Day 14 – Monday 13th June 2016. Moving..

Today we left Camping L’Arize (without a backward glance to be honest). We had already decided that we weren’t going to follow the motorway, but take the, more direct, D road instead. How much longer could it take??

Quite a lot longer as it happens! Once we’d passed through a couple of towns we hit mountain roads again. We were quite happy to be following a tanker most of the way as he was clearing the corners and overhanging rock for us (we also knew that we’d have no trouble going under said rock..). Continue reading “Day 14 – Monday 13th June 2016. Moving..”

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Day 12 – Saturday 11th June. St Savin, Lac d’Estaing and en-route to La Bastide de Serou

Moving day again. However, we wanted to cycle down into St Savin before leaving; it’s the next village along from ours (Arcizans Avant) with a lovely little square (or traffic free for all – such as the traffic is…) and a big church (which turns out to be an abbey).

It’s actually quite a drop down into the village; in fact I was a little worried about making it back even with the motor! Continue reading “Day 12 – Saturday 11th June. St Savin, Lac d’Estaing and en-route to La Bastide de Serou”

Day 11 – Friday 10th June 2015. Gavarnie.

We knew to expect worse weather today, so waking to see the mountains shrouded in cloud was no surprise, just a different view again.

Our neighbours had also left at 6.30 that morning (we’re struggling to see 8.30am ourselves!)

There was no rain though, and at times the sun looked suspiciously as though it was trying to make an appearance. After a leisurely breakfast we set off for our chosen destination for the day – Gavarnie. We were promised an amazing spectacle of the highest waterfalls in Europe (after a 2 hour hike up the mountain – only we didn’t know it was up a mountain at that point!) Continue reading “Day 11 – Friday 10th June 2015. Gavarnie.”

Day 10 – Thursday 9th June. The Pyrenees – wow!

As hot as it was when we arrived last night, it was all set fair this morning to be just as beautiful today. Here, perhaps more than anywhere, a change in the weather changes the scenery quite dramatically. From clear blue skies to mountain tips fully shrouded in cloud, or ringed with cloud with the tips poking out into clear skies. Continue reading “Day 10 – Thursday 9th June. The Pyrenees – wow!”

Day 9, Wednesday 8th June – En-route from Ares to Lourdes

Wednesday and we’re on the move again.  We’ve got just over 130 miles to cover this time.  When we’re on the move we pull the spare duvet down from the bed over the cab, it acts like a curtain to minimise the noise from the van – it works really well!  It just means that if I really need the loo when we can’t stop I have to crawl under it on the way to the loo!

We got a bit further this time before stopping at a little village that we liked the look of, Moustey.  We thought we weren’t going to be able to stop, but just through the village we found a lay-by and walked back.  It was about 12.30 and as we hadn’t managed to have any breakfast we decided to eat in a little auberge we found – Le Haut Landais (this is the 1st time we’ve been this brave!)  They had a set menu and we eventually managed to get across that we only wanted 1 course, which was sautéed veal with taglietelle and seasonal veg (pan-fried broccoli).  It was a lovely setting and a lovely meal (although mine was quite fatty, Calv polished the lot off).  There was also a couple of baby birds in the tree right beside us – we think they were doves.

The village had a street called ‘La Place des deux eglises’ – they were 2 ancient churches right next to each other (1 shown above – my photos haven’t all uploaded yet, they’ll go into the gallery when they eventually do).  They’d started work on renovating them just 2 days before.

Talking of which we see so many derelict buildings, some actually falling down.  It’s such a shame…

Also up to this point we’d seen a huge amount of statuary (religious) by the side of the road.  There’s much less as we go further south, and what we do see appears to be mostly crosses & crucifixes.

We weren’t so late to arrive at our campsite this time.  Going through these little tiny villages I get so stressed as a passenger (I try to keep it to myself…) I would never be able to drive it – Calv is brilliant, he just takes it 1 issue at a time and, so far, we’ve had no problems!  Just the normal – seeing all the French taking a great interest in our get up – pointing, staring etc.!!

