If you read Parts 1 and 2 you will know that in 1990 I did a seventeen day camping trip during which we visited 6 countries (France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy), slept in canvas tents and were bussed around Europe by coach. This final blog for this particular trip is Part 3 covering days 12 to 17. As before, I include extracts from the little diary I kept from that holiday, and this week’s blog covers the third and final leg of that trip - which includes:
Wednesday Sept 12th 1990
Lots of our group headed for the Aquapark in Biot today. Apparently, it has loads of waterslides and swimming pools. Not my thing. Instead, Annette, Andrea, Catherine and I headed for Biot beach. After lunch, Annette and I walked along the coast road to Antibes – over a half hour walk of beautiful sea views. Annette bought a pair of fab shoes in a shop there….I helped with the interpretation …and the shop owner thought I was French!! Then we bought ice-creams. We bumped into two Dublin girls that Annette knew from home. Small world. Got the bus back to Biot.
In the evening after dinner, I got dolled up in the black mini I had bought in Cannes….and went with the group for a night gambling in Monte Carlo (Monaco). Well I played some slots😂….and lost! Of course we were nowhere near the “high rollers”. My first time in a casino. Another world there…with fast cars and the works…pulling up to the Monte Carlo Casino. Great to see but also to leave.
(This casino was subsequently featured in "GoldenEye" 1995 and "Ocean's Twelve" 2004)
Then we all went for a drink in the famous Rosie’s Bar in Monte Carlo. A real experience with all the F1 motor racing memorabilia on show. Late getting back to the campsite.
Thursday Sept 13th 1990
Bus to Antibes. Perused the markets in the old town. Fruit and veg very colourful.
Lovely costume jewellery ….and lots of clothes in the markets too ….but quite expensive. Beautiful town. Had a lovely lunch in a restaurant in the square with Gerry and Bernie. Then sunbathed on Antibes beach. A few hippies around that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the 1960s.
At night, we all went to a disco in a discobar in Biot. A few Aussies, English and Germans there. Music was great. Good craic there. Then headed for a pizza with about seven of our group. Back to the Biot campsite then for the last night. We found out Marie (the married Dublin) girl had been rushed to hospital threatened with a miscarriage. We were all very shocked and felt so sorry for herself and Dave her husband. They’re such a smashing couple together. So we all drifted off to our beds…..the tent was very cold tonight
Friday Sept 14th 1990
Tent was covered in bugs and little flies when Helen and I took our one down. Left early for Avignon. All the lads lined up for a photo. Very sad leaving Dave behind – he stayed on to obviously be with Marie who will be in hospital for a few days. Drove along the coast road and said goodbye to the Cote d’Azur.
Stopped at a large shopping centre for an hour or so for us all to buy some souvenirs. Beautiful clothes and shoes. Arrived at the campsite in Avignon in the afternoon. Tents went up fairly easily. Badminton and a swimming pool on site. The fellas threw each other in. Big messers
After dinner we went to listen to an open-air concert at Avignon’s Papal Palace (Palais des Papes). Very moving and atmospheric. There’s a music festival on while we’re here
Saturday Sept 15th 1990
Early rise in Avignon. We had a 12 hour road trip ahead of us all the way to Paris. Drove right through Central France. Slept a lot of the way. Plenty of Chris Rea being played on the coach tape-deck.
Stopped off along the AutoRoute. I went to get money through Visa. Unbelievable security at banks here in France – double doors!! Cheap and tasty lunch at “Flunch”. The French seem to eat their steaks very rare…I prefer medium but once you ask it’s fine. We drove through Lyons. Must revisit someday.
Arrived in Paris later in the evening – to the same campsite we had started in 2 weeks ago – the time has flown!! We all said goodbye to Natalie as she was staying in Paris. Everyone headed in to the city of Paris for a meal. Ironically, it was a Chinese meal we had not French in the Parisian Latin Quarter…. that we all agreed was really good Last stroll along the Seine. Gorgeous city.
Then back to the camp for a last knees up at the bar. Martin, our tour guide, bought champagne for us all.
Sunday Sept 16th 1990
Took down the tent for the last time - Alleluia! – don’t want to see one for a long while. We all piled on-board the coach half asleep. Drove to Versailles. Ambled around the magnificent gardens. Would like to visit again someday and see inside the Palace buildings.
We wandered around as a group on the cobbled streets. Loads of Japanese tourists – all very well-behaved. No souvenir shops that we could see open …maybe cos we were early…or maybe cos it was Sunday.
Stopped off for lunch half way to Le Havre. Very reasonable. Had to wait before boarding the ferry. The lads listened to the All-Ireland Football Final on the radio between Cork and Meath. Strange listening to such an Irish celebration of sport so far from home. Cork won 0-11 to 0-9. A close match!
The St. Killian II is a beautiful ship. This time we had cabins….I was Cabin 407. Had dinner in the café. Caught the new Kevin Costner movie on-board – “Revenge” – rubbish! Bopped the rest of the night away in the discobar on-board.
Monday Sept 17th 1990
Awoke in the cabin around 9am. Sea more choppy than on the way over. Went for breakfast in the café with Andrea and Annette. Croissants delicious. Then I changed my money back to IR£. Not much left:
Refreshing walk on deck. Soft drinks from a drinks machine. Coffee in the bar. Lots of hunks. Fab buffet lunch for IR£6.75….all you can eat. Back to bar with the group….lots of laughs. Watched TV there….everyone winding down….a feeling the holiday is over.
We had to assemble as a group in reception area. Then all aboard the coach aboard the ferry …we then drove through Irish customs as Martin had all our passports. Landed at 3:40pm. Goodbyes to everyone leaving us in Rosslare. Drove by Ferrycarraig….never been there before. Spectacular scenery. Stopped off in Gorey. Everyone ran to the shop for Tayto! Passing Donnybrook Church…someone shouted from the back of the bus “There’s a church, are we not doing the tour??” Same when we were crossing the Liffey at O’Connell Bridge “There’s a river, are we not doing the cruise???”
So we arrived in Dublin after 6 pm outside the Screen Cinema on O’Connell Street. Hugs, kisses and goodbyes all round. Promises to meet at the re-union. Taxi to Rathmines. Then phoned home. Holiday over for another year!!
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog 46
Number 57 - Travel - 7 Continents
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Blog 30 - Alaska
Blog 31 - Everglades, Florida
Have you ever camped in mainland Europe? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!