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Wednesday, 20 June 2007

I'm Back - Holiday Review (Part One)

Well thats another holiday over with. Previous holiday's saw Jennie and I off to America(2005) (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone NP, Yosemite NP and Death Valley NP), The Gambia(2006) and last October to Kenya(2006) for a week's Safari. This time we had a somewhat shorter flight to France, where we toured part of the South of France along the border with Spain.

We flew into Girona(Northern Spain) with Ryanair from Prestwick Airport. Thankfully the Ryanair flights took off and arrived on time, something they made a big deal of when landing by playing a hideously annoying tune over the PA system, heralding the fact they were on time. This was also the first time I have flown from Prestwick Airport, which I believe is in need of a good overhaul, especially externally to the terminal building and also it can become very cramped inside the terminal building during busy periods.

Anyway lets get onto Girona. Most people who fly into Girona do not see any of the city, instead they are herded onto a coach and escorted 60 miles down the motorway to Barcelona, which I visited 3-4 years back and is a nice city break experience, we were there for 5 days and managed to see most of the city and surrounding areas highlights but it was a non-stop five days to get round them all.

We hired a car at Girona Airport and drove the 10 miles or so into the city centre.

A glorious summer evening greeted us as we arrived at our recently built hotel, although the name Bellavista had me recollecting an episode from Only Fools and Horses and the hotel from hell in Margate.

We checked in and I somewhat reluctantly tore myself away from the free minibar and headed to the relatively small city centre were we made our way to an outside cafe, for our first taste of the holiday of some tapas and beer.
As I said the city centre of Girona is very small, but well worth visiting, to view the Cathedral, a walk along the town wall and narrow cobbled streets, soaking in the relaxed atmosphere.

We only had one night in Girona, before we headed off to our next overnight stay in Beziers in France, as we headed to the French border from Girona, we headed along the coast to take in the Mediterranean sea air. Our first stop for lunch, where Rabbit and Snails were on the menu, we stopped at Port Bou, a relaxed coastal town. Afterwards it was onto historic Collioure, which had a more busier feel to it and worth spending a few hours either visiting the historic buildings or topping up the tan on the sandy beach. After a Nutella icecream cone, it was time to head further into France and onto Beziers.
We didnt really spend a lot of time exploring Beziers, but the view from the Cathedral concourse was well worth the visit, as the view took in the surrounding vineyards and towards the foothills of the Massif Central to the north.

It was a busy ten day holiday with many places and hotels to visit along the way. Our one night stay in Beziers was over and it was time to head further along the coast towards Montpellier. Before we arrived though, we again took the coastal route and visited quaint little towns such as Agde/Cap d'Agde and Sete.

Montpellier is a vibrant university city, which oozes good vibes. We had an enjoyable late evening walk into the city centre via the ancient Viaduct route and past Montpellier's own Arc de Triomphe were we enjoyed dinner, before retracing our steps and watching the sunset while local's near the viaduct enjoyed a traditional get together and dance.

Our one night stay in Montpellier was over far too quickly and it was time to head further in land towards the Gorges de Tarn area.

Our few days by the coast were over and it was time to sample some of France's most breathtaking scenery.

Part Two to follow.....

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