This campsite is delightful (although unfortunately the swimming pool doesn’t open until next week).  All the campers, tents & motorhomes (err, actually that will be just us then..) are British, and then there are French and Dutch mainly in the chalets.  Although apparently there was a New Zealander last week (we got chatting to our nearest neighbours – in fact we sat and drank with them for the last 2 nights).  The staff are so friendly as well – and they have Maxibon in the shop!! (It’s an ice-cream in case you’re wondering)

There’s a red kite regularly circles above us and a deer that comes out in the field in front of us in the morning and evening.

It is steaming hot at the moment here and the views are absolutely breath-taking.  We can’t wait to get out to explore tomorrow 🙂

Day 8 – Tuesday 7th June.Bike ride & interaction with the locals

A beautiful day dawned today – lethal, as it was the start of me getting sunburnt shoulders (which are still painful as I write this on day 11 (Thursday)).

As it was so lovely we just chilled by the pool (just the 2 of us, lovely).  I kicked a sunbed resulting a bruise wrapped around my little toe – fairly standard for me.  This is to add to my collection of bruises on my legs, some are biking injuries, others I have no idea where they came from!

We both completely forgot about the ‘no shorts’ rule so you’ll have to wait another day for a glimpse of Calv in his Daniel Craigs!

In the afternoon we set off for a bike road going the other way on the cycle path.  The cycle paths over here are fantastic (there seems to be a real understanding as well on the roads – for the most part)  Some of the cycle paths even have their own ‘road’ number!  We visited the village of Lege Cap Ferret, just a mile or so away, which was totally charming, but everything was shut!  This included the café we tried to use, which was shutting at quarter to 3..

So back onto the cycle route.  The path was completely straight with forest on either side.  We came across the abandoned petrol pumps and there were no barriers to going to look at them so I insisted (Calv didn’t want to).  We went and had a look, and as I was riding back down the lane this bloke came hairing up in his pick-up.  As he went past me Calv’s hat flew off my head, so I had to stop to retrieve it.  All the way this guy has now parked up and is watching us closely – I don’t know what he thought we were going to do – we don’t exactly look like master criminals do we?!

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After 5 miles we realised that we still had 5 miles to the next town/village and it was literally baking.  With only 1/2 bottle of drink left we decided we’d better head back.  We got straight back in the pool, but we had to share it this time – very refreshing though 🙂

Later in the day Calv got the idea that the Air Con needed re-gassing (well, he already had that idea, but he decided we should do something about it), so we visited 1 garage where we managed to ascertain they couldn’t do anything until next Tuesday, so we tried the Renault garage over the road from the campsite.  Again I managed to make myself understood, again they had bookings and couldn’t do it quickly.  But then the lady wanted to be helpful so she said she could fit us in at 8.15 tomorrow morning (we were leaving at about 10am) – this was all in French you understand!  Her co-worked (we assume her husband) was very clearly not happy with her…  So she’s gone out of her way to help us out.  We get back to the van and Calv says “I’ll just check it’s not a fuse”.  Well, guess what?  It was!  So all that effort and hard work for nothing.

By now it was about 8pm so we thought, rather than just not turn up, we’d write her a note (with the help of a translation from Google!), and pop it through the door.  Only when we got over there her horrible husband was still working.  He was sat in a recovery lorry.  “We’re closed”, he barked (literally – and in French).  I said we wanted to see the lady in reception.  “Pour Quoi?”  (Again barked – horrible man).  Calv gave him the note.  All very well, except I’d finished it with a sentence saying that I hoped we hadn’t upset her colleague too much!

On the move again tomorrow – heading down to the Pyrenees (look out for Day 10- hopefully I’ll be able to upload plenty of the pictures we’ve taken 🙂 )