ya know the mustard. We got to have a quick look round the city as we only stayed the one night. Which we spent having the best dinner out (a bottle of the best helped as well) then walked the tourist path the next day.

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Standard French old town building

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Mmmm food from the market

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See told ya bout the mustard, (although the mustard museum had closed, sob. I was keen)

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We only got a small slice

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So when we were working back in Scotland I meet a student (Grégoire) from France working at my company on a holiday break. We got talking one day about our trip and he discovered we might be going to Dijon. “Oh,” he exclaimed “my parents live near there”. The next day he comes into work and says “I rang my mum last night and you can stay there when you pass through”……. Score

From Dijon we had a quick train to Dole and meet up with Grégoire and his mum, who took us to their awesome family house in Tavaux. It was so good staying with these guys, they had a real family atmosphere (6 kids tend to do that). Just seeing the day to day living of a real honest French family.

We did get some sights in when Grégoire (home from uni for the weekend) and his girlfriend took us out to the wee village of Beaume and Chateaux Chalon (again purchasing wine and cheese).


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View from the Beaume abbey

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Gotta love the way the French eat dinner, we were a bit concerned at the first dinner when everyone got only a small slice of a really nice quiche/flan dish. But they have this ‘weird’ concept of courses. Eg first up aperitifs (drink and snack), then main, then bread and cheese, then fruit, then desert and coffee (not to mention the wine). And this was for pretty much every meal, lunch and dinner. So we were more than quite full after our 3 days.

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Family dinner

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Me and the youngest (Pierre), who had a fascination with the haka.

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Canals in Dole

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So big ups to the Fromont family, you made our stay one to remember.
(See you in Corsica)

Posted by jamienrach 11:06 Archived in France Comments (0)

Oh so small, so cute.

Luxembourg


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It’s just a wee tiny place, sandwiched between Germany, France and Belgium. But we thought it deserved a visit nonetheless.

As Luxembourg city is an expensive place it forced us to do something we’d only been thinking of doing, couch surfing. Really good experience, just send a request out to some people who live in the area and see if you get a reply. We got a call back from an Aussie couple who had just moved to Luxembourg a few months before.
The only downside to the whole couch surfing thing was having to be up and out of the house at 7 when the guys had to go to work, which was fine as it made us get out and do stuff. Like…………

A day trip out to viaden to see the châteaux on the hill side

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Pictueresque, oh yes

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Kinda the beauty of Luxembourg, you can take a quick bus ride out to a village and be on the opposite side of the country.


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Other things Luxembourg offered up were the casemates, a network of tunnels and rooms under the old fort. We also did a walking tour, went to the modern art museum, natural history muse and I’m sure that we went to some other museum as well. We also needed a bit of normalcy so went to English speaking movie.


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It was quite exciting underground

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But all that jumping lead to a wee knock on the head

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Back on couch surfing (if you have ever thought of doing it) the pro’s are, obviously you don’t have to pay any accommodation; there’s a kitchen to use, local knowledge (Dallas and Christen were a virtual information centre) and the company. Probably the best thing we did in Luxembourg was having dinner with like minded people over a bottle or two.

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Posted by jamienrach 11:02 Archived in Luxembourg Comments (0)

A bite of Brussels

Brussels, Belgium

sunny
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Brussels was supposed to be a transition city, just somewhere to stay before we headed onto the next place. We were here for two days and we ended up packing in a lot of stuff into them.

We went to a Japanese film festival where we saw a new spaghetti western with Quentin Tarentino (hilarious),

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Magic changing lights building (should’ve had Tetris)


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Walked round a few markets

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Saw the birds nest like sculpture (soon to be replaced by a mall)

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Had lunch

The little girl you can see on the fountain was doing laps around the perimeter. A few laps after this picture was taken she was getting a bit too confident and a tad to fast and took a slip and fell in (as Rachel had been secretly hoping). She was ok, some passer by hoisted her out, it was all just a bit of light entertainment.

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After the fountain incident we were all tuckered out so we lay in the sun.


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Lastly we went for a ride out to the big globe nucleus atomic building. It’s ok but we didn’t go in.

