A Travellerspoint blog

Bayeux and D-Day Beaches

we are starting our own travel guide...

sunny 26 °C

We got to Bayeux mid-afternoon, and it took us awhile to find our hostel. This one was called "Family Home"... run by a family. It was more like a bed and breakfast turned into a hostel. The people running it were strange but friendly enough. We just checked in and discovered our sink did not drain very fast, but otherwise the room was nice. That afternoon we headed to the tourism office to get all the information we could for the next few days and then headed to the Normandy 1944 Battle Museum. It had the whole history of WW2 and a neat little movie we got to watch, then tons of vehicles and tanks and guns. You weren't supposed to take any pictures but Michaela did not see the signs and took tons of pictures. Breanne noticed the signs in the beginning but decided not to tell Michaela so we could get some great pictures. Oops. Serves you right French Government your buses suck. More on this later.

Just to give everyone a little lesson, Bayeux is in the province of Normandy in France. It was one of the first major cities to be liberated in WW2. Surrounding it to the north on the coast are the D-Day Beaches. Utah and Omaha, which were liberated by the US, and Sword, Juno and Gold which were liberated by the British and Canadians, and other countries (Scotland, Norway, etc). This was one of Michaela's major excitements on this trip.

The next day we headed to our first beach, Omaha. BUT this took awhile. We found out that the buses in these towns are absolutely horrible. Because other than the memorials these are nothing but tiny fishing villages, the public transportation is horrid. Apparently the best way to tour around is by renting a car. At first we considered this as we found out the price was not too high, but we found out that we could only rent a standard and since neither one of us can drive stick very well this was not an option at all. Imagine the two of us stalling in the roundabouts (they use these other than lights out here) and getting lost in the middle of Normandy. Not a fun idea. So we ended up sitting and waiting for the crazy confusing bus schedules. Fortunately we had figured most of this out the night before so we were mostly prepared. While we were waiting some woman walked by, noticed our canada flags and asked us for some info on how to get to Juno Beach. Thankfully for her we, at this point, have more information than the Tourist Office can give her and the bus station, so she and her husband got to Juno beach without any confusion. So after this we decided we are going to write an entertaining travel book about things that no one else tells you about and you must learn on your own after being lost for hours. We hope you all buy it. We are going to call it "How to Get Creeped On in Every Country You Visit... and Other Important Travel Advice."

Eventually we got to Omaha. Luckily for us the crazy Normandy weather didn't happen and it was hot and sunny. We visited the American Cemetary, which is one of the nicest cemetaries. It was very beautiful, but parts of it were covered as they were getting ready for Barack Obama's visit on D-Day and the ceremonies. We did get to look around and then headed down to the actual beach. There were lots of memorials, lots of plaques, tons of veterans. We spent a few hours here, then decided we might try to head to the German Cemetary. Michaela really wanted to visti this because the way it is set up is so different from every other cemetary, but unfortunately like we said the bus system sucks and the cemetary was quite far away. We asked the lady at the front desk of the Info Centre if we could walk there and she informed us we could, but it would take about an hour. We thought what the heck why not. So we start walking. Now since D-Day is just around the corner, there are tons of old military vehicles being driven around these places by veterans, military personnel and tour groups. So it is really neat because they are all dressed up in full uniform and there are areas set up making it look like things did in 1944. As we are walking towards this town one vehicle (we are not sure what this is so Michael let us know) full of army men starts waving at us and ask us if we want a ride. Of course Michaela hops on that idea and runs up to the truck. Breanne is not so sure about this but follows her. We get there and they tell us they can give us a ride part of the way. So we hop in. We find out that they are Belgian soldiers here for the ceremonies. Quite cuuuuuute. So they give us a ride and then we continue walking. We finally see a sign and realize that to walk to the cemetary will not be fun and too long so we turn around and head back and wait for the bus back to Bayeux. We finally get back and head to bed early as we are super tired.

