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Things as they should be ... almost (early 2009)
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2009 dawned with a new purpose. Now that we had both effectively 'retired', or at least become self-employed contractors so we can work when we want and play when we want, we spend the whole of Christmas/New Year/Three Kings in Spain and, having come back to the UK for February, went off on our travels again in March.
As most things are now done to the house and Christmas etc was for us to see what it would be like to spend a whole month living rather than holidaying in Spain, there were few photo opportunities and, therefore, no update on here. On our latest trip, however, we decided to drive back to the UK rather than fly back so we can take some furniture and electrical goods, computers and the like back there on our next trip. So we made the drive through France part of the experience. And came back through the Channel Tunnel - a far superior experience compared to the ferry and only £9 more expensive so well worth it.
So here are some pictures of that time.
This is our pride and joy still in the garage. We collected it a few days later And this is Andy's pride and joy - he's a Dogue de Bordeaux and is called Fugly because he is F.... Ugly!!! January 6th is Three Kings. This year we went to Garrucha to see the Kings arrive by boat in the harbour and parade up the town.
The spectacle was good, and the food fantastic, but not as good as our own little town of Albox had been the previous year These are now our visit in March and her is Ailsa, our neighbour's dog. A Lurcher and here she is ready to set off at a great rate of knots as always But then again, perhaps not!
And Ailsa's best mate, and the dog that owns our good friends Gill & William, is Honey. And talking of William, he had to make an official visit to Almeria city so we all went and, whilst he got stuck in Spanish officialdom, Gill, Darryl & Stuart went for a walk around the beautiful city These pictures are of the main street, la Rambla, which is as the name suggest built on the rambla (mostly dry river) through the town. ANd on it are these wonderful fountains and statues
The temperature got up to 26 degrees in spite of it only being mid-March so we basked in the sunshine and did 'touristy' things And managed to snap a few photos of Gill - a rare event! And again
The beautiful fountains are right on the sea front so you And make a spectacular site As well as drowning out the traffic noise
So we got all arty with the pictures   This is the view back up into the town
And one final look before we left Walking back up the La Rambla to the car park  
One final fountain And a complete change of subject. This is from our second day of the drive north. Ever since I saw the design, the Millau Bridge has fascinated me. Designed by a Brit, Normal Foster, it is simply beautiful beyond words This really looks like it's a made up artist impression but this really is the view through the windscreen as you drive on to the bridge.
And sideways down the valley that is 280 meters (919 ft) below the roadway And further along the bridge which is part of the A75 motorway At the northern end is a visitors centre where you can walk up the side of the motorway and bridge
A view of Millau, which used to be a major bottleneck on the A75 with the delays to traffic being anything from 30 minutes at best ... .... to FOUR HOURS in the summer months. Just think of that, a four hour wait to get through one town. Now, for a 6 euro toll, you can speed across at 130km an hour Further on our travels we stopped in Troyes, of Helen of Troyes fame. A beautiful old town
With modern squares Old churches (of course) Some grotty gargoyles
Very narrow roads Passageways where you can imagine the 'poubelle' being thrown out of the windows onto the pathway And another church
This is the Hotel de Ville And back past the same white church This building was being renovated - hence it being propped up.
We then went on to Reims. We stopped thinking this was the main cathedral, Notre Dame, but we were wrong! So we moved on and found the right building And as you can see, the 11th century stained glass for which is rightly famous is unbelievable
You don't get much of an idea of scale here but believe me, it's huge! Maybe this view from the other side makes it more easy to see. Half the cathedral was covered in scaffolding whilst it was being renovated But, even to someone who does not see the point to religion (ie me!) has to agree it's simply awe-inspiring
Millau Bridge
Panoramic of the Millau Bridge

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