Monday, 28 August 2017

Travelling South

Thursday saw us set off on our long awaited and much needed holiday to the South of France. Slightly different car loading as unfortunately my wheelchair is with us too.

As always Brittany Ferries were superb, making sure we were on a wide isle and near the lift when we boarded Mont St Michel. It was our first time on this particular ship, a little different to the Normandie as the bunk beds in our cabin were hidden in the ceiling !!

Cocktails on board Mont St Michel
After a smooth crossing, a good night's rest in the Ibis at Ouistreham along with an equally good breakfast we set off south.

As I've mentioned in previous posts we don't zoom down the motorways in one blast but use both autoroutes and Nationale roads seeing more if France as we go. Our meander included a lovely picnic on the banks of the River Cher in the Loire Valley.

Picnic in the Loire 
Our overnight stop was at Montluçon, we used this stop last year and being so impressed with the restaurant we stayed again. Not the restaurant at the Ibis hotel but at the service station next door - I wish they were all like this! We're staying here again on our way home.
Starters and wine - four courses including wine and coffee
14.20 euro
Saturday was mainly motorway and I'm pleased to say we headed in the right direction: not because of route confusion, but conjestion. It was the end of the french holidays and everyone was travelling north, such queues!

This part of our journey took us over the stunning Millau Viaduct and past the magnificent rocks in the Tarn.
Millau Viaduct
Taken from the car as we approached - stunning

Amazing rock formations
Being as we arrived a little early for our hotel we did the only natural thing to do .... visit a vinyard! Domaine les Yeuses Syrah Les Espices is a wine we enjoy from Majestic, the domaine is just a few miles from our hotel so we called by, part took in a degustation and of course purchased a few for home.

Love this artwork

Avenue of olives leading to the domaine

Very popular brand here - in all
the restauarants
Our hotel is lovely, set back from the road with just 5 bedroom it is a typical french house. A fabulous staircase which I am proud to say I am managing although slowly, great terrace for breakfast and most importantly a superb room.

Our beautiful room

Les Palmiers
We have five days here in which to enjoy the 30+ temperatures, the strange glowing thing in the sky, the fresh oysters and mussels grown here and the local wine which includes my favourite, Picpoul de Pinet. Holidaying is quite a challenge but so far we're doing it with style!

Etang de Thau

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Celebration bubbly and a plan

It was celebration time in our house yesterday as thanks to my chiropractor I can now walk around the house unaided and as I am confident on the stairs (I've been practicing all week) our bed moved back upstairs!

I have been determined to master stairs as our french hotels on our very soon holiday both have rooms upstairs but no lifts - I am so so pleased to be back in our bedroom, especially as we had given it a full makeover just waiting on the carpet when I fell. It was great to be in our new room.

To celebrate Hubby and I enjoyed a bottle of Most - a special bottle - 2008.

It was special bottle because our wine friends on the Stratford Wine Weekend had a sweepstake as it was the Grand National, and I won (from my hospital bed). They all enjoyed a bottle of Most 2008 at the Fine Wine Tasting at Majestic Wine - we enjoyed ours last night.

For many reasons - age, health, medication - I am watching my food and drink intake, no fancy diet just trying to help my body mend. Whilst in France we looked for some 250ml carafes as that way it's easier to know how much wine we've had. I do have a German wine jug but we would like two matching. It will be something to look for when we go again in a couple of weeks.

Anyway we came up with the idea of using the new mini bottles - there are certainly more on the market at the moment. Our favourite French wine producer Cellier des Dauphins have Les Dauphins minis available in Waitrose.

We managed to find actual Cellier des Dauphins minis in France and I did enjoy a bottle Friday night, it was quite nice to keep topping up my glass knowing overall I wasn't drinking too much. It seemed to last a while too.

All washed and delabeled I think it makes a classy carafe - just need to drink another bottle now so we have the two - hard life isn't it!

I found it quite a surprise when I saw this chart from drinkaware - although I think 21 units for men and 14 units for women needs to be more personal as I know many chaps who are shorter than me as I am not a little lady. That said it soon adds up especially if you enjoy weighty wine!