The next day we decided to head to Arromanches, at the British Gold Beach. The Arromanches are the remains of the Mulberry Harbour that the Allies built after D-Day to get equipment and stuff in for the war. So we got to take a really good look at these, and then walk up this weird hill to get to some leftover German bunkers. Unfortunately you could not go inside of them, but there were lots of other memorials and plaques around to check out. After we were finished we walked along Gold Beach, then headed to take the bus to Longues-sur-Mer. This is another little beach town, but this is where there are the German Gun Batteries. The Germans used these during the war to attack the Allies as they landed on the beaches. They were massive machines and hard to get at and attack. So we got to walk around and inside of them, pretend we were shooting all that fun stuff. They also had a little camp set up showing what the camps would have looked like right after D-Day, and everyone was dressed up and cooking, it was really neat. Afterward we headed for some ice cream because here, unlike back home, it is 25 degrees celsius everyday. Ha ha ha. We got these massive ice creams called MAGNUMS. They even came in gold boxes which we weren't sure if we were supposed to throw out or not. Pretty rad.

The next day we headed to the Canadian beach, Juno. This is at a little town called Courseulles-sur-Mer. The people here absolutely love Canadians, so our patches came in handy. When we first started walking around we got to see a Sherman tank that was actually taken out of the water years after the war. It sunk on D-Day, but fortunately a veteran was actually in it when it went down and knew exactly where it sunk, so they were able to go back and get it out and it is now on display in the town. There are also tons of memorials and plaques randomly all over the town. We headed to the Juno Beach Centre, where they had a big museum about the Canadians. We found this museum really really educational and it had tons of neat features. There was a whole section about Canada before, after, and during the war. The temporary exhibit was about the Canadians in Italy, which is a campaign of WW2 that no one ever really knows about. Afterward we took a tour of the Juno Park, where we got to go inside an old German bunker, got to learn some really neat facts about the town and about other areas of the Canadian invasion on D-Day. We walked around the beach for awhile, and also collected some pretty neat shells. Afterwards we decided to hit up the closest Canadian Cemetary. We found out the cemetary, like everything else, was 5km out of town, so we went and rented some bikes. Well, was this an experience. We followed some really sketchy instructions while trying to ride bicycles down a busy road, around roundabouts, in super super hot weather, until we finally found the cemetary. It was really pretty and well-kept, but the thing that stuck out most was that at each grave they had flowers growing. This is really nice because at other cemetaries there are only flowers or plants that people have brought, so this gave it a different touch. We looked through the register to find names of people we might know. Fortunately the only war veterans Michaela knows are still alive, and Breanne does not know any on her side. But we did manage to find some Bouchards from Winnipeg, and Michaela actually found a Drouillard from Windsor, Ontario (she has more info from the cemetary register on him). So that was pretty neat. Afterwards we biked the 5km back, then headed for some ice cream. We got back to the hostel that night totally wiped out and basically died in our beds.

The next morning we went to the only internet place in Bayeux, but the internet wasn't actually working. We were worried that the man just wasn't letting us use it because the night before we were there, but he suddenly disappeared so we just left. But being the honest people that we are, we left a note and the money we owed for it. Talk about nice. So after this we went to get some phone minutes. As we were walking to the little corner store that sells them, we notice that there are more and more police around us. And then more, and more. Then, around the church, there are groups of people lined up, obviously waiting for someone. We have absolutely no idea what is going and really only want to buy some minutes. All of a sudden they start yelling, and Prince Charles walks out. That's right, PRINCE CHARLES. We had no idea this was happening because we do not read the paper or watch TV. Then another man, who we think is the French Prime Minister, came over. We could have shaken his hand but we were unsure who he was so we just took a picture. We since found out that it was the British Prime Minister. So after this crazy little turn of events we decided to go to the British Cemetary, which happens to be in Bayeux. We start walking there, and notice the hoards of police again. And then even more. When we get to the cemetary it is absolutely packed full of people and veterans. This wasn't really surprising as it was D-Day and there are ceremonies all day. But then we hear some British people start talking about the Prince, and we realize he is also here too. So this time we get smart and go and stand beside some veterans, and some crazy little Welsh ladies who follow the Royal Family around. So Prince Charles walks by, and actually gets really close to one of the veterans around us. So, totally be coincidence we have now seen him twice. Then we decide to get out of there before the crowds start, so we start wondering through a random path. There is one old veteran standing by a bush, so we go walk beside him, then the Prince drives by in his car and waves at us. That's right, at us. He even gave Michaela a little wink... we know that he is thinking about how he is going to tell Prince Harry that he must visit Canada to find this mysterious girl with curly hair. This has turned into quite the afternoon.

