Are we on a train?

At about 4:00am yesterday morning Helen and I woke up to a gentle rocking. In our half awake state it felt like we were on an overnight train. But we weren’t! It was an earthquake. The map from the Japanese Meteorological Agency shows the extent.

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If you check out their site you can see many earthquakes each day in the North East.

We checked out the instructions from the hotel. They said wait for instructions over the p.a. There were none so we went back to sleep. Hotel Niwa is very new and has state of the art foundations. Check them out at http://www.hotelniwa.jp/english/info/seismically_isolated.html . The result was a gentle side to side rocking motion.

In transit again….

We’ve had a morning of fun with visiting the Centre Pompidou, another patisserie, and a last bike ride. Ah… We will upload the photos later.

Currently sitting in the airport lounge in Charles de Gaulle, after clearing customs and bag check (ahhhh). I will say it was eventful (I must be getting desperate for entertinment). Someone left a bag in the middle of an entrance. Officials cleared half the checkin terminal in 2E. This is fine however, we were in the middle of a bag re-pack. Yes, I did say bag re-pack, as Kym’s bag weighed 26kg and mine weighed 22kg. The allowed luggage is 24kg per bag… this resulted in me sitting on the floor reorganizing my case. I hurried up, re-packed, and we moved away from the area along with everyone else. We noticed a sudden rush of people back to the check-in area – so we joined. Announcements…. what are such things?!

Back at check-in, luggage reweighed Kym’s weighed 22kg, and mine weighed 22kg, with additional items acceded. How this is possible, I have no idea, but the luggage was accepted. Hooray!

Normally when we travel, we don’t have access to lounges (yeah premium economy!), but we have on this occasion. I will say, so far the lounge we experienced in Japan wins hands down, followed closely by Qantas in Sydney. This one is a very poor cousin, food is ok if a packet of chips, vegetarian slice, wine, or coffee is what you need. I don’t need any of those, but I did eat a packet of chips. I don’t know what possessed me…. Must be the thought of the flight. Next post will be from the otherwise of the pond!

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What should you do when you have 27 hours left in Paris?



Paris, originally uploaded by Helen K.

As a tourist, it is a difficult question to answer. There are so many options available. Do you go shopping, or try to fit in a couple of galleries? Added to this, prior to leaving, we received a list of top patisseries in Paris worth visiting, provided by Jonny and Eddy who run “From Scratch…” at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market. We certainly had a tough time deciding. The decision was easy – it was patisseries! The reviews to follow:

Laduree (many places all over Paris), on Rue Bonaparte. We decided to take afternoon tea. I had lemon citron tart, and Kym had pistachio macron with berries. The tart was delightful. The pastry edging was even with the filling smooth, and was perfect for my liking…ah. I can not comment on what Kym ate, as he refused to share – it must of been good!

Sheep and rain the story of our holiday.



Mont Ventoux – A week after the TDF, originally uploaded by kdt.

When we planned our holiday we thought our theme would be cycling and food. We were wrong. The theme has turned out to be sheep and rain. In every country we have got wet. We are proud owners of new yellow ponchos and our umbrellas and wet weather gear have been well used. Helen went so far as to buy a new cycling jacket.

Golly, there are a lot of sheep in the north of England. But even in Provence there are a lot of sheep. You can see Helen’s magnetic personality as a flock of Provencal sheep surround Helen on Mont Ventoux. This is a famous TDF climb. In reality it’s not that bad 24km with a bracket of between 6% and 12% going upto 1912m. Nothing really, compared with 17% and 500m in the Pennines. I reckon I can do it 🙂

What to shall we do in Paris today?



TDF, originally uploaded by Helen K.

Today’s forecast tells me it will be 19 degrees, with sun and clouds. What shall we do today – there a so many things for tourists to see Paris, but here is what we have decided:

1. Sleep in, for a change.

2. Have breakfast in the hotel, it will be more relaxing.

3. Stroll around the gardens. Perhaps enjoy food and drink. Oh, we might go and watch Cadel Evans win the 2011 Tour de France, and be presented with a yellow jersey. Is there anything else that can be compared to being in Paris today?

Yes, folks we have tickets for one of the stands on the final Champs Elysee. Don’t know what the experience will be like (welcome by tour host, gift – who knows what this will be like, food and drink through the afternoon), but today is a great day to be an Australian and be here in Paris to see the presentation of the Jerseys. And no, we didn’t bring a flag – in 2005 when we saw the TDF we were ignored so I left it at home, I’m okay with this.

As for Australia having a public holiday on Monday to celebrate – why not, makes damn good sense to me.

So, what will you be doing today?