Archive for November 2019

Brecon Beacons Farewell   6 comments

The last weekend at home before TJS went back to University and chance for a last walk together for a while. He’d been keen to try the Snowdon Horseshoe but when I told him the time we’d have to get up, his keen-ness diminished. Given the choice he opted for a Brecon Beacons classic.

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The route up from the car park above the Talybont Reservoir, along the edges above the Caerfanell valley, round to Fan y Big and Cribyn and back down the Roman Road.

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A route we’ve done many times and the long walk perched along the edges above deep valleys is perfect for a blustery late summer day

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We got caught up amongst a large group other walkers who set off while we were halfway through their party who then proceeded to walk along without stepping aside and letting us past. Is it just me that thinks that’s a breach of hiker etiquette.

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Still, can’t let it spoil a great day.

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Turning westwards the views change to vistas across most of mid-Wales as far as Pumlumon and Cadair Idris.

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And of course the summit of South Wales, Pen y Fan.

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We stopped for lunch in sheltered spot on the slopes of Fan y Big before the steep climb and perfect edge along to the summit of Cribyn, one of the Beacons finest peaks.

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Returning to the col, its the long walk along the old road past the Neuadd Reservoirs although the larger one has been dry for many years now, such that it’s pretty much back to how it must have looked before its creation.

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As we passed the lower lake, the path was closed and lots of building and engineering work in evidence. Perhaps there is something wrong with the dams and they are repairing them. Remains to be seen whether that’s true and whether it’s better to see the valley in its natural state or with the dams and reservoirs restored. Having spent many of younger years exploring the Elan valley, I have a fondness for these dams and the landscape they create. There is something elegant about these Victorian constructions.

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Back along the Taff trail and along the road to finish the day. Next weekend the prodigal son returned to University and his own life as we faced the dwindling summer and a long winter that seems exceptionally long after two back to back weekends of dreary grey skies and rain.

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Llyn Peninsula – Coastal Walks   8 comments

We did plenty of walking during a week in Wales. I’ve rolled them all into one long post otherwise I’ll never catch up the blog!

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First up, one of our regular classics. A trip down to the far end of the peninsula, parking up on the summit of Mynydd Mawr, kicking things off with a picnic in the sun.

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Its a grand spot with panoramic views out across to Bardsey and back along the spine of the peninsula towards Snowdonia.

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The colours were just amazing. Deep blue sky, azure sea, purple heather and yellow gorse.

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There is plenty of up and down as you head NE towards Mynydd Anelog to work off that picnic.

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More sensational views as the path is largely well above the waterline

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Up onto Mynydd Anelog another of the Llyn’s magnificent view points.

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Happy campers enjoying a marvellous summer stroll.

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Final views from Mynydd Mawr before heading back for some beach fun.

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Later in the week while others played on the beach me, TJS and TBF went out for another walk, this time to The Rivals. It was a late in the afternoon so we planned to do two of the three.

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More stunning purple heather and more stunning vistas.

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Looking back at the high summit of Yr Eifl from the third and un-named Rival.

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It may not have a name but its a wonderful little summit. The climb from behind the Mobile Phone mast is up a carved set of steps through the scree and the views from the summit every bit as good as others in the area, if not better.

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We were lucky to catch the summit under such a clear sky making the views even better (it was a bit dreary the last time we were up here).

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This range of hills tucked between Snowdonia and the peninsula are just begging a walk one of these days although I know almost nothing about them.

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Its pretty much 1,500 feet straight down to the sea making for amazing coastal panoramas.

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Time to head back down to the col for the steep climb to the highest point.

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A view down the steep steps that take you up/down to the phone mast.

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The third of the Rivals, the magnificent hill fort of Tre’r Ceiri.

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And the view back to our first peak. The cloud had rolled in while we climbed, heralding some overnight rain but a cracking afternoon out.

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No trip to the area is complete without and ascent of my favourite small hill, Carn Fadryn (although this is its little sibling)

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As always a team outing that all the families enjoy.

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It was a tag-team sort of week with comings and goings of various people. EWO had joined us by now.

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A couple of photos from a very short local walk along the cliffs at Towyn, curtailed by clouds of horrid black flies.

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There is one in the photo below for proof.

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On our last day, the cast had changed again. The Silverdale Massive had gone home but numbers were swelled by TYG and Z from Harrogate.

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We took a walk around the coast at Whistling Sands, Porth Oer.

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There were dark clouds and storms scudding across the sky but as the day progressed the blue sky took hold and it was fabulous walk.

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Team photo.

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We wandered along the coast and then returned to the small summit of Mynydd Carreg.

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Me and TJS had been up here a few years back on a dreary day when it was in the cloud.

