Sunday, June 27, 2010

27th June 2009

Home! Back in our beautiful holiday home and in our other, own bed!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

26th June 2009 - Peniscola

We arrived at Peniscola (1) and there being no 'room at the inn' (definitely homes, camping gear, awnings the lot, parked up for the summer me thinks!) we find Peniscola (2) a large car park with a place for MH's at the back. it was late when we arrived so after a fairly uninspiring look around we head back to the 'van' for dinner and an early night ready for our final leg tomorrow! We sleep comfortably as there is electricity and so a fan! It was also the most expensive place we stopped this trip. Spain could do a bit better with it's Aires - that said this one did have all facilities including a clean and modern, loo and shower block!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

24th/25th June 2009 - Leucate

How many love affairs can you have on one trip? This place is perfect for us at least and we decide to stay a second night as we would like to explore a bit and we are parked beside the beach and the weather is perfect and it is just too idyllic to move.

We spend a leisurely couple of days cycling, relaxing, walking along the shore, insulting our neighbours! Sometimes his humour could get him sunk! A perfect end to our French adventure!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

23rd June 2009 - Sete to St Pierre sur Mer

We arrived in our chosen place for a spot of wildcamping! Someone along route had told us about this wonderful 3 km stretch of beach almost fully lined up with motorhomes and indeed it was every bit as fantastic as we had been led to believe.

We spent a great day wandering onto and along the beach. After a beachside lunch we decided, due to the potential for traffic noise along this seemingly very bus and quite fast highway, against staying and would find a different Aire along the route of our way home. After an almost divorce (OH and TomTom!) and a long and confusing trail round towns and villages and a road straight through a river with no sight of the salt lakes - well maybe a brief glimpse we finally arrived, nearly dark, at St Pierre sur Mer. What a brillian place! It looks like a really smart little resort with I guess all the facilities for a short holiday break. We will come back here but as we are running short of time we decide to visit another couple of places before arriving in Spain. Both Sete and St Pierre sur Mer were having works around the aires and we will of course put full reports on the Club Motorhome website when we have re-visited.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

22nd June 2009 - Balaruc les Bains

The aire we stayed at was in the car parking area of the spa. We witnessed some of the selfish behaviour that seems inherent at popular aires. Camping, careless parking and reserving places with the use of camping gear. I think we are so careful about following the rules that it seems a little unfair when others don't. However this is a nice place full of people taking the water which looking across the bay to a fairly heavily industrial area amazed me that it has beneficial properties - minerals of some sort I don't doubt! There was clearly some long stayers here so it must be regarded as doing some good. The spa itself did appear very relaxing - from the outside! I'll just get in the sea tomorrow.

Monday, June 21, 2010

21st June 2009 - Millau

A stunning drive! Millau is just a wonderful place. A big city full of historic buildings a well attended music (possibly quite famous) festival and naturally the magnificent and awesome Millau viaduct made this a lovely stop. The aire was very busy and a little cramped to be honest but there was a great atmosphere. I guess this was mainly due to the festival but I imagine we will return to get a good look around the town. We made the little trip up to the viaduct visitor centre which provided us with our first view from right underneath it. Spectacular!

We treated ourselves out to a Pizza in a little street cafe. Full of charm and a really good pizza. A favourite and memorable little stop

Sunday, June 20, 2010

20th June 2009 - Boisse Ponchot

We had intended to stop at Cayrols for the night and after once again travelling through stunning scenery we made it and decided it really wasn't for us. It was not like being in the France that we had so far come across. A suitable substitute for the night turned out to be Boisse Ponchot. We were right beside the Lot and the amenity area. The town was quite busy enjoying what seemed to be similar to an English village fete. Various things going on at the school and a big barbecue party down by the lake.

There is a huge weir just along the river and we had a very pleasant stroll before popping to the bar for refreshment and where for the first time during out recent travels in France we were confronted not with unpleasantness but indifference for sure. This came as a bit of a surprise to us as we have always found the French people along our way to be charming. We are still lucky enough to be enjoying fabulous weather.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

19th June 2009 - Crandelles

We did not have very far to travel to this pleasant little stop by this leisure lake and set beside the ancient church.

Once again we were treated to fabulous scenery. Rolling hills and  green of every shade and luckily for us still sun without which we would not have seen this region in all it's glory.

After a short walk as this is a very small town we had a drink at the lakeside bar and then dinner was accompanied by our favourite evening pastime birdwatching. It really is fascinating to see the birds catching their supper. The next morning there was a fishing competition and lots of people otherwise enjoying the lovely lake!

