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The Palace at Versailles

Versailles is quite close so we are there in no time at all.  For once parking is easy in the huge cobbled square in front of the palace.  We choose our passes for the places we want to visit in the palace and gardens and begin the tour.  An audio tour seems to be the best bet as our knowledge of this time in history is not great.  So large are the grounds that they have golf buggies and a small train to take you around the formal settings.  The forests encircle all of this.  Inside we walk through the Hall of Mirrors and the many rooms listening to the commentary.  From this neat, ordered town we leave for the coast and our final caravan park, the same one that we stayed at at the beginning of our trip some 9-10 weeks ago, before we had to turn back and ditch our purchased van.

part of the grounds
 

We come across a large supermarket and stock up on food as it is cheaper than UK.  Camping food for the next two months of our adventure which will be Britain and Ireland.  Out into the rural countryside we remember our route and follow another route along a canal and through some pretty villages.  At the caravan park the guy doesn't remember us but the woman comes out of the kitchen and welcomes us and translates an abridged version of the countries we have visited to the two drunks at the bar.  It is so funny and reminds us of the TV series "'Allo Allo".  Walking us to our camp spot the guy apologises for not remembering us and says that he has a bad 'ead cold and can't concentrate but does add some humour to the description of how to lock the doors on the shower block.

Hall of mirrors
  Putting on the radio we listen to a comedy programme in English about the forthcoming World Cup Soccer and indeed the series "'Allo Allo" is mentioned. In the last two days we have actually been listening to "The Archers" as we have been in range to pick up  BBC Radio.

Next morning we pack up for the last time and pay and check out.  This time the guy is in better form as we say our thanks and goodbyes and tell him that we are on the ferry in the afternoon for Dover.  "Dover" he says.  "You are going there today?"  "Oui"  "Then" he says, "You must remember one thing, when in Dover, drive on the left!"  I am already worried about this and how I will feel when approaching roundabouts.

in the grounds
..  which way will I want to drive around them.  We go back to the large supermarket and buy a heap of alcohol to last out our next two months.  At the docks we find the P&O queue quickly and don't realise that they have put us on an earlier ferry to our 2 pm one..  1.15pm.  The customs guy takes the two Aussie passports Andrew hands him and asks complicated questions about the length of our stay in the UK.. I ask if he would rather my British passport and he says that it is much easier.  He chats about whether we will be doing a bit of TV football match watching while here and I tell him that we have been unable to purchase an Aussie football shirt on the continent.  He placates me and tells me that he thinks I should be able to buy one in the UK.
viewed from the palace
  How wrong was he!   Have some crusty rolls with cheese and tomatoes while standing in the line and suddenly our queue is boarding.  This would be the flattest channel crossing I have ever been on though I haven't been on many!  Six I think.  English football fans are everywhere in the full kit, headed away from Germany!  Dover is awash in red and white St George crossed flags and cars have little plastic stalks with the England flag on it from their windows.  I vow to get one and put up our small Aussie flag.  Top up my UK mobile chip and we drive to London. 

Our hosts are in Greece for another few days but we have our key and they have another house guest from Germany there.  We do our washing and peg it outside on a line we rig up as the temperature is very hot.

rooms in the palace
  Next day I update my diary.  Saturday I do more diary and watch the beginning of the World Cup Soccer matches.  Sunday we top up our Oyster Card and take the trains to Highgate and visit the Cemetery..  Highgate Cemetery West.  Not the side that Karl Marx is buried in but the beautiful wild, unkempt side with the fascinating stories.  Stop for a pub lunch and buy an old bloke, sitting alone in the corner, a beer.  Our hosts get home about 9.30pm after a wonderful holiday on a Greek Island and we swap stories.

Hummingbird says:
You had such an amazing trip!! :)
Posted on: Mar 23, 2014
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The Palace at Versailles
The Palace at Versailles
part of the grounds
part of the grounds
Hall of mirrors
Hall of mirrors
in the grounds
in the grounds
viewed from the palace
viewed from the palace
rooms in the palace
rooms in the palace
9,161 km (5,692 miles) traveled
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photo by: tacco14