Our 9 Days in France in Audrey

Well, we were originally heading for the Dordogne but the realisation of exactly how many miles we would have been covering plus the amount of hours needed to get there meant a last minute switch to Brittany with fingers crossed that the weather would be kind.

Got to ferry early to get on an earlier ferry, had booked Calais – Dover and not Dover – Calais!! 😳😳

In my defence, 3 other people had been to the P and O ferry desk with the same problem that very same night. Possible scam? (or I f*cked up)

Anyway, we’ll gloss over that episode, we were very soon parked up at a lovely Aire about 80 miles from Calais at about 4.00am, well on the way to our first stop which was going to be Honfleur.

Lunchtime the following day found us parked up on the Honfleur Aire with only 3 places left ( they were coming in, in droves behind us!) Had a lovely afternoon/ evening/night at Honfleur before heading for our next destination in Brittany which would be St Cast de Guildo.

Having topped up with food (Lidl) petrol and water, we were on our way by 10.am.

En route we hadn’t realised that we actually passed St Mon Michael and having only glanced at it about 11 years ago, decided to take a closer look. Very interesting as well as being able to stay over. Paid 17 1/2 euros for the privilege and for a change no motor home services apart from being able to use the posh toilets at the information centre.

The following morning we had an early start, heading for Cast de Guildo, an aire we had visited 11 years ago, I hadn’t a clue but even though the blue camping car sign had disappeared from the main road, Al’s eagle eye (she only has one) spotted the view point sign that lead to the Aire (well done our Al) 😀

We spent two nights at this lovely Aire overlooking the sea and our activities were taken up by a mixture of cycling, walking, drinking, eating and just chilling. (normal stuff)

We then headed for another Aire we had also visited 11 years ago, overlooking the marina.

Decided to have a meal out here concisting of mussels and frites for our Al and fish of the day for me. I ordered a pint of Stella and Al ordered a glass of white wine. The lager arrived along with the bottle of wine and two glasses 😳 obviously we were too polite to rectify their/our mistake. Bon Appertite.

I/we are up to date now, there is some sort of Moules and Frites Festival later tonight then we plan to move on first thing in the morning or ………. whenever.

Might have to hook up for a while? as it will be our 7th day tomorrow and not had electric or wifi, proper urban camping 😂

Just worked out that a bottle of local Rosé Cider is 6€ (about 2 pints) and a pint of Stella is roughly 5€ …. so cider it is! …….. Praying the swamp fairies don’t visit!

Now Wednesday morning 8.00am, stuck to Stella, so a dry night, unlike the weather! It’s been lashing down for what seems like hours, we are down to our last fridge full of food and 2 cupboards full of goodies, but we should be ok! Al is singing Vera Lynn songs to keep our spirits up and we have sent Pookey out hunting.

Shower ( much needed) tidy up, kick the dog out for a waz, then we are moving on.

Arrived at the Municipal Campsite in D’Arromanches des Baines at about 4 ish, booked two nights with leckie, 19€ per night, not bad. Had a good walk as sky has cleared and plan to bike to the American cemetery tomorrow. Just testing everything electrical at the moment, lit up like a Christmas tree 😳

Weather is lovely so off cycling, ended up going a bit off course (my fault) but visited the Canadian Cenetery and had a good ride then ended up going out for some crepes.
The following morning we decided to book the pooche in to see the vet in Caen and luckily it was just round the corner from the British Cementary which was amazing. Once we had visited the cemetery and got the pooche sorted we decided to head off to a small Aire about 15 miles from Calais to spend our last night and most of the following day before our ferry home.
Will come back to this post as cant remember the name of the aire but a beautiful place and very safe as there were a lot of vans there on the river.

8.30 that night it was bon viargé to France once we had stocked up on wine.
Pictures to follow as I have been a bit crap on this trip so all the places we visited all bunched together.

A night out with Tom Jones

Bit late posting about this but was brill, just like listening to a record, faultless and so entertaining. Need to keep an eye out for other events in the future.

Oops, we did it again!!

Well, went to the Birmingham NEC motorhome show, for a look.

New van should get picked up on the 3rd week of July!!

We had seen an Auto Trail Tracker RB and it ticked all the boxes for us regarding how we use our motorhome but I had a niggling doubt about the storage as there was no garage and no way to get to the storage under the fixed bed from inside the camper.

We sat in one for a while and then a salesman started talking to us and I mentioned storage and he said have you had a look at the Apache 632 over there?

