Menton III

Today I bet we walked at least 12 kilometres because the path we took from Menton to Monaco is 8km. Once we finished this walked we wandered all over Monaco which has lots of hills. The photo above is from a spot on our way into Monaco. It was a terrific walk.
Today I bet we walked at least 12 kilometres because the path we took from Menton to Monaco is 8km. Once we finished this walked we wandered all over Monaco which has lots of hills. The photo above is from a spot on our way into Monaco. It was a terrific walk.
Alex with Marlene near the Monaco castle.
Alex with Marlene near the Monaco castle.
After lunch we went to the Monaco Exotic Gardens and spent about 30 minutes walking about. Beautiful plant life throughout and also several terrific view spots.
After lunch we went to the Monaco Exotic Gardens and spent about 30 minutes walking about. Beautiful plant life throughout and also several terrific view spots.
We went on a guided tour of a cave which was terrific. Beautiful rock formations along with stalagmites and stalactites. It was also good to get out of the sun for about an hour.
We went on a guided tour of a cave which was terrific. Beautiful rock formations along with stalagmites and stalactites. It was also good to get out of the sun for about an hour.
Another beautiful viewpoint from Monaco.
Another beautiful viewpoint from Monaco. We took the train back to Monaco and after walking so much in 90 degree plus weather we ended the day with another refreshing swim in the Mediterranean!
We ended today as we ended yesterday with dinner at chez Bernard et Audette. It was a terrific meal and the highlight for Alex was playing with their two dogs.
We ended today as we ended yesterday with dinner at chez Bernard et Audette. It was a terrific meal and the highlight for Alex was playing with their two dogs.

 

Menton II

We started the day with a rigorous climbing adventure. Above is the start of the climb.
We started the day with a rigorous climbing adventure. Above is the start of the climb.
Here is the city where we started the climb. It dates back to Roman times.
Here is the city where we started the climb. It dates back to Roman times.
A view of the first bridge we crossed (seen in the first photo).
A view of the first bridge we crossed (seen in the first photo).
A view of the second bridge we crossed. We climbed several hundred feet but didn’t quite finish the climb. Alex got a blister on his hand that popped so we decided to stop which was a very good decision. He was a real trooper throughout the climb and up until the blister he was ahead of me!
A view of the second bridge we crossed. We climbed several hundred feet but didn’t quite finish the climb. Alex got a blister on his hand that popped so we decided to stop which was a very good decision. He was a real trooper throughout the climb and up until the blister he was ahead of me!
Alex and I at the end of the climb. I worked up just a bit of a sweat!
Alex and I at the end of the climb. I worked up just a bit of a sweat!
Here is Marlene who motored up the mountain, she’s in amazingly good shape yet had no problem waiting for Alex and me as we plodded along behind her.
Here is Marlene who motored up the mountain, she’s in amazingly good shape yet had no problem waiting for Alex and me as we plodded along behind her.
Alex and I on our way to a café for a much needed drink.
Alex and I on our way to a café for a much needed drink.
After the climb we went to chez Rizo for lunch and a bit of rest. Then we went on a long walk in Menton and followed it up with a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean.
After the climb we went to chez Rizo for lunch and a bit of rest. Then we went on a long walk in Menton and followed it up with a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean.
A wonderful dinner of Paella with the eldest daughter of M. Rizo, Audette and her husband Bernard, their son Jonathon and of course Marlene, M. Rizo and Alex. A great way to end a perfect day.
A wonderful dinner of Paella with the eldest daughter of M. Rizo, Audette and her husband Bernard, their son Jonathon and of course Marlene, M. Rizo and Alex. A great way to end a perfect day.

 

Menton I

We departed London via Gatwick and arrived in Nice at 4:30pm. It's an easy drive to Menton, about 20 minutes. We went to M. Rizo's apartment where he lives with his girlfriend Arlette, his wife died years ago, and neither speaks English. I was really pleased with my French! We spoke French the entire time and while I'm still not that good, I was able to understand them and be understood. What a great feeling! Their daughter Marlene, a good friend of Mary Anne's, arrived later and we'll spend the day with her tomorrow. Alex took the photo above and this is the view from M. Rizo's balcony.
We departed London via Gatwick and arrived in Nice at 4:30pm. It’s an easy drive to Menton, about 20 minutes. We went to M. Rizo’s apartment where he lives with his girlfriend Arlette, his wife died years ago, and neither speaks English. I was really pleased with my French! We spoke French the entire time and while I’m still not that good, I was able to understand them and be understood. What a great feeling! Their daughter Marlene, a good friend of Mary Anne’s, arrived later and we’ll spend the day with her tomorrow. Alex took the photo above and this is the view from M. Rizo’s balcony.
Another photo from M. Rizo's balcony, the apartment overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. Just gorgeous.
Another photo from M. Rizo’s balcony, the apartment overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. Just gorgeous.

