Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category


One is new, in the old docks area. Art by one Suzanne Treister, completed about a year ago.


In the background is the looming mass of the World War 2 U boat base.

The second dates from 1938 and is an air raid shelter in ‘Flash Gordon’ style. It’s not accessible, being behind a tall fence in what is now a large government works depôt. A nearby plaque tells its story. I assume the shape is intended to deflect bombs but the designer clearly had influences.



As with many one time dock areas, new building is fast changing the area. It is still criss-crossed with long abandoned railway tracks, but apartment blocks are springing up all over.


No sign of this civic improvement around the base, which is no longer accessible to the public except on special occasions. Signs of the damage caused in 1944 and 1945 are still visible.


Two strange shapes in Bordeaux

on August 15, 2018 by cubsur51

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As you may know by now, the whole area is littered with them. I took advantage of a couple of cool days to better explore two areas I had not before. The first was up on the hill behind the railway station, amid dense woodland. This was the location of an artillery observation tower and command post plus ancillary buildings. Modern building has encroached on the southern part of the site but, buried in the woods by the water tower, are the remains of several large structures. There’s a map showing them at
Not all are still there and some are too dangerous to enter, although not fenced off in any way.

To the north of town are the remains of several large complexes including radar stations, barracks and anti aircraft defences. Some of these are in remarkably good condition considering the years that have passed and the violent events that took place in April 1945.

The final liberation on April 20, 1945, was made after 7 days of fierce fighting, in which 380 French were killed and 843 wounded, 937 Germans killed and 3,300 taken prisoner.

My pictures –!Am0w7qp9HCpqhJh5fpg1FO-Q-CYe4A

Bunkers of Soulac

Tagged: , on August 13, 2018 by cubsur51

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I have left the coast and have returned to Bordeaux, where it is much hotter! I have a few more pictures to deal with from my time there, which will be here shortly. On Monday I am travelling to Toulouse . I have not been there for a good few years, so it will be an interesting visit. I hope to be able to visit Albi (Toulouse Lautrec and all that), maybe Carcassonne again providing it is not raining this time, or perhaps somewhere new.

I leave the seaside and return to the city

Tagged: on August 11, 2018 by cubsur51

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It was extremely hot over the weekend, not the weather to be charging around on a bicycle. Just a few pictures from a couple of walks around the town.

The local bees were busy at work.


Selfish and inconsiderate parking is not just a Portuguese thing! A busy roundabout on the edge of town. So what if the peasants have to walk into the road? Not my problem!!


About the size of a large dinner plate. Is it poisonous? You poke it with your toe and find out!


The beach area known as Les Cantines just to the north of Soulac. The cantines are the remains of sea defences built in the 1930’s.


Looking south towards the buildings at the top of the beach.


The old defences are gradually crumbling…


… and in places the sand has covered them to some depth.



Miscellany from around Soulac.

Tagged: , , on August 7, 2018 by cubsur51

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It is getting hot here, so yesterday I took the rented bike out for a gentle three hours around the village of Talais and the marshes by the river. I chanced upon a large area of blackberry bushes and a lot of the berries were ready to eat. And very nice they were too!


And a short distance down the road, the vastness of Gironde estuary at low tide. This is the western side, looking north. Just visible, as a speck to the right of centre, are the cranes at the port of Le Verdon.




Simple pleasure of a blackberry bush

Tagged: , , on August 3, 2018 by cubsur51

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Soulac-sur-mer then and now

I always find it interesting to make my own ‘then and now’ pictures, hunting down what has changed and what has not. The first one below took some doing, as the street name has changed and many of the buildings also. When the first picture was taken around 1900, the street was called Rue du Prince Noir, Black Prince street and yes it is he from English history. It is now called Rue Maréchal D’Ornano after a famous Frenchman of the late 19th century. There is now another street in town called Rue du Prince Noir. That’s actually quite strange to have a street named after him, given he wasn’t actually the nicest of people when the English ruled over Aquitaine and Gascony in his time,  the middle of the 14th century.

He has a street and a pub named after him in Lambeth, London SE1, which I knew a million years ago when I worked in that area.


The view is towards the ‘Basilica’ church. The modern post office and town hall are beyond the tall building on the left. Almost all the old buildings on the right hand side have gone.

The second picture is Rue de la Plage, the main street through the town centre.


I will try a couple more in a few days.

Soulac sur mer – a couple of then and now pictures

Tagged: on August 1, 2018 by cubsur51

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Royan and Le Train des Mouettes

Cloudy day yesterday but managed to fit in a trip across the river to Royan and Le Train des Mouettes. Their website is my pictures a little later. Here’s one as a sample. It is the oldest working steam locomotive in France, dating from 1891. A couple more samples added, I have the remainder of the pictures in the album at this moment –!Am0w7qp9HCpqhJhK9hARD1Vlfox9gQ



My itinerary :- cycle 9km Soulac sur Mer to the ferry at Pointe de Grave. Tie up the bike to a fence post. Luckily a ferry was waiting, so a 20 minute crossing to Royan, costs €3,30. Pleasant walk across the town for about 20 minutes to the bus station. Time to have a look around the area. Royan has an excellent beach right in the town, but the town itself has no architectural merit whatsoever. An ‘error’ by the US Air Force late in World War Two resulted in the town centre being bombed rather than the docks. Most of the town’s population had been evacuated, but nevertheless 442 civilians were killed and about the same number injured. Forty-seven German military were also killed.

The reconstruction of the town was in the modern brutal style, apart from the very unusual church. It was partly covered in scaffolding, but here’s a picture grabbed from the web.


After that, a bus to Saujon, cost €1,60 it was a little late then held up in heavy traffic. But no worries. At Saujon a slight navigational error meant it was a 20 minute walk to the tourist railway rather than about 12.

After the train trip, which took an hour and 20 minutes, time for a little look around La Tremblade, a little town not quite on the coast. Then another bus back to Royan, a 45 minute ride but at the same flat fare of €1,60, followed by the same walk back across town to the ferry. Ferry was just arriving, not much of a wait to get back across to Pointe De Grave, untied the bike and an easy 9km back to Soulac and some well needed beer.

Royan and Le Train des Mouettes

Tagged: , on August 1, 2018 by cubsur51

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