S: The Higgins Family go to Europe Summer 2011
FC: Europe 2011
1: It all started as a trip to Europe to mark the celebration of Michael and Carolyn's 50th birthdays. However after six weeks of much fun and adventure, the whole Higgins family had something to celebrate! We not only experienced one of our best holidays ever but rekindled relationships with long lost family and friends and saw places and things that had grown faint in some of our memories. For the rest, it was about firsts - getting to see and experience lots of places never visited before and spending time with new found friends. Our adventure begins.......... Our trip started on Jun 10th 2011. After flying to Paris, France from Atlanta, and picking up a rental car at Gare du Nord, Mike drove us cross country to Brittany for our first week in Rosporden to stay in our gite. We met Judy, Rick, Noreen, Philip, Thom, Kate, Debbie and Richard. Judy had worked hard and investigated suitable accommodation.. We had chosen a series of gites with fabulous facilities such as a pool and great outside space where we had dreamed of having barbeques together ... late into the summer evenings . However, mother nature decided a week of sunshine was not for us and the area experienced the worst rain they had seen for about six months. This did not stop our merry crowd who went out most days to investigate the tasty treats of the surrounding areas - Quimper, Concarneau, Pont-Aven, Benodet and more ... We found chic beaches and cosy restaurants as well as a troll pub, We talked for hours and sampled much of the local wine. Hic... Our last full day was taken up by having a nasty storm which took out our power and made us realise just how nice it is to have good friends around you. Saying good bye to everyone was made easier by knowing that most of us would meet up again towards the end of the holiday. Noreen and family made their way back to Manchester after an overnight stop ; Judy & Rick went on to another French gite, Debbie & Richard went home to England and the Higgins girls wiped their tears and set off for St Malo and the next leg of the trip. Poor Mike ~ with a car full of tearful girls!
2: Keranmeriet Gites Rosporden, France
5: Days out in Brittany
8: All girls together.. Kate, Charlotte, Judy, Bryony, Noreen and Elena! !
10: Head shots from Thom
11: St Malo
12: Mont St Michel
15: We had a wonderful visit to St Malo and Mont St Michel. Our comfortable logis served us well and the owner was very accommodating. It was nice to spend a couple of days relaxing as we prepared for our whirlwind tour of Paris and its suburbs. As you can see, Mike got to eat some oysters at a roadside oyster farm. Bon Appetit!
26: It is hard to try and sum up how wonderful the few days in Paris turned out to be. We were rained on and our plans changed many times. We had a blast in Paris and got to see so much more than we expected. Our long days of commuting to the city centre from our hotel in La Defense made us appreciate how busy and tiring it is to live in a Big city. Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed showing the girls some of the places we remember from when we lived there over a decade ago. Bryony and Elena got to visit the Louvre and all its wondrous treasures. Whilst Charlotte, Mike and I toured the Jardins de Luxembourg. A highlight of the trip will always be taking the girls to Meudon . Our home of just over three years and where the twins spent their first few months of life. Bryony saw her first school again., Charles Des Vergnes and Charlotte and Elena now know what the hospital at Sevres looks like... Happy Days. Versailles palace and town were impressive as ever. We moved on to Reims and Strasbourg for a few nights. Ahead were a Champagne tour and more sight seeing before we met up with Fabi in Strasbourg and Bryony went to Germany for a week's visit with Fabi's family.
27: Pommery Champagne Tour Reims
28: Strasbourg and Reims
32: Bryony, Fabi and friends met up at Strasbourg cathedral and we said goodbye. The rest of us spent our last day in Paris... temperatures soared to 34 degrees... and we got to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up!
33: And so it was time to leave France and head to the UK. Good bye to our big, burly van and hello to the Euro Star at Gare du Nord! After spending one and a half hours going 8 km in a taxi, we were on the train and off to St Pancras, London. Then, it was a comfortable 2 hour train journey and we were met by the Olympic rings on show for June 2012. Next stop ...Welsh Wales.... here we come!
35: End June 2011 ~ We kicked off our stay in Great Britain in Wales. Stephen & Debbie spent the day and we all went off to Porthcawl. Daisy came too and enjoyed the walk along Rest Bay. Of course, tea and ice cream were a must on the front! On the way home, Mike and I were thrilled when we all made a stop at The Llangeinor for old time's sake and a delicious meal! Shame Bryony wasn't there too! And Mike had to say good bye as he left for the USA! :(
37: July 7th 2011, so Pops turned 79 sshhhhhh..... we had a "dragon" cake from Tesco and a fish and chips supper <3 Porthcawl again of course!
38: Porthcawl fun at the fair, park & beach with Grandma, Gransha, Julie, Chris and Lili-May!
39: Lili-May's carnival ! | Twins & Twins!
40: Daisy was always at the ready for a game of ball in the back garden ! Whilst Uncle Steve encouraged Elena with her art work in his studio, Debbie and Carolyn put the world to right... <3 | Debbie and Steve picked us up at Reading railway station and we spent a couple of nights at their home on West End Lane ~ also included were a day trip to London and the Higgins girls were treated to a spa morning by Auntie Debbie too! Look at those toes! | Chez Debbie & Stephen's
44: And then it was on to Judy & Rick's for our final few days. Rick showed the twins that he still remembered his rowing skills ... and we ended our afternoon with a pub lunch... yummy! Our final treat was going to see the very LAST Harry Potter movie, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II". Debbie & Richard joined us Higgins girls and we all went back to Judy & Rick's for a Chinese feast.
45: Summer 2011 will always be fondly remembered by the Higgins family...From the countryside and beaches of Brittany, to the historic monuments, buildings and sights of Paris and French cities, to the cosy homes and warm hugs of family and friends in the UK... we have had a BLAST. So many new places to see and experience; SO good to revisit old friends and memories and have LOTS of fun as we made new ones.