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Bahrain to Brittany

 
 
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Nightbar
Difflock Royalty


Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Odometer: 20615
Location: In a state of anticipation...


1999 Land Rover Defender

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:34 pm    Post subject: Bahrain to Brittany Reply with quote

Yep - that was this years little trip!

Ok - confession time, The Bahrain to Paris bit was by aeroplane but it got you looking!

This was never going to be one of our epic roadtrips, such as our Black Sea or Bust trip or the Adriatic Adventure, especially as I am in the middle of a 9 month OpTour in the Middle East. That meant I had 14 days get back to Europe, holiday with the Nightbars and then return to my self imposed exile. Oh yes - we had my sister in law's wedding in France to squeeze in as well. So here goes...

Day 1 Thu 14 Aug.
Day at work. Well actually a half day because the first order of business was to attend the Change of Command Ceremony for CTF (Combined Task Force) 150 from UK to Pakistan. Quite important as these are the guys I support chasing down pirates and drugs smugglers. Oh yes there was free food as well so who could say no. Not so sure about the ham sandwiches on the buffet though for my Pakistani colleagues.

Got that done by 1330, change out of my ceremonial whites (no you can't have an ice cream) and jumped into a taxi to souk. The souk? Yes the souk because I needed to see my tailor. You see (blokes) we had been instructed to wear green at the wedding - so I had had a green suit made. The lining was shot silk (green/red) and the tailor thought it so good he had made a tie for the wedding (free) and I had to collect it before I got on the plane. Girls to wear purple/red - so I had had a purple waistcoat made to go with it.

Tie collected and off to start the journey.

Now I was on a tight timeline here, 2 planes and a TGV connection to make in Paris to get to Brest to be in time for the wedding. No problems getting out of Bahrain (incidentally - Bahrain gives out free baby buggies to parents travelling with children so they can check in their own at departures - what a good idea!) but delays at Abu Dhabi meant that this was going to be close.

Day 2 - Fri 15 Aug
Hmmm - should have flown at 0225ish, it's now 0430 and I'm still in departures. I already know that I've missed my train from Paris. Hey ho - that's life. The plane might have left on time but for a Franco-German couple who argued at the gate that they should have First Class. Actually i saw their tickets - they had first from the Seychelles but not from Abu Dhabi. Went to sleep before the plane took off.

Arrived CDG - 3 hours after my train left...

...Schoolboy French to weakly smiling English speaking SNCF lady sorted me with a standing ticket to Brest. Didn't mind waiting a couple of hours for it as all SNCF stations have pianos in them (art installation type thing) so I did an impromptu jazz set to take my fellow passengers' minds off what is Dante's 5th circle of Hell that is Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Arrived Brest 1730ish. No family to collect me. So I played the piano there until Mrs NB arrived - she had been stopped by Les Flics (the Gendarmes) for speeding (in a 90!!!) - good girl! Short trip to Hanvec where we were camping.

Beer time then sleeps in the field at the back of the Chateau (borrowed from the French Ministry of agriculture for the weekend for the wedding):


Day 3 The Wedding - Sat 16 Aug
This was what it was all about.
Loads of French and Brits, and I refrained from discussing F1 with cousin Rob White (head of Renault F1 engine design) . Ceremony in Hanvec itself and here is the happy couple:

and my green suit as requested:


Tradition is that the procession from ceremony to reception involves a convey of cars sounding their horns:


Lots of eating and drinking until the early hours - but a special mention to Mrs NB who did a couple of Ella Fitzgerald number (accompanied by cousin Simon on the ukulele during the civil ceremony). Even the brides sister did a rather raunchy flamenco dance in a lycra dress later on that evening - but I have been banned from posting pictures of those.

Day 4 Sun 17 Aug
I get up in the morning and make the coffee - that's the rule. Fortunately the local baker had made a delivery to the happy campers:


Loads of food to eat and some explaining to do. Apparently some people got little out of hand with the letters on stick you may have spotted in an earlier photo - it seems some very rude words were spelt out (bit stronger than this though)...


Day 4 Mon 17 Aug
I like my in laws.
They took our children away from us for 2 days so Mrs NB and me could pop off for a couple of days together (well we hadn't seen each other for almost 4 months and then got thrown together in a massive family occasion). So we did - we left! Down the coast to a beautiful little fishing village called Douarnenez.