After we head back to Courseulles-sur-Mer for the Canadian D-Day Ceremony. We wait forever for the Prime Minister to show up, and finally he does. We got to see tons of Veterans, and the group of 11 Veterans who actually funded the Juno Beach Centre. It was really really nice. It started pouring by the time the ceremony got started so we were all drenched. Thankfully some British people beside us gave us a blanket and they handed out ponchos so it saved us a little. We had to leave the ceremony early because it started so late in order to catch our taxi back to Bayeux.

To make a long story short, our taxi is late, which makes us miss our train in Bayeux to Paris. We get to Bayeux and all other trains to Paris are not happening, so we take the taxi to Caen, the next big city. All trains to Paris there are also cancelled, so we get stranded in Caen. Thankfully Michaela runs around trying to find a hotel, and after informing the man that she must go back to the train station to buy a friend (her French hasn't improved THAT much), we find a place for the night. Thank God we got to see Prince Charles so many times or else we would be quite upset at this point. We find some really really strong Bavarian beer in a store and drink that too drown away our sorrows of missing so many trains.

We arrived in Paris this morning and are just here for one night, then we are taking off back to Canada! We are really sad about this. In some ways it feels like we have been here forever, but then again it has only been two months. We just keep saying to ourselves that this is definitely not the last time we will be in Europe. We are already planning our next trip!! We hope you all have enjoyed following us on this trip, and hope we have inspired you to get out and travel!!

See you all when we get home,

Michaela and Breanne

PS - We can NOT wait to get nice hot showers in clean bathrooms...

Posted by bouffner 04:07 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Saint Malo

Michaela found a man....

sunny 20 °C

We arrived in Saint Malo after a very bad train ride. It ended up that the only train we could take from Bordeaux was at four oclock in the morning. We figured that if we just stay up for awhile we could sleep on the train and feel okay. But that didn't happen. A group of 3 drunk guys hopped on and decided to sit across from us and make massive amounts of noise, in French. They talked about eating chicken for like an hour. If you hear the phrase MANGE LE POULET for more than fifteen minutes the only thing going through your mind is how you can get away with murder. It was a really bad train ride. Thankfully they got off and we managed to get a little bit of sleep.

We got to Saint Malo and had a pretty great bus ride to the hostel. This hostel was totally different than any other Hostelling International Hostel, it was a joint Centre and Hostel thing. Anyways there were tennis courts, basketball courts, bike rentals, and a whole LOT of old people. Usually hostels have age restrictions so this was weird. The only good thing was the kitchen and the free internet.

Our plan in Saint Malo was to get super super tanned. Unfortunately our first whole day there was pretty crappy weather so we just caught up on sleep. Breanne had a friend from university, Simon, who lives in England who came over on the Ferry to meet up with us for a few days. Saint Malo is right across the English Channel from England for anyone who doesn't know. Breanne had quite the adventure getting to the ferry port. She got up super early to catch a 7:20 bus, then got to the bus station and got on the wrong bus going the wrong direction. She finally figured that she was actually on the right bus, but did not nkow this so she walked through a field to get to the ferry. Fortunately she found it right before Simon arrived so everything was good. Michaela was still asleep.

Simon arrived, and we all headed to the Hotel Alpha Ocean, a 2-star hotel 20m from the beach. Perfect. We could look out our window and see the ocean. We all headed to the old city, Intra Muros, to eat and search for a Pub because the football finals were on, and Breanne and Michaela have been in Europe long enough to get addicted to football (aka soccer for you guys), plus we were with an English man so we figured we should watch it. We found a few that were showing the game, then decided on one with a bunch of old men hippies in it. We had a few drinks before the game started, assuming it would get busy right before like all the other football games we have watched. We were wrong. Finally we asked the old man bartender what was going on, and he informed us that the young people in Saint Malo do not go out to watch football, they only go to clubs and discos late at night. We found this quite odd. So instead we headed back to our hotel with some alcohol and watched the game there.

