Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What a Great Idea

Combine a laundry and a bar and you will get our business every time!

Jim



Jim Gregory 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Tour of Southern France

 
Deb and I rented a car a week ago and set off from the harbor in VilleFranche on a drive with three goals.  
1 – Find and visit with our friends and neighbors Chris and Caroline Longstaffe.  
2 – Return to Barcelona and pick up our long term visas for Spain (green cards).  
3 – Tour a bit of inland France to see what life is like away from the coast.
 
We had a great time.  Achieved all of our goals and then some, and just recently returned to the boat in Villefranche.
 
We covered a lot of territory, and visited many many places.  Its all a bit much to summarize in one blog post.  I guess we should have updated things along the way, but we were too busy being tourists!!
 
So, a summary with lots of pictures and internet links appears below.  We will just have to hope that gets the job done.
 
We had a great time, and now tomorrow is Bastille Day, so we’ve returned just in time for another party!!
-Jim

Day 1 – Villefranche to Hotel La Begude

Hotel La B├ęgude Saint Pierre

We met our neighbors Chris and Caroline Longstaffe here and spent the evening catching up over local wine and dinner.  We all decided that we see each other away from home far more often then we do locally!!  We’ve met now in Europe, Hawaii, and New Zealand.

roadtrip 1 001roadtrip 1 002roadtrip 1 003roadtrip 1 004

 

Day 2 – Hotel Le Begude to Barcelona

Pont du Gard – Please check this link out. Built in the 1st century AD, the Pont du Gard is the highest of all Roman aqueduct bridges and is one of the best preserved. It was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 because of its historical importance.
Take some time to read the background on the Pont du Gard.  The engineering and construction that went into the bridge and aqueduct will amaze you.  For example, the whole aqueduct descends in height by only 17 m (56 ft) over its entire length of 31 miles.  Even more impressive, the bridge descends by a mere 2.5 cm (0.98 in) across its span of 902 feet!!

Roadtrip 3 003Pont du Gard

 



Barcelona, Spain

It’s amazing to consider the pull that Barcelona seems to exert on us!! 
However, this time our stay was short and sweet.  We arrived in the early evening, enjoyed a serious upgrade to our hotel reservation, went out for dinner, and the next morning finally completed the long (and expensive) process of obtaining our extended stay Visa for Spain!!! 
Then it was back to France…

 

 

Day 3 – Barcelona, Spain to Carcassonne, France


Our first stop upon returning to France was Carcassone
Carcassonne is located between two great axis of circulation linking the Atlantic to the Mediterranean sea.  Its strategic importance was quickly recognized by the Romans who occupied its hilltop until the demise of their western empire and was later taken over by the Visigoths in the fifth century who founded the city. Also thriving as a trading post due to its location, it saw many rulers who successively built up its fortifications up until its military significance was greatly reduced by the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.
We stayed in a very nice hotel located less than a block downhill from the fortified city, waited for all the tourists to “go home” and then enjoyed a late evening visit including dinner, where we almost had the place to ourselves.  A definite highlight!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Room with a view!

Back in Barcelona for the night. We pick up our spanish resident cards tomorrow and head back to France. 

We scored a huge upgrade when our initial hotel overbooked. Nice room with a terrace overlooking the Cathedral of Barcelona!!



Jim Gregory 

Monday, July 07, 2014

Pink Panther Fans

I can't wait for someone here in France to ask me if my dog bites!!!

Jim Gregory 

VilleFranche

For those of you following along, you know that our boat was hit in St. Tropez and we need some repairs.  In order to find a place for the repairs we contacted the Swan Service Yard in Barcelona where we spent the Winter, and they referred us to the Swan Service Yard in VilleFrance (very close to Nice.)
We arrived yesterday afternoon and this is a really nice small port.  Perhaps my favorite spot in France so far.  I was able to wander around a bit last night and the old town center is beautiful and built up a hill with narrow streets that seem to run in every direction.  Tons of restaurants, shops, bars, etc.
We leave today to drive back to Barcelona and pick up our new official resident cards.  With these our long term visa becomes official and our passports are updated to allow us to spend a year in Spain and the EU.  This visa process has been a long and expensive process, but well worth it if we can keep Deb from being pulled into the interrogation room by immigration officials again the next time we fly out of the EU!!
Some pictures below….
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VilleFranche 2 028VilleFranche 2 032VilleFranche 2 034VilleFranche 2 035VilleFranche 2 037VilleFranche 2 044

PS>  This is where we will be joined by Dr. Girard (Deb’s OBGYN), and his first night with us will be Bastille Day on the 14th.  That should be fun!!