Well the rest is history, it has the fixed bed we wanted plus a decent sized garage with two internal access doors from inside the van so we can set up Beau’s cage in the garage and when I have been out and about with the pooch she can go straight into the garage and her cage without having to have her going into the living area.

Everything not finalised yet but should be sorted no later than the 3rd week of July, maybe earlier?

Rough plan is to totally empty our van, collect the new one, back to ours to fill up with our holiday gear then maybe straight off to North Wales or St David’s, depending on weather, we will see.

Here’s a 2 min view of the inside.

 

Australia, Borneo, Langkawi Done/Back at home

The flight home was straight forward but me and Al couldn’t check in online as early as we would have liked so we ended up in two middle seats wedged between a lovely asian lady on my side and an american chap on Al’s side who somehow managed to sleep for most of the trip.

Unfortunately the two highlights of the 13 hour + flight was an old chap coughing and spluttering over everyone, 3 rows behind us and a low life Canadian who really embarrassed his two young sons by trying to use chewing tobacco as soon as the flight took off, they were mortified, bless em and pleaded with their dad to spit it out which he duly did!

Al noticed that he kept disappearing up the front of the plane for a beer then would then go to the back the plane for a beer and alternate between them. Several hours later as we were trying and failing to nod off, I noticed that he was absolutely hammered, there was no way he was in any sort of condition to look after the kids, they just sat there with their headsets on trying to pretend he wasn’t there.

We arrived back in London at 5.15 in the morning and at minus 4 we just couldn’t believe how cold we were! A trip across London, hour and a half train journey and being picked up by our Ange at Newark…. later, we were back home after this amazing trip that we didn’t want to end.

By 4.00 am the following morning, we were wide awake, lounging on the settee with our jimjams and a blanket watching back to back episodes of Holby City and Last Tango in Halifax. We were home.

Even Beau had resumed her normal position as though we had never left.

Kuala Lumpur

Arrived in KL virtually bang on time, tried to find ‘lost and found’ to see if we could get Al’s hat back which she left on the previous Kuala Lumpur – Langkowi flight………but we couldn’t find it!

Quick change and dumped our gear and got a taxi down to ‘China Town’ a cross shaped row of market stalls and street food type eateries. Lovely meal and Tiger beer but couldn’t believe how much prices had risen from our last visit, it now compared with UK prices. 2 large beers, sizzling beef dish, garlic prawns, black pepper chicken and veg fried rice (all small dishes) about £21.

We were soon back in our room as we were pooped, looking forward to tomorrow, visit up the Patronas Tower at dinner time and a meal later in the revolving restaurant of KL Tower. 

Up at half 8, brekkie then an hour in and by the pool before ganning out for our trip up the twin towers. Must say, it was very impressive, the bridge between the two towers is not actually attached so it can move and expand as required, bit weird as you were stood there hundreds of metres up and you could feel it moving ever so slightly.

We then got a train into the middle of the city and visited the central market, dead good just to meander around. 

Two massages and a pedicure and manicure for Al later, we were back in the room getting ready for our meal in the revolving restaurant in KL Tower.

Well  worth it, brill views and brill food, now back in the room again, possible plan for tomorrow, open top hop on hop off bus tour/ pool, not sure yet.

Had a chilled out morning in and next to the pool, we had seen a hop on, hop off bus knocking about so we asked the hotel and were informed we were better off using their own transport (much more expensive) as the bus didn’t call everywhere and concentrated on the City sights.

We got on the hotel transport, sharing with a young Aussie couple at one for a 4 to 5 hour tour, every stop we visited was accompanied by the aforementioned hop on, hop off bus!!

By about half past 3 we had had enough sooted the driver that we had already seen the rest of the tour and made our escape towards central market, with the intention of getting a drink and something to eat.

Cutting a long drawn out story, very short, we got lost, couldn’t find a decent place to eat and drink, got hot and bothered and ended up getting a taxi back to the hotel and eventually got something to eat at the airport while waiting for our plane.
Not our best day of the holiday possibly because we really weren’t looking forward to our long flight back home.

We tried our best to like Kuala Lumpur but we both agreed that it just wasn’t the sort of place that you took to quickly, maybe if you could visit and explore the place over several visits it would grow on us but when you can also stop off at Singapore, why bother?

Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
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Langkowi

Well, these pictures below about sums this place up, idyllic, peaceful, relaxing and just what is needed to finish off our 5 week adventure. We plan to do very little but will update again later 😀🌞🍺🍷

Langkowi
Langkowi
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Six days have absolutely flown by, they have mainly consisted of lovely breakfasts, sun beds and umbrella on the beach outside our room, homemade BnC and Captain Robert Whiskey. Evening walks, Thai, Lobster and the occasional burger meals washed down with Tiger Beer.

This regime was only punctuated by a 5 hour trip round the island on a moped where we went on a cable car called the ‘Sky Ride’ not Al’s favourite moment until we got to the top and got off. What amazing views of the surrounding islands, reminded us of the 12 Apostles in Australia! We also spent a similar length of time island hopping where Al thought we had been abandoned but the encounter with the Brahminy Kites and Sea Eagles on the way back more than made up for the feelings of being marooned, luckily we discovered a Wilson football on the beach but it wasn’t needed 😀

Overall, most activities were dismissed as we relaxed and chilled, a lovely place.

 

 

Last morning at the Myne Resort, heading back to Koto Kinabalu.

Our last morning at Myne Resort so I got up early for a gander before breakfast, was out at 6 with my Macaque scaring stick/ Orangutan fending off stick, just in case. Saw loads of Macaque fighting and playing in the trees but to far off for a photo, also loads of crashing about in the jungle high up but couldn’t see what was causing it, brekkie at 8 then check out and half hour drive to cave visit and about ten feet thick of bat shit!

Been to cave, details later, it was deeper than ten feet!

It had been a half hour journey to the ‘Birdsnest Cave’ and definitely not our cup of tea. There is a boardwalk walk of about ten mins, slightly above the jungle floor before you got to the cave opening, the smell of bat and swift droppings hit you long before the cave came into view. The cave itself was very impressive ( or so I thought) but you had to negotiate several mangey looking dogs lounging on the boardwalk and once you got there you were faced with 100’s of cockroaches crawling all over the place, dung beetles rolling an ever increasing pile of shit off to their tiny homes, rats scuttling across this huge pile while at the same time dodging the shit from above that was destined to increase this huge mound. ( this wasn’t in the brochure 😀)

Apparently this huge pile is not removed as the smell helps guide the birds and bats back again each year.

What is so special about the cave…. Well, the nests are built by the swiftlets and they are all held together by their spit and is concidered a delicacy. There is security everywhere and we couldn’t work out ( excuse the pun) why this shit hole was so heavily protected, there was actually a hut sat directly on this huge pile of shite and a man lived in it for ten days before changing shift, what a shit job!

Anyway, the nests are harvested in April, August and December as the swifts have finished with their nests and the new lot built new nests, a nest in good condition is worth £1000 😳

We said our goodbyes to Patrick of Borneo and gave him a bit of dosh and told him to keep an eye out for Kee and Lou who we were sure would be coming this way at some point. ( but giving the cave a miss)

Now back in our air conditioned room where we intend to chill for a while then nip out for a few drinkies and a meal.

…………. Several drinks, Thai (again) now up and packed ready for flight back to Kuala Lumpur (2  1/2 hrs) then flight to Langkowi (1 1/2 hrs) next update Langkowi 🌞🌞🌞

 

Day 2 Morning river cruise, Jungle Treck and late afternoon river cruise

Feel a bit guilty about wowing about only seeing a Slow Lorris and an Owl, Slow Lorris are extremely difficult to see in the Wild, they also carry poison under their armpits which they suck out before biting you 😳

Anyways, onward and upward, the early morning boat trip was so peaceful, just the driver, Patrick of Borneo and me and Al.

Our hopes of seeing anything were dashed early on when we saw two Proboskis Monkeys curled into a ball at the top of the trees still fast asleep. We headed up river to an area which used to be a big loop in the river but was now a lake attached to the main river. The boat chap was keeping a look out which was a good job, as Patrick of Borneo was busy telling me and Al how he loved, Antiques Roadshow and Container Wars.

The next thing we knew was the boat veering towards the bank and the driver pointing out two young Orangutan lazing about in a tree, my first sighting in the wild. This was followed by several types of birds plus a real close up of a Kingfisher, my first close up encounter apart from through Binoculars in Portugal with Chris and Keith.

We would have been more than happy with the Orangutan but we also encounter a Grey Headed Fish Eagle and last of all, a 10/12 foot crocodile???!!!!!!

