Monday, 18 May 2009

Musings of Maid of Kent

I am English, no, not just English, I am a Maid of Kent, and I live in France.

There are many places in England that I have not visited. I need to do the tourist thing in my home country. I have seen most of Kent but have not visited all the great houses. One of which is Ightham Mote, just a few minutes from where I lived but I have never ever visited….

Why?? Who can tell, I suppose it is because I lived there and it was on my doorstep!

I visited Hever Castle with my eldest daughter, when she was 10, as a school helper; and also Tonbridge Castle which I knew as a child when I used to visit my Great Aunt, I also went to school in Tonbridge. I have been to Leeds Castle and living in Sevenoaks I know Knole Park like the back of my hand as, in my childhood, it was my playground. Canterbury Cathedral is truly beautiful but it does not have the power and simplicity of Durham Cathedral.

The new Coventry Cathedral is breathtaking and some parts of old Coventry are amazingly preserved, at least I hope that they still are. I have been through Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset (which I love), Some of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. I do not know Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Buckinghamshire and all the other ‘shires’ I have passed through Essex, Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire and the York 'shires' on my way to Durham to see my ‘in-law’ family. I did Liverpool, briefly, seeing a guy that I knew way back when. Hmmm parts of Chester are pretty in a Tudor sort of way! There is so much I have not seen of my country of birth and I think maybe I need to do the tourist thing… but it will take some time. Drove past Buckingham Palace - didn't stop for a proper look though. Also driven past the houses of Parliament. Been to Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols but only bought bridesmaids dresses from Selfridges for Vicki's wedding. Went to the National Gallery (loved it). Visited Hampton Court with the school when I was 12. C'est tout.

I have passed through Wales on my way to Eire, Swallow Falls were beautiful in 1969, I wonder what they are like now. The wildness of parts of Wales were wonderful and I was in awe of the height of the mountains… Went through Killarney and drove over the Mackillacuddy Reeks and ended up at Dingle.. stunning. Had a Guinness or two in Dublin. Sliante!!

I have never been to Scotland……………………

Now I am resident in France, but what parts of France have I seen? I have stayed in Brittany, near St Malo (oh how love that town! it is so beautiful). Had a couple of weeks in West Brittany near Morlaix - another beautiful town, walked through the forest at Huelgoat - stunning - those stones are amazing!. Been to Quimper and bought the pottery! Visited Concarneau and bought the sea salt. Stayed near Vannes and visited Pont-Aven but didn't buy the painting (too expensive!). Stayed in Carnac and saw the standing stones - amazing! (didn't bring any home though - too big) Visited Quiberon when it was just a lovely fishing harbour - before it became oversubscribed and expensive... bought a beautiful cider jug (which is no longer with us - grrrr).

Stayed at La Baule, it has a fantastic long beach - goes on forever. went to Guerande, (bought the salt!) checked out le Croisic on the cote sauvage - I liked it there but La Baule is mega-expensive. Had a Lebanese meal at a small restaurant in le Pouliguen - delicious!! would go again...

Travelled through the Vendee and stayed for a short while on the very windswept coast. Walked through the pines to naturist beaches Oooh laa la! Visited Les Sables d'Olonne (before it became the centre for the Vendee Globe). Visited the Zoo at La Palmyre - lovely place. Pornic is tucked away at the base of cliffs and looks out to the Atlantic. A stunning town. Visited the Ile de Noirmoutier. Just only 2 hrs from us now. Again - a place that I love. Stayed a la Tranche sur Mer - clean and tidy. Been to La Rochelle - lots - never in high season though - too many tourists!!! Ile de Re is very flat and very expensive, stayed just the once in November a couple of years ago. No tourists, just wind and rain - brilliant. Been to Ile d'Oleron just the once a long time ago. Must visit again sometime.

Stayed at St Palais sur Mer, just north of Royan, about 16 years ago. Nice area and I enjoyed Royan and found the beach at St Georges de Didonne lovely. Bet it has changed though! Did the tourist visits of Meschers s/Gironde and Talmont s/Gironde. Liked both. Went to Cognac and tried some of the real stuff - so smooth! yummy!! Checked out the vineyards but then we were wine 'virgins' and not too sure about it all. Do things differently now. Visited Lacanau Ocean, Arcachon, stayed at Soustons, did lunch in Biarritz and took a short trip into Spain and back.

So yes, I have done the west of France..... Time to look at the Centre, East and South, peut etre.

Travelled through Normandy - not my cup of tea (or cider) at all!!

No comments:

Post a Comment