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.

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Wednesday, 15th May – Travelling to Heathrow

After considering the pros and cons of flying business class with Qantas for our next European Adventure, we decided it was worth the money. The extra cost is offset by the opportunity to have extra baggage allowance, chauffeur drive to the airport, access to the business lounge, express lanes through customs, priority boarding, an impressive menu and a fully flat bed to get enough sleep to arrive refreshed.

For this trip we thought it would be a great opportunity to check out the QF9 Melbourne to London via Perth with Qantas.

Once arriving in Perth we were directed to the Transit Lounge. It’s a brand new lounge that Qantas have built with this flight in mind. It’s a lovely space and there is also a ‘refresh area’ with Aurora Spa products including a face cleanser, hydrating face mist and moisturiser. There were chef prepared hotdogs along with a buffet and many different beverage options, showers and a yoga/relaxation room!

The flight from Perth to Heathrow is non stop so after dinner service we utilised the flat bed and managed to get between 8-10 hours of really good sleep. Once arriving at Heathrow we found ourselves shuttled to terminal 5 where we were to await the last leg of our journey to Geneva.

2019 European Adventure England

Saturday, 4th October – London to Santorini

On the agenda today was some last minute sightseeing before flying to Santorini, Greece.

You can’t start a good day without breakfast and so we got our fancy pants on and enjoyed a lovely meal at The Ritz in St James.

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From The Ritz it was a short but beautiful stroll through Green Park to Buckingham Palace. We were not alone, hundreds of people were also making their way to see the Changing of the Guard.

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Undeterred by the inclement weather it felt like thousands of people were gathered around the Victoria Memorial.

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After the ceremony was finished we went back to Blake & Peter’s and packed our small carry on bags for our trip to Greece. We again utilised the Tube to make our way to Heathrow for our Aegean Airlines flight to Santorini.

Our journey to Santorini was an overnight flight to Thira via Athens. Our travel tip from this experience is that we recommend getting the day flight. When we arrived in Thira we had a long wait until we could check in to the hotel and there was literally nothing open when we arrived.

2014 European Adventure

Friday, 3rd October – London

Today we planned to do all the standard “touristy” London sight seeing before checking out of the hotel and meeting our good friends Blake and Peter.

From the tube, we got out at Westminster which put us right in the heart of things. We made our way over to Westminster Bridge and enjoyed the view of the Thames taking in this iconic view which includes the London Eye and Big Ben.

We decided to have breakfast at St Stephen’s Tavern which claims to be the hangout of the local politicians. Sure, there were probably cheaper places but the Tavern is absolutely gorgeous and we couldn’t resist.

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After breakfast we explored Parliament Square, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Walking up Whitehall Street past 10 Downing Street and the Horse Guards, we made our way to Trafalgar Square.

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We had a wonderful day, the weather was perfect and we reluctantly made our way back to the hotel to pack our bags and check out.

In perfect London fashion we walked out of the hotel to find the weather had gone from perfect blue to pitch black and it was pouring. This didn’t bother us as it was a perfect excuse to get an iconic black London cab to meet the boys at The Crabtree in Fulham for drinks and dinner.

It was awesome to finally see our good friends and catch up over a couple of pints and a lovely meal.

2014 European Adventure England

Thursday, 2nd October – London

Today was going to be a very Harry Potter kind of day.

Bec had been looking forward to going to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio tour. We purchased tickets online for about 28 pounds each and were given specific times to do the tour.

We travelled to the studio in Leavesden via train from Euston to Watford Junction. At Watford Junction there was a Harry Potter themed bus (no, not the night bus) waiting to take us to the studio (for 2.50 pounds return). The whole trip from our Hotel to the studio took less than 40 minutes.

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Once we arrived, there was too much too look at! The studio was the place where most of the Harry Potter movies were shot and when they finished filming, they turned the studios into a living museum.

The locations that you walked through (like the Great Hall and Diagon Alley) were the actual sets used in the films. There was also a huge amount of props and back drops that were arranged throughout the studio.

The ticket price included a self guided tour that Bec used while Keith just took lots of photos.

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Once the tour was finished we explored the back lot where there was a Night Bus, Privet Drive and the opportunity to try Butter Beer!

The final part of the exhibition also showed a lot of the artwork and models used in the production of the series. This included a massive scale model of Hogwarts that you could walk around. The detail was so perfect that they actually used it for some of the outside shots!

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After spending most of the day in fanboy heaven, we decided to do some sightseeing around London once we got back. A couple of the key things we wanted to see were St Paul’s Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge, London Tower and London Bridge.

We saw some great sights, got some great night shots and had dinner in the city as well. After seeing London Tower and London Bridge we headed back to the hotel.

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2014 European Adventure England

Wednesday, 1st October – Liverpool to London

This morning we set out from Liverpool with a five hour drive ahead of us. Stonehenge was the destination, but we were hoping to see a lot of the English countryside on our drive.

Unfortunately since we had to make pretty good time there wasn’t a lot of stops along the way and hardly any photos. There were two stops worth mentioning, however.

The first was in a rest area in the Cotswolds – a massive forest area that is particularly beautiful and breathtaking. The rest stop was on a hill so we got to see right out over the forest.

The second stop was something we really hoped we would find – Devonshire teas. We came across a little house on the edge of the Cotswolds that had a sign out the front for Devonshire teas. We found a shed converted to a kitchen and cafe with the owner serving home made…. well, everything. We sat outside in his yard and enjoyed the most English thing we could.

Bec enjoyed motoring around in the Audi A4 – the roads were smooth, the countryside beautiful and the car a treat. We finally realised we were very close to Stonehenge so we pulled over to check our notes and we surprised to see…

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A pig farm! There were massive pigs right there on the side of the road with a HUGE amount of space to run around. They looked really happy, actually, but we’d never seen bacon in it’s natural habitat before.

Around the corner, we found our way to the visitors centre of one of the most well known, oldest monuments in the world – Stonehenge.

We parked the car at the visitors centre. A shuttle service runs from the centre to the stone circle, stopping off halfway to allow visitors the opportunity to walk the remaining stretch if they wish. It cost us 30 pound (AUD$60) to enter the site which included the shuttle.

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After exploring the stone circle, we headed back to the centre to see the exhibitions. In the photo below are replicas of dwellings. It is believed that the people who built Stonehenge would have lived in something similar over four and a half thousand years ago.

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We explored the new visitor centre, opened in December 2013. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, including nearly 300 archaeological treasures found buried at the site – from jewellery to pottery to human remains – as well as a gallery, a gift shop and a cafe.

Once we were over the awe of this amazing relic, we had to leave to return the car in London. Only a stone’s throw away and on route to London was a small place that wasn’t well maintained or sign posted called Woodhenge. It seemed interesting so we pulled over for a quick look.

Estimated to be built about 2300 BC, it was originally believed to be the remains of a large burial mound, surrounded by a bank and ditch almost completely destroyed by ploughing. Aerial photography detected rings of dark spots in a crop of wheat, and today concrete markers replace the six concentric rings of timber posts which are believed to have once supported a ring-shaped building.

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Once we set off for London, we only had about an hour or so before we reached our next destination – Ascot Racecourse. This was the last item on our James Bond filming locations list. Since it was closed and we were on a tight schedule, we just took the photo opportunity and then headed off to return the car.

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After dropping off the car we checked back in to the hotel where it all began – the Ibis at Euston St Pancras.

2014 European Adventure England