Tuesday, 2 October 2007


Well, that's it for Amsterdam. After three days we'd pretty much seen all there was to see (it's not very big after all) and on Thursday Kate and Shannon and I took the train to Rotterdam.

Being Holland's major port, Rotterdam was almost bombed out of existence in WW2, and so has been almost entirely rebuilt in the last 60 years. We took a cruise around the city ports, looking at the buildings and architecture, including the very few that had survived.

On Saturday morning we left Amsterdam early to catch a sequence of trains to Thiviers in the south of France. The first was a Eurail to Paris, the second a Paris metro, the third a regional train to Limoges and the last a very regional train to Thiviers.

Given we had a few delays, it's astonishing that at the end of the day we were a grand total of five minutes late. The main issue was queuing for tickets at the Paris metro, which meant we made the train to Limoges with only three minutes to spare. That was close. Then the train to Limoges was stopped for about twenty minutes outside what looked like an army barracks. (The popular theory was that some miscreant was being hauled off to be shot. Whatever . . . we kept playing cards). Fortunately, the train to Thiviers was also delayed, and then sped the rest of the way, so we ended up being more or less on time.

From Thiviers we were driven in style (well, in a rented 4WD crammed in with all our luggage) to Tourtoirac. Here we're all staying in a converted barn, which is actually a lot nicer than it sounds, with Kate's parents.

The days since arriving have consisted of visiting pretty little French villages like Brantome and Hautefort, eating baguettes and croissants, wearing berets and striped t-shirts and playing the accordion. You know the type of thing.

The most interesting bit so far has been Hautefort, which is the site of a 12th century fortress that's been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times over the centuries. It's all very fairy-tale-looking, and so was used as the set for the movie Ever After. After visiting the castle we went back to the house to watch the movie, going oooh look that's the topiary etc. Ah, holidays.

Not a lot to report from here, really. This is the kickin-back part of the journey. On Sunday we'll be heading off for Paris for a few nights, followed by Copenhagen.


Anonymous said...

Loved the photos Matt, but come on - where's the update on South of France and Paris and - like Budge said - some respect for your readership, especially this one.
Sad Sack