Friday, June 18, 2010

18th June 2009 - Turenne

Turenne we found out is one of the official 52 most beautiful villages in France and it certainly lived up to its status. A wander through the village (not for the feint hearted) up to the monastery (undergoing restoration when we were there) rewards you with simply stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

After dinner we were invited to our new pals Jan and Mike to partake of some wine tasting. Sitting at the foot of the floodlit village created a wonderful ambience and added to the enjoyment of the evening. The wine definitely tasted good and after many tastes we went to bed totally relaxed and having learned more tips from our new friends.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

17th June 2009 - Objat

Tom Tom takes us on an interesting journey through pretty villages and over breathe-in bridges. This little place was lovely and we cycled some fair distance to search out a 'madonna' for our archway at home! Not to be had and I was a little glad - not entirely sure how we would have got it back on the bikes;-) she needs to be 1 metre high so it would have been heavy.

On the way back to our nightstop we stop by the lake which is a super leisure facilty with gardens, boating, a swimming pool, petanque court restuarant - well you could do so much there and we opted for a cycle ride around the lake. Very pretty!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

16th June 2009 - Uzerche

Today after doing the chores we spent a couple of tourist hours wandering around in this delightful town. Churches, crypts, viewpoints it really does have enough to keep you busy. As usual the town is well kept and clean.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

15th June 2009 - Uzerche

For people not looking to move house we do keep bumping into towns and villages that we could happily live in and Uzerche is no exception.

We had a couple of short walks between rain showers some of which were very heavy. On the footbridge to town we were a little surprised to bump into a Ninja turtle! No we had not been drinking! We did however enjoy the company of Jean and Robert tonight and over a few glasses shared some stories and tips. Of course at this point we are still very new to all this it being our longest trip so far!

Monday, June 14, 2010

14th June 2009 - Oradour sur Glane

Happy birthday grandson Jack! So off we go again to find Oradour sur Glane. It is possibly the most powerful place I have ever been. At one point after being in the martyred village only a very short time I did wonder if I could turn the corner into the main street. Really steeling myself I did this and let out a small gasp. I really do not have the words to explain. For personal reasons I struggled with this 'reminder' of the horrors of war but would not want to have missed it. The journey back to see it was worth every mile. If you have time I would just say you really must go!

For obvious reasons the Aire here is very busy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

13th June 2009 - Treignac

We pulled up by the riverside to enjoy a night in the company of some German fulltimers who had the hugest motorhome we had ever seen. They seemed, despite having superior facilities aboard their 'home', to be enchanted with the idea of bathing in the nearby lake. Maybe something was lost in translation and they meant swimming, but I definitely would have gone for the soft option as it was chilly in the water despite the fine June weather we were having.

The Aire is by a stream just up from the lake and a fairly long up hill walk to the town. On our way up from the Aire we were truly plagued by flies. A combination of the sudden very fine weather, being close to water and trees possibly all I can say is that they made what could have been a pleasant walk became a bit of a strut to get out of their way - and we were not looking forward to the journey back!! Rubbing salt in the wounds our fulltiming neighbours came flying past on their little scooter and waving as if really pleased to see us. Maybe they too were just waving the flies away? The town however was lovely with loads of cafes bars and stuff.

12th June 2009 - Meymac

We decided that we would make a move today and go and find a laundrette. The tourist office had advised we would find one in Ussel and so this became our destination where we would also stop the night if the aire there was to our liking. Of course when you find the laundrette its really handy but after several attempts to ask we spotted the local tourist ofice. The building works round the college did not make it easy to reach even the information - parking once we had established its location proved impossible. So a long walk carrying two very large loads of washing we found the place and the washing commenced. The motorhome was, at this point, quite along way away parked in a fairly quiet area a bit away from the main town. We were not too happy about this so I stayed with the washing while OH babysat the 'home'.

Our admin needs did not allow us to do the town justice but it seems a very pretty place with (at that time) a buzzing little centre.

The washing all done and now slightly heavier it seemed, we headed straight back to the 'home' and made tracks to the aire. Placed right outside a campsite we decided against staying as it was a quite a long way from town and really nothing much there when compared to Meymac, so that is where we returned to for another night at this lovely lake location. We aired our washing, went for a walk around the lake, had dinner and settled down for the night. ready for our return journey back north! We really did fall for Meymac it is a wonderful small town with lots of interest around.

Friday, June 11, 2010

11th June 2009 – Meymac

On our way to Meymac we called in at a municipal campsite with a view to stopping and maybe getting the laundry done. The pitches there however were very boggy so maybe another time in less wet weather. On our visit to the town centre which is a good walk from the Aire we found out to our embarrassment what we had missed at Oradour sur Glane. Particularly embarrassing for us is the fact that we had been discussing this very place (but not by name) with my father before our departure. So it was that after Meymac we would return and visit. Quite literally onwards and upwards. Slightly odd on a journey south. Oh well , only a few kilometres north again and the beauty of this way of travelling comes into its own again.