Posted by jamienrach 12:04 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

European diet

Brugge


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So we are finally starting to feel better, the weather is warming up and we’re at our first stop in Belgium. Brugge is a pretty cool place, sure it’s over touristed and a tad fake but when you get here it all kinda melts away into a warm pool of chocolate.

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We stayed in an out of the way place off the tourist trail, nice BnB with an old Belgian lady. There was a chocliatair just round the corner to whom we visited twice daily to just try that one that was next to the one we got last time, you know it had the swirls.

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Long way up the belfry, you might wanna take the lift

To combat the extra intake of fats we were getting from the unnecessary (but oh so good) local ‘foods’ we got our walking shoes on and went round the standard churchy big building impressiveness that abounds in the old town. There was once a lot of money in the town which built all the churches and buildings but this dried up with the receding shoreline and hence the trade.

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Contemplating the few hundred stair climb to the top of the belfry

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Down is so much easier

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If she wanna go ta da playground she get’s ta go ta da playground

More looking up at buildings into the blue sky

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If you hadn’t caught on there is heaps of chocolate in Bruges, so much so that they have a museum dedicated to it. Which we diligently went round reading all the guff, slightly speeding through the end so we could get to the demonstration and tasting.

Another thing the Belgians have a handle on is beer. So many different types, flavors and varieties that it’s just plain rude not to try a few. Again they have a museum type deal which goes through the only working brewery in Bruges and the tour guide goes over the making and process …blah blah blah…. there was tasting at the end.

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Sitting on the top of the brewery..happy

Still not happy that we were burning off the extra calories we went on a bike tour to an outlying town. Sweet for us as there was only one other guy on the tour so we pretty much had the guide to ourselves. The outlying town (Dam) has it own churches and niceness as it became the main port after the shoreline retreated from Bruges. It was easy as to get to, just get on a Napoleonic canal which directly links the two towns.

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Look mum no teeth

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The combination of indulging and trying in vain to burn it off lead to an afternoon of laxing in the sun at a local park. Reading books and consoling ourselves with more chocolate.

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So Brugge, too much chocolate, too much beer and too much chips (they have a newly opened museum for this as well). But probably the most unexpectedly good place we have been so far.

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Posted by jamienrach 01:19 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

It’s not all drugs and rock and roll

Amsterdam


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Amsterdam is an expensive city – on the weekends! And as we arrived on a Friday night we booked ourselves into a dorm in a camping ground on the very outskirts of the city. 10 euros each a night (well within budget). Still getting over our mammoth colds we took it pretty easy on the first 2 days, walking the city and trying to stay warm.

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Note this is not like the ice cream tucks back home. They will not stop if you run beside them waving money.

We opted to do the ‘free’ walking tour on the 3rd day after we’d moved to our luxurious (compared to the plastic sheeted snore infested no door lock BYO TP camping ground) Hotel room closer to the city. Below are some photos of the walking tour, very informative and interesting, lead by an overenthusiastic American student.

Interesting facts (maybe fact or fiction, who knows what drivel come out of tour guides):

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- Houses lean forward so that large furniture can be hoisted to upper floors without hitting the exterior.

- Houses get wider at the top due to the width tax being imposed on the first floor only. Bringing us to our next point…….

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- Thinnest house in Amsterdam, short one in the middle, apparently someone just walled up a alleyway looking to get the lowest rate of width tax.

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- Thoudsands of bikes get stolen in Amsterdam every year only to be thrown in the canals. They even have a bike extraction from canal barge.

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- This guy is not Albert Einstien or Mark Twain, but some other guy who’s name escapes me but is important in some way and from Amsterdam.

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One of our late night strolls through the red light district, hence the glow.

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WWII monument

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Bikes bikes bikes

We also went to the Anne Frank museum where you can actually walk around the rooms where the Frank family and friends hid from the Nazis. No pictures allowed which I think is a good thing as people treat it more as a memorial and less like a tourist attraction.

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Amsterdam gets a bit of a bad rap from the red light districts, drugs and general freedom of choice (and yes it’s all here if you want to partake). But there’s so much more to the place than what you expect. It’s a beautiful clean canal city with loads of museums and cultural type things to do.

Posted by jamienrach 09:51 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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