I've been planning this week for months. My Oz cousin was coming to stay with us so I had a bit of an itinerary planned for the four days she was with us.
Monday - Bodiam Castle.
I went into town very early to purchase a new lens for the camera and some PAYG sim cards. So early in fact that half the shops were still closed and I was the first customer in both Orange and Jessops. Then it was off to Tenterden. The weather was perfect, and as we walked from Bodiam station down to the castle I thought to myself 'Why would you want to go abroad when you have weather and scenery like this!' After a bit of pub lunch in the Castle inn (Burgers all round) we needed to walk off all that grub so it was up and down the spiral staircases to the ramparts (phew!) and plenty of photo opportunities. We caught the 3:25 train back to Tenterden Town then home for a bit of a rest before some chinese buffet at Yeungs.
Tuesday - Paris.
Up very early to catch the 7:25 Eurostar to Paris. The trip through the French countryside is actually quite boring. Just a load of flat farmland interspersed with loads of overhead lines and funny looking pylons. We arrived at Gard Du Nord about 10:45 (local) then we jumped on a tour bus which, after a quick change of buses took us to our first stop, The Arc de Triomph. Traffic on the roundabout is just as I imagined it - MAD! It was a case of see a gap and go for it. I saw a BMW traverse 4 lanes of traffic in one go to get down the Champs Elysees. After a quick coffee and cake (38 euros for 3 - ouch!) we jumped back in the bus and headed for the Eiffel Tower.
One of the problems in going to Paris in august is that every other bugger goes as well. There must have been about 3 hours wait for the Tower lifts . So after a hot dog & a beer we jumped on a river boat and made our way to Notre Dame. A quick walk round the Cathedral (Free, take note Canterbury!) we then jumped back on the bus and promptly went the wrong way from the Louvre. Oh well maybe next time, the Mona Lisa will still be there. After a stroll around the shops on the Champs, we got a taxi back to Gard Du Nord in time for our train back to good old Ashford. We were back in time for a drink and Nachos Grande at the Hoodeners Horse. I recommend ordering Nachos on an empty stomach, the portions are massive!
Wednesday - Port Lympne safari.
We promised Jaimee a trip round the designer outlet, so as we weren't due at Port lympne until the afternoon we went into town first then there. I bought some Levi's (they had my size in stock at last) and J bought yet another pair of skechers. We arrived at Port Lympne about 3pm and contacted our friends who had been there since the morning. We had a walk about for a while, in which time Sarah & Julie cadged a lift up the hill to base camp leaving Andy, Jaimee and myself huffing and puffing our way back up hill (well I was doing all the huffing & puffing anyway!) We met up with the rest of our party and made our way to the pick up point. As we climbed on board the heavens opened...It chucked it down. At least we saw plenty of animals. Then as we got back it stopped, typical! The food was good though and we had a very enjoyable evening.
Thursday - Canterbury & Curry
We visit Canterbury regularly, so it made a change to visit the Cathedral. But it is something we won't be doing often. As I said, Notre Dame was free, and I know that CC is a world heritage site but I think £9 is a bit steep to enter the grounds of the Cathedral. I would always be prepared to make a donation, but they can forget it after charging us at the entrance. More retail therapy ensued then it was back home. We were taking Jaimee to her next stop of the holiday, my brother Graham's place for beer & curry night at their local, The Six Bells . The food was really good and we left stuffed after Gill talked us into having pudding ( not that we needed much convincing). I thoroughly recommend the pub, check out the link (that's a pint of Doom Bar when I'm next in guys!)
We took loads of pictures, which I will get round to sharing sometime!