London

We dropped off the rental car at Heathrow Airport and took the tube into London. A smooth trip and our hotel is about a 10 minute walk from Victoria Station. We love riding the tube! We dropped off our bags and I treated Alex to a movie; he's been a great traveling companion thus far. Before the movie we stopped at My Old Dutch pancake house and Alex, of course, ordered chocolate pancakes. I had bacon and spinach and it was delicious. We ate at one of these restaurants in 2008 and I have a great photo of David and Alex beaming as the food is brought to them.
We dropped off the rental car at Heathrow Airport and took the tube into London. A smooth trip and our hotel is about a 10 minute walk from Victoria Station. We love riding the tube! We dropped off our bags and I treated Alex to a movie; he’s been a great traveling companion thus far. Before the movie we stopped at My Old Dutch pancake house and Alex, of course, ordered chocolate pancakes. I had bacon and spinach and it was delicious. We ate at one of these restaurants in 2008 and I have a great photo of David and Alex beaming as the food is brought to them.
Alex in front of the "How to Train Your Dragon 2" poster. Alex said it is the best movie he has seen. I wouldn't go that far but it was an enjoyable film. Tomorrow it is off to the French Riviera!
Alex in front of the “How to Train Your Dragon 2” poster. Alex said it is the best movie he has seen. I wouldn’t go that far but it was an enjoyable film. Tomorrow it is off to the French Riviera!

Taunton III

We started our lovely day at the Mill which is a building renovated by a member of Andrew's church. It is a terrific restoration of an old mill that dates back 400 years though a mill was documented on this site in William the Conqueror's Doomsday book in the 1070s.
We started our lovely day at the Mill which is a building renovated by a member of Andrew’s church. It is a terrific restoration of an old mill that dates back 400 years though a mill was documented on this site in William the Conqueror’s Doomsday book in the 1070s.
The Mill had several ducks and chicks which made Alex very happy.
The Mill had several ducks and chicks which made Alex very happy.
After having afternoon tea at the Mill we traveled to Andrew's favorite spot, Shaldon in Devon County. It is an idyllic village on the coast and it is a soothing and serene place.
After having afternoon tea at the Mill we traveled to Andrew’s favorite spot, Shaldon in Devon County. It is an idyllic village on the coast and it is a soothing and serene place.
Here is Alex, Andrew, Helen and their youngest daughter Hannah at Shaldon. I've known Andrew for 33+ years and I cherish the friendship we've developed over the years.
Here is Alex, Andrew, Helen and their youngest daughter Hannah at Shaldon. I’ve known Andrew for 33+ years and I cherish the friendship we’ve developed over the years. We bid a fond farewell to Andrew, Helen and Taunton as tomorrow we go to London for the day and then on to France.

Taunton II

We traveled with my friend Andrew and his wife Helen to Wells and toured an absolutely gorgeous cathedral. I love visiting castles and cathedrals.
We traveled with my friend Andrew and his wife Helen to Wells and toured an absolutely gorgeous cathedral. I love visiting castles and cathedrals.
Alex took this photo inside the cathedral. Construction started on it in the 1200s though a church and/or cathedral has been on the site since 705. I'm always amazed by the sophistication of the engineering and in many ways cathedrals are as impressive as Stonehenge in what people were able to accomplish with only rudimentary tools.
Alex took this photo inside the cathedral. Construction started on it in the 1200s though a church and/or cathedral has been on the site since 705. I’m always amazed by the sophistication of the engineering and in many ways cathedrals are as impressive as Stonehenge in what people were able to accomplish with only rudimentary tools.
Next to the cathedral was Bishop's Palace and it was surprisingly beautiful and had an eventful history. It is now mostly ruins but they are beautifully maintained. The building suffered at the hands of Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell's troops during the English Revolution. Andrew and Helen are pictured in front.
Next to the cathedral was Bishop’s Palace and it was surprisingly beautiful and had an eventful history. It is now mostly ruins but they are beautifully maintained. The building suffered at the hands of Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell’s troops during the English Revolution. Andrew and Helen are pictured in front.
The grounds of the palace are impeccably maintained and we spent more than an hour on a lovely guided tour. We also had the opportunity to meet the head gardener of the grounds.
The grounds of the palace are impeccably maintained and we spent more than an hour on a lovely guided tour. We also had the opportunity to meet the head gardener of the grounds.
We've had dinner with the Wallaces two nights and Alex loves the cricket-themed place mats. He took photos of all of them and this was his favorite. Andrew played cricket when he was younger and was watching the England vs. India test match today.
We’ve had dinner with the Wallaces two nights and Alex loves the cricket-themed place mats. He took photos of all of them and this was his favorite. Andrew played cricket when he was younger and was watching the England vs. India test match today.