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As you can see, yet another of the Llyn Peninsula’s seemingly endless collection of a small hills with great views.

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I love this part of the world. An irresistible combination of stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, and small mountains. Despite this, it still seems little known (relatively speaking) and uncrowded. A gem.

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Llyn Peninsula – On the Beach   6 comments

Still in August on the blog and memories from a grand week up our regular haunt at Towyn Farm on the Llyn Peninsula.

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This year we were visiting at the end of summer rather than the start due to various other commitments.

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The weather gods were generous and we had a week of glorious sunshine apart from one grey day albeit a bit windy and chilly in the second half of the week. The only heavy rain was overnight and all was dry after breakfast.

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The first post will be beach focused and the second around our walking outings.

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We were first to arrive to a very packed campsite so on the first afternoon we took a trip out to Porth Dinllaen for a walk on the beach and along the coast.

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The views across the bay to the Rivals was superb and the weather was hot, calm and sunny.

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The added bonus is the presence of the Ty Coch Inn right on the beach. Its only accessible on foot and a fine spot to put a pub.

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The beach was packed with families and everyone enjoying a drink. We decided to join in for a lunchtime beer. The ambience was such that one drink morphed into several hours and three more drinks. It set the holiday off to a great start and we laughed and talked as a family (fuelled by a few beers for me and TJS I should add)

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We were on and off the local Towyn beach all week in some pretty glorious weather, swimming, snorkelling, chucking frisbees, playing cricket and boules and generally enjoying life.

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The windy weather fetched up some pretty decent waves and we had a couple of really good body-boarding sessions.

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The DBs in particular were enjoying the rides

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A fabulously clear and sunny afternoon, one of many that week.

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Sunsets from the campsite are always feature of a visit here.

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As it was later in the year evening fun on the beach was curtailed by the earlier darkness. This did give us an excuse to sit around the fire most evenings despite the chilly temps.

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Our last day was remembered for as high a tide here as I can remember, pushing waves right up to the base of the earthy cliffs.

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It made our game of boules quite interesting.

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A great finish to a great week from the last hurrah of summer

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The Reliable Go To…..   6 comments

When faced with an opportunity for a short walk on a showery day, the Sugar Loaf always fits the bill.

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This is such a long way back in time that I only have the vaguest recollection of the day so I have to rely on the photographs

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Clearly heavy showers were in abundance judging by said photos.

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I don’t recall getting wet though.

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Clearly August though judging by the lush green of the bracken.

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And the purple of the blooming heather.

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I think it was a warm and sultry day (TJS rarely wears shorts so it can’t have been cold)

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And TBF is down to T-shirt as further evidence of warm weather.

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A fine summit I’ve climbed many times and will no doubt continue to treat it as one of my “go-to” walks.

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Expansive views over to the Forest of Dean.

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Anf a fine viewpoint for Ysgyryd Fawr

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Probably a great walk I enjoyed!

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Posted November 18, 2019 by surfnslide in Black Mountains, Walking

Tagged with , , ,

Weekend in London   9 comments

Brief post going back to early August. I’d arranged a trip tp Wembley to watch the Community Shield match between Man City and Liverpool. Rather than travel down for the day I treated the family to a weekend away (it was TJF’s birthday).

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No major new adventures but we took in some classics on the Saturday starting with a walk along the South Bank from Westminster to London Bridge.

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Lunch in Borough Market was followed by a trip to Greenwich via The Shard.

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Docklands Light Railway and the Greenwich foot tunnel under the Thames.

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I’ve vowed on recent city visits to spend a little more time sitting down enjoying drink rather than covering the distance. We therefore spent a very happy hour or so and a couple of pints at the Trafalgar Inn on the river bank.

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Needing to walk off the excesses before a meal we took a walk through Hyde Park along the Serpentine.

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And then along to Chinatown via Trafalgar Square.

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A slap up Chinese meal was enjoyed before we waved goodbye to TJS (he was staying with a friend) and to a walk back and forth across across the Hungerford Footbridge before heading back to our Airbnb in Hammersmith.

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A brief wander around the expanding zone of skyscrapers in the city before meeting UF and THO for a curry in Brick Lane before the footy, the next day.

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The Funsters were off to the Theatre to see a show while we went off to enjoy the match. A view along Wembley Way.

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And a packed Wembley Stadium for the match – City won on penalties which finished off a great weekend.

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Amongst the Bracken   17 comments

To steal some words from the current political debate. Its time to stop talking about Europe and focus on an ambitious domestic agenda. Apologies for the spurious HTML code that WordPress have kindly inserted. Took me several attempts just to convince it to post what I’d actually written. Hopefully it’s a one off glitch.

I’m further behind with the blog than I think I ever have been. 3 months and several days out, weekends and week long trips.

