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01: UK-Scandinavia
02: France
03: Spain-Portugal
04: Andalucia off-road
05: Morocco: Fes/Marrakech
06: Morocco: Atlas/Sahara Safari
07: Gibraltar, Switzerland, Italy
08: Turkey
09: Syria
10: Jordan
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Kirsten writes about exploring the Middle East

Kirsten's dispatch about her Indian adventure

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Current Status:
Back home in Seattle as of 1 August 2001

London Bombay Cebu

Normandy Landing...
by Jim Laurel

Dispatch #2, Transit through France
19 October 2000
Capbreton, France
After a few days enjoying London and making final preparations, it was time to head south. We got a late start from Woking and raced down the M25 motorway to get to Poole in time to catch our ferry to Cherbourg, France. By some miracle, we made it in time, and even though we were late, the British police and customs officers spent a little time to chat and learn more about our trip.

Quicktime VR panorama. Click to view.

A short drive from Cherbourg brought us to Briquebec, where we had booked a Chateau online earlier that day. As we looked around for the hotel, we admired the most prominent structure in town - a beautifully lit 12th century castle. As we rounded the corner, we noticed the signs to our hotel pointing straight through the portcullis! The chateau was located right inside the castle walls and was very comfortable. The restaurant was our first encounter with French cuisine, which is everything you ever heard. Wherever we went in France, the food was just fantastic.

My Dad was always fond of W.W.II movies, and I've seen them all. So, we had to go and check out the Normandy landing site, where the Allied forces landed in 1944, ousted the Germans, and turned the tide of the war. We tried to explain the significance of the place to Connor and Kirsten, but they were far more interested in hunting for sea shells and flying their kites on the beach. Ever the beachcomber, Kirsten spotted an unusual object that she later turned in to the D-Day museum. The manager there commented that it may indeed be an artifact from the battle in 1944 - perhaps the remains of a syringe.

We spent all too little time in Normandy and I can't wait to return one day. We made for Paris, thinking we would drop by for a quick visit, but didn't realize what a huge, sprawling city it is. We hit the most incredible traffic around 40km outside the city, which kept getting worse as we got closer. Beating a hasty retreat to a local Chateau, we decided to keep moving south. We were already behind schedule and Paris would wait.

On Tuesday, the Land Rover decided to throw us a few curves. As we roared down the A10 motorway, we heard a loud POP, followed by the naked whine of the turbocharger. Fortunately, the problem was simply that one of the turbo hose had popped off, and 2 minutes with the Leatherman had it reattached, and we were on our way. A few hours later, in Blois, the clicking noises we'd been hearing from the front end of the Land Rover started getting much worse. By chance, we spotted a Land Rover agent, and stopped to have a quick checkup. The diagnosis was that the front radius arm bushings were shot. Spares could be rushed in from Lyon, and repairs could be carried out the next day. Sure enough, our mechanic, Olivier, completed the repairs the next afternoon and once again, we were on our way toward Spain.

Next dispatch: Onward to Spain and Portugal!

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