The next day we headed to the Grand Aquarium as the weather was still not nice.4Photo_001.jpg This is one of the biggest aquariums in Brittany and it had sharks. Michaela found the man of her dreams here... the biggest shark in the tank. He had his eye on her (perhaps it was feeding time). 5Photo_002.jpgThe aquarium was pretty neat and had tons of different kinds of fish. At the end you got to go into these mini submarine things and go underwater to check out the fish scenery. It was pretty cool. Afterwards we got drunk in the hotel room because the clubs were all too far away, and all the buses in these small towns have horrible horrible schedules and no night bus.

The next day we woke up to sunny sunny hot weather, so we headed down to the beach. That was pretty much it. Michaela and Breanne decided to venture into the water, which was a little chilly. Kind of like Manipogo at the beginning of the season. But the waves were smaller here than Biarritz so we did not get pushed around and could actually stay in for awhile. It was nice. We headed to a Tex Mex mexican restaurant for supper and had some yummy enchiladas. We also had real margaritas. Breanne did not enjoy these, but Michaela enjoyed a plentiful amount.

Simon headed back to the England the next morning. That afternoon we headed back to the old city to tour around some more and check out things we had missed. We were approached by a rando in the grocery store who tried to tell us what kind of wine to buy, so we told him our fake names and pretended we couldn't speak French. He finally decided to leave but before he could walk away he had to look us up and down with a "Mmmm". That is the last time Michaela is wearing short shorts to the grocery store. We took the beach back to our hotel and collected some shells and random things we found on the beach.6Photo_004.jpg That night we went down to the beach with some alcohol and sat on the rocks and watched the tide come in. 2Photo_005.jpgAs you drink more and more alcohol the waves get crazier and crazier. Finally we had to come back because the tide was too close. We had to walk across this high barrier, which was quite wide but Breanne being scared of heights had a hard time walking across it, and had to watch Michaela's feet in front of her. But lets remember that Michaela was previously chugging back Malibu so this was quite the entertaining walk for anyone watching.

The next day we headed back to the hostel for two nights. We went to the beach again and then decided we would take the night off from drinking and instead challenge each other to a tennis match. Neither of us are tennis pros, but we looked pretty damn good playing it. Not. Tennis is not easy for anyone who does not know. But we managed to have a few pretty decent rallies.

Monday we headed to Mont Saint Michel. 4Photo_006.jpgThis is literally an Abby on an island, but you can reach it by vehicle. Only about an hour and a half away from Saint Malo. The church was built on the hill, and then a wall and fortress and little town was built around it to protect it during invasions. During low tide you can walk around it, but you have to be careful because there is tons of quicksand. 1Photo_007.jpgIt has been known to eat horses. That evening we drank wine and played basketball for a few hours.

At 8:00 the next morning we headed to our final destination.....

Posted by bouffner 08:00 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Bordeaux

wine wine wine

sunny 22 °C

We got off the train in Bordeaux to some beautiful sunny weather, great start to the day. We headed to the area where our hotel was supposed to be, which ended up being right in the centre of all the tourist attractions and in a beautiful area. Took us a little while to find it, but we finally did. There is only one real hostel in Bordeaux that we could find online, and they were booked, so we ended up finding this cute little two-star hotel that had cheaper prices than the hostel. We asked for the cheapest room, and the guy said we have one with a double bed. He sounded a little sketched out that we would share, but I mean this is Europe we have seen more naked people walking around here than ever why is it strange to share a bed? The room ended up being really cute; we got our own shower and toilet in a huge bathroom which was sweeet, plus a little tv. Remember we havent watched TV since we left, so we found french MTV and we have been watching that. Our French is improving fast with that.

We toured around Bordeaux for the first two days. The area around our hotel is so nice; it is filled with boutiques and designer wedding dress shops (we were very tempted to go try them on but we figured it would be harder to lie in French). This place is extremely pretty; we have decided it is the most romantic place we have been so far. Photo_016.jpgEverything is clean and there are barely any pigeons, and barely any creepy French guys. We toured around and saw the ruins of the old castle0Photo_003.jpg, the Place de la Bourse2Photo_002.jpg, the beautiful fountain at the Monument to Girondins4Photo_011.jpg, and the Mirroire d'Eau - this is a big "mirror" on the cement, that has water coming out of it on hot days and everyone just runs through it, all the kids play in it3Photo_001.jpg. It is right by the river and the biggest in the world. It is really really neat. Whenever we got hot from walking around we just went and walked around in it, until Michaela got glass in her foot. Then we left.

