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Dear Diary:

7th October 2007  -  France 2007 Rugby World Cup

My first stop in France for my RWC tour was Lyon where I got to see Australia take on Japan just as I had in 2007 at the Soccer World cup! I guess the result of the Rugby game was a bit more certain, as the final score was 91-3. Pip and I were in the stand while young Luke was on the ground taking the pictures. I was only in town for one night, but as a first stop it was FAB! The atmosphere outside the game was tops. I think the guy getting most attention was a chap from Argentina in his Pumas top as France had lost the previous evening to them.

The next stop for me at the RWC was Bordeaux and the Australia Vs Canada clash. As expected, Australia won the game 37-6. Sadly my old team mate from Canada was injured so I did not get to see him place. But with the fantastic atmosphere I had a fantastic time for sure. I guess that easy when you are with so many old and new mates as again Luke was in town as was his sister Monique and her other half Angus (Congrats guys!!!!) and my old travel buddies from Central America Al and Robin!

The day after the game, all of the gang headed out in various directions and I was joined in Bordeaux by my old Soccer World Cup mate Jenny. She too was going to Australia’s next game in Marseilles and decided to take a few days off and hit the motorways and back streets of France with me for a few days on the way to the game.

Our first stop was of course a Bordeaux vineyard. As I was driving I only had a sip, but it was a nice sip. Just having a few grapes off the vine was very very yummy in deed! We got to see more or less the complete process and in a few years it will be interesting to see if I can get a hold of the vintage they were making.

From the vineyard we headed to the lovely town of Bergerac where we stayed on a small farm just outside of town. If you ever do a driving trip through France, hit the tourist offices and get some of the very good maps they have a book some of these lovely B&Bs is my tip of the day.

The next day we drove north to a small French village named Oradour-sur-glan. Back in the 70’s, a British broadcaster but out what is considered to be the definitive documentary of World War II entitles “The World At War”. It was about 30 episodes and covers just about every aspect of the conflict. The thing I always remembered from this show was the opening of the first and last episodes. It’s a swooping helicopter shot of Oradour.

In 1944 a few days after the Allied D-Day landings, SS troops surrounded the village and slaughtered every man woman and child. All told 642 people were killed in a single afternoon. The village remains more or less unchanged from that faithful day as a monument to those who perished. If you would like to know more, click here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane) for a good link or just use google.

Click here for some of the video I took during my visit.

From Oradour we started heading south to Montpellier. Along the way I got to be a geek and drive across the Millau Viaduct. It’s an amazing bit of human engineering that for sure!

We spent a day in Montpellier where I guess Aussie were welcome as it’s where Australia were based in the lead up to the RWC. All of the signs for the cup were still up despite having hosted all of its games.

Next we headed the short distance up the motorway to Nimes were would be based for the Australia Vs England game in Marseilles (Getting a cheap place in the game city was next to impossible). Here were joined by Al and Robin once again and off to Marseilles we headed to see the grudge rematch. Needless to say I was as cocky as any Aussie and felt it was time for revenge! All I can say to that is a big fat DOH!!!

It was a top atmosphere once again and we met up with loads of mates before and after for a beer or three, so I guess the pain of Australia loosing was dulled. At this point I’d like to offer a *HUGE* *MEGA* tanks for Like and Pip for organising all of the tickets to the RWC games! Thanks guys! You rock!

Any way, later that night Jenny, Robin, Al and I were back in a Nimes bar and yes I felt even better when New Zealand went crashing out too! Do you realise that there will soon be 20 year old New Zealanders who have never lived in a world where they were world champions!

Having had a bit of a butchers at Nimes, Jenny and I headed out in the direction of firstly Cannes and then Nice. I can’t say I was to impressed with the old Côte d'Azur coast it self. There are defiantly parts of Nice I would NOT want to break down in! But its ticked off in my things of to dos any way.

Perhaps the best place in the area we visited was a small hill top village named Vence. We were put onto this place by Luke and Pip and you were spot on guys! It’s lovely.

Any way, with time running out for my trip, we headed back to Chamonix for a few days of RNR and then it was time to head back to Amsterdam and the “real world”.

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