Since our last series of updates about our adventures in Croatia in June, things have been hectic for TravelKiwis and our friends.
As an overview, we spent:
- July and much of August, housesitting in two different homes in Fontenoy-le-Chateau in France
- From August to September, we had visitors from our home in New Zealand, Joe (Maura’s brother), Marlene (Terry’s mother), and Nic, a friend of both of us.
We also caught up with friends Brett and Jane, who live in Russia (previously Shanghai), who were in Versailles to celebrate Jane’s birthday.
House Sitting again in Fontenoy-le-Chateau, France
We have been fortunate to have several houses in this lovely medieval village.
Homeowners Marion and Monk and their two dogs, Miki and Misty, have become great friends. They invited us back for an early June house sit, which we eagerly accepted.
Related Post: Life in Fontenoy le Chateau
In past visits, we got to know several other residents quite well. Justin and Deb were heading away in their motorhome for a couple of months and asked us to look after their home while they were away.
This was brilliant as we were eager for an extended stay in the village we regarded as our European home. Deb and Justin have no pets, so it was a case of looking after the home, plants and gardens in the hot summer.
There is always something interesting going on in the villages in this area, and we were keen to experience some of these.
Tendon Bread Festival, France
Football World Cup
Feu de St Jean, Fontenoy le Chateau
Every year volunteers from the village build a large structure with wood donated by a local timber yard. Then the structure gets burned. This year a fairy tale castle was built, destroyed in a storm, partially rebuilt, and finally set ablaze to the joy of many.
Family and Friends Visit Europe
Maura’s brother Joseph is a priest back in New Zealand. He also loves to travel and has done so extensively over the years. He was invited to look after a parish near Bremen, Northern Germany, for a month through his network.
So we travelled to see him for his birthday in late August. Our son Daniel and his wife Jessica came over from the UK to celebrate with us.
Joe did a great job showing us around some of the places in the area.
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Terry’s Mum Comes for a Visit
Our next visitor was Terry’s mother, Marlene, and we were so excited to have her visit for a month from late August. During her trip, Marlene would also head to the UK to spend time with Daniel and his wife Jessica, living in Milton Keynes.
Daniel and Jess spent time with Mum in London, Stratford upon Avon and Cambridge.
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Mum was flying into Frankfurt, so it was a nice connection for us to meet her after leaving Joe.
While with us, we would take her to some of our favourite places and some we had yet to experience.
The most beautiful section of the trip was the Alsace region of France.
The Alsace region has been under the control of both France and Germany over the centuries. As a result, Alsace reflects both cultures in its architecture, agriculture and food. A favourite of ours is always visiting Colmar.
Fontenoy le Chateau, France
Alicia, Mariel and Omar were making a road trip through Switzerland to celebrate Mariel’s 40th.
The timing was perfect as we had just dropped Mum at Basel airport to fly to the UK. We had a great catch-up to reminisce about our travels together through China in 2016 and our visit to Florida in 2017. We will catch up with them again in Seville in March 2019, where Omar will celebrate his 40th.
Mum was flying back to New Zealand from Amsterdam. We could take a few days to get there, stopping at Luxembourg, Ghent and Bruges.
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A Trip to Portugal with Nic
Our friend Nic from New Zealand was travelling with her parents (who are Dutch) in Europe. So we took the opportunity to spend time with Nic in Portugal for the last week of September and celebrate her 50th.
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Timing again worked well as we had said our goodbyes to Marlene at Amsterdam airport, and Nic would be arriving in Amsterdam the following day.
We travelled over the famous Afsluitdijk to Heerenveen to catch up with Nic’s family before catching our flight from Amsterdam to Portugal.
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Quarteira on the Algarve
Related Post: A Short Break in Tavira, Portugal
War Graves of Europe
After bidding Nic farewell in Amsterdam, we headed back towards France to see Brett and Jane in Versailles.
On the way, we paid our respects to Maura’s great-uncle Frederick Mawhinney in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetary.
Then from early October through to late November, we have been house-sitting in south and west France.
We will do an update on those adventures later.