Yesterday we went on a half-day chateau tour. We figured we would splurge because we are in Bordeaux and we had to see the vineyards and chateaux. We ended up going to Chateau Monlot, which specializes in red wines.8Photo_006.jpg We took a beautiful bus ride out to the chateau through the vineyards, then we got a little history lesson and had a tour of the vineyards there.Photo_019.jpg We got to see the cellar where they kept the wine, got a little explanation on how things are done, then the best part...... the DEGUSTATION. (wine tasting). We got to try two different wines; one from 2002 and the other from 2006. Breanne really liked them both4Photo_005.jpg. Michaela isnt really a wineo, more of an alcoholic, so she just took them back as fast as she could. 8Photo_004.jpgWe got a lesson on how to drink wine and check the colour and aroma, how to hold the cup, etc. Photo_022.jpgOverall it was a really good time. After this we got to tour the ancient town of St Emilion where the chateau actually is, and it was ridiculous. The town is soo old, it is actually the town where the Benedictine Monks used to be based out of. 9Photo_008.jpgThe old church, the Monolithic, is the main tourist sight; it is underground and was actually carved out of a huge piece of stone. Also, no buses or heavy vehicles are allowed to actually drive through the town because so much stone has been carved or taken out from the tunnels under the city that the roads would actually collapse. It was pretty neat to tour it, even though we could not take any pictures underground, only of the tiny streets. Photo_023.jpg

Afterwards we bought some Macaroons; I guess this area is known for their macaroons. Very delicious. 7Photo_009.jpgSince we are staying in a little hotel and not a hostel we havent met anyone here. Instead we have been drinking in our sweet hotel room at night ourselves and entertaining eachother by dancing to strange French music and taking lots of pictures.....Photo_015.jpg

Today we have been trying to figure out a way to bring back as much wine as we possibly can to Canada. Apparently it is illegal to ship anything like that so we have been trying to work some magic. If we cant figure anything out we will just drink the wine we have bought for you and think of you while we do it. It is a rainy day today, first in about a week. We are heading to Saint Malo, a little resort town in northern France for a week... so excited!! We are not excited about our 4am train ride though... we may just drink wine until 3am then head to the train... we will see how it goes...

xo
Michaela and Breanne

Posted by bouffner 07:22 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Biarritz

In the heart of the Basque country!

sunny 25 °C

We arrived in Biarritz to sunny weather around lunchtime. We met some Auzzies at the train station who were looking for the hostel, but we started walking around and lost them. We are such good friends. We ended up finding the hostel after falling down a hill (our backpacks are 16kg remember?!), and we were pretty pumped to check in and have a nap. But, of course, this hostel is retarded and you can only check in at 1800!!! Who does that??? We were totally wiped and pissed, but the nice cleaning lady showed us a tv room we could sleep in and let us put our luggage away. So we died on the couches for awhile, then went and layed on the grass outside because we didn't want to miss out on the nice weather. Finaaaaaaally 6 rolled around and we got to check in. We got to our room and noticed that our shower was condemned... skeeetchy. So we went to complain, and got a bunch of free internet time for it.. sweeet. We also found out that there were secret showers behind a door in our hallway so we got to use those. That night we just found a grocery store and made some supper. That's right, most of the hostels we are picking now have kitchens in them so we have been making feasts and actually eating for the past two weeks. Feeling nourished is a nice thing. So after a delicious meal of pasta and saucisson we headed to do some laundry and bedtime. There was a sign on the washer that said "No washing after ten oclock"... well Michaela thought you could still dry.. apparently not. Our clothes got locked in the dryer for the night and Michaela made sure Breanne got up to get it at 8am the next morning... come on we are backpackers, what little clothes we have are important to us.