Back at the hotel I felt like Bilbo Baggins (second breakfast!) It was then time for another Jungle Treck, a previous group had stumbled upon a young Pigmy Elephant earlier that morning (one hadn’t been seen for months) so I headed off with the guide to where it was last seen, to try and track it down. We walked for about half an hour in the area where it was last seen and turned back thinking it had disappeared back into the jungle. We were walking back when the guide heard some splashing and breaking of branches, we held our breaths and as quietly as we could, slipped onto a small path going into the rain forest, there it was, about 10 feet away nearly obscured by all the jungle foliage. I took several pictures and a video but when played back, I can’t see the bloody thing! We finished the walk with smiles on our faces, which was a good job, as we saw nowt else.

We then had a bit of chill out time/siesta in the room time before our river cruise, the opposite way up the river, we again saw lots of different monkeys and a few close up encounters with hornbills. When we returned we had just missed a visit by the young elephant that has possibly been separated from the herd, the next time the herd comes this way, they will be reunited.

Tonight’s plan, dinner and b n c and w n c, breakfast at 8 in the morning and check out at 9 so will have an early morning gander to see if I can spot our elephant friend.

Al booked me in tonight for a candle wax treatment that is supposed to get rid of your toxins and ear wax, comes with a shoulder massage as well 😀 HEY. What did you say??

Kota Kinabalu ( Borneo)
Kota Kinabalu ( Borneo)
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Orangutan, Jungle Walk, River Trip and Night Safari.

We jumped off the speed boat from Sandakan and gave the two young doctors a lift to see the Orangutan, they were dead chuffed, Patrick of Borneo is a good egg.

We arrived at the centre just before 9.00am and watched a short but very interesting video about the Orangutan rehabitalisation programme. We then had roughly 2 hours to explore the centre via purpose built wooden walkways situated above the rain forest floor. The first two Orangutan were happily walking along the railings towards us. didn’t get chance to take too many photos as it happened so fast and they were soon off back into the rain forest. We then went to an outdoor rehabilitation area for young Orangutans who were still learning the tricks of their trade. It was very warm so all the climbing frames, ropes and tyres were empty apart from to youngsters chilling on a platform in the shade. Finally we watched a young mother who had been released into the forest about six months previously, eating at the feeding table with her new baby who had been born in the jungle.

She keeps returning to the feeding tables that are laden with quite bland food to encourage her to find more adventurous food in the jungle. Once she starts to return only once a month or less frequently, they will carefully tranquilliser her and ship her and her baby off to an area that is four times larger than Sapilok, about 5 hours drive away.

We are now back in the van with Patrick of Borneo for our two hour drive to our hotel, Jungle Walk and evening river cruise.

Had a quick meal and as it was overpoweringly hot Al decided to give the 1 hour Jungle walk a miss. I met Jez, the quite, and we set off, when I asked him what sort of animals we could might/ expect to see, he reeled off Orangutan, pigmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, Maccaks, wild boar, Grey tailed monkeys… but at no stage did he mention Grey Squirrels.

I must admit it was a lovely scenic walk with loads of different sounds of the jungle as a constant background noise and yes, you would have already quested, we saw one grey squirrel….. that was it, unless you count a couple of chickens and a cockerel that was owned by one of the staff.

Didn’t get a picture of the squirrel as it was too fast, got back ten mins before the river cruise..

The river cruise rivalled everything else we have done, it really was amazing and gave you a feeling of being totally out in the wilds. We saw Orangutan, Probescus monkeys, Maccaks, Grey Tailed Monkeys, Horn Bills, Cranes, Crab eating monkeys, crocodile (one) and a vast variety of birds.

We just managed to get back before it got dark and settled down for dinner straight away, then Rod said to me ( English chap who has lived in Oz for 25+ with a wife and two kids) ‘ are you going in the night ride?

Al said get yourself off, it was a bargain at 50 ringgit (£8)

Worse decision of my life. We set off really slowly in an open top landrover scanning the tree tops and local area with a powerful torch, 20 mins in we saw an Owl, fleetingly as it took off in the opposite direction. The minutes ticked by, 3 domestic dogs and a possible sighting of a cat later, we came across a Slow Lorris which are extremely rare, the chap with the torch tried to grab it but it nipped him, he then told the young lady driving the van to grab it but she was fancying around so by this time I was out the van and grabbed it by the scruff of the neck but it wouldn’t let go of the vines it was clinging to, I don’t know why it’s called the Slow Lorris because it got pissed off with me, turned its head and missed my fingers by millimetres as I snatched them out of the way. I got one picture of him retreating slowly away. An hour and a half into our ride we came across an Owl on a pole. It turned its back on us so we continued on.

