Friday, 24th May – Strasbourg to Tübingen

This morning we left France crossing the Rhine River making our way into Germany through the Black Forest. The name Black Forest comes from the general dark colour of the numerous pine trees that grow in this region, as you can see from the photo below.

Our first stop today was at Rottenburg Am Neckar, we parked the car, walked across the bridge into the old town and had lunch at the local bakery.

Hohenzollern Castle was on our way to Tübingen. We enjoyed taking photos leading up to the castle, however we decided we didn’t have the time to park the car, get the shuttle bus and then wait in line to walk through the castle. Instead we enjoyed the view from afar and took a sneaky photo of the old castle gate.

Once we arrived in Tübingen we checked into our hotel and made the very short walk into the Old Town. The bridge, Eberhardsbrücke, offered the most amazing view of the Neckar River, where many locals had come out to enjoy the weather and watch the gondolas.

We made our way to the Marktplatz through the old town enjoying the atmosphere.

Tourists and locals alike were gathered around the Stiftskirche enjoying a drink or ice cream in what had turned into a  really warm day.

Around the Rathaus in the Marktplatz people were busy setting up for the night markets.

We really enjoyed Tübingen and is one of the highlights of our trip so far.

2019 European Adventure France Germany

Thursday, 23rd May – Basel to Strasbourg

We left Basel early this morning to make our way to Strasbourg. Usually we opt to avoid highways where possible because there is more to see. A good example is this church in a little town called Dessenheim – the Saint-Léger Church.

There are wild flowers everywhere at the moment as it’s the beginning of Spring, we picked a couple of these orange poppies as we drove in to Neuf-Brisach.

Neuf-Brisach is a fortified town in France intended to guard the border between France and the Holy Roman Empire. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We parked in the free parking space just inside the city gate and enjoyed the very short walk to the centre of town. Apart from seeing the town square and buildings on the way, we found a bakery that sold many pastries and couldn’t resist buying an apple turnover for morning tea.

Another little town we came across was Illhaeusern on the L’ill River. These pictures don’t do it justice, standing on the bridge and overlooking this town was like being in a postcard.

Our next stop was the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg. We managed to get some great photos as we drove closer leading up to the castle. Trip Advisor reviews indicated that it wasn’t safe to leave the car in the parking lot, apparently there had been a lot of robberies. We managed to jump out and take some quick photos without leaving the car.

That apple turnover was teasing us in the back seat so we found a random village for our coffee stop.

After doing some washing at a local laundromat we checked in to our Strasbourg hotel. We caught the tram (conveniently located across the road from the hotel) in to the Old Town, getting off at Broglie.

We made our way through Kiéber Square.

Gutenberg Platz

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg

Museum of Decorative Arts

We found a great spot to stop and look out over the Rhine River.

The Gate at the Old Strasbourg Hospital

St Nikolas Church

With weary feet we caught the Tram from Homme de Fer to République, seeing the Palais du Rhin and gardens as well as the National Theatre of Strasbourg, before making our way back to the hotel.

2019 European Adventure France Switzerland

Monday, 20th May – Annecy to Bern

After such an incredible time in Annecy with Blake and Peter’s family and friends it was time for us to commence our European Adventure.

We enjoyed one last huge breakfast at the Imperial and began our trip to Bern. Firstly though we stopped in at the most adorable little medieval village, Yvoire.

The charm of this quaint little village made up for the drizzly weather. Our early start meant that we were almost the only people walking around and as we left the first tour busses were arriving.

From Yvoire we left France, making our way to Montreux, the Swiss city on the side of a mountain. It is a confusing maze of one way streets but we eventually found the parking garage – Parking du Marché-Forum. This parking garage was well researched for its proximity to the promenade and the Freddy Mercury statue. It’s a beautiful location and despite the rain we really enjoyed the walk to the Queen Studio Experience.

The band Queen recorded a number of their albums in “Mountain Studios” in Montreux. Being a huge Queen fan Keith was keen to see the exhibition where the studios have been converted to a museum: Queen The Studio Experience.

On the way to Bern we drove passed Fribourg and couldn’t resist stopping to take a few photos.

Switzerland France 2019 European Adventure

Friday, 17th May to Sunday, 19th May – Annecy

This post is a pictographic journey through the weekend spent in Annecy.

On Friday we circumnavigated Lake Annecy via Montmin. The views of the lake were even more breathtaking from up high.

Keep a look out for the sculpture of a face and the petrol station with the best view in the world.

Saturday was the big day! We had been so excited in the lead up to Blake and Peter’s wedding and we woke up thrilled to share their special day. The morning whilst starting off a bit foggy ended up being absolutely perfect.

Sunday morning (post wedding) Bec enjoyed some extra sleep while Keith cleared his head by taking a long walk around the lake. The view of Annecy from the other side of the lake gave a new perspective.

A generous brunch provided by the happy couple gave us the fuel we needed for the walk into the Old Town of Annecy. It’s easy to see from these photos why the city is referred to as “The Venice of the Alps”.

