2 months, 2 kids, 2 continents (technically)

VPS

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We had that in France on a canal boat. Water was free but you had to put in a credit card to get it to start and all they wanted was 1 Euro to confirm we were real. Caused no end of concern. Another boat helped us out so he got numerous koalas and key rings and then there was a sharing of red wine and OMG what a night
 

Pushka

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I had to sign in the UK. Of course cards in Oz aren't signed anymore so kinda pointless. Petrol was fine using ING.

We had that in France on a canal boat. Water was free but you had to put in a credit card to get it to start and all they wanted was 1 Euro to confirm we were real. Caused no end of concern. Another boat helped us out so he got numerous koalas and key rings and then there was a sharing of red wine and OMG what a night
Only you could celebrate over a euro.
 

MattA

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I had the petrol pump issue at Lille a few years ago, and now carry my 28degrees MC for that and similar purposes.
Ah. Interesting that 28degrees worked. I assumed that whatever stops me from using my cards at the unmanned pumps would affect all AU-issued cards.

Used to have 28degrees a few years back, but ditched it in favour of points earn on no-fee OS transactions (via Coles Rewards MC).

ANZ Travel Adventures, which also has no FX fees, was a late addition specifically for this trip when I looked into insurance—none of our other card insurances would cover us as it was a points booking and didn’t meet the spend requirements. Paid insurance for 4 ppl on a two month trip was coming in at $700/$800 minimum, so as ANZ had just added Covid-cover to their included insurance and only required $250 spend (quickly rebooked something on the card), the $120 AF and credit check hit was better value. Only a small (40k ANZ pts) signup bonus, sadly, although they are running a bonus points promo on in-person OS transactions that times up perfectly with this trip and makes up for the otherwise relatively poor earn rate — Rewards International | ANZ
 
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MattA

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Day trip to Saint-Émilion. This is proper big Bordeaux wine country. Much busier with tourists (mostly Americans) than the other little towns we’ve been to on this trip.

So busy, in fact, that we had to park in the overflow parking on the edge of town. On the hill with vines all around.

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We’d been here before, about 10 years ago, but that was BC. (Before Children). Bit of a different type of trip to this one.

Tried one of the fancier restaurants for lunch. “Have you booked?” he asked. We had not. “Sorry. No room.” Can’t be sure, but as I looked at the half empty restaurant I can’t help wondering if he just really didn’t want us lowering the tone bringing our kids in there…

Ended up having lunch on the balcony of a little restaurant overlooking the steepest street in town. Bit touristy, but the food was good.

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Bit of a wander around town…

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MattA

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After lunch we caught the wine train, which does a loop around the outskirts of the town. You can choose to just do the loop ~40mins, €7.50/adult, or add a stop at one of the wineries for an extra €6.

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As you can see, we had the train to ourselves.

While generally I find these tourist trains a bit naff, I thought this was a great way to see the area around the town. Views of the vineyards were sensational (and it was a hot day, so it was just nice to sit down and enjoy the breeze for a bit, tbh).

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MattA

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The winery tour part I thought was interesting too. They take you into their wine cave and give you a taste of exactly one glass of wine.

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Clearly the idea here is that you buy loads of their wine, but there was no hard sell.

Didn’t love their wine, tbh; it was nice, but at €40 a bottle, didn’t think it was worth it compared to all the amazing wines we’ve been drinking on this trip at < €10/bottle.
 
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OZDUCK

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Ah. Interesting that 28degrees worked. I assumed that whatever stops me from using my cards at the unmanned pumps would affect all AU-issued cards.

Used to have 28degrees a few years back, but ditched it in favour of points earn on no-fee OS transactions (via Coles Rewards MC).