Seems that there was an world international under 21s sailing competition going on (these are the future Olympic champion sailors - it's how Ben Ainsle started):

Lots of chat and some good food and shopping done. Lots of talking as well.

There are 4 campsites in the village but we can recommend the municipal site Camping Croas Men right in the centre of town and came to about 13Eu night for the 90 and rooftent (we didn't use the electric as I'm now solar powered!).


Day 5 Tue 18 Aug
More the same I'm afraid! Chilling!


Only thing to add would be Veuve Cliquot and Campari...a splash of Campari and then topped up with VCP:

(okay - this wasn't the actual phot as you can see the kids' tents - but you get the idea).

Part 2 to follow...

__________________________________
The ex-Difflock Ambassador to Naples, Sir Nightbar DCJC DFS and 2 bars.

Plant a tree for the Difflock 3
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Nightbar
Difflock Royalty


Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Odometer: 20615
Location: In a state of anticipation...


1999 Land Rover Defender

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Day 6 Wed 19 Aug
Time to go find if the children were still alive!
They were.
We ate the last of the wedding food and packed to head off on our own for the family time.

Where to?

Well the weather was good in St Nazaire - so we went there. Actually I wanted to go there because of the WWII German Submarine Pens and to see the dock HMS CAMPBELTOWN had rammed in 1942 (OP CHARIOT) to deny the Germans a place to berth the Tirpitz so stopping her terrorising the Atlantic conveys http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Nazaire_Raid. Some very good campsites - can recommend the municipal ones again in Pouliguen - all supported by a v good public transport network where it costs 1.40EU for travel round the region by bus (bus stop 200yds from the site entrance).

Had a meal out to celebrate 14 yr olds first GCSE - decided to eat Lebanese as it was the closest to my diet out here - and we also got a belly dancer! Photos of that also blocked by SWHMBO.

Did I mention the Sub Pens in St Nazaire?

Saw similar in Brest Naval Base as built by the Germans to secure their U Boats from Allied bombings. I understand that they were so strongly built that they can't actually be demolished which is why they are still there. There is a good restaurant in the museum inside one of the pens that does really really good cheap local food.

There is also a living attraction in the subpens celebrating the atlantic Ocean liners - well why not get into the spirit of things!

Apparently I wasn't allowed to take photos of state workers - thank heavens my camera doesn't have a flash...

...but you get the idea.

Day 7 Thu 20 Aug
By now we are tracking the weather - where is the sun going to be...

...or a day in Pouliguen mooching around the locale and the markets (yes we bought more stuff and things we didn't really need - thank heavens for the trailer!). Did I mention we had brought extra lights (much to the amusement of the other campers):


My 2 children then earned 10Eu for helping a pair of French 18/19 yr old girls (my girls did try to refuse the money!) to put up their tent - I assume that this was the first time the girls had been let loose on holiday with a new driving licence, not sure that high heels are a good thing in a camp site.

It rained. Lots.

Day 8 Fri 21 Aug
Losing track the days now as I didn't keep a diary. It was, however, time to move as the weather was about to be atrocious.

Best weather was in Le Mans - so why not.

Actually since we had just booked our ferry tickets (Tue to Mon) and will get the Le Mans camping tickets through a friend of ours in the Lotus Car Club - why not scope the ground!

So we did. Via decathalon to buy more stuff and things we didn't need. Anybody got any comments on jetboil stoves as we liked the look of them especially after our little camping-gaz burner gave up the ghost during early morning coffee duties?


Part 3 to follow...

__________________________________
The ex-Difflock Ambassador to Naples, Sir Nightbar DCJC DFS and 2 bars.

Plant a tree for the Difflock 3


Last edited by Nightbar on Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:40 pm; edited 3 times in total
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View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger Skype NameeBay Name
Nightbar
Difflock Royalty


Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Odometer: 20615
Location: In a state of anticipation...


1999 Land Rover Defender

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Day 9 (or it could have been 10) Fri 22 Aug
Travel day to Le Mans
Found a rather fun village - so much so that we did a loop around the motorway junctions to take a photo:


What can you say!

