Friday, 22 July 2016

July so far - it's been a good 'un!

Well here we are just over the half way point of this lovely summer month.....It's been a lovely month so far, Mr PJP and myself celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary on the 6th we chose to go out to lunch with our gorgeous daughters who presented us with a fabulous memorable gift, a book of greetings from family and friends along with photos that have been taken over the years! My eyes started leaking at one point so touching were the words from our loved ones!

We decided after spending a little time choosing my silver gift to go and explore another town that we have wanted to go to for sometime now, Dissay...we were surprised to find a beautiful château with a moat and many turrets, sadly said Chateau was shutto! So I had to make do with many exterior photographs instead!

fyi The Chateau sits on the Clain River. Built in the 15th century by Pierre d'Amboise, bishop of Poitiers, the château was then enlarged in the 18th century. The water-filled moat reflects the château with its high pure white towers. During your visit you will see the inner courtyard with its polygonal angle turret and the chapel with its wonderful Fountain of Mercy 16th century murals. A walk through the garden designed by Le Nôtre takes you along the paths walked by Kings Francis I and Louis XIV who both stayed here

l'eglise de Dissay was also built in the 15th century by Pierre d'Amboise

It was a scorchio day so we decided to pop to the river as highly recommended by our eldest daughter (another water lover!) We didn't really get chance to wander but I did get chance to try out the zoom on that there new camera - it really has a very powerful zoom! I could actually spend more hours than time allows just watching the dashing beautiful blue beauties - these Damsel flies were pretty much non-stop the whole time we were watching - there is something about nature and water! 

Our anniversary however wasn't over we ended up having "high tea" how posh does that sound? Actually read as chocolate muffins and a glass of water because by then the time was flashing by!
We also managed a lovely lunch out the following day with Ma and Pa S who have put up with me as their daughter in law for the last 25 years and they presented us with a gift of a night away in La Rochelle - we had chosen that weekend to go as it seemed the best all round but by now it was all very real - I do tend to get excited and forget that a night away is just that - and not a week like my "overnight" bag suggested!!

Saturday morning dawned - damp and grey - this wasn't expected it was supposed to be sunny, blue skies and a light breeze!! You will be pleased to know dear readers that by the time we arrived at our destination - a hotel on the port - the sun was very out and the skies were very blue!
our picture window!
As it was actually just past lunch time we headed straight into town and found a lovely little resto where you can buy an omlette for under a fiver, or have a salad for around five euro, in fact the drinks bill was higher than our food bill we were on holiday though so we just smiled and enjoyed the food we have never been round this part of La Rochelle before and you can find a few restos just by the Town Hall that is being restored after an electrical fault started a fire back in 2013...

After a light lunch we decided that we would explore a little more we spotted a church spire in the distance and headed off in that general direction - have to say le Chapelle Notre-Dame d'Esperance was a little unusual on the outside - the amazing spire was just the start - the church is also attached to surrounding houses, the inside however was pretty stunning! The colours of the painted alters and stained glass windows were so pretty and as always the cool, calm feeling a church gives gave us the opportunity to enjoy a moment or two of admiring!

On the way back to the port we hit the market - which was just in the process of packing up but we really couldn't resist a punnet of Cherries and a couple of nectarines....
 We had decided that we would be taking a boat trip out to Fort Boyard we have been wanting to do this since living here but it was always a little pricey for a family ticket so it was always a no-no, however my parents had given us some "treat money" as well soo.....well I am sure you can guess where we went that afternoon....the weather was glorious the breeze was just right (for burning an English rose!) but we loved the trip! View to the Clock Tower from the boat...

There's so much to see on the way to Fort Boyard, firstly the huge amount of boats from the little sailing school ones to the yachts with their billowing sails....a great view of La Rochelle and the set up for the forthcoming "FrancoFolies" and then out to can see how small Ilê de Ré actually is and in the distance we could see the Lighthouse at the end of Ilê d'Oleron plus I managed to zoom into the old lighthouse at sea!!

Fort Boyard arrived into our view and I swear the boat moved as everyone stood up - fortunately the Pilot did an around about turn so that both sides could see it without tipping over!

We then made our way across to Ilê d'Aix on of the smaller islands - where very few cars get to drive as it's mostly feet that do the work, either by pedal power or by walking! It looked lovely and I have to say we are very tempted to go back and spend the day there with the bikes! 

Then it was back to La Rochelle but not without me getting a proper view of the Old Wooden Lighthouse - another structure that has intrigued me each time we visit! I would love to have got that much closer but to do that - might have to go under sail ;)

SO there our boat ride ended - we'd had a fab two hours enjoying ourselves!

Of course it doesn't end there - we had a fab meal out that evening, a night time ride on the Ferris Wheel and a nightcap by the harbour then a walk around the long way back to our hotel room!

SUNDAY 10th...
Woke bright and early to the sound of...well nothing really the double glazing was pretty effective! However did spot all the yachts leaving the harbour as their weekend of racing was over as well! We had a very enjoyable breakfast on the balcony watching the world go by and then it was off to cram in a few more sights - this time by bicycle not our but the hire ones...and boy are they interesting!!

You can hire these Yello bikes for a couple of hours or for the day - so we split it and went for 7 hours knowing we could then take our time and it didn't matter if we got lost ('cos as you know - we do get lost quite a bit!) SO with a map and directions to the coastal path - we were off...well sort of, boy was it wobbly to start....I put it down to a very low saddle and handlebars - which we rectified promptly but still it was very strange not like my lovely bike at all!! Saddles were comfy, one gear to worry about and thin tyres!! Still we managed to clock up 17 kms whilst out and had a lovely coastal ride - something you don't often get!

We headed back into town, found another lovely resto for our lunch and then walked it off along the new sea wall that has been built recently! Had we thought about it - we would have done that by bike!! Still it was lovely watching the yachts go in and out and there were some rather lovely ones that passed us!

So there's our mini break - and we fitted in so much - but there's so much more to still see and do hopefully we will manage before our 30th anniversary ;) 

Thank you for reading and if you wish to see more photographs please do head over to my Facebook Page Life through the Lens