Monday 22nd August. Today dawned cloudy but high cloud (we could see the top of the Rhune mountain) and the sun quickly broke through to give a fine and sunny day despite the weather forecast saying showers, we never had one! We went to Biarritz again today and found another 2 beaches making a total of 5 all set in rocky coves but all with glorious sand. There were a lot of surfers about today but being on the Atlantic Coast is bound to attract them. We spent all day in Biarritz and on the way back went to nearby Carrefour to buy a new electric coolbox as Gill discovered the base of ours has gone brittle and split. We also tried without success to get Stacey some cheaper mudguards for her new bike (the ones she has cost more than the bike so she wants some cheaper ones so she can return the expensive ones!). While we were there we found a special offer on men’s shirts (Buy 2 get 1 free) which Dad couldn’t resist! All this time me & Syd were left dozing in our travel cage in the cool air conditioned boot! I’m not sure about this but smelling Dad’s breath afterwards, I reckon he had had a Beer as well – sneaky!!!
Tuesday 23rd August. Today we had a short lie-in before getting up at about 9:00. Dad decided we would go to Bayonne and after there, would go on up the coast. Fine plan; Fine Plan!!! We got into Bayonne (which sort of merges with Biarritz) at 11:45 and Mum managed to find a disabled parking spot right outside the Office de Tourisme again (just like at Narbonne last week). We got our Map and went for a coffee and discussed the map and where we wanted to go. Firstly Bayonne grew up in the C14th and C15th through doing sea trade with the UK. In the C18th and C19th they razed the suburbs to the ground to force all locals to live inside the town walls. These town walls are still pretty intact in many places. There were a few places we wanted to see and a few more we decided because me and Syd were there, we would miss (e,g, the Chocolate Factory). Bayonne is the French home to Chocolate. The Cathedral was going to be closed until 15:00 so we had a very leaisurely day. We started with lunch in the English Garden which provided a big contrast to the adjoining French Garden. The English Garden was a very formal garden with ordered flower beds and a fountain. As is often the case in France, the Railway Station was certainly worth seeing from the outside with some intricately carved stonework on its tower. The cloisters to the cathedral gave a reminder that not only were the cloisters a meeting place but at one time they were a burial ground. The Cathedral itself was pleasant enough but a bit disappointing and the formal Jardin de Botanique was small but very pretty. We finished the day with Mum & Dad doing a crossword in the English Garden while me and Syd had a doze, It has been a lovely day today with temperatures of only 24 degrees and some sun and some cloud.
Wednesday 24th August. Well today dawned quite cold (16 degrees) and mizzly. The forecast was for a dry but cloudy day and we thought we would go back to San Sebastian but this time, take the coast road. So we set off and the first place we stopped was St Jean de Luz where we had a coffee. Then we got umbrellas out and went for a short stroll along the river estuary to see all the boats. By the time we got back to the car we thought we would have lunch there so I had Ham, Red Pepper and Apple and Sydney had Carrot, Ham, Lettuce and Apple. Mum & Dad had the same but a bit more Salad. After lunch we went to find St Jean’s beach. We eventually found a parking place and then found the sea. By this time Dad’s sugar level was low so he said we could have an ice cream. They both had White Chocolate Crunch and Vanilla & Pecan. Now we all know that Sydney is a bit of a pig where Ice Cream is concerned and she dived straight in! I on the other hand, was a bit slow and started by just nibbling on the cornet. I do this in case Stacey appears because she says us Fids shouldn’t eat Dairy produce. Once I was sure she wasn’t going to approach, I too dived into the ice cream and I have to admit that it was a reeeeeally good choice of Dad’s. After we’d finished our Ice Creams, on the way back to the car we noticed that the local church was open so we popped inside. There were staff inside but they didn’t kick me & Syd out this time. The church seemed to be dedicated to Mariners and the Sea and it was really beautiful inside (such a stark contrast to the rather plain looking outside). After we’d finished in the church we went back to the car and then went to Hendaye. Hendaye has a huge estuary harbour with hundreds of expensive and not so expensive boats. There are also some natural sand dunes which they are trying to protect from being blown away by onshore winds. Across the river was Hondarrabia with its old town sat on top of a small hill. Dad decided he would like to explore the old town so off we went again. This time we had to cross the border into Spain. On this occasion they were stopping everyone so Dad felt sure we would be turned back as we hadn’t had a test for Clamydia done but no – the policeman waved us straight through. We found a car park just outside the old town walls and proceeded to walk up the cobbled street to the top. Dad’s feet were really hurting badly by now but he was determined to get to the top where we sat down for another coffee. Having seen the old town of Hondarrabia, it was time to go home. We had a 30 minute journey – or so we thought! By the time we got home it had taken 2½ hours and Mum had to get a quick tea. It seems every Spaniard and his Donkey were out travelling to France and the traffic jams were just ridiculous! Well the forecast for tomorrow is dry with sunny intervals so let’s hope they are right this time!
