A Travellerspoint blog

Bonza Biarritz Barrels; Bloody Brilliant!

Biarritz; France

overcast 18 °C

Just got back from my third surf in beautiful Biarritz; and couldn't be happier. Except if it was a little bit hotter. Last Friday we were driving home from St Tropez in the wet and cold, as I was preparing myself for another two weeks of doing absolutely nothing, not a fun prospect. We decided to stop by the Shire office to check if they had any news on how far away my passport was. The lady at the counter grabbed an envelope pulled out my passport;
"Is this it?"
I was so so so so so so so stoked.

10:00 am: Got Passport
1:00 pm: Celebratory Lunch now that I am French Citizen (and can finally work legally)
2:00 pm: Head to Train Station
3:00 pm: Get on Train to other side of the Country
1:00 am: Arrive in Bordeaux
2:00 am: Head to the clubs in Bordeaux
6:30 am: Get train to Biarritz
8:00 am: Arrive in Biarritz
9:30 am: Get out the board and wetsuit and head to beach.
= One Crazy Night

Spent the past two days hanging at the backpackers in Anglet just north of Biarritz; there are a fair few Australians around and all are here for the same thing, surfing. Also met up with Vincent my cousin with whom I'm staying with at the moment, sweet little apartement three minutes walk from the beach.

Image1.gif

The surf here is pretty good; lots of beachbreaks with a fair bit of power, good size, but some hassling french crowds. Looks like its going to be an awesome summer,

Garrett in Biarritz;
(I'll post photos soon)

Posted by clancy_of_ 02:31 Archived in France Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Provence Home;

Draguignan; France

sunny 27 °C

The past week has been the most stressful of the trip so far, with my plans changing every few hours. One minute I am hopping on a train to the other side of the country, the next I’m moving to St Tropez to work, whilst awaiting the arrival of my passport. Finally however, the plans are becoming clear; Gryllzy is arriving around the 17th of May, this Wednesday I’m heading to St Tropez to start work for a few weeks and by the 1st of June Matt and I should be well and truly out of Provence and on our way to the pristine shores of San Sebastian in North East Spain. Booyah.

With most of my Mum’s side of the family scattered around Provence, Draguignan has always felt like a second home to me. For this reason the amount of sight-seeing I have done in the area has been fairly limited. The unusually hot weather and access to a car has allowed me to spend a lot of time lazing by the pool or heading to town with Aurelien and wandering around the cafés and bars. My highly active Grandparents usually manage to get us out of bed at around 7:30 for a walk around the hill and up through the forest, and every night ends with a game of ‘escalier’ or ‘stairs’. Just like old times.

Yesterday I caught up with Elizabeth and Hannah, Leah’s mum and sister, who are halfway through their own little ‘Eurotrip’. We caught up for pizza and wine and heard of their stories from Barcelona, London and the unexpected nudist beaches that surrounded their apartment in the south of France. Hannah, Aurelien and I went out last night and caught up with some of Aurelien’s friends, who treated us to a night of listening to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers whilst sitting and talking around the communal ‘shisha’, with almost always makes an appearance gatherings of French teens. We slept until 10 this morning and spent the rest of the day enjoying the sun and Aurelien’s amazing pool and house;

d_montage_..eur_003.jpg

Backflips, frontflips and a lot of skimming helped to relieve my continued craving for the ocean (a little);

d_montage_..eur_002.jpg

Whilst Aurelien’s dogs ran around the pool entranced by our sweet aquatic skills;

d_montage_..eur_005.jpg

The family also got together last Saturday to celebrate my cousin Marjolaine’s 10th birthday, arguably the cutest kid of our family, it wasn’t a surprise to see gift after gift after gift being handed to her.

marjoenvert_.jpg

From pink converses to a pair of roller blades every present was opened with a typical Marjo smile. On the drive home along the freeway we were overtaken at 160km/h by what could be the future of French travel; this weaving, single person car/bike invention,

original.jpg

With the stress of the last two weeks finally behind me, and the next few weeks falling into place I have been able to sit down, relax and enjoy some of the best things this region has to offer. Cheese, bread, wine and the odd conversation in a café with a good looking French girl.

