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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Day (unsure) location Porto

Lads, it's been a busy few days! Last time I posted I was in Malaga after driving for 13 hours and nearly getting mangled in madrid!

We ended up in San Pedro after paying a visit to fungeroula, belamadina, Porto banus and benihavis! Costa del sol was brilliant! Skip got so much sun I thought that Madonna was going to surprise us by trying to adopt her...she's as my granny used to say "as brown as a berry" I actually think she's so dark she's almost navy.

I should have known from the day we arrived.... She was wearing a bikini that resembled a laughing cow cheese triangle and was smeared with factor 2 oil and I sported a burka like outfit with matching hat and factor 50!

After a couple of days of that skip resembled a scalded Micky and I was a glowing golden healthy bronze.. In your face factor 2!

Between the jigs and the reels and the mojitos and the margaritas I had a ball! ...that was until I got locked and had to walk barefoot home from joeys... But I wasn't the only one! Poor joe, skips nephew in law lost one flip flop and then stood on something that bit him - instead of sympathy we decided more drink and midnight swimming was the only cure!

The next morning it was back to fungeroula and off to Portugal !!

Well we travelled onto Portugal after that, soaking in the sights! Stunning! 4.5 hours later, Passing over bridges the size of small countries and into petrol stations that charges €1.77 a litre! I thought we had it bad.... When we reached albufeira my dad was standing on the road Wearing a white Linen shirt (unopened) and looking totally relaxed!

When we arrived at the house he was only too delighted to inform us his neighbor is .... Drum roll please ..... Annie Lennox.... Imagine my excitement ...I could feel a stalking situation coming on!

After days of stalking All I got to see was her blacked out jeep scuttling out the gate one afternoon! Oh and her dogs wouldn't shut up one afternoon disturbing my burka esk sun session!

We left albufeira today... We drove through the pissings of rain through the cork tree district !!! Yes cork comes from forests of trees. They are shaved every six years... Kind of like myself ..

If your looking for 5 glasses of wine for €4.40 it's the place to be... I had to call the waitress to assure her the check was wrong! She amended it to €4 ... I was mortified..

Then made a show of myself ordering breakfast and assuring the waitress that I wanted eggs .... She said Ova (Ova means eggs in Portuguese ) I said yes Ova Easy... Then there were weird words and jokes between her and skip and I realized I was the butt of the joke again ....

We drove north to Porto.... We left wearing shorts vests and flip flops and arrived in Porto at our 4* hotel where we were surrounded by a gang of hobos drenched in rain and thunder! I felt so at home!

After a row with the hotel staff over parking, an altercation with the lical homeless dudes, a change of hotel later we were settled at a nice hotel right in the centre of the city!

As myself and skip sat out having a glass of the local wine dressed in summer gear in the rain watching the elderly go into church dressed in wollen scarves and gortex jackets we realized something...... We must look like tools....

The hobos followed us around all night... I started feeling sorry for them,but as we still haven't received our visa cards we can't be to easy with the flow of cash.... That's why I can't pass a gallery and purchase another painting..

We retire to our room having paid €9.20 for four glasses of wine and a bottle for the room...#guilt

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Day 3 & 4 - Bordeaux and on the road again!

I would have posted yesterday only we were driving...all day!

We woke in Bordeaux and did a cultural walk of all Bordeaux has to see, fountains, churches, cathedrals and the like! By 12pm I was wiped! That teaches us for getting up at seven.

Bordeaux is beautiful.. The architecture is stunning, there is lots to see but there is an awful bang of piss of it that wasn't in the tour books. Every five steps you get the waft, men must literally piss everywhere, it's an awful pity. Also skip got two whopper bites! Huge! I recon they sniffed all the pee of her and wanted a chew!

Not a lot of people speak English and with language skills as great as mine one can be quite confused. Especially when everything starts with Bo Le vo se swe something or other!

After a bit of this I felt the only thing to do was hit the bar for an afternoon beverage which ended up as several. All of a sudden we were starving and hit a restaurant which was on the recommended list in our tour book .

The waiter was lovely and gave us a menu in English ... Delighted... That is until I read it... It was either calfs head, eyes and all or pigs trotters! Then the topping on the cake Mr Ed... Now I refuse to eat horse. Sure you might as well fry my little Flow (my dog) up and serve her! Horses are like pets, not meant for consumption!

We had a wine and politely made our exit and searched for another restaurant... Everywhere we went there were skinny women walking about eating full on baguettes! Chomping down on the bread, no butter no mayo, nothing... Obviously the French didn't get the newsletter on 'bread is the devil'.