Taunton I

We bid a fond farewell to the Great Park Farm B&B as we end our fourth stay there. Terrific breakfasts plus we had cows wandering around the front yard this morning.
We bid a fond farewell to the Great Park Farm B&B as we end our fourth stay there. Terrific breakfasts plus we had cows wandering around the front yard this morning.
Next stop was Stonehenge. Major changes were made to the facility as the previous visitor center and parking lot are in the process of being torn down to help preserve the natural surroundings of the monument. The new visitor center is superb with lots of interesting information. The center includes replicas of the huts the workers lived in while building the structure.
Next stop was Stonehenge. Major changes were made to the facility as the previous visitor center and parking lot are in the process of being torn down to help preserve the natural surroundings of the monument. The new visitor center is superb with lots of interesting information. The center includes replicas of the huts the workers lived in while building the structure.
This visit is our second to Stonehenge and I'd come back again. It is a powerful monument and even though you can't get too close to it, I don't think that detracts from its appeal at all.
This visit is our second to Stonehenge and I’d come back again. It is a powerful monument and even though you can’t get too close to it, I don’t think that detracts from its appeal at all.
This photo is about as close as you get to Stonehenge. It's construction started about 3500 years ago. We journeyed to Taunton after Stonehenge and had a wonderful dinner with my friend Andrew and his wife Helen. We go to Wells to visit a beautiful cathedral.
This photo is about as close as you get to Stonehenge. It’s construction started about 3500 years ago. We journeyed to Taunton after Stonehenge and had a wonderful dinner with my friend Andrew and his wife Helen. We go to Wells to visit a beautiful cathedral.

Crediton II

We started the day going out for coffee with my cooperating teacher back in 1981, Robin Langhorne. While I had my camera with me I forgot to take his photo. Still, we had a great two hour talk and then Alex and I headed to Powderham Castle.
We started the day going out for coffee with my cooperating teacher back in 1981, Robin Langhorne. While I had my camera with me I forgot to take his photo. Still, we had a great two hour talk and then Alex and I headed to Powderham Castle.
The castle was outstanding. While still more of a manor house, it had a rich history and the grounds were beautiful. Sitting on 3500 acres it hosts a couple of wildlife sanctuaries.
The castle was outstanding. While still more of a manor house, it had a rich history and the grounds were beautiful. Sitting on 3500 acres it hosts a couple of wildlife sanctuaries.
These wood carvings date back to the early 1400s and are in the estate's chapel. Around it are gorgeous gardens.
These wood carvings date back to the early 1400s and are in the estate’s chapel. Around it are gorgeous gardens.
Unfortunately this tower suffered through two fires and is no longer in use. There are beautiful views from this hill.
Unfortunately this tower suffered through two fires and is no longer in use. There are beautiful views from this hill.
We spent 4.5 miles at Powderham Castle. The guided tour was excellent and we found out how the phrase, "Save face," came to be and also the derivation of someone not being worth their salt. The castle had many secret doors and Alex was able to identify them all. We bid adieu to Crediton tomorrow and travel to Taunton.
We spent 4.5 miles at Powderham Castle. The guided tour was excellent and we found out how the phrase, “Save face,” came to be and also the derivation of someone not being worth their salt. The castle had many secret doors and Alex was able to identify them all. We bid adieu to Crediton tomorrow and travel to Taunton.

Crediton I

On our trips we see palaces, castles, works of art, monuments, museums, friends and family. What is Alex's favorite part of all our trips: playing with Rosie who is a working farm dog at the B&B we stay in Crediton. This stay is our fourth thus far and Rosie has been the highlight of each trip for Alex.
On our trips we see palaces, castles, works of art, monuments, museums, friends and family. What is Alex’s favorite part of all our trips: playing with Rosie who is a working farm dog at the B&B we stay in Crediton. This stay is our fourth thus far and Rosie has been the highlight of each trip for Alex.
We visited Castle Drogo today. Not really a "castle" but more of a house built to look like a castle from the outside.
We visited Castle Drogo today. Not really a “castle” but more of a house built to look like a castle from the outside.
Castle Drogo is undergoing massive repair work.  The owner, Julius Drewe, made a vast fortune in retail and built the castle. He overruled the architect's (Sir Edwin Lutyens) design and ended up causing significant water damage from improper drainage. Alex said Mr. Drewe was, "smart but not wise." He also thought he was narcissistic. Could be, but he had a good eye for choosing property.
Castle Drogo is undergoing massive repair work. The owner, Julius Drewe, made a vast fortune in retail and built the castle. He overruled the architect’s (Sir Edwin Lutyens) design and ended up causing significant water damage from improper drainage. Alex said Mr. Drewe was, “smart but not wise.” He also thought he was narcissistic. Could be, but he had a good eye for choosing property.
There is scaffolding around nearly all of the structure. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Castle Drogo, great story behind it and it was well presented. We spent more than two hours touring the castle and grounds.
There is scaffolding around nearly all of the structure. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Castle Drogo, great story behind it and it was well presented. We spent more than two hours touring the castle and grounds.
One of many beautiful vistas from the Castle.
One of many beautiful vistas from the Castle.
Alex's "panorama" photo.
Alex’s “panorama” photo.
My first overseas trip was to teach at Queen Elizabeth's School in Crediton, Devon. Alex and I visited the school at the end of the day.
My first overseas trip was to teach at Queen Elizabeth’s School in Crediton, Devon. Alex and I visited the school at the end of the day.

 

QES is a big school so I couldn't get it all in one photo. We also visited my cooperating teacher Robin Langhorne today and we'll stop by again tomorrow. A busy and fun day!
QES is a big school so I couldn’t get it all in one photo. We also visited my cooperating teacher Robin Langhorne today and we’ll stop by again tomorrow. A busy and fun day!

 

 

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