The next day we awoke to not so great weather. Not happy as we came to Biarritz to lay on the beach.... yes that is all. So instead we toured around for about 5 or 6 hours. Turns out our hostel was by a "lake". More like a pond. We don't know what is up with these French people, but they do not know what lakes are. It looked like the dugout in Breanne's backyard. There weren't even any rivers or streams going into it, there was noo way we were swimming in that. Biarritz is known as France's surfing capital (or one of them), so they have a lot of different beaches.Photo_006.jpg We managed to walk to a few of them, including the main one. This is a nice beach because if you decide that you aren't a beach person you can just turn around and hit up the massive casino right behind the beach. Something for everyone.

We ended up back at our hostel sometime that evening and made some food. This was a pretty sweet hostel, really neat bar area, so we figured it would be pummmpin. Boy were we wroong. The bar closed at like 10 or 11 so we nicknamed it the library, because everyone just sat around reading. What is up with that. We thought this was like a surfer's place. But Biarritz has a mainly old person population (LonelyPlanet did not tell us that beforehand).

Next day was also not so nice out, but we decided to hit up the beach anyway (with jackets and shoes). We decided to try to find the closest beach to our hostel instead of going downtown. So we took the scenic route through this little forest where they were chopping down trees and NOT yelling timber, so we walked quickly. We were following little signs that said "Ocean this way".... well the ocean was NOT that way. We ended up going through a creepy forest trail (right out of a horror flick, we came up with our own script.... it was a long walk)Photo_007.jpg, through the Equestrian centre, by some random farmhouses, down a sketchy half street (looked like Rorketon), by a golf course, until we turned to the left and finally saw some water. This beach town is not like every other beach town. The ocean is not RIGHT tHERE. We finally got to it, and played in the massive waves for awhile. At one point we even had an audience and they cheered us on. We found a cute little restaurant by the beach and had lunch, then continued on our way. We found a massive supermarket on the way so we loaded up with real food and meat.

We were trying to talk ourselves into taking surf lessons. But the waves here were pretttty massive. (Here's a pic of a surfer about to get eaten by the waves)Photo_011.jpg And private lessons were a little above our price range. Plus we did not find the wet suits very attractive. Not at all. We thought a good idea would be to just ask some random hottie surfers walking around for lessons, but they all speak French and not a lot of English, so we figured that might be difficult. Plus looking at them would be distracting.

The next day was finally beautiful, so we headed to the beach to spend the day soaking up the sun. Which we did. Annnd it was great (we thought of you all in the snow back home the whole time, we swear). Watching the beginner surfers was really starting to scare us, so we decided to check out some other things. We went to TAKAMAKA, the outdoor experience shop. We decided on White Water Rafting because it sounded intense, and it was cheap. The only problem was that we needed to catch a train to get there, which would not have worked out for us, so we thought we were out of luck. Fortunately the young guy working decided he wanted to go too, so he said he would just drive us there and back with him. Niiice, we hopped on that deal. That night we met some guys from Holland and a girl from Quebec at the hostel and tried to find a place to party. But Biarritz is weird, and the buses don't run past like 10, plus all the good bars for young people only open during high season, which was not starting for like 2 or 3 more weeks. Sketch. So instead we asked the hottie working what to do and he told us to take wine down to the beach. So we did. We also tried to start a fire (which we found out later was illegal...) but it was too windy anyways.

The next day we got up early and headed to meet Gerald to go rafting. He also brought along his girlfriend, Lorelai, so she could translate for us (which was very thoughtful). We got to the place which was in the middle of Basque country, peppers everywhere, and sheep, and met our crazy instructor. Photo_010.jpgHe started telling us about what we were going to do that morning, and then he brought out the dreaded wetsuits... dun dun duuun. Breanne and Michaela looked at each other and said we cannot get away from those awful outfits. Well, the ones he gave us all were still wet because they had just been washed, which let us tell you makes it 1500 times more difficult to get into. Plus these were full body ones. It took like 20 minutes to get fully into, it was quite the process. We finally got them on and we all looked like space cadets because they were matching. Breanne felt like a teletubby, Photo_008.jpgMichaela refused to do up the neck of hers in order to move (the arms were a little short). Photo_009.jpgWe got some crazy helmets and lifejackets and shoes and headed to the raft. It ended up only being the 4 of us plus the instructor, so it was pretty nice. We drove out to the river, unloaded, and then our instructor started prepping us. He started off by making us sit on one side of the raft, then flipped us over without any warning so we were used to the water. This is only the begining of his crazy antics. We had to splash around for awhile and hit each other with paddles, then we finally got going. We learnt a few different moves, went through some rapids. This guy was nuts. He kept pushing Michaela into the water, then making Breanne haul her back into the raft. (I think he just liked the laugh Michaela had everytime she fell out). The river wasn't too crazy or anything, we were just beginners, but we kept hitting rocks because our instructor pushed us into them to "learn", and we got to swim in rapids to learn safety positions. All in all it was a sweet experience, we wish it could have lasted longer. We drove back to Biarritz and it was a super gorgeous day out so we headed to the beach for the rest of the afternoon.

