Trip France and Beyond
Here is the itinerary for my recent trip to France, Amsterdam, London, and Ireland. I hope it can offer some ideas for whoever planning a trip to similar places. Please note that the places marked in bold are those I spent the night.
My trip was motivated primarily by a desire to follow Monet's routes. Whilst doing so, I also made a point to see the works of my other favourites like Van Gogh (in Amsterdam), Johannes Vermeer (in Delft), and J.M.W. Turner (in London). By the end of the trip, I had saved a handful of names (of masters) that I wanted to follow more closely. Among them are Pierre Renoir, John Martin, Jean-Francois Millet, Paul Henry, and Joseph Delattre.
Day 1-11 Sydney --- Paris
Day 12-16 Paris --- Le Harve --- Etretat (France)
Day 17-20 Etretat --- Honfleur (France)
Day 21 Honfleur --- Caen
Day 22 Caen --- Pontorson --- Mont Saint Michel --- Pontorson
Day 23 Pontorson --- Saint Malo --- Cancale --- Saint Malo --- Pontorson
Day 24-25 Pontorson --- Brest
Day 26-27 Brest --- Quimper --- Pont-Aven
Day 28-29 Pont-Aven --- Quimperle --- Auray --- Quiberon --- Belle-Ile
Day 30 Belle-Ile -- Quiberon --- Auray --- Paris
Day 31 Paris --- Rouen
Day 32-33 Rouen --- Giverny --- Vernon --- Rouen
Day 34 Rouen --- Paris
Day 35-39 Paris --- Amsterdam (The Netherland)
Day 40-41 Amsterdam -- Delft --- Haarlem --- Amsterdam
Day 42-43 Amsterdam --- Paris
Day 44-48 Paris --- London
Day 49 London --- Dublin (Ireland) (pick up car at airport)
Day 50-51 Dublin --- Cork --- Killarney
Day 52 Killarney (Killarney National Park) --- Dingle --- Slea Head --- Galway --- Oughterard (Connemara National Park)
Day 53 Oughterard --- Clifden
Day 54-55 Clifden --- Leenane --- Killary Harbour --- Delphi --- Louisburgh --- Westport --- Sligo --- Glencar Waterfall --- Donegal --- Glenties
Day 56 Glenties --- Letterkenny --- Londonderry --- Bushmills --- Coleraine --- the Giant's Causeway --- Dublin
Day 57-58 Dublin (return car at airport) --- Paris
Day 59-61 Paris --- Fontainebleau --- Paris
Day 62-63 Paris --- Sydney
A few things worth mentioning:
1/ The coastline on both sides of Etretat is very picturesque, featuring its distinctive white cliffs and round pebbles. If time permits, schedule a walk along the coastline. It is easy to do and the scenery is breathtaking (see picture underneath).
2/ Cancale near St-Malo is a hot spot for oyster lovers. Its oysters are world famous. The normal sizes available in the restaurants are the #3's and #2's. Head over to the wholesale stalls located at the far end of the beach. Not only would you get the #1 size but also the "grand" 0 size at ridiculously cheap prices (like 6 Euros a dozen.) I ended up taking one and a half dozen there and then had a dozen for take-away back to the hotel.
3/ I drove 2,168km during the 8 days in Ireland. It is the best way to travel the countries. If I have to do it again, I think I would fly directly to Kerry instead of Dublin. This way, I can save at least half a day on the road.
4/ Selected images of the trip are on display in the "Europe, UK and Ireland" gallery.
Live Life, Junius.
When I searched the term 'travel essentials" on the net, I was quite surprised that none of the following items were mentioned (at least not in the top few posts on the first page). That's why I would like to make a special mention here.
Extension Socket Board and Adaptor -- travelling without battery/power could be pretty frustrating if not troublesome. My way of sorting this out is the use of a long extension board with at least 6 universal socket positions.
It is not uncommon that people on the road might carry a few adaptors for the various devices they have. For me, I need only one universal adaptor, that is, for the extension board.
Once I check in to my room, I would pull out my extension board and start recharging my devices. Usually I could take care of all my items at the same time -- including my mobile phones, camera battery packs, shaver, my notebook, and even my electric kettle. There is no need to wait for a second round. I could not think of anything simpler to do the job.
Travel Electric Kettle -- the idea of having my own electric kettle is so reassuring. I wouldn't consider using the kettles from motels or hotels. They are often full of scaling, or flecks, or some kind of foreign substance around the base. They don't look inviting at all.
The one I have holds half a litre a time (see picture). If you also like having hot water or drinks during your travels, this size kettle is highly recommended. If possible, try to find one that has all the heating elements concealed. This surely helps cleaning and hygiene.
A Sweat Towel -- This is one of my best tools whenever I have a photo shoot outdoors. It is so versatile to use.
It can be the sweat towel that I hang around the neck on a hot day. Even in a cold day, I can use it as the scarf to keep my neck warm. When it is very windy, I can wrap it round my head to secure my cap or beret from being blown away. (This was exactly what I did in France when I needed the beret to keep my head warm but had yet to secure it from the wind. It could look a bit funny, I know.) If I shoot along the coast, I can use it to cover my camera and lens from the salty mist from the sea. Likewise, I can use it to protect the camera and lens from the rain in between shootings. In doing so, I usually tie a knot around the strap on one side and use the rest of the towel to wrap around the camera. And, last but not the least, it always comes in handy whenever I have a cleaning job at hand.
28 Degrees Mastercard -- if you live in Australia, I would highly recommend this credit card for your overseas travels. What makes it so appealing is that there is no fees or charges for use: no annual fee, no currency conversion fees and no international transaction fees. In terms of exchange rates, this one seems to be the modest of the lot. In other words, you won't be losing as much money in the exchange as you might have experienced with the usual credit card providers. I have also tried to compare this card with the major travel cards on the market. Not surprisingly, this card comes out in front too.
This is a very encouraging find. It is worth checking out before the next trip abroad. By doing things right, we could easily save ourselves some 10% or more on transactions by avoiding all those unjustified fees and rates.
Hope this helps.
Live Life, Junius.