We arrived at this kabab place.. At this point we were starving! We hadnt eaten since 7am and were full of drink! A kabab seemed like the only rational food group we wanted! We ordered by pointing at pictures and were a great laugh for the staff... We sat down and they brought us our food!

The kabab was more like a fat crepe. The meat wasn't lamb I assumed it was pork! Dreadful when your biting down into a delicious meal and you can't tell what it is we were eating... We eventually found out... It was Bambi... I ate Bambi ! Poor owl deer! What do they do on anyone!

Off we went to drink a toast to all the Bambi's and Mr Ed's that would be lost to consumption !

We wandered back to the hotel later that night wobbling with a bottle of French champagne under our arm talking about how we were conned into eating Bambi! Bonjouring to everyone we passed!

The next morning we got up bright and early to make our way through the Pyrenees and into Spain!

Just a note on French drivers-

When they indicate right it means left or go straight!

If they indicate left it could mean anything!

If they don't indicate it means they haven't yet decided and chances are they will just do as they please!

At red lights it obviously means drive on ... Especially when it's unsafe to do so!

Oh and not forgetting beeping! This seems to be a way of passing time in traffic! They just love beeping! Beep in traffic beep when moving, they love the sound of the horn!

Once we get out of Bordeaux the roads are great and the beeping stopped and when you get your first glimpse of the Pyrenees you may need to catch your breath.. I did !

This was by far the most spectacular thing I have ever seen. Huge mountains as far as the eye could see! Defo worth the drive and by far the highlight (visually) of the trip!

Then down through San Sebastian which is going to be a stop off on the way back, it is totally picturesque and I'm dying to stay there. After a couple more hours of mountain driving we hid midland Spain! The roads are brilliant traffic flows steadily and bar the odd crazy Moran who refuses to indicate and cuts you off the driving was uneventful!

When we hit Madrid we said ok! We will stop in five minutes! Now another Five...just five more! Madrid is huge...massive, gigantic !!

Put off by the traffic and sheer size of Madrid we drove on and promised each other we would stop soon ! Thirteen hours later, a couple of stops and a cop checking out our car at a restaurant we hit Malaga !

Oh how I nearly kissed the ground!! Well when I fell out of the jeep with a cramp and hit the deck thus kissing the ground ! We unpacked and fell into bed after downing a bottle of San Miguel!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Day 2 - Cherbourg to Bordeaux

Well people, we awoke on board The Oscar Wilde and off I was sent to forage for some food! I had a shower which surprised me! Not that I had a shower of course but the fact that it was surprisingly powerful.

Back I came to the cabin laden with apple juice, orange juice, coffee and cappuccino...oh and not forgetting a bacon sandwich, god only knew when we would be fed again.

After that we realized the hour goes forward and it was nearly time to disembark the boat! Captain Gorden announced that our pilot had arrived, which caused me major confusion until realized that that the pilot guides the ship into port.

After that we were told to make our way to our respective vehicles which was basically everyone bailing their way to their cars with no consideration for anyone else.

We got to the car, we're told not to turn on our engines...of course everyone does...50 minutes later I'm dying of carbon monoxide poising and we get off.. It's first on last off I'm afraid. Not to forget the gobshite who sleeps in and comes running to their vehicle because nobody can move until everyone is in their cars.

Once we hit air we cheer as we pass our passports over to French police who barely look at them before saying Aurivor ... Skip slags me as I respond with hasta maƱana

To the open road we head and drive...and drive....and drive.... And nearly run out of petrol!

Sheila our untrustworthy sat nav keeps telling us there are petrol stations everywhere... Tip: every 50k there is a petrol station motorway do not and I repeat do not go looking for one of a Sunday ... Everything closes on Sunday in France ... It's like a Christmas morning in old ireland.

After that I decided I was hungry again and needed a sambo! Due to my total inability to speak French I spoke three languages in one sentence to try purchase one, it went like this:

Ta bron orm, nein sprechen die French, dos (I pointed to said sandwich) por favor .... Skip was only mortified! But laughed it off as she made a fairly decent effort at it!

When we got to the car we found out the petrol station sandwich was chibata, with brie stuffed with goats cheese and topped with lettuce and walnuts! Whatever happened to ham and cheese! To my surprise it was the tastiest sandwich I ever had. Delicious.

Then I needed to pee! I forced skip into a rest stop where the toilet resembled a Thai mountain toilet, I managed successfully but skip wasn't as lucky and complained of smelling piss of herself for about 20 miles as I laughed until I needed to stop again!

You hit one toll just as you enter Bordeaux and its €27... And I moan about the €3 on the M50.