This was our last night in Biarritz, but unfortunately Breanne got a little heatstroke, so she went to bed. Michaela stayed out with the Dutch boys for awhile and met some crazy English guys, had some wine, but headed to bed because we had an early train to catch to Bordeaux!!

Hope the weather is warming up there because we are NOT coming back if it is cold.

Love and miss ya!
Michaela and Breanne

Posted by bouffner 03:51 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Nice-Monaco-Cannes

free champagne and private rooms

sunny 24 °C

Ahh the French Riviera, what a beautiful place to be. We arrived in Nice on Sunday, May 9, after a fairly short train ride (this one was only four hours...maybe we are becoming immune to travelling??). We stepped out of the train station and followed the fantastic directions to the hostel we were staying in (turn left out of the train station, walk 100 m, turn right onto Rue Angleterre, and there it is!). When we first got these directions we were like 'it can't be that easy'...but it was. Pretty sure this was the easiest place to find out of all the places we have stayed in so far. It was nice not to be lost for two hours carrying our massive backpacks...

Anywho, we arrived in Hostel Baccarat and were greeted by the owner, Dan. What a crazy man. As soon as we got there he asked us if we wanted Champagne and we were like 'Right now?? It's three pm...' and he was like 'No, tonight, we have a party and I give out free champagne...every night!' so we were like sure why not. Then he asked if we wanted to have our own private room for the same price we would have payed for the 10 bedroom dorm we had booked. We would get our own bathroom too. Let's just say we were all over that. (We decided we could meet people at the free champagne party). The room ended up being pretty sweet even if it was a little small. We basically had to plan our trips across the room (one of us would jump on the bottom bunk so the other one could get to the bathroom) but it was nice to have our own space.

So that first night in Nice, we basically just walked around our surrounding area and made some great food in the amazing kitchen at the hostel. We ended up meeting some Canadian girls and having supper with them then made our way to the free champagne party with Dan (the owner). He was such a crazy guy who wanted everyone to have a great time at his hostel so he partied with us (don't worry, we are pretty sure he was gay so he wasn't creeping on us). Anyways, this was part of the 'Breanne's too sick to live' week so she went to sleep early, but Michaela stayed out and made some friends (she told Breanne she would be going to the room 'soon' after Breanne went to bed...but two hours after Breanne went to bed Michaela still wasn't back so Bre went to check on her. After making sure she was still alive Bre slept well).

The next day (after Michaela came back to life) we headed down to the beach and LAYED THERE ALL DAY. Ok well maybe not all day, the beaches there are rocky so you have to change position every once in awhile and get up and stretch so you don't lose feeling in your limbs. But we had beautiful weather and we were tired of touring hard core so we had a great day by the ocean. Photo_001.jpg On our way back to the hostel, we got a little shopping in (Breanne was ok with it this time, she needed new shirts).

Monday night was basically a repeat of sunday night. Breanne went to bed early again and Michaela went out with Belle (the Canadian girl we had met) to this bar called Chez Wayne's. It was a super awesome bar run by Australians and English men and it's geared towards backpackers. Basically you just partied and danced on the tables all night long. Michaela had a blast even though nobody fell off the tables for her to laugh at.

Tuesday rolled around and Breanne was very very sick. We found an English hospital to go to and figured out how to walk there and set off. Well, let's just say we did not realize how far away the other side of Nice was from us. After hiking for about an hour and a half in hot hot weather (that's right we are complaining about the heat...we know it's snowing back home...get over it) we finally reached our destination only to discover it wouldn't be open for another hour and a half. Breanne almost cried at this moment so we went to buy some food and sat at some monumental park thing to hang out and lounge until the doctor arrived.

