The Road To Home – Balledent Day 5

All roads lead to home. Or at least if you keep going, eventually you’ll get there – it just might take a lot longer than you expected. This is what we discovered on our final day in Balledent.

The morning started off well. We packed our bags and headed down to the village bar for some last drinks and conversation with the locals. Internet access may have been another reason for our visit, as the WiFi had gone down in our house and there was no data connection to be found. As my sister reminded us constantly throughout the trip, keeping Snapchat streaks alive was crucial – there was just no way to survive without internet for 24 hours!

13925080_1313045335372246_4416542967053568318_n

We made our way slowly back to the house, greeting the sheep and the sheepdog on our way, both of which were enjoying a lazy morning. Then it was straight to the airport and onto the plane. We waved goodbye to France, at least for the moment.

From Stansted Airport, our journey home should have been simple. Just hop onto the National Express coach that would take us all the way to Brighton. Little did we know we’d encounter a blockage on the bridge, bringing us to a standstill for hours. When we were finally able to pass and arrive at London Victoria, we missed our connecting coach by a single minute.

14034927_1313045328705580_1288034876736173300_n

Another hour’s delay and we were onboard for the final leg of the journey. We arrived in Brighton in the early hours of the morning, and collapsed into bed. I was up again not long after to go to work, throwing myself back into a boring everyday routine, longing for the next getaway. But I would never forget our amazing experience in the village of Balledent.

Advertisements

By The River – Balledent Day 4

Travel can take a lot out of you. Rushing from the plane to the train to the bus and back again. Constantly double checking you have all your possessions while simultaneously planning your route to the hotel and trying to keep an eye out for any sign of English in this foreign country.

Sometimes it’s a relief to have some of this stress lifted off your shoulders. Staying with family, having a friend pick you up, or just planning a break in your itinerary can help. At the end of the day, my aim is to explore cultures around the world, not rush through them so I don’t remember a thing. It’s important to slow down and see what you can discover around you.

13903411_1313045045372275_2347762093436619730_n

That’s why our fourth day in the French countryside was spent in Bellac, a slightly larger village next to the one we were staying in. This one had a supermarket, though, where we could stock up on food supplies, and I could add to my postcard collection which just grows alarmingly larger with every trip. There was also some beautiful scenery to admire as we drove through.

The winding cobbled road through the centre lead over a bridge and down to a cafe by the river, where we could sit and relax, enjoying the fresh breeze across our faces. It was also the perfect opportunity for a photoshoot.

13902773_1313045292038917_2727036907425285594_n

Once the sun began to set, we returned to our accommodation and spent the evening experimenting with hair chalk. I added some purple hue to my already green hair while my sister put some red streaks in hers. The effect was quite subtle but I liked it.

What do you guys think?

13962714_1313045192038927_1818476268808263076_n

The Land of Old and New – Balledent Day 3

Its name made legendary worldwide for beautiful porcelain, and more locally for the Limousin cattle farmed in the neighbouring countryside, Limoges is a town steeped in history but not afraid to embrace the new.

The trade secret that made Limoges famous is the kaolin found in the rich soil of Limousin which makes up the Limoges porcelain paste. Now the centre of porcelain production in France, many of the porcelain factories are available to visit, along with the National Museum of Porcelain that is another demonstration of pride in their work.

The centre of Limoges dates back to the 14th century with cobble-lined streets lined with various town shops. These streets saw the occupation of Edward, the Black Prince, who in 1370 massacred over 300 residents during the cruel siege, after which he was obliged to leave his post.

Another key historical monument is the gothic style Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, constructed over a long period from the 13th century to 1888. The key feature of the Cathedral is the tomb of the bishop Jean de Langeac engraved with scenes of the Apocalypse.


Limoges Town Hall is a beautiful building surrounded by flourishing gardens, a small taster of the sights to be found in this wonderful city. And across the road is the entrance to Limoges Aquarium, home to sharks, goldfish, and the axolotl, a unique species of salamander from Mexico. Built in 18881, the Aquarium du Limousin was originally used as an underground water reservoir for the town to avoid cholera epidemics. Now, for only 8,50 € per adult, you can discover the multi-coloured creatures that populate our seas.


A key stop on the tour of Limoges is a visit to the Centre Commercial Saint Martial, a massive shopping centre with over 60 boutiques. To stock up on affordable quality clothes, head to C&A. For some of the tastiest desserts around, stop at le Bistrot du Clos. There are many recognisable brands to be found, but there’s also the chance to discover something new.

The evening was spent at the festival of Confolens in a nearby town, enjoying the celebration of traditional folk dancing from countries around the world. I highly recommend this event, if only for the social party atmosphere which affected the entire town.


Our day trip to Limoges was a fascinating experience which we would happily repeat. At a reasonable drive away from the village of Balledent and other villages in the region, and home to a busy airport, Limoges should be a popular destination for any tourist.

One More Zoo – Balledent Day 2

Some say their goal is to visit every country in the world. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to explore every zoo. And on this day, I added another one to my list – Parc Zoo Du Reynou in Le Vigen, France.

Far off the beaten path, even the SatNav in my Aunt’s car couldn’t find it. It was my ingenious idea to navigate to the nearest town, and from there hope for a sign that would lead us to our destination. After passing several that claimed the Zoo was ‘only 100m away’, three kilometres later, we arrived.

13963093_1313041278705985_6839092382138978271_o

Selling food to feed the animals is a classic now found at many children-friendly attractions. Seemingly unique to France, however, is the choice of cuisine served – popcorn. But if the goats enjoy it, then who are we to question? Tickets are 14 € for adults.

13988100_1313039565372823_7716816755395843577_o

We wandered down the trail into the bamboo forest, and curved round to view the stone mansion hidden by towering undergrowth. With picnic tables dotted around the area, it would have been a nice place for lunch. Instead we chose to continue along the path and stop at the café by the souvenir shop.

14047215_1313041468705966_4846489879000404072_o

After food, we backtracked to visit the red pandas. Their fluffy red coats are a gorgeous sight in good weather, glowing in the sun. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see their clown antics as they scramble up and down the trees, feasting from any branch they can reach.

14054303_1313039795372800_323377890802096684_o

The Zoo is home to an array of wonderful creatures. There’s a mini yard filled with farm animals, such as donkeys, goats, and llamas. The wolves are near a giant lake, home to many birds of varying colours. Crossing the bridge will take you to the other predators, from snow leopards to barn owls.

13995408_1313040038706109_3470708898254071074_o

The African Plains are a long walk away but they’re worth the trip to see giraffes and elephants roaming free. On your way back, don’t forget to visit the monkeys and raccoons, and see one of my personal favourites, the reindeer.

13925883_1313040598706053_4061484058551184751_o

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the animals at the Zoo, so make sure to take a trip there if you’re in the area. Once we arrived back home, the rest of the day was spent entertaining guests and singing the Polish anthem to the delight of my Aunt’s neighbours.