, That was it, we were just unlucky, roll on tomorrow 😀

Maybe we will get to see something like this?!?

Happy Friday Everyone !!

Posted by Love Style on Friday, 17 February 2017

Arrival at Sandakan (Borneo)

Taxi at 5.30, all excited for the day ahead. Itinerary on day one is getting settled in to accommodation, a dinner on the beach followed by a walk to see the turtles laying eggs, hatching and legging it to the sea, obviously not that fast.

The view of Mount Kinabalu from the plane is fantastic, most people are Kipping on this early 3/4 of an hour flight but me and Al’s heads are all over the place… coming in to land now.

We were met by our guide to be, Patrick, or as he introduced himself, Patrick of Borneo(you’ve probably heard of him?). He hasn’t stopped chatting since we met him, (we call him Kee of Borneo) filling our heads full of wonderful facts about what has happened to Sangat since it was flattened in the war and the Japonese left in 1945.

Patrick of Borneo then took us to the Jetty where we got an extremely fast speed boat which took us 45 mins to reach the island, my first action when stepping onto the speedboat was to drop two bottles of coke and 3 bottles of water into the sea as the handle on my carrier bag snapped ( hhheeeerrss Keviiiiinnnnn) Some kind chap retrieved the afformentioned bottles and we were off.

Checked in and hit the beach having rented our scuba mask, flippers and snorkel. We then spent the day alternating between sunbathing, watching Nemo and Dori’s friends and exploring the island ( you can walk all the way round in 20 mins) this was only punctuated by a spot of lunch and a tipple of whiskey n coke and Bacardi and coke that we had bought with us ( so glad that kind man rescued the coke from the sea!

Sunset here is about 6 ish and there is no walking on the beach after 6 as that is when all the mummy turtles start to appear on the beach to do there thing.

We have done a lot of things this holiday and had some chill out days but Al reckons, and I agree, this has been the most relaxing day yet and we have yet to meet the mummy and baby turtles. …. Just off to try and photo the sunset.

Sunset pic failed, clouds stopped play. This place is truly a small paradise, the only fly in the ointment came when two young doctors who are also here for the night, sat chatting to us on the beach and said ‘ we were going to go to the southern islands but the Pirates made us think again and come here’

Pirates! Pirates! What bloody pirates!?! (By the time you read this Kee, we are in pirate free Langkowi)

Apparently pirates have been kidnapping local fishermen and demanding a ransom, when it’s not paid, they are beheaded 😳

It has happened far south of here but since I heard, have done a bit of snooping and now know that there are armed guards on constant look out and been chatting to a policeman in plain clothes who is based here for a month before going back to Sandakan who patrols the waters around these islands in a high powered police boat from 6 am onwards.

So….. apart from a few far off pirates, it really is paradis, apart from seeing these tracks on the beach, which led to this (2 metre Monitor Lizard, just sat looking at me before it moved very quickly into the forest.

Had dinner (bang on average) then we were told that one of the Turtle Rangers, not Donatello, the other one, would give us a shout once a mummy turtle was doing her thing. An hour and ten minutes later we were still supping and chatting when Patrick ( of Borneo) hurried in and told us to hurry and follow him and Michael Angelo. We all followed, making sure all flashes were off on phones and cameras.

We were just not prepared to experience something that we may never see again, Mummy Turtle was huge and in a trance like state plopping her eggs into the hole she had excavated over the past hour and a half, the other ranger, Figuero, was carefully removing the eggs into a bucket and 99 eggs later, mummy started burying eggs that were not there. Mummy was checked for tags and it was found that, like us, it was her first time at this beach which made her 15 to 20 years old.

Both flippers were tagged and she was measured and all data recorded. We then went on to watch the eggs being buried in the nursery ( under a bit of shade) and then 74 baby hatchlings legging it to the sea.

It was so humbling, seeing one of these ancient creatures that have been around for a similar time to the dinasaurs, carry out the same routine that it has done for centuries but this time helped by man trying to undue the terrible deeds of previous years.

Up at 6.00am and off to see King Louis’ mates 😀

Sandakan and Turtle Island
Sandakan and Turtle Island
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