Marseille & Dijon~ Sept 2000~ part 2

Part 1 HERE

We decided to hire a scooter and do a day trip across to St. Tropez, a hairy ride to say the least, but fun.

ST.Tropez was absolutely heaving with people, but we got down to the beach, and did our sunbathing thing. To be honest I’m not a fan of crowded beaches, or any crowds really!

The building at the top there is The Citadel, built in the 1600’s. Nowadays that’s where I’d be with my camera!

My favourite part of the holiday was when we stayed overnight in Dijon on the way back home. We had time to explore the town and came across lovely old buildings.

love the cat and bird on top of the roof in this next one

The people in Dijon were really friendly and restored my faith in the French people!





Marseille & Dijon ~ Sept 2000 ~ part 1~Marseille

Back in 2000 I went on a road trip with my pal Gaz. Neither of us could afford a ‘proper’ holiday so we decided to drive down to the South of France, find a B&B soak up some rays, and explore the area for a while. We ended up in Marseille. It has an interesting history, named Massilia, a Greek colony originally, being founded around 600BC and populated by settlers from Phocaea (modern Turkey). It became the preeminent Greek city in the Hellenized region of southern Gaul. The city-state sided with the Roman Republic against Carthage during the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), retaining its independence and commercial empire throughout the western Mediterranean even as Rome expanded into Western Europe and North Africa. However, the city lost its independence following the Roman Siege of Massilia in 49 BC, during Caesar’s Civil War, in which Massalia sided with the exiled faction at war with Julius Caesar.

Ships have docked for more than 26 centuries at the city’s birthplace, the colourful old port, and it remains a thriving harbour for fishing boats, pleasure yachts and tourists. Guarding either side of the harbour are Fort St-Nicolas and Fort St-Jean, founded in the 13th century by the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem and we took a boat trip out to see them.

Porte d’Aix (also known as the Porte Royale) is a triumphal arch in Marseille, in the south of France, marking the old entry point to the city on the road from Aix-en-Provence. The classical design by Michel-Robert Penchaud was inspired by the triumphal arches of the Roman Empire. The Porte d’Aix was initially conceived in 1784 to honour Louis XIV and to commemorate the Peace of Paris (1783) that ended the American war of independence. Following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814-15, the project was resumed in 1823, now to commemorate French victories in the Spanish Expedition, notably at the Battle of Trocadero, August 31, 1823. It was eventually completed in 1839, with a more general theme of victory. This is just the worst shot of it!

The port at night was gorgeous and we were treated to a lovely sunset


We sat in the square and had a glass of wine or two in the evenings, and watched the world go by

there was a chanteuse in the bar

and street musicians came round wanting money!

There was a beautiful old carousel in the town and I got a shot of it by day and night

It was a strange time, the Rough Guide, my travel bible at the time, warned that people in Marseille could come across as arrogant, and I certainly found that to be true.  I speak passable French but if I went to a shop and asked for things in French, I’d be cut off and given short shrift in English. One night we went to a restaurant that had outside seating. One half had a few people seated but also a few empty tables, but the waiter seated us away from everyone in the empty half. After our dinner we asked for coffee and when the waiter came with it he pretended to trip and tipped the cups into my lap. Of course it was a shock as I thought the cups were full, but they just had sugar cubes in them.  The waiter and everyone in the other half of the restaurant found it all very funny, we paid up and left.












Tynemouth,South Shields & Seaburn, 1995

Before living up here in Tyne & Wear was even a blip on my radar, I brought Ben up for a cheapo holiday. We stayed in a lovely little B&B in Seaburn, and played on the mostly deserted beaches.

Marsden Rocks



small person in a big world

Jumping the waves

France 1992

I don’t have very many photo’s from this trip to France but am saving what there is! This is April 1992 and I was offered the chance to go with some work colleagues Sharon, her chap Chris, and Phil. Sharon’s or Chris’s parents owned a cottage in La Breille-les-pins and that’s where we were based. Ben came with us too.

The Cottage

It hadn’t been used for a while and with stone floors was bloody freezing!

Sharon & Chris

Phil, Ben & I went off to visit Tours and sat by the River Loire one day,,

And then the next day we went off to visit Le Musee de Blindes (Museum of Tanks) in Saumur which was at the Cavalry Barracks.


The Musée des Blindés is now one of the world’s largest tank museums. It began in 1977 under the leadership of Colonel Michel Aubry, who convinced both the French military hierarchy and the local political authorities. Started 35 years ago with only a few hundred tracked vehicles, it has become a world-class collection which attracts visitors interested in the history of multinational tank development as well as professional armor specialists. From the very beginning, Colonel Aubry had made it a key policy of the museum to restore to running condition as many historically or technically significant vehicles as was feasible.

The museum has the world’s largest collection of armoured fighting vehicles and contains well over 880 vehicles. Because of shortage of space, less than a quarter can be exhibited, despite the move to a much larger building in 1993. Over 200 of the vehicles are fully functional, including the only surviving German Tiger II tank still in full working order. It often performs in the spectacular armor demonstration for the public, called the Carrousel, which takes place in the summer every year. Saumur was the traditional training center for cavalry for over a century but now holds the current Armoured Cavalry Branch Training School which is entirely dedicated to training armor specialists. The tank museum had its early origins in a study collection.

When we got to the barracks and went into the museum there were no tanks, so I asked the lady at the entrance and she told us they were all held in a larger building (now the current museum). She then took us over to the barracks and in to see Colonel Aubry, who was so lovely and kind, and gave us all a tank badge. He then had his secretary drive us over to the tank place where they were just about to close. She told the soldier on duty that Colonel Aubry said to hold it open for us while we looked at tanks! Don’t think he was all that pleased. Anyway we got to see The Tiger II and a few others, and went home very happy!