Noting that we are are booked for Le Mans for 2015 we thought we would have look around (well it was on the way for Mrs NB's ferry and my train back to CDG t and flights back to work). So we did.

Can recommend the campsite at Spay (10 mins from the track if you are passing that way). It has a well stocked fishing lake with a rather splendid Frenchwoman who thought our rooftent was hilarious); there were also ducks which daughter No1 drew;


Day 10 - Sat 23 Aug
Le Mans Museum and track. Nuff said.
Go to the museum - it's a petrolhead heaven!
I could have picked E and D Types or the latest E Audis but this was an identical car/ambulance to the one Mrs NB's Granny crossed Canada in as a nurse.

Don't ask - I still don't know the story.

Day 11 - Sun 24 Aug
Not only the musuem but for 7Eu you can get access to the circuit...

...well what could go wrong with that you ask:

Daytime:



Night after a downpour:


Needless to say that I span the 90 soon after that as the AT tyres aqua planned big style as I braked into the curve at the top of the Mulsanne Straight...

...no amount of cadence braking was going to stop my 2 1/2 tonne rig. Respect to the guys who do this for 24 hours.

Part 4 to follow...

__________________________________
The ex-Difflock Ambassador to Naples, Sir Nightbar DCJC DFS and 2 bars.

Plant a tree for the Difflock 3
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger Skype NameeBay Name
Nightbar
Difflock Royalty


Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Odometer: 20615
Location: In a state of anticipation...


1999 Land Rover Defender

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Day 12 - Mon 25 Aug
Shopping in Le Mans.
Lovely Plantagenet old town and modern shopping centre - what more can anyone ask for in horrid weather:
.

Ate shopped and had a laugh; drank.

Day 13 - Tue 26 Aug
It rained. Lots. Took a bit to dry out in the morning:


Sense and Sensibility said that we should should move north from Le Mans/Spay closer to my train station and Mrs NB's port back to the UK. So Caen/Arromanche here we go.

Well it had to be Arromanche for the 70th Commemoration of D Day (where we spent some time last year) but also because of an art gallery we like. The artist specialises in depictions of Normandie cows - so we drove there to get daughter No2 a pressie (well daughter No1 likes horses so it was only fair - don't ask). Will get the phot of the cow figurine on the roof of the 90 from Mrs NB's camera and add to this post in due course.

Stayed at Courseulles-Sur-Mer (municipal again so a dozen Eu per night). Mostly semi residential but with a good bakery and bar; and once again the rooftent became street theatre for our residential OAPS with their tractors and boats. Never seen anything like it.

Day 14 - Wed 27 Aug
Not much to say really - time for me to leave.
Torrential overnight so we did the best we could to pack the trailer before we all headed for Caen train station for a very emotional goodbye.
Train to Paris - didn't really notice it as I was just thinking that it would be another 5 months before I see my family; yep that's after Christmas.
At least I had booked a pick up from the Gare St Lazare to CDG to make life easy...

...oh no. The company decided to cancel it. They had e mailed the day before to tell me but I was on holiday and not doing e mail? After 30 mins on the phone outside the Gare St Lazare they agreed to pay my taxi to CDG (and refund my payment already made to them). So sat chatting away to a French taxi driver about life and stuff as we hammered our way through Parisien rush hour I waved at the Sacre Coeur and the Stade de France; made the flight by 20 mins in the end.

Oh - I also saw this rather nice French Army 110 outside CDG:

That is a genuine Army 110 - love the name!

Day 14 - Thu 28 Aug

Had to run across 2 terminals in Abu Dhabi AP after spending over an hour at the transfer desk (CDG couldn't issue my transfer boarding card) at 0730 to get a 0745 flight - made it - and my baggage did too!

Day 15 - Fri 15 Aug
Slept most of yesterday. Now suffering as I try to re-acclimatise (how much can a body sweat?) - then again I spent the first few nights in Europe in 2 fleeces and had to buy a pair of track suit bottoms to sleep in (yes the temp in France was 1/3 the temp here - body shock or what!)

Well there you go - not a spectacular - but a snapshot of our time this summer. Hope you like it.

__________________________________
The ex-Difflock Ambassador to Naples, Sir Nightbar DCJC DFS and 2 bars.

Plant a tree for the Difflock 3
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