Lets kick off with a short walk around Blorenge, the large mass the overlooks Abergavenney.

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A grey and humid day so this walk has the advantage of high start and very little climbing as well as nice combination of interesting stuff and expansive views.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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The Black Hole or Pwll Ddu to give its welsh name.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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And here things went a little awry. I’ve done this walk over grassy fields and paths in early spring. In Autumn, Bracken is king and it had taken over. It was passable but no place for shorts with nettles hiding at calf height. It was only about 200 yards of this tangle but it did put something of a damper on the day.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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Things improve for the walk around Gilwern Hill with its disused quarries and strange artificial ridges.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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Perched above the Usk Valley its a fine stroll – and no bracken.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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Past the old workings and water features that powered the mines and quarries.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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We stopped for lunch and TBF decided she’s had enough with a bad shoulder.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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Me and TJS carried on with the walk around the edges of Blorenge and back over the summit. More superb views over Abergavenny and Ysgyryd Fawr.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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Storms were nearby that seemed to creep ever closer but never quite reached us.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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Finishing off by meeting up with TBF at the car by the Pen Fford Goch Pond.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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Top walk – just avoid the bits above the quarry in summer!

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Paris Stopover   23 comments

On our way home from Nice we had to change trains in Paris so decided to stop over for a couple of days. Nice journey along the coast in First Class on the TGV!

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Our first afternoon and evening was gloomy with the threat of heavy storms. We managed to avoid getting wet and enjoyed a nice walk down to the river.

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A chance to watch the Eiffel Tower “sparkle” as it does every hour.

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The stormy weather was the precursor to a seriously hot spell, much hotter than the Med where we’d just come from. Temperatures were predicted to reach 40C and above while we were travelling home. We vowed to head home if temps got too much and were out early to enjoy while we could.

We headed first to Montmartre for a walk around the interesting streets and found there are windmills up there. Memories of Holland. This one is Le Moulin de la Gallette (windmill of the savoury pancake if I’m not mistaken)

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This intriguing creation is Le Passe-Muraille – a man seemingly stuck in a wall. Odd but worth a look.

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The streets behind the tourist scrum at Sacre Coeur are wonderful and well worth seeking out if you are sick of selfie obsessed tourists.

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Sacré-Cœur itself is truly stunning even with the crowds and on a blue sky day is an arresting sight. As before the queue to gain entrance was more trouble than its worth so we admired from outside.

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Views over the city from here are very fine indeed.

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Needing lunch and keen to visit somewhere new we headed down to the the Canal de St Martin.

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It was lovely down there with an expansive waterfront and lots of happy people enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon.

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After a lunch in one of the restaurants we strolled along the waters edge.

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I was especially taken with this remote controlled speedboat which was amazingly fast and very cool – I wanted one immediately!

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There were areas to take boats out and even a spot reserved for swimming although the water looked of rather dubious quality.

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We were planning a walk around the Parc de la Villette but it was hot by now so we returned to the apartment for a break.

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I took a few photos of our neighbourhood from the street and the apartment balcony.

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One of our favourite spots from our last visit was St Germain with its numerous restaurants. We headed back for a meal out via one of my favourite spots from last time, the Eglise Saint Suplice, stunning as always in the late afternoon sunshine.

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A post meal walk along the Seine to look at how Notre Dame is recovering from the fire.

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Luckily its two signature towers were not damaged.

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A glorious sunset on wonderful warm evening, one the advantages of hot daytime weather

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And back past the odd looking Pompidou centre on the way home.

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Following day was a scorcher. We took a trip to look at the Eiffel Tower from the Jardins du Trocadero and its massive water jets.

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They are rather impressive. The days after when the temperatures soared the restrictions on “no swimming” were relaxed allowing people to cool off.

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We took a picnic lunch out in the Jardins du Luxembourg. They are absolutely stunning but by now the heat really was soaring and we had the briefest look around before we decided enough was enough.

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Ironic that we’d looked forward to our trip to Paris to escape some of the heat of the Cote D’Azure only to find it hotter here!

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After another splendid meal in St Germain we took a last walk back to the apartment via the Institut de France.

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The setting sun over the water and the bridges was sublime

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On the footbridge of the Post des Arts was one final treasured moment. This brass group – Mouettes et Carbons – were playing and they were superb. They were covering tracks I’d never heard played with a brass vibe before. New life given to tracks such as “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Under Pressure”

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A couple of clips to show how good these guys were. Just watching and listening to them (they were great fun as well as great musicians) in the evening sun overlooking the Seine was a treasured memory.

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A fitting finish to a superb trip!

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And a final sunset picture as the sun set on our trip. Just a matter of 3 months of blog posts to catch up on now!

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