Eight hours later, 870 kilometers of driving from dublin, a couple of recalculations later, we arrive in Bordeaux where the drivers are like the Schumachers on speed. After ten minutes of horn honking and bad drivers I got into the swing of things and was "merde"ing out of me to beat the band!

We arrived at the hotel and were pleasantly surprised by the room, although the shower would be more designed for a person more vertically challenged than myself! The staff were
lovely and check in was as easy as pie!

Off we ventured to the square which was literally 2 mins from the hotel and had a couple of beers before dinner! We went to the only restaurant doing food on a Sunday and I had a very average salmon and scallop tagliatelle with a delicious white wine and skip had a vile chicken and mushroom thing that was freezing! Again I laughed at her misfortune.

We ended off the night in a little bar called Victoria where the staff were lovely and really made the effort! I wasn't into the wine skip chose, it was too sweet and I felt like I was getting brain freeze from it!

We returned to the hotel delighted with the days events and hit the sack... All in all a lovely day was had by all!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Rosslare to Cherbourg - day 1

May I just start by paying my last respects to blacky, our trusted friend who passed on while on route ...without you and your unreliable speed I will not be able to blog everyday! I couldn't be dealing with the iPhone !!! Ps; never buy a hp...pants

We set of from Dublin at 10.30am on a beautiful sunny day....rare in ireland...many friends sent goodbye texts with warnings not to take the weather with us!

Our freshly waxed jeep laden with useless crap that you can't take on a Ryanair flight (just because we could....up yours Ryanair) contained many liquid items over a hundred mills also stuffed in there....what I'll need with a peach sented foot scrub I'll never know, but it was there....just cause I could,

Anyway it got us there in a respectable two hours...panic set in when we realized we forgot the visa just outside rosslare but that passed when we suggested someone posting it out!

We made sure we had our alco meters, hi viz, little magnetic ireland sign all ready for our departure on The Oscar Wilde...a big boat! We went to check in! Got in the shortest que, a similar incident to previous blog about Queing!

It was actually really civilized, I was very surprised! The check in lady was lovely! There was none of the
Awful airport pressure! They loaded the boat in a first come first served manner which is always good and we were directed to our cabin!

The cabin was small, but clean and we had our own loo and shower, all
One needs on an overnight! We headed to the bar at the front of the ship so we could see where we were going and be on view of the horizon line so as to avoid sea sickness. Skippy was also placed in sea sickness bands and filled pockets with motillium...the excitement was building!

An elderly couple came and sat near
Us and decided to share that the exact seat he was sitting on was where he had been sick the last time! Lovely it was!

The ship left on time with a lovely message from the captain about if we here six long blasts followed by a short one.. Run for your life, or maybe it was short blasts and a long one..either way if I hear a blast I'm beating my way to the life boat! I could see the panic in skips eyes! I could almost here her thinking ... 6 blasts : what if I only hear five!

After ten minutes we realized this was boring and headed for the deck where we were blown out of it and I lost my wallet and room key to the breeze! Thankfully after running off like a crazy person and a very agile skip both items were returned to the bag with a note to self message regarding the items not been taken out again!

We retreated to the back of the boat where there was no breeze and the sun was shining, marvelous! We were taking the weather with us, sorry lads!

There I was sitting down relaxing with a beer when I saw dolphins! Dolphins I tell you! I nearly jumped out the window. Skippy thought I had some sort of early onset sea blindness but then people ran from the other end to see them and I shoved it in her face!

After that there was a barrage of questions about dolphins thrown at slip and when I was very politely told that she was not a dolphin encyclopedia I stopped! I asked another question and was informed I was like the squirrel dog from "Up"! Time for another beer!

Eventually we got hungry... I heard awful things about the food on board but because we didn't bring any with us we had no choice! I had a steak pie which was delicious and skip had chicken and chips with honey mustard sauce! I couldn't fault it! Staff again were lovely!

We returned to the front if the ship to watch Leinster beat the dragons and the sky turn a beautiful purple colour.

The day was very relaxing! We were knackered by nine! Retired to the room to watch a DVD on blackie!!! That was when I realized we would have to read! I was like the national library with the amount of books I brought, but I didn't want them so I went to duty free and bought another!

There is such a diverse array of people that are on board the Oscar Wilde, from the gentleman driving the uk registered Maserati to the family of Romanian gypsies who fleeced the perfume section and when I mentioned it to staff they were more interested in their tills!

When I returned to the room I opened the first page of the book i bought and went unconscious ... I woke at 1.58 am not knowing where I was or why my bed was vibrating when I realized I went back to sleep!