Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Archive for France 2015

Disney magic for the final instalment in our holiday news!


…so after a drive back to Paris, dropping TAFKAD off at the airport, we caught the TGV to DLP, arriving at around 18h30, but still plenty light to pop in and see some sights and catch a few rides. We stayed in the Newport Bay Hotel, which I knew was undergoing some renovations, but was really ok. I really was stunned though at the size of the hotels – in our wing, on our floor there were over 300 rooms. That’s 1 wing, 1 floor, 1 hotel, so the number of people in the whole park there on a daily basis is mindblowing!

Big highlights for our princess were meeting the other princesses and some of the different characters – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, the chipmunks; rollercoasters (she especially loved the teacups); seeing Disney Junior live and the train which goes around the whole park. What I will say is that despite getting access to the park 2 hours early and despite fastpass, DLP is the place of LOOOOOONG queues. I found that exhausting and frustrating. But, you know what, it didn’t matter too much. The magic was incredible and watching my little girl’s face light up with pure delight and disbelief was worth every moment.

The other truly incredible thing is the Disney Dreams show – seeing how they light up that castle, coordinate the fireworks and fountains – it’s pure magic! We only watched it on 1 night, because it is at 22h00, when the park closes, and that was very late for our little lady. 917 919 927 942 964 966 1017 1028 1054 1084 1088 1098 1323 1337 1352 1382

Workers day

…and that is what I am doing. Boo! Anyway, part 3 of the holiday report!


So after a great 4 nights in St Nicholas de Bourgueil, we jumped in the car and headed south to the Dordogne region. We stayed in a little cottage just outside of a tiny village called Tremolat. As we drove south, so the architecture changed, the villages went from grey slate roofs to more romanesque terracotta roof tiles, the colours deepened. It was intriguing to observe. We arrived in cool rainy weather, settled in for a quiet Sunday evening. the next morning, bright and early we headed off to see what we could see in the area, bearing in mind, many places do not open on Mondays. We travelled through Tremolat, found a hotel for sale with a magnificent view and dreamt a little… Then it was off to a little Michelin starred restaurant in Tremolat for the chef’s tasting menu for lunch. washed down with a beautiful bottle of cool rosé (again…) we feasted on the most beautiful meal – delicate flavours of sea bass, snapper, duck, chicken, foie gras and truffles (the area is known for its truffles) in the most beautiful gardens, with a little stream running through… It was so surreal…

Other highlights included some more chateau-ing, we saw both Chateau Castlenaud and Beynac; seeing the Grotte Proumeyssac (kinda like our Cango caves, but on a smaller scale); the incredible gardens at Les Jardins de Marqueyssac; getting quite lost (damn GPS took s to the wrong village!) and a wonderful market in the town of Sarlat. the market was the biggest one we attended – bustling with people (lots of English folk) and more and more stalls, down side streets and alleyways. We found delicious things to eat – a personal favourite was the fig stuffed with foie gras…

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Holiday reporting continues


So, after or last night in Paris, we packed up and headed to the airport to collect our hire car, and then we hit the (wrong side of the) road and we were off. On our way to a small village of St Nicholas de Bourgueil. We arrived a little early for check in, so we took the opportunity to wander the streets of the little village, popping into the beautiful church. After a while, we were hot (it was 33°C!) and we headed off to our B&B, where were met by the charming Benedicta. We popped bags into rooms then headed to the lovely cool wine cellar for a glass of cold rosé, then we became the crazy South Africans they will talk about for years when we all decided to have a dip in the pool! Their first swimmers of the season.

The next morning Mark and Debbie came along to sort out our bicycles and get us set up with maps and plans for the days cycling, they did this every morning after breakfast for us, and we really had some special days, cycling byways and country lanes seeing parts of the Loire area that I don’t think  many people do. Thandi was set up in a little wagon, which she called her chariot (she was most put out when we didn’t hitch it up to the car to take with us when we left!) We explored lots of the little villages, seeing some of the chateaus, enjoying the local markets, exploring… It was really wonderful. Even for TAKAD, who was not the most comfortable cyclist, she settled onto that seat and was a pro by the end. Some highlights for me, discovering that I would even be able to afford property in the area (despite the fact that I wouldn’t be able to afford to ever get there), enjoying a wine tasting in a local wine cave (the wine makers store their wine underground, in old caves) and then the freedom of the cycle. Loved it! Will go back one day…570 572 590 592 597 599 613 616 625 626 642 648 658 667 669 676 680 681 691 701 715 718 726 734


…are partying up a storm in my insides! In the last half an hour, the nerves have struck and I have a huge lump in my throat, I feel like my heart might beat out of my chest. Gah! We are 95% packed. I have 1 load of washing still drying, toiletries need to be packed, boarding passes are printed. I guess we are as ready as we will ever be.

The marathon is also looming large. I can’t quite believe in 6 sleeps time I will be lining up at the start. My training is done, I have done the best I could, given my lifestyle. One more early run tomorrow morning, and we are done. Tears smart at the corner of my eyes when I think how far I have come, and how this crazy lark I signed up for has motivated me, driven me, and got me here. To a new me, a person who despite not really believing she can, is going to. Thank you everyone who has cheered me along and listened to me go on and on (and on) about running, MJ² and RT who ran with me when I was painful and pathetic; Coach Mo who has never really doubted me; my nurse Bridgy who has been my masseuse par excellence, T&M who have run with me with imaginary spatulas, Thandi who always believes I have won and Charlie, who has seen me at my best, and my worst; who has been the best supporter and second I could ever have hoped for. This really has been a team effort!