Garrett in Draguignan;

Posted by clancy_of_ 00:11 Archived in France Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Little Waves of Hope;

Draguignan; France

sunny 26 °C

For the past two weeks I have been catching up with relatives in the south of France, whilst waiting for my ever elusive French passport to arrive from Sydney so I can start working. The passport had been sent to Sydney two months later than originally indicated, meaning that I was already on the other side of the world when it arrived. I sent a fax from Morocco on the 5th of April explaining that I would not be able to pick up my passport from Sydney and that if it was possible could the French consulate please send it to Draguignan where I would pick it up on my arrival. On the 22nd of April I was meant to head to Biarritz on the other side of France near the Spanish border to begin work for the summer season, however by the 16th of April my passport had still not arrived, so I decided to call the French consulate in Sydney. The opening hours or the consulate are from 9am to 1pm AEST; which with the time difference meant I had to call from France between 1am and 5am. When I finally got through to the consulate at 2:15am; I was told by the “very helpful” French woman that my passport was being sent on the 19th and would arrive in; 6 weeks! Heading to Biarritz during the next month went out the window, and I had to begin thinking about finding work in the region.

The next day we made the trip to the tourist mecca that is St Tropez. With it’s €30 million yachts and even more impressive beach side houses, it is a place where money definitely does matter.

Garrett_019.jpg

We met up with a distant relative of ours, Jean Paul Vasse, with whom we sailed around the bay admiring the beaches and houses with their $50 million price tags. Stories of drug trafficking and mafia connections surround most of the multi million dollar homes; and the list of celebrity holiday getaways just goes on and on and on.

Garrett_014.jpg

Over lunch we talked about our distant family connections with the 18th century French sailor Timothy Vasse; whom the town of Vasse in Geographe Bay is now named after, and the possibility of me working in St Tropez for the next 5 weeks whilst waiting for my French passport to arrive.

On a positive note; the south of France at my grandparent’s house isn’t the worst place in the world to be stuck.

Garrett_001.jpg

Garrett_004.jpg

I have spent the past week indulging in French food, wine and weather, seeing relatives and lazing by their pool that overlooks the town of Draguignan and south towards St Tropez. The only thing that this place lacks, is the surf that is currently hitting Biarritz on the Atlantic coast; however the wake behind the Vasse’s boat did provide some little waves of hope;

Garrett_008.jpg

Garrett in Draguignan; France

Posted by clancy_of_ 00:04 Archived in France Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Essaouirian Life and France Bound

Morocco/France

sunny 32 °C

Fresh from two weeks of travelling on second rate buses; eating roadside bbq's of meat offcuts; cold showers; squat toilets and the complete absence of the english language. The Australian welcome at the very 'chilled' riad "Dar Afram" in Essaouira's medina came as a comforting surprise. The riad, hidden down a small Moroccan alley has no signing indicating it's location except for a small "Dar Afram" and guitar on the front door; giving a little incite as to the overall vibe of the riad; music.

IMG_0002.jpg

Taz the Moroccan/Australian from Newcastle with his completely aussie accent showed me round th riad with it's 5 floors and rooftop terrace looking out over Essaouira and the atlantic ocean.

IMG_0463.jpg

The Riad's musical vibe is in no small part as a result of Taz's dad. Owner of the riad he travelled the world with his band "Dar Afram" during the seventies and eighties and brings his musical talent to the riad with regular outbursts of singing and guitar jams. The Afram feasts are served at around 8 each night; cous cous, tagines, soups, fruits are all served in the communal dining area filled wih traditional Morocan lounges surrounded by slowly burning candles. Providing the perfect atmosphere to chat away the night passing around the odd 'Morrocan delicacy' whilst jamming on the digeridoo and guitars.

IMG_0445.jpg

Essaouira has had a massive boost in the level of tourism over the past few years and this has resulted in the opening of several clubs, or 'boit de nuit'. On my second night I had been given the directions to the club and began to walk along the medina wall; I walked past a restaurant with a few men standing out the front and asked one of them if they knew where the bar was;
'upstairs' whispered the big moroccan. Five flights of stairs later the floor opened out with a DJ, stretched bar and around a hundred people, mostly westerners, were lounged about drinking a few 'illegal' Beck's and Heineken's. The price of alcohol in Morocco is about twice that of Australia especially after midnight when the prices go up even further; this doesn't seem to affect the Morrocan's however as they tend to be fairly out of it after one or two beers. When I was at the bar talking to a girl from Sweden and just avoiding a fight with a drunk fifty year old Italian; I heard another familiar accent from across the bar and was invited back to the 'Australian' table; the group of three blonde, one brunette Australian girls had a swarm of Morrocan guys around them trying their hardest to impress the 'beautiful foreign goddesses'.
"You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen." and
"I am a pro kitesurfer" seemed to be their favourite pick up lines for the night. We sat around in the Morrocan lounges until around 2; chatting, drinking and dancing, to sweet arabic beats.

For the next few days I felt like I was back in Australia with all my time spent with Australian's; drinking, bargaining in the souqs, jamming on guitars and tanning on the riad roof.

