Archive for September, 2008

Last days – Lalavendeu, France

We drove and drove again and finally came to our destination. Lalavendeu is where my Granddad and his wife lived for 12 years (lucky bastard!) There is a spot called Aiguebell that Granddad always went for lunch, swim and beach relaxation. We found ourselves on this spot again being served (luckily) by an English speaking waitress.

place

Granddad had been going on about wanting to find a villa close to this area and would settle for a hotel if nothing could be found. Being in local France, no one speaks the language so we were so lucky when the waitress was fluent in both. Granddad addressed her quickly about possible accommodation. She returned minutes later with a piece of paper with a gentleman’s name, phone number and time to meet him to see a villa. Needless to say she earned her tip this day.

We had no idea what to expect but at this point I was tired and would have taken anything. The location was more than we were expecting which has really made our trip!
A gentleman greeted us (speaking a bit of the language) and showed us to our quarters. I must say we were amazed and we couldn’t believe the price!!!!! All of the facilities we could ask for, a stones throw from the beach, quiet and private. Finding this little gem I am sure will guarantee a lot of stays in the future!!

place 1

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It’s sure nice to be in Nice.

After leaving some miserable weather in Jeselo we decided to drive directly to Nice to beat the gloomy weather. We loaded up the car and headed south west to the south of France. 6 hours of driving later, we arrived in Nice, France.

Nice

We stayed at our usual, Campanile, a few minutes walk from the “Promenade des Anglas” (public walk way on the water front). This beautiful scene stretches the entire length of the city and on the other side leads to “Old Nice.” This location is known for its beautiful old France feel and its lack of transportation and taxis. I had to brave the terrain and find parking for our car.

We enjoyed what I felt to be the best calamari EVER. When I picked the calamari I assumed I would be receiving what I normally do; squishy circles that resembled close to that of union rings. Oh no, they brought me the entire squid (octopus). It was truly an event to cut the little bugger into my traditional calamari.

Granddad stuck with his sea bass, also served in full – head to toe (fin). We enjoyed a nice walk and sit around the old town, sipping coffee, lacquer and puffing on a cigar.
Another night here and we head farther west to our final destination, Lalavendeu.

cigars

cigar 2

Europe: Day 5-7

Garda!
I must say, one of my personal favorite places to travel!!!

Garda

garda

After enjoying only one day in Garda, the next was soured by rain and I mean SOURED. It has rained for the last 2 days and into our arrival to Jesolo (an hour east of Venice) the rain has relentlessly continued. The weather forecast reports this will last another 2 days. Pissing me right off! So I thought I would post nice pictures from our trip last year!

last year

Anyway, we had dinner tonight at one of Granddads (and of course mine) favorite restaurants. We love it for the food of course but the service is second to none. One of the waiters (Vito) who had been serving my Granddad for 20 plus years recently died last week before we made it. It was very unfortunate and threw a damper on the meal.

We will spend another day here tomorrow although no beach time has been allotted and then we will make our way south-west to Nice, France.

Cheers
Ron & Granddad.

Europe: Day 4

Granddad and I drove over the Alps today (9000 ft high). Granddad kept encouraging me “look over there Ron it’s beautiful.” If any of you know me you know how terrified I am of heights. Needless to say, the only thing I was looking at was the cars passing me by on the narrowest of roads.


9000 ft down!

4 hours of driving later we arrived in beautiful Locarno, Switzerland. We checked in quickly to the first hotel we saw. It’s pretty preppy; our room is called “Duke Ellington” or as Granddad puts it “the black fellas room.”

We had a quick nap and headed down the road to an Italian restaurant. Of course I had Pizza and Granddad the minestrone soup.

eating soup

pizza!

Tomorrow we awake and head to Lake Garda in Italy. This is one of my favorite stops. There is a restaurant called “Di Pippo” that I have fallen in love with. Granddad has traveled to his shop for the last 20 years. I can’t wait to get more pizza!

Europe: Day 3

Tonight I write from the Great St Bernard at the base of the Alps in Switzerland.

At the base of the Alps, Switzerland

This morning we awoke to a nice breakfast and a cool breeze. It’s the dead of summer here but we were very high in altitude in Pontalier.
We left there and drove back through Switzerland today. Beautiful country!

On our travels, we came across Granddads “tree” that he and his wife have visited over the last 20 years. Each year they marked their territory by in-printing the name and date of year they visited.
I was hoping to continue the tradition this year but I left my hammer and chisel in my pant pockets back home. Oh well, plenty more years to remember them.

Granddads

Tomorrow we head over the Alps via the Simplon Pass (9000 ft up). As Natalie will tell attest, the road is very narrow and winds up and then down the mountain. That will place us in Italy. Tomorrow night we will be in Lugano, Italy (Lake Maggiore) and Como.

Trip to Europe: Day 1 & 2

Day 1

Greetings from Ferney, Switzerland (a few yards from Lake Geneva).
Firstly, this email is brought to you by my blackberry phone, for without it, would have never made it to our destination. Muah!

Secondly, this email is also brought to you by The Balvenie single malt Scotch Whisky.
While in the English airport they had a store called “Scotch.” We went in there, told the gentlemen what type of taste we were looking for and he introduced us to The Balvenie (one of the most exclusive brands on the shelf (and probably the most expensive as well!!!!))

Granddad and I are relaxing in the Novotel Hotel fully stocked with the essentials: scotch, wine and cigars. I made 10 CDs that I burned off the net simply called “the 100 best classical songs of all time.” They are organized by date, starting in the 17th century.

Our car, a stylish new Volks Wagen Golf is automatic (I know, I can’t possibly break the clutch on it now!).

Tonight we are eating at the first restaurant we ate at last year. They had amazing scampie and I am dieing to get into the food here.

Day 2

We left Switzerland and headed North in France. We spent the day traveling through Lousanne and Ouchy (where Charlie Chaplin and Richard Borton had villas – Granddad).

Ouchy, town centre

While in Ouchy, we enjoyed the lovely water front and stopped in at Granddads infamous pub – The White Horse, which he reflects to have drunk quite a bit there over the years.

We moved on from there to Pontalier; where we purchased a large quantity of wine (its dirt cheap, $2.00 a bottle and superb quality).

Pontalier, France

Granddad is currently napping as the effects of the bottle we shared seamed to affect him more differently than I. We are about to go down the stairs for dinner for some steak (me) and fish (Granddad).
The hotel is called “Auberge de joux” and Granddad knows the “la dame” so well that he greeted her with kisses (on both cheeks). I am sure I will continue the tradition for years to come.

Cheers
Ron & Granddad