Anyway back to Meymac.

What a wonderful medieval town and yes we think we could live here. The first falling in love of this trip!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

10th June 2009 – Felletin

We found this place by accident after not really liking the car park that served as the Aire in Aubusson.  We very nearly stopped by at the municipal campsite as it was getting time to do our first lot of washing and it had a washing machine. So on we went until we found Felletin.

It had not been on our list which just goes to show how wrong you can be to ‘judge a book by its cover.’ Although of course this can work both ways as in the case of Aubusson.

We will most certainly visit there some other time as our drive through showed a very attractive town.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

9th June 2009 – Bourgeneuf

Well we got settled in and were completely puzzled by people who kept driving up and then leaving – perhaps we got it wrong but there is another aire around here?

Had a little wander round and came back and still they drive in and straight back out again? Another turns and stays, so it must be right- right?

Waking up next day we are a little surprised to be hemmed in by the market, now we understood. So two new pairs of shoes, eggs and cherries later we vacate a little after one, although in fairness we are not ever going to be first on the road.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

8th June 2009 – Oradour sur Glane

Is a lovely little town if the source of much embarrassment to us. Our only excuse for missing the point of this incredible part of WWII history was that it was pouring with rain and we didn’t venture too far when the heavens opened. The Aire is very well set up for the significant numbers of visitors arriving in ‘camping cars’.

Monday, June 7, 2010

7th June 2009 - Les Salles Lavauguyon

Seems the answer is – no, we will never actually get it. Here we are in Les Salles Lavauguyon and we have no drinking water, no dinner and yes you guess it no shops open that we can find. Those that had been opened were by now all shut up. We have no excuse except we simply forget which day of the week it is (again!). The downside of our fortunate lifestyle – oh well!

So we went to Rochechouart to get some lunch out and of course it was a fiesta so the only hopeful bar was closed for a private party. Sometimes you do feel you are up against it! We did, however,  find a salon de The and managed to secure a sandwich and a bottle d’eau. Tres bien, one’s tastes become so simple when in fear of being hungry!

Anyhow when enjoying our evening back at the Aire we were treated to the sight of a beautiful deer proudly strutting by our ‘home’ putting all frustrations firmly to the back of our minds. Although the Aire was absolutely fine we were there alone and the little village seemed sadly to be suffering in the recession. None of the bars or shops appeared to be open – ever!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

6th June 2009 – Lhommaize

We were on our way to our next stop when we came across our first view of a nuclear power station - unsurprisingly we were treated to a night of free electricity! I think we would have felt affronted if they had made us pay with the source being so close. Although we have our own views on nuclear power it does make you look at the rivers with some suspicion! One of our favourite things about France is the omnipresent running water. Another pretty little town although arriving on Saturday afternoon meant it was very quiet.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

5th June 2009 – St Clement des Levees

What a superb little Aire on the banks of the Loire just perfect for a walk to stretch a little before taking front row seats to watch plenty of birdlife diving into the river for  their evening feed, nicely accompanied with a glass of wine - us that is, not the birds!

Services were a bit remote from the Aire so it was lucky we were full / empty when we arrived as we had to watch several ‘homes’ leave due to some thoughtless parking by cars which were actually not allowed. We did end up wondering if these locals were not as positive about camping cars as we had previously found. Too much paranoia!

Friday, June 4, 2010

4th June 2009 - Brezolles

We had a lovely day driving through pretty villages just west of Centre until we arrived at our first planned night at Brezolles. Once again there was just a flutter of nerves.

It seems that whenever you drive into the villages at towns inland you always spot some what we have gotten into the habit of calling ‘ne’er do wells’. We don’t mean it to be unkind but the recession had taken its toll on unemployment in France and there did always seem to be a handful of people hanging around who didn’t seem to be up to any good. There we were suffering from reading too much about bandits and robbers who were waiting to pounce on us every time we stopped or left the van for just a few minutes. We certainly have no evidence of being targeted and I think this is simply because France has a very positive view of ‘camping cars’. The Aire is well positioned and attractive and best of all was an enormous rabbit that seemed to live in the Aire much to the annoyance of the little dog that was staying in one of the motorhomes.

A lovely sunny day too which allowed some good photo opportunities of the attractive church.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

3rd June 2009 - La Touquet again

CLEAN (us and the van) and ready for the off including a new shower tap and everything we were excited to commence our summer tour of the Limousin and Auvergne. Being lucky enough to be hurried onto the earlier SeaFrance ferry meant that we arrived back at La Touquet earlier than expected where we spent just a night eager to get down to the Limousin.