Happy New Year 2019

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This is my absolute last chance to write my New Year post and wish you all a wonderful 2019, as tomorrow is the first day of February. I have an exciting year ahead – I am going to retire on 30th June (although I shall keep up my certified translations for a few more years). Retirement will, I hope, give me more time to blog.

The view from our rental in Senglea

Travel continued to play a big role in our lives this year, with our first trip away in February, to the island of Malta, where we stayed in a flat called Marine View in Senglea with a most stunning view both day and night. There were many interesting places to visit and the weather was wonderful, but Cyprus, where we went last year, remains my favourite Mediterranean island.

Château de Chambord in the snow

A snowfall on our return provided the occasion for my most stunning photo yet of Château de Chambord which remains high on the list of our cycling destinations in summer and a great place to walk in the winter.

The bridge between La Rochelle and Ile de Ré

In April we went to La Rochelle for a long week-end and had a truly unforgettable experience at Christopher Coutanceau’s 2-star Michelin restaurant followed by lots of cycling on nearby Ile-de-Ré. It’s a very busy and lively town and it’s a great place to shop in comfort (especially for a non-shopper like myself). There’s lots of activity at night along the waterfront which made a bit of a change from the Loire in winter.

The main square of Krakov

We spent the whole of June in Germany and Poland, on our power-assisted bikes clocking up 800 kilometers for 16 days’ cycling. As ever, Germany was a pure delight. It is just so geared to cyclists with all its bike paths and rest-stops and I adore the colourful half-timbered houses in all the little towns and villages!


Poland, however, was another story. Although the major cities such as Poznan, Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow and Wraclow have an amazing network of bike paths, as soon as you get out of the built-up area, you have to take either the main road or go on mountain-bike trails for 20-year-olds in top form. One unforgettable ride through a very sandy forest had me preferring the bitumen and traffic! There are practically no pretty villages which was a great disappointment. The only exception was Gdansk which we really loved. We had an apartment outside the town and were able to cycle happily up and down the coast through the seaside vilalges as well as into the city with its beautiful baroque façades.

Miltenberg on the Main

After two weeks in Poland, we were relieved to get back to Germany and follow the Main River! Poland, despite its drawbacks, is a country on the rise economically and that was obvious everywhere we went. It was difficult to have much contact with the locals though, as they were not very welcoming on the whole.

Stunning azulejos in Porto

Our week’s holiday in autumn this year took us to Porto with Ryan Air (never again!) from the nearby city of Tours. We enjoyed the first three days in Porto, by which time we had exhausted its possibilities, including a rather hair-raising bike ride along the coast. For the next three days, we took day trains (about one-hour each way) to the very interesting historical towns of Guimaraes, Aveiro and Braga. Poland may be on the way up, but Portugal is definitely going in the opposite direction. It’s very sad to see.

A favourite view of Blois when cycling along the Loire

On the home front, we continued to cycle throughout July, August and September nearly every day, often in the evenings for a picnic on weekdays thanks to the long twilight and the amazing weather. We are now up to 5000 kms since we bought our power bikes in May 2017.

Winter walk along the Loire on a rare sunny day

The winter, so far, has been cold and rainy. I’ve been forcing myself to go for an hour’s walk every two days but it’s not very attractive. We have a yearly pass to Château de Chenonceau though which makes a welcome change.

Jean Michel kept on with the renovations at the studio flat in Blois most of the year and it is now ready for holiday accommodation on www.chatelrose.com. I amused myself with some of the decorative features but my brilliant ideas always turned out to be more time-consuming than expected. As it is in a very old building, Jean Michel had to face up to a lot of challenges as well.

Château de Chenonceau from the walking path on the other side

This coming year, especially once I have retired, we went to do more home exchanges as well. And in case anyone is wondering – we still follow the 5:2 diet twice a week and are in very good health! I miss my blog and hope that retirement really will bring me the time and energy I need to write more often! In the meantime, I would like to wish everyone a very happy and fulfilling 2019 and maybe see you over at www.loiredailyphoto.com!

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19 thoughts on “Happy New Year 2019”

  1. So good to see you pop up in my email this morning as I lie in bed with a true wet season happening all around. ( Dam was 140% when I checked a little earlier)
    Jane and I had only been discussing recently that you seemed to have gone quiet. So pleased to hear that you are both well and your post was a marvellous summary of a wonderful year of travels.
    I can imagine that you are so looking forward to retirement.
    Best wishes to you both for a wonderful 2019!

    1. Hi and all the best for a wonderful 2019 for you as well. It’s great to know that there are readers still out there :).

  2. I’m so glad to hear you will continue blogging. When I started reading your post I was under the impression that what follows it’s going to be a “good bye,” but on the contrary. Retirement is good, isn’t it? It will give you more time to travel as well (although you seem to have had a very busy year in 2018 anyway). Looking forward to reading about your future adventures All the best in 2019.

    1. Thanks Anda! I hope to find time to blog about Sicily. We’ll see. Still have to make two rentals. Have a great 2019!

  3. Chatel Rose looks fantastic! Well done to the two of you for doing all that work (and I know how much work it was!). The bathroom window roses look terrific, the floor of the main room has come up very well and the little dining table looks lovely on it. I know people are going to love the location too.

    Very nice overview of your year.

    1. Thank you Susan! I have an Australian booking in October and one in March. I have even solved my cleaner problem! Looking forward to catching up at the Saffron Fair.

  4. A belated ‘happy new year’, Rosemary.
    Your travels look fantastic as does the rental appartment. I’m sure the time up to your retirement will pass so quickly, but bring with it the time to enjoy those things that you are now having to fit in between work commitments.
    I look forward to reading more about your future travels.

    1. Hi Gaynor, I was so jealous when you retired! I’m sure the time will go quickly. I am fully booked for work until the end of February and we are having 10 days in Sicily during the second half of March.

  5. Something made me check your blog here this morning and there it was – a new posting! I loved all your adventures before and look forward to your writing of many more. Once you are six months into retirement you will wonder how you ever had time for any of that silly work!

  6. Thank you for bringing back so many great memories. My husband & I have become avid cycle tourers since we retired and have done a number of lengthy trips in France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, etc. I write a log of our trips as well. I look forward to reading more of yours and if you ever want to do a house exchange on one of the beautiful Gulfs Islands off the south west coast of Canada, let us know. I am so looking forward to our next trip in 2020.

    1. Hi Jennifer, Romania is lovely as well although not geared towards cyclists. I shall keep your island in mind for the future!

  7. I pop in every so often to see if you have found time to blog. Just delighted to find this recap of your year. Your electric bicyles were a fantastic investment. Congratulations on the 5000 km. and the decision to retire in June.

    Chateau de Chambord in the snow is magnificent.

  8. Well here it is February and I have just discovered your posts. Exciting times ahead with your retirement. You seemed to have packed a lot in this passt 12 months so it will be interesting to follow the retired you. Congratulations on the kilometres notched up on the electric bicyles. Definitely a worthwhile purchase.
    My favourite snapshot is of the snow at Chateau de Chambord, magical.
    Every best wish for the remainder of 2019.

  9. Happy retirement! Glad you will get back to blogging. I miss your blog eventhough I follow Loire Daily Photo I miss your longer posts. I’ll look up the flat in Blois.

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