I love travel, looking at other places, into other lives exploring off the beaten track, a casual beer in a little French village or a coffee in a trendy cafe in the middle of Paris. History and modernity sitting side by side.
I had intended to travel through France and then the UK for about 2 months or more without a set plan and depending on finances and how things went would determine the what and when. But after a fabulous 6 weeks I have decided that the time I've had is long enough away from family and friends. It was great to have a break and a good look around Paris, Dijon, Nimes, Avignon, Uzes and Capestang plus a side trip to Barcelona and London.
I love France and recommend that everyone visit in their lifetime. Go to Paris and do the usual tourist things, but then get out of Dodge, go see the smaller towns, stay in a little French village for a week and experience village life, its fantastic. We need more little villages in New Zealand, not cities and car parks, village squares and communities.
Be sure to go look at the art in these cities, galleries and museums, Picasso, Dali et al. Go see the history of civilisation, the Romans, the Vikings, Islamic and Christian, most French towns have this history mixed in with their everyday life, they take it for granted but it's fascinating to see where we have all come from.
Of course they also have scenery, beaches and (bloody) shops! They have nice food, cheap nice wine (and BEER) but terrible coffee although Cuillier in Montmartre makes nice coffee, plus nice coffee in Dijon and Barcelona (which I know is in Spain), but most everywhere else in France, nope!
They drink their beer cold thank god, Grimbergen Blonde is a mighty fine wheat beer, not seen in NZ yet, but if it does get there I'll be first in boots and all.
Transport is easy once you figure it out, and it's better to get frustrated figuring it out than ask a Frenchman, you'll inevitably get sent on a wild goose chase and be worse off than if you had not figured it out yourself.
Learn some French and they'll respect you, don't look too much like a tourist and be sure they know you are a kiwi, they like us kiwis.
Barcelona is cool, will go back to explore more at some stage and London was great with plenty more to see there too.
I'll be back Europe, Scotland is next! Home to recharge the bank account and plan the next trip.
Amusez-vous et vous voir tous les bientôt.