Thailand 2001~Part 2

Part 1 HERE

The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The king, his court and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently resides at Chitralada Royal Villa in the Dusit Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year. The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand. And it’s not hard to see why.

Fuerteventura 1997 ~ Part 3

Part 1        Part 2

Our second trip out was to visit El Cotillo, a little fishing village with a pretty harbour and beautiful beaches and lagoons. At the time we were there it was very untouristy, but I believe thats changed now. On the way there we passed the dunes of Corralejo so had to stop and take photo’s.

The Harbour

We went to lunch at one of the cafe’s in the harbour and this was our view as we sat outside.

Couldn’t resist this little doggy..

Then we went and found a secluded bit of beach and had a sunbathe.

Not sure what the heck we are doing here!

There was plenty of nightlife around Caleta de Fuste and we ate out most nights, all manner of restaurants, excellent chinese that we visited twice, but also a Portuguese restaurant and as neither of us had ‘done’ Portuguese before we tried that. This is Nicki’s flaming sausage, though the flame went out before I got the shot!

There were dancing girls in the restaurant area

not the best of shots.

Our favourite night spot was called The Latin Lover, and we went there every night so got friendly with the regulars and owners, it was such good fun we rarely got home to bed before 4am.

Miguel & Sylvie who owned the bar.

Nicki & Ramone, a local

Ramone & Us

Ramone & his brothers!

Ramone teaching me the lambada or some dance or other

Declan, an irishman working at the bar, and my holiday romance, playing pool with Nicki.

Declan hated the English, though he liked me well enough as I was sympathetic to the history, and called all tourists ‘the whorists’ (pronounced ‘hoorists’) we wrote to each other for a while after I came back to England, but as with most holiday romances, it fizzled out. But so much fun while it lasted, and on his days off he would come out with us and show us the sights, mainly of pubs 🙂

Me & Nicki

and finally on our last night

and thats the end of the trip!

Fuerteventura 1997 ~part 1

Fuerteventura loosely translated as “Strong Winds” or a corruption of the French term for “Great Adventure” is one of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa, politically part of Spain. In 1997 my best friend at the time Nicki and I went for a girls week away. Apart from a couple of school trips to France this was the first time I’d ever been on holiday abroad, the first time I’d been on an aeroplane. I was a bit of a late starter being 38 (though I’ve made up for it since then) 🙂 Nicki and I had met in the operating theatres where we both worked, and being young (ish) free and single, became good pals. In September 1997 we decided to have a weeks holiday in Fuerteventura, so I packed Ben off to my mums for the week, and off we went.

Leaving Luton Airport

The White Cliffs of Dover

Flying over Northern Spain

Coming in to land

We stayed at a resort Caleta De Fuste, now it’s one of the largest tourist areas and on googling pictures of it, it’s a lot more built up on the sea front, but when we were there there was a lot of construction still going on. But our resort at least was finished.

Our apartment No.30 Castillo Mar


so annoyed I can’t remember what camera I had, that’s its case on the table but I can’t make out any details.

Have had a giggle at all the nail polish we brought!

It had an upstairs too, and these are the views from the balcony

and of course there was a pool

we were self catering, but I think this is the only time we did any! Here’s Nicki making us lunch on our first day.

I think every where I’ve travelled I’ve been adopted by a cat for the duration!

The harbour at Caleta de Fuste was full of boats, and as Fuerte is particularly known for it’s windy demeanour, also wind surfing.

So that’s where we lived, and played, but we also hired a car for 3 days and went touring the island, so that will be what the next post is all about.

Turkey 1999~part 3 ~ out and about

To finish up my trip to Turkey, this is a post about other excursions and activities. On our 3 day tour inland we visited the Mevievi Museum in Konya. The Mevievi is a sufi order from which the famous Whirling Dervishes come, but there were no whirlings going on when we were there.

We also got taken to see silk making and weaving

Then they tried to sell us rugs 🙂

We also visited a pottery

and we saw camels..

When we got back from our trip inland, we also organised a white water rafting day with a couple of holiday friends we made. The holiday reps also were organising this but it was cheaper to organise ourselves with the local excursion touts. It was quite different. The other people on holiday got picked up from the hotel in a nice air-con coach and off they went. We got picked up in a tatty old 4 x 4, taken to a families farm, and then put in a tractor with 2 young lads and some lifejackets and a dinghy and hauled up to the river. We got our life jackets on, got in the dinghy, were given oars and then the lads pushed off and off we went. The young lads shouting instructions to us and hooting and laughing as we went past the posh lot who were sitting in their dinghies with an instructor, being shown how to put on their life jackets and going through the safety measures of what to do if they capsized etc. None of that rubbish for our lads, they were brilliant, and obviously born to it. I think this is one of the best things I ever did and I loved it. After, they took us back to the farm where their Mum had laid on a great buffet of local food, it was delicious.

We also had some good nights out…

wish I could remember the names of our pals 😦

these all taken around the pool of our hotel where entertainment was on most nights

we ventured out to a local restaurant where there was more entertainment..

our pals

Ben and Matthew had a great time in the pool

and I’m finishing up with the boys messing about in the apartment we had

Matthew, Ben and Magic Mouse

Gaz & Ben doing ‘The British Bulldog’ pose (it was a thing back then..)

and goodnight all.

It was a really fab holiday, and the people of Turkey were lovely, all the hotel staff looked after us well, in particular the bar staff, 4 lovely guys, really took to Ben & Matthew, even took them out clubbing with them one night, that wouldn’t happen in the times we now live in! I gave my camera to anyone available to take a photo of us with it, even the Dad of the rafters, great stuff! Good times and it’s been fun remembering them.