Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Shall we stay or Shall we go!

Shall We Stay or Shall We Go?

Friday 6th November 2015

Well, the weather is mostly holding fair so we've decided to stay an extra day on our campsite at Sully-sur-Loire and do a bit  lot more cycling!  Yesterday we cycled a little over 60kms to Chateauneuf, and today we headed in the opposite direction to Gien (58 kms this time).

Similarly to yesterday, initially we found ourselves cycling on a levee - a high embankment above the Loire, where very cleverly, they have incorporated a cycle track with a flood defence to protect the very flat farmlands that stretch for miles.  The track eventually gave way to very little used country lanes, which for a short while took us away from the Loire, and unfortunately, it was here that I managed to get a puncture.   However, as  I ride with my knight in shining armour it was all soon fixed and I didn't even have to get my hands dirty!  The very least I could do after that was provide a nice hot cup of coffee, so a bit further down the road in the village of Saint Gondon we paused at a lovely picnic site for said brew and shortbread!

After our refreshments we continued on our way and it wasn't long before we were back up on the levee with our first sights Gien coming into view.  Gien's claims to fame include Anne de Beaujeu's 14th century castle which is said to house one of the best collections in the world devoted to hunting, and The Sainte Jeanne d'Arc church.  The other item of  interest is the old 13th century medieval bridge which still transports traffic across the Loire today - I wonder how they knew to build it wide enough!

We sat and ate our lunch on the edge of the river overlooking the town, but as rain was threatening we soon found ourselves back on our bikes and peddling homewards, and while on our way we saw a huge variety of birds along the river side.

Cormorants drying it's wings

Saturday 7th November 2015

We left our excellent campsite at the side of the Loire River this morning, and as our cupboards where becoming low on supplies, we headed for Lidl to replenish them - and we were very quite surprised at the diversity of goods available.  I got everything on my list as well as these strange ‘sausage’ things.  

There doesn't seem to be any cooking instructions on the pack so we’re not sure if we should eat them as they are or cook them- maybe it will become clearer when we cut into them - anyway they are ‘deluxe’ and they look nice!

Our next goal was Bordeaux but it was a bit too far to go in one hop, so John had identified an Aire right beside a lake just outside the town of Razes.  

To get there we followed lovely leafy straight and empty roads, and then a stretch of toll free motorway so our journey was accomplished quite quickly (approx 162 miles).  However, at the end of it we did have another fuel saga - maybe we’re a bit cursed in that department because the only garage for miles was shut!  And it’s Sunday tomorrow so our only chance will be expensive fuel on the motorway.  Oh well, never mind - it'll still be cheaper than in England and if we don’t get any by the time the needle dips into the red zone we’ll just pull over into an Aire and wait till Monday.

Anyway, for now we're the only van parked up on the Aire above the beautiful Lake du Saint Pardoux, and, according to the information boards, there are miles of walking trails around it, but sadly we didn’t think we could take advantage of them because we planned to move on again in the morning.  However, for now  the sun is still shining (as it has been all day) so we are going for just a little  potter around the waters edge before we settle in for our tea.

Sunday 8th November 2015

Well, the T4rdis was a bit lonely overnight because we remained the only van on the Aire, but we had a very peaceful night and when we woke in the morning the beauty and tranquillity around us would be hard to put into words (but I’ll try!).  We opened our blinds to bright sunshine, but with mist rising from the water and the dewy grass. Additionally, there were hundreds of leaves floating down from the broad leaf trees, and the many firs that were mixed in with them were swaying gently in the breeze, so that, along with our lovely breakfast of croissants with omelette for John and fruit for me, made it another perfect morning to set us up for the day. 

We set off just after 10am, and from then on it seemed rather like we were on a bit of a merry-go-round!  We soon got back on to the main A20 and we hadn't gone to far when we spied a garage - but guess what - it was shut!  We went a bit further and I spotted another fuel station that said 24hrs - but it was on the opposite carriage-way.  We continued a bit further but didn’t see anything else, so eventually we left the motor-way but quickly doubled back onto it with the intention of stopping at the garage I'd seen earlier - but we missed the turn off, so we did another spin around this same section of motorway, and on our 3rd attempt we managed to achieve our goal.  The T4rdis was therefore a happy bunny once we'd sloshed a fair bit of diesel into her tank, but by now it was about 11ish so we were undecided weather to carry on or go back to our previous Aire to spend the day by the lake.

We saw this island with it's beautiful chrysanthemums 3 times
The later won out and we were soon parked up again with a cafe au lait debating which part of the lake to walk around - the total circumference takes about 6hrs so that was too far, our intention was to just walk for about 2hrs.   Anyway, we set off and our ramble was truly lovely, except for the bit where 2 large dogs scared me half to death.  They had been sitting with their owners by the water, but when they saw us coming they leaped to their feet and run straight at us, and although they weren't growling or barking, they didn't look friendly and their bulk hurtling towards us at a rapid rate of knots was enough to make me scream.  In the end no harm was done but it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.  

After that we finished our walk and then took our chairs and books down to the lake side for a bit or R & R,  and then it was back to the T4rdis for a pasta tea along with the odd sausages from yesterday.  We baked them in the oven, but to say the least they had a very strange texture and neither of us finished our supper - I don’t think we’ll be indulging in them again!  

Monday 9th November 2015

This morning we were up early and on our way to our next campsite just outside Bordeaux - Le Village du Lac. There's not really much to say about the journey - it was mostly non-descript motorway (A20), but as we got closer to our destination we started to see field after field of vines - we could tell we had landed in wine country!

When we arrived we were greeted by a French gentleman who spoke excellent English so finding our way around was made very easy - and as a bonus, there was an excellent 'la laverie automatique' so I was able to get all our washing done quite quickly!

The site was huge but mostly for static vans, and with only a fairly small area reserved for motorhomes and caravans, and although we got pitched quite easily, several others that arrived later were struggling. Happily for us we were quite cosily tucked up in a quiet-ish corner, but in the end we decided that maybe the site wasn't quite what we expected, however it is in close proximity to the city, so our plan for tomorrow is to catch the tram and do a bit of sight seeing -and maybe buy some of what Bordeaux is famous for!

Click here to see our French Camping spots