France and Spain

In September 2012 we drove from London to Lagos in Portugal going through Eastern France and Spain, finally turning West to end in the Algarve. In November we returned through Western Spain then cut diagonally across France to Calais via Cognac and Versailles.

I took a few photographs on the two journeys. They were either taken on a Nikon D90 or a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 pocket camera.

UK to Portugal – September 2012

Starting with a typical French street in the delightfully attractive town of Beaune which is steeped in history.

We stayed for a couple of nights in a small village in the French Alps. Unfortunately the weather was not kind to us but it gave the opportunity for some interesting shots through the clouds.

02a valaret - french alps - clouds

The local communications systems were rather quaint.

On to Barcelona where I spotted this happy chappie in a side street.

I was aware that, similar to the Basques, many Catalonians are seeking independence from Spain but I wasn’t expecting so many flags and slogans.

Opportunism is alive and well in Barcelona. This guy was making ashtrays from empty drink cans using just a knife and some scissors. Each one took him less than two minutes and he was selling them to tourists for a Euro each as fast as he could make them!

Just off the Rambla we came across the biggest, busiest most interesting market I’ve ever seen.

Lovers of Gaudi architecture will be interested in the remaining photographs of our journey southwards which were taken in the Guell Park and Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that he designed in the early 1900s and which is still being built. It is hard to imagine how such ultra-modern buildings could have been designed a hundred years ago.


Portugal to the UK – November/December 2012

On the return journey we stopped over in Northern Spain in a town called Vitoria Gasteiz, sought out a few geocaches, then found the medieval centre of the town:

vitoria gasteiz 1

vitoria gasteiz 2


Spotted this interesting graffiti. Shows that it can be art as opposed to vandalism:

vitoria gasteiz graffiti


We also stopped off at Versailles and spent a full day going round the Palace of Versailles and its gardens. Originally started by Louis XIV, the palace was extended by Louis XV and Louis XVI. The latter was married to Marie Antionette of “Let them eat cake” fame. It’s no surprise that the they both went to the guillotine during the French Revolution when you see the sheer scale and opulence of the Palace which makes Buckingham Palace look like a dolls house.

versailles palace 2

versailles palace 1


The gardens stretch for miles and are made up of formal gardens, woodland and more. You can hire a golf cart if you want to see it all.

versailles gardens


I was intrigued by this fountain which is one of many:

versailles fountain


They perform wedding ceremonies for those with deep pockets…

versailles wedding at the palace


Louis XVI gave an area of the gardens to Marie Antionette so that she could entertain her friends in a smaller palace which she built whilst he dealt with affairs of state and went hunting! Old Marie was a dab hand at spending money – this gazebo is just the start of her indulgence:

versailles marie_s gazebo


I had heard that she built a replica of an English village in her area of the gardens and assumed it was a model village consisting of miniature houses. Not so – this is a full scale village, real houses, a water mill, a lake, a full scale farm…

versailles marie_s village

versailles marie_s mill


The farm is still operational today:

versailles marie_s farm

versailles marie_s cockerel

5 Responses to France and Spain

  1. Emmie says:

    Loving the photos. The organ pipes are great. Mind you I don’t think I would like to be the cleaner of them.

  2. Jamie says:

    What fantastic web diary. The pics are fantastic, I especially like the clouds and the cathedral with the spiral staircase. Nice one

  3. chiptheduck says:

    I agree. My favourite photo of the lot is the one featuring the street lamp – something rather eerie about it.
    The whole place was spectacular and it was unfortunate the weather didn’t allow us to get around more.

  4. Steve says:

    Wonderful pictures and terrific travelog.

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