IMG_0448.jpg

After the night before's hassles from the Morrocan guys; we ended up chillin in the riad and drinking classy Morrocan wine into the night. With the music being provided by someones mobile; Young Mc - Bust a Move.

Photo_015.jpg

The Aussie girls headed back to their jobs in London; Taz continued to work in Morocco; and I headed off to Marrakesh to catch my flight to France. With a few more glasses of wine to kick off easter and to mark an end to a sweet adventure along the coast of Morocco.

Photo_011.jpg

An Australian couple Anouk and Nathan who were travelling round the world with the theme of hiking in mind had just arrived in Morocco from Nepal and were off to the High Atlas to trek some more; they had hours of stories from Nepal to tell and made my trip seem like luxury in comparison to some of the things they had to deal with.That arvo I managed to score a lift on an earlier bus to Marrakesh allowing me to avoid missing my plane.

I then arrived via taxi into the chaos that is Marrakesh airport on the last day of the Easter long weekend. With ticket machines bursting open; "free plane ride anyone?";

IMG_0464.jpg

Delays, cancelations and more delays; it began to feel as though no one was going to get out of Morocco that night. Each plane tha arrived was accompanied by cheers from the hundreds of people sitting around on the floor of the Morrocan airport doing their best to pass the time.

IMG_0467.jpg

Three American girls I was talking to had a really good story;
They are studying in Barcelona and had come to Morocco for a week; they had a plane to Barcelona that morning but slept through their alarm and missed their flight. Because it was easter, everything was booked out but there was a flight at 7pm to Madrid from which they could catch the 5 hour train to Barcelona. They waited at the airport from 7am till 7pm to be told their plane would be delayed by an hour. Then an hour later they said it would be a further hour; then an hour later they announced it would be delayed again for an hour. Then finally at aroun 10pm they were told that the flight had been cancelled. The Easyjet representative stood up and told this crowd of a hundred fuming Spaniards and the three American girls, that they promised they would have an alternative flight for them to Madrid within.......
yes....within "14 DAYS!". Welcome to Morocco.

I was lucky and my flight was only delayed by 4 hours leaving at 12pm; I arrived in Marseille at 4am and everything in the airport was closed. By this time I had been awake for 21 hours; I then had a 4 hour wait in the airport which involved constant trips to the espresso machine. It is now 12pm and I am finally settled in; in an hour I will have been awake for 30 hours and after the hassles of the past few days; I am definitely ready to sleep.

Morocco was incredible; a country of many colours with something to appeal to everyone, I will definitely be back. Amazing Adventure.

IMG_0299.jpg

Garrett in Marseille; France.

Posted by clancy_of_ 23:39 Archived in Morocco Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Coast Road;

Essaouira; Morocco

sunny 27 °C

The day had arrived; where Sidi Ifni and my 5x3m room were to no longer be my home. The sunsets, waves, poker nights, pool games, excited kids, didgeridoo jams, tagines, cous cous and the amazing Sidi Ifni crew were to be left behind as Yoan and I embarked on our 5 and a half hour journey north to the coastal town of Essaouira.

111.jpg

The winding narrow roads didn't help my raging stomach which was already recovering from a few nights of street side barbeques at $1 a burger. And the unexpected culinary adventure that Renaud and I embarked on; when amongst the meat in our sheep tagine we came across a well cooked sheep's testical. With true moroccan spirit and after several minutes deliberation we decided to go halves; and slowly but successfully ate the Moroccan delicacy.

Image51.jpgImage61.jpg

We arrived in Essaouira just after sunset; it was the start of the Easter long weekend and the town was packed with tourists. After the slowness of pace in Ifni and the complete lack of tourism the bustling medina with its souqs and hustlers felt a bit to much. It felt exactly like the scene of The Beach; where after a few weeks in a tropical paradise, returning to the usual tourist route makes you realise just how good that paradise you had was. We searched around for the hotel Riad Dar Afram ran by some Australian Morrocan's; but they were booked for the night. Yoan had lived in Essaouira for a couple of months and new a sweet location just south on the beach where we could crash and sleep in the car; we drove down the 4WD track to the beach where we crashed for the night, and awoke to the sounds of some small waves breaking just over the dunes.

11.jpg

Yoan headed off at 8 the next morning to continue his trek up to Spain; whilst I went back to Dar Afram to crash and begin my few days exploring the souqs, medina and beaches that surround this sweet little coastal community.

Garrett in Essaouira; Morocco.

Posted by clancy_of_ 07:00 Archived in Morocco Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

(Entries 16 - 20 of 31) « Page 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 »