Departed Auckland 9/8/2014.
Spent the night in Seoul, South Korea. Arrived Paris the next day.
Spent three days in Paris, relaxing and visiting old haunts.
Flew to Toulouse, and thence by train to Carcassonne.
Arrived at “our” chateau (originally built in 1180 CE) at Raissac sur Lampy on August 13. While at the chateau we did a lot of essential work, but also explored much of southern France: Albi, Lourdes, Avignon, the Pont du Gard, Nimes, Orange, Arles, Nice, Monaco, Bouzigues (oysters!), Sete, Agde, Saintes Marie de la Mer, the Camargue (with its black bulls and white horses)–part of the Rhone Delta, Lyons, the Dordogne area, Bordeaux. We also visited Andorra and Barcelona.
Late January 2015 we returned to NZ for several weeks for our younger son Peter’s wedding in Queenstown on February 7. (Rinny conducted the wedding ceremony.)
We again travelled via Seoul, where we spent the night and the best part of a day.
We returned to France via Barcelona and Bilbao. We spent a week in Spanish Basque country, staying in San Sebastian and experiencing how wild the Bay of Biscay can be. Thence via French Basque country –Biarritz, Bayonne, etc—and thence back by train to Carcassonne and the chateau.
On April 6 (Easter Monday) we left the chateau and travelled to Orleans, and spent the next week exploring the Loire Valley with its lovely chateaux while staying in a small village called St. Denis de L’Hotel.
Then we flew from Paris to Budapest, where we spent three very enjoyable days.
From there we joined a river cruise down the Lower Danube. This took us through southern Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. We spent five days in Bucharest, and went on day trips to Transylvania (Dracula!!) and the Black Sea at the port of Constanta.
This was followed by a very long train journey across central Europe to Munich. We spent a night there, and then moved on to Freiburg, from where we explored the very beautiful Schwarzwald (Black Forest), and even went to the source of the Danube at Donauesching.
Thence to relatives in the Netherlands for a few days, and from there to England (Newcastle on Tyne). There we hired a car and met friends in various parts of England. Three lovely days in the Lake District, several days in Chester, the Salisbury Plains and Old Sarum, and visits to Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens in Kent, as well as a visit to the Bodleian Library in in Oxford.
Then back to Nijkerk in the Netherlands, where we house sat for three weeks for relatives who were visiting Canada.
This was followed by a flight to Washington DC where we spent a very interesting week. (We had to cancel our coffee appointment with Barack and Michelle because we were too busy ??!!).
From there we travelled via Shenandoah National Park to Virginia, where we stayed in Williamsburg. While there we visited Jamestown (the first English settlement) and other historic sites.
Then a flight from Newport News to Fort Myers in Florida. We spent two weeks in a very hot Florida, living in a small apartment (summer is the off-season and therefore cheaper than usual in Florida) and making visits to elderly relatives.
This was followed by our flying to Des Moines in Iowa, where the two-yearly reunion of the German side of Barbara’s family (the Wahl family, who arrived in USA in the mid-1860s) was held.
When that was over we flew via Las Vegas to Oakland, California and visited with relatives.
Then on July 16 we flew from San Francisco to Auckland. And once back here we went to Queenstown for three weeks–our sons and their wives and our grandson live there–and then arrived back in Auckland on August 8 when our tenants left.
After some 29 flights in total, it’s taking us a while to settle in here again.
Rinny and Barbara