At three, we went to the doctor's office and were greeted by some crazy french doctor man. He ended up being very nice and after a short examination pronounced that Breanne had tonsilitis. He prescribed some meds, pointed us in the direction of the pharmacy and off we went. After all this, we decided to take the bus back to our hostel.

That night is too boring to write about (that's right we went to bed early and did NOTHING).

Wednesday we went to...MONACO. We figured out that we could take a bus there for only one euro so we decided to make a day trip out of it. Well, we were not very well prepared for this day trip (no maps, no plans, no idea where to go to catch the bus to get back) and we ended up having a great time getting lost in this town. We ended up finding the Prince's Palace all on our own (which offered a great view of the city and strange looking guards). Unfortunately we did not find Grace Kelly's grave because we had no idea where anything was. But we did get to see lots of money money money. Oh man, you should have seen the yachts in this place. Photo_002.jpgMichaela was in her glory (imagining herself in this life), Breanne was so disgusted by all that wasted space and money, she started to look a little green. She finally had to pull Michaela away from the Bentleys and the Yacht stores. Other highlights of this trip: the Ni Hotel with shrubbery growing on it (Michael and anyone else who has watched the holy grail are the only ones who will understand)Photo_003.jpg, the crazy cross dresser lady sitting on the bench 'tanning', beautiful weather and views, and seeing people setting up for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, and Michaela finding her Redkin hair products.

Wednesday night was also too boring to write about. (Yes, that's right...Michaela's games are strange and not very fun hahaha...have you ever had to play the country game all night long....for a MONTH? Breanne didn't think so)

Thursday we spent the day on the beach again. Breanne decided it would be a good idea to go swimming and the waves ate her. Honestly, one second she was up to her neck, the next she was sitting on the rocks wondering what just happened. It was nice and refreshing anyways. Michaela was too lazy to do anything other than roll over and make fun of the couples groping each other.

That evening we met a couple Australians staying in the hostel and decided we would go to the free champagne party with them for our last night. Well, Michaela and Champagne are not always the best combination (we should have learned at countryfest two years ago). Let's just say by twelve she was ready for bed so we said goodbye to everyone and headed up to the room where Breanne decided it would be a good idea to tell Michaela to eat Nutella right out of the jar. What a mess. We ended up with Nutella EVERYWHERE: on the shower curtain, in Breanne's bed...Michaela also chased Breanne around which was hard in a room that small. We have a video. If you're lucky we'll let you see it...hhehe

Ok so Friday came and we decided to go to Cannes for the film festival. Photo_004.jpgWe got all pretty and hopped on the bus...then stayed on the bus for two hours. What a long ride. But oh well, it was only one euro. Um we basically just walked around and checked out the town. We didn't get to see any stars but we did see their yachts. Photo_005.jpg More wastes of money as far as Breanne is concerned. Michaela was in awe of the Valentino store she found. Breanne wouldn't let her near it (you are very welcome Richard and Terri). We didn't have the best weather but we made the most of it. Breanne finally decided to buy her own umbrella after being poked in the head about a million times (Michaela's challenged because she is left handed) and bought a sketchy umbrella from a sketchy man on the street. Oh well at least now she won't get mauled by Michaela's umbrella.

We decided to leave Cannes at 4:00 in order to catch our train that night. However, we arrived at the bus station and saw a sign that read 'Bus services for line 200 are delayed until 17:00 due to an attack on one of our drivers'. Talk about sketchy. Well we waited until 5 (because the train workers went on strike so this was our only mode of transportation) and met a crazy italian man who loved us because we were 'les petites canadiennes'.

We finally made it back to Nice and managed to go shopping before leaving (Jo we got your present, finally) then headed over to the train station for our THIRD overnight train. This time we got the reclining chairs which weren't bad...if you like sleeping in chairs.

Well, that's all for now folks. We can hopefully add pictures to show you all the beautiful weather out here.

Love you and miss you all!

Mick and Bree

Posted by bouffner 12:55 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

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