Thursday 25th August. Today was shower day for Mum & dad so we had a slightly delayed start and a longer lie-in for me and Sydney! Dad decided to do today what he had planned to do yesterday but it got overtaken by events – we went back to San Sebastian with the intention of visiting the Castle and the statue that looks over the whole town. We nearly didn’t make it because on the way in, Mum, following Katerine’s instructions turned left but momentarily forgetting where she was she tried to turn against 2 lanes of oncoming traffic until Dad pointed out (somewhat helpfully!) that in Spain we drive on the right! Unfortunately, her manoeuvre was spotted by an officious whistle blowing WPC on traffic duty who pulled Mum over. Mum tried to explain that she was lost and instead of offering to help, the officer merely gave a gallic shrug and walked off; so Mum seized the opportunity to drive off! A bit later Mum did her usual and totally ignored Dad saying, “There’s a parking place” and drove past it – fortunately, by the time she had gone around the block the space was still there. Straight away we had lunch by the Cathedral and then went back into the old town before going to the Castle. The views from the Castle were quite breathtaking and what made it all worth while was Dad found us some Elderberries – yum yum!!! We couldn’t stay eating them from the bush so Mum picked a bunch for later. We had some and I managed to get purple stains all over Dad’s thumb and shirt and Sydney managed to give him a purple ear!!! I think I forgot to tell you yesterday but the half hour journey back from Hondarribia actually took two and a half hours for no real reason. Not wanting a repeat me chose to pay the tolls and come back on the autoroute today which turned out to be a very good decision. Well, the next two days are forecast to have rain (although we have only been caused inconvenience by the rain on one day (yesterday) so far this holiday so that is pretty good going! Sunday is currently forecast to be dry for taking the awning down.
Friday 26th August. This morning it started raining at about 3:00 and hadn’t stopped when we left at 11:00! They forecast heavy localised thundery showers all day so it didn’t look good. Mum & Dad had to go to Carrefour to get some more food (I really don’t know how they can eat so much – Me & Sydney manage on what we bring away with us and still take some back!!!). Still, shopping they had to go so we were shut in our travel cage in the car again. When they came out, the clouds were breaking and the sky turning bluer and, in fact, we didn’t have any more rain for the rest of the day, so the forecast was wrong but in a good way! We went back into Biarritz and discovered yet 2 more beaches and a lighthouse. It was at the lighthouse where we had our lunch. After lunch we had a walk around and found an actual propeller from the Russian ship, Frans Hals, which sank off the coast of Biarritz in a violent storm in 1995. Also constructed here was an unusual sundial. This was all on the ground and you stood on a line representing the whole year but at the place appropriate for the actual month and then you outstretch your hand northwards and the shadow dictates the time on a scale around the perimeter. It was very well done and very accurate (although it was only accurate in August!!!). Next we went to a new resort on the north side of Biarritz called Chambre D’Amour. Now this has got to be one of the strangest named places in France – Room of Love!!! I can’t offer you an explanation but will get Adam on it later! The sky was certainly blue but there was a strong wind – so strong that even I had a job holding on to Dad’s finger so I don’t know how difficult Sydney was finding it on his shoulder. She got totally blown off once!!! After Chambre D’Amour we went back to Bayonne for another look at the highlights including the English Garden. We went back to a bar we had visited last time and the owner remembered us and brought us some Almond Cake. I was full up after all my Red Pepper for lunch but Syd managed to squeeze some in – well, she would! On the way back we stopped to get some Sweetcorn cobs for all the fids at home.
Saturday 27th August. Well today was a lie-in to start followed by Dad checking the weather forecast! Great! It had changed from being wet all day to being nice all day so it just proves it’s not just the UK forecasters that get it wrong! Well it was nice all day in two ways:- (1) it was sunny with a clear blue sky all day, and (2) it was only 24 degrees so more like a British summer’s day! Much more bearable for us fids. Well today we went for the place we were heading for yesterday but ran out of time – Hossegor a new coastal resort about 30 kms north of Biarritz. Hossegor and the adjoining town of Cap Breton (I don’t know why Cap Breton is in the south of France and not in the Breton area!!!) share a huge harbour with a Port de Plaisance and huge sums of money tied up in boats. There were so many yachts there, it would be very interesting to see what %-age actually go to sea at all! We made the short walk from the car to the sea front in Cap Breton where we sat and had the inevitable beer! – that was after loads of people stopped and I had to stand on so many different people’s hand I was getting giddy! I do wish Sydney would be a bit more predictable so she could share the load; but enough moaning – dad knows I don’t mind really. After we left the bar it was ice cream time and Mum & Dad both had Pear flavour but neither me nor Syd were very keen so we made do with the cornets! After the ice creams there was another “first”. Well, first in a long time! Dad managed to get me and Mum on a boat to take us across a very choppy harbour to the other side. On the other side we went to a snack bar on the beach which specialised in over 45 types of tea! It was an impressive place with low sofas and low brass and cane tables and very fancy tea pots. So, what did Mum & dad order? 2 Grande Cremes!!! Yes 2 cups of coffee in this tea emporium! By the time we left, after dad had had his tablets it was time to head back to the car for the return journey home. Once home, Dad gave us both a spray with Plume Spray – as usual I loved it and Sydney wasn’t so keen (though she has stopped sulking now!). Well tomorrow is Sunday and we all know what Sunday is – Vide Grenier day! Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention a friend os Stacey’s had a Budgie found at their Vet’s practice which Stacey has agreed to rehome. It is virtually yellow all over but is not a Lutino as it does have some black markings. She has called it Tweety! The plan is for it to stay indoors with her other rescued Budgie until the aviary is sorted and then they will go outside, hopefully as a pair, and become aviary birds.