Saturday 21st November 2015
This morning we left our campsite at Camping de la Cascade and started on our way to Montpelier. The morning had dawned quite bright but very windy - as it had been all night - I think it rocked John to sleep but it kept me awake until almost dawn!
Anyway, we packed up and battoned down and then crawled up the hill out of the site and onto the road, but by the time we got there Miss Snoopy (Sat Nav) still hadn't quite woken up enough to tell us which way to go - we had a 50% chance of getting it right - but as usual we got it wrong so needed to do a bit of back tracking before we could get on our way proper. Also by this time, we'd decided not to bother going over the Millau Viaduct because of the high winds, but it didn't matter because the scenery was amazing anyway as we drove through the lower hills of the Pyrenees. Initially, we noted we were slowly climbing, and as we did the temperature gauge was dropping but it never got below 3 degrees. Later we started to see signs warning of quite steep descents which continued over the next 7 kilometres, and at one point we stopped to try and capture the magnificent view, but when we got out to admire it the icy penetrating rain and gusty gale force winds ensured that we didn't linger long.
From here it only took us a short while to reach Montpelier and we were soon pulling into the huge Marina Commercial Aire that was to be our home for the next 3 days. There were hundreds of vans - some of them very luxurious and as big as coaches, but we managed to find a waterside pitch with electric, and as it was less than a tenner a night we were quite happy. By now the sun was shining brightly but it was still very windy and the weather forecast that we'd seen earlier said the wind speed would reach about 50mph so we were quite glad we were in a sheltered spot.
We had our cup of tea and decided we'd risk going out for a walk to see more of the Marina, the canals and some of the beach but after about half an hour, and after a very through sand blasting, we thought better of it and retreated to the safety and warmth of the T4rdis for the rest of the evening.
|Our Evening View from the Windscreen over the Marina|
Sunday 22nd November 2015
We had a lazy get up this morning - the wind had howled until about 2am and then the ducks had quacked from 6ish, so I was in need of a little bit of catch up sleep! Our dilemma now was should we cycle or should we walk - things seemed much quieter weather wise - the sun was shining again but the wind was still blustery and it was quite cold so walking won out.
We wrapped up warm and headed for Palavas-les-Flots beach (that's the name of the town we're staying in), where we walked along the beautiful sand and shingle for over an hour before we decided that the tide was on it's way in, and as it encroached the width of the beach was narrowing.
So we paused for a coffee break and then retreated to the wetlands and coastal lagoons that are situated directly behind the beach. And it was here that we spotted a huge flock of flamingos wadding in the shallow waters foraging for their lunch. We were also lucky enough to see one in flight, battling against the wind as it went, but sadly I didn't manage to catch him on camera!
We pottered on a bit further and the path led us over a causeway that divided the lagoons, and we eventually found ourselves in the grounds of a small Cathedral. Happily, it was quite sheltered from the cold wind here, and as there were several picnic tables available we settled in for our lunch with a lovely view of the lagoon below.
After our meal we explored the Cathedral that seemed to be able to trace it's history back to the 11th century, but we couldn't really get to grips with it’s story because of all the sign boards were French only.
By now the day was wearing on and the wind had an increasingly chilly feel to it, so we started on our way back, and once again some of the route was along the beach, and it was here that we were entertained by several kite surfers.
When we got back to the area of the Marina we were surprised to find that some of the local shops were open (which seemed very unusual on a Sunday), so we stopped off at the patisserie for cake and bread, and then at a little supermarket for wine. We were then soon home in the T4rdis with a nice hot cuppa and a delicious chocolate brownie, and watching the sun set over the boats in the marina and the distant waters of the lagoons beyond.
Later we had duck for dinner (no, not the ones that has woken me earlier), along with a little drop or two of the vino we had purchased earlier, and then we treated ourselves to a little more telly. Tomorrow the bikes will be out and we will do some more exploring - as I type John is 'plotting' our route and how far he will make me ride!
Monday 23rd November 2015
This morning was another that dawned bright and beautiful, but cold especially in the sea breeze. But we had decided to cycle, so cycle we did, and although some of it was on road, the split ended up being about 40% road and 60% cycle track, and additionally it was a very scenic ride. I must admit I was quite worried about the road bit because obviously, I would have to ride on the wrong side, and as I have quite bad right/left dyslexia (I only know my left hand is left because it has my wedding ring on it!) I thought this may pose a bit of a problem - but not really. I followed John closely and by the end I think I was getting the hang of going around roundabouts the wrong way and looking for traffic .... em .... was that left or was it right!
Anyway, we left the Aire by the road but it wasn't far until we were on a cycle track right at the side of a lagoon, and it was a good job that we didn't have to watch where we were going to closely because our attention was certainly distracted by the sight of the flamingo's grazing.
|More Flamingo's but this time closer and a better view|
Then after riding through the suburbs of the town we came to the Marina area where there must have been many many millions of pounds worth of boats and yachts moored up. Here we were mostly riding on the road, and as we went we noticed our favourite shop - Lidl - but this seemed a little out of place amongst all the opulence and grandeur of the area. However, when I popped in to buy supplements for our depleted cupboard it was quite busy - obviously even rich people like a bargain!
We sat and ate our lunch on a little breakwater overlooking the sea, and then set off on our return journey hopping we would get back before it got to cold. We arrived back at the T4rdis about 4ish and then purchased some Internet time so that I could write this blog and also to catch up with Strictly on U- tube later.
Tomorrow we're going to the zoo but that will be another story, so goodnight from us for now xx
Click here to see our French camping spots