ANZ Travel Adventures, which also has no FX fees, was a late addition specifically for this trip when I looked into insurance—none of our other card insurances would cover us as it was a points booking and didn’t meet the spend requirements. Paid insurance for 4 ppl on a two month trip was coming in at $700/$800 minimum, so as ANZ had just added Covid-cover to their included insurance and only required $250 spend (quickly rebooked something on the card), the $120 AF and credit check hit was better value. Only a small (40k ANZ pts) signup bonus, sadly, although they are running a bonus points promo on in-person OS transactions that times up perfectly with this trip and makes up for the otherwise relatively poor earn rate — Rewards International | ANZ
My 28 Degrees card didn't work at these unmanned pumps in 2013 - maybe something has changed.

Thoroughly enjoying all the phots.
 

MattA

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Speaking of cheaper wine options, yesterday afternoon we left the kids with the grandparents for half an hour in the afternoon and ducked out to Home | DOMAINE DU GRAND MAYNE about 20 mins away from our accommodation. We had a recommendation from friends from the UK who are big fans of this one. It seems they sell a lot to the UK market (even having a warehouse in Calais so the brits can go and pick up their wine on the way back to the chunnel).

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Did a tasting and picked up a few for our last couple of days in France, as well as an order for my folks (who are driving back to the UK and can take a bit more wine than we can fit in our cases).

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10 bottles in all, with our friends’ discount, came to €59 in total. Pretty good value compared to that single €40 bottle we could have bought in Saint-Émilion.

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MattA

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And today we took the kids to a zip wire adventure park: Accrobranche47 – Des-Chênes-toi Aventure Park in the trees

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Lots of fun (I do love a zip wire…) but exhausting.

They have a good range of courses so 3yo could do some of the basic ones and 8yo (plus us) could do some of the more advanced ones. (They get progressively higher and tougher, culminating in a massive zip wire over a lake).

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Probably would have been even better if the kids were just a little bit older—while 8yo is tall enough to do even the biggest ones, she felt they biggest were a bit too high/scary for her so we stopped. We’ll go back in a few years I reckon…

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MattA

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Thursday night. Back to the night market in Duras. Much busier than last week (last Thursday was a rare rainy day; it had cleared by market time but I guess that put a few people off). Today was a beautiful sunny summer day and people were out enjoying the evening. A lovely atmosphere once again.

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Got our dinner again from the chicken man… €9 for basically half a chicken plus delicious roasted potatoes.

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Crêpes for dessert…

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MattA

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And that’s just about it for us in France. One last day at the pool with old mate Terry here. He’s pretty deflated.

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Oh yeah, this is a flying forum isn’t it? Tomorrow morning we’re actually getting on a plane (hopefully) for the short hop back to London.
 
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kookaburra75

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Oh yeah, this is a flying forum isn’t it? Tomorrow morning we’re actually getting on a plane (hopefully) for the short hop back to London.
Ah, no. This is "I'm here, you're not - ha ha" Forum. That's what Trip Reports are for.

I am enjoying your trip though, and given us a few tips for future holidays in rural France.
 

ellen10

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I agree with you VPS, I love rural France, the villages, the food , beautiful countryside @MattA did you see any paddocks of sunflowers, love them in the summer. Our French friends thought I was crazy as we stopped the car and I waded into the paddock. I will be sad to see you leave France, but looking forward to the next part. Thank you
 
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I love rural France as well. There's always some ancient buildings to look at and lovely gardens, countryside and as you say the food! Fresh baguette every morning and fabulous pastries. Reading your trip report (and watching The Tour) has helped the "homesickness"! Bon retour
 

MattA

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I agree with you VPS, I love rural France, the villages, the food , beautiful countryside @MattA did you see any paddocks of sunflowers, love them in the summer. Our French friends thought I was crazy as we stopped the car and I waded into the paddock. I will be sad to see you leave France, but looking forward to the next part. Thank you
Ha. Yes. Heaps. My wife has been trying to get me to stop the car every time we pass one. Finally managed it the other day on the way back from the zip line place when there was a convenient spot to pull over and she was out snapping away. I’ll see if I can get a photo off her phone when I get a chance.
 
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