 

Witnessing two of the best humans get married in such an incredible location and meeting some truly great people was an awesome way for us to start our adventure in Europe.

2019 European Adventure France

Thursday, 16th May – Travelling to Annecy

After an unexpected 2 1/2 hour delay due to baggage issues we finally arrived in Geneva. Not withstanding the delay, our first flight with British Airways was very impressive. The staff kept us informed at all times, the service was great and the meal offered was delicious.

The process through customs was very simple. It took longer to work out which side of the airport was the French side versus the Swiss side than it did collecting our bags and proceeding through immigration.

We were then collected by a minibus to go and pick up the car that was to be ours for the rest of the trip. Now named “Pepe”, we packed everything in and headed off to Annecy on the wrong side of the road!

Only a short drive from Geneva we were excited to arrive in Annecy and check in to our hotel room at the Impérial Palace Hotel. We are commencing our holiday here for a very special reason, dear friends of ours Blake and Peter were getting married at this breathtaking location.

 

Our “day” seemed to start such a long time ago and has ranged across a number of countries and cities. We ended the day with a meal surrounded by friends, old and new at a Crepery near to the hotel.

2019 European Adventure France Switzerland

Saturday, 20th September – Paris to Ely (London)

We had packed everything yesterday and it was a good thing we had. In our infinite wisdom we had celebrated our last night in Paris with one too many bottles of red wine. Sleeping in until the last minute, we met Julien at 10.30am to hand over the keys to the apartment and got in a taxi to Gare du Nord – the train station where we were boarding the Eurostar.

The train station was absolutely beautiful and busy! Approximately 190 million travellers per year pass through Gare du Nord making it the busiest in Europe!

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We had plenty of time to get some breakfast, check in, go through customs and board our train by 1.15pm. We were hoping that this Eurostar trip would be uneventful and on time – unlike our first experience.

The trip was perfect arriving back at the London St Pancras station at 2.30pm. We were well on track to pick up the hire car that we would have for the rest of our adventure through the UK. And well, that’s when the wheels almost fell off.

The person on the reservation desk at the hire car company was nervous that we were taking the car into Northern Ireland and on a couple of ferries. We went through the paperwork where we had made these arrangements clear, finally getting confirmation from ‘someone’ over the phone we thought everything would now be sorted. Unfortunately when the poor lady when to assign our car, it appeared it had been marked as not to be re-hired. The other piece of bad news, there were no more cars available for us. Ok at this point, Bec was thinking about plan B, and listing what dear friends we had in London we could approach for emergency accommodation. Two hours later and we were given the keys to our upgraded car – a brand new Audi A4 – thanks!

Leaving London three hours later than expected, we made our way to our next destination – Ely. It was a 2 hour drive, but we were well behind and arriving before sunset was now not going to happen.

It was strange being in a right hand drive vehicle and driving on the ‘other’ side of the road. Isn’t it funny how you quickly become accustomed to something that initially you’d think would always feel wrong.

Arriving in Ely in the dark, we checked into the hotel, walked across the road and had dinner, taking our time looking over our plans for the next day.

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Friday, 19th September – Paris

Today was a milestone in our trip as it was our last night in Mainland Europe before we went back to the UK.

It was also the day that we said goodbye to Penny. We had spent 74 days with Penny our Peugeot, she had taken us on the most amazing adventures, and had been patient and perfect (with the exception of that tyre issue in Arles that she could hardly be blamed for), for just over 17,000kms. It actually felt quite sad to be saying goodbye.

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We had to drop the car off in La Défense – a major business district of the Paris Metropolitan Area just west of the city. It was a tense drive to the dealership, in Paris traffic just before peak hour wasn’t the best but we negotiated our way through the confusing streets and made it in one piece.

After dropping the car off and filling out the paperwork with relative ease, we set off on the 20 minute stroll to the metro. The business district was very surprising, there were very cool sculptures and buildings and it was interesting to see another side of Paris.

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Once we got back to the apartment we had to repack all our bags in readiness to get the Eurostar back to London in the morning. Whilst the morning had not been a lot of fun, lets face it packing is always the pits, we were both looking forward to the afternoon.

Before we left Melbourne to commence our adventure, Bec had done some research to find an English speaking hair salon. We had booked appointments via email. Style Pixie Salon is owned and run by an Aussie expat (from Melbourne), and it was a fabulous experience. It was completely out of the way – we had to change Metro lines three times, but I’m telling you it was well worth it. The service was fantastic, the staff were so friendly and the prices were very reasonable. We walked out of the salon feeling like a million dollars, with great hair!!

After leaving the salon we decided that the perfect way to end our time in Paris, was to go back to the Un Zebre a Montmartre for dinner and some more of that fabulous Bordeaux wine! We stumbled back to the apartment and fell into bed wishing we could stay in Paris for ever.

2014 European Adventure France