Day 7 – Monday 6th June. Bike ride to Andernos. Drive to Cap Ferret

The sun came out today!

Well rested after yesterday’s journey we set out on our bikes along the cycle path, heading towards Ares centre.  We actually ended up in Andernos, a little way along the coast, which was quite charming.

We stopped in a bar for a café au lait (the young barman didn’t understand, it appears I should have asked for café crème..) and a chocolate.  They came in very small cups – which was just as well as my chocolate was sooo strong I’m not sure I could have drank much more.

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When leaving we headed off in a different direction, trying to go along the coast but blocked by a marina (isn’t it always the way?)  Instead we found another aire, a lovely little church and a nature reserve to pedal through.

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Beautiful inside & out.

 

We went off one way but soon had to push our bikes through sand. Continue reading “Day 7 – Monday 6th June. Bike ride to Andernos. Drive to Cap Ferret”

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Day 6 (Sunday 5th June)- En-route to Cap Ferret (Ares)

We didn’t set off until after midday yesterday, which turned out to be a mistake as the next journey always takes longer than you think it will….

So anyway we went off on a little bike ride before leaving.  Back to a spot that we found on the 1st evening where the steps down to the shore have worn away, and you have to climb down with the aid of a rope (yes, there are pictures and I will add them as soon as I get a strong enough wifi signal to allow me to upload enough pictures).  The coast here reminds me very much of parts of North Cornwall in that it’s very rocky.  We watched men scouring the rocks for cockles and checked out the rockpools, but didn’t find anything this time.  We scrambled up a different way (with Calv telling me to go back the other way ‘cos ‘it wasn’t for girls’.  So it was a bit muddy & marshy & very high grassy – but I had to go that way then didn’t I?

Finally we were en-route (yes we went the wrong way again..), but it wasn’t long before we spotted an interesting feature in a little town, as well as another lovely church.  It was an old open market hall, but nothing being made of it.  In fact, the area around it was being used as a carpark!  Next stop was past La Rochelle (which I popped a few photos onto Facebook from yesterday).  I wished I’d spotted that snake a bit quicker though!

And then we had to find our way to the ferry at Royan (twinned with Gosport!)  The SatNav came up trumps here as there is no way we would have found it without her!  (Once again I have to say the signage over here is severely lacking..)

We’d just missed 1 ferry, but were in plenty of time for the next.  Until the queue starting moving, but the German van in front of us remained resolutely stationery – no-one in it!  It wasn’t easy to go round as we had to reverse, which you can’t do with the car attached behind.  By the time we’d decided we had no choice but to unhook the rest of the queue had decided to go past.  However a kindly Italian coach driver left enough space in front of him to allow us to re-hitch (I think it was unintentional!)  It seems the German didn’t return to his van in time and missed the ferry – shame (for all the chaos he caused).

We also met a couple of Irish lads who were cycling from St Malo to Santander.  Turns out they actually live in Southampton and had met a couple from Fareham earlier that day – small world and all that.

Once we’d paid our extortionate fee (not explained on the tariff board) of 95 euros – because we were a double axle (no longer than the car/caravan combos, but 3 times the price) we sat waiting with everyone else.  The French aren’t shy in nosing about the van towing the car (they’re not allowed to do it – tow a car that is) and with nothing else to do we had many of them coming to have a look – this is quite normal now!

It’s only a 20 minute crossing (see previous comment about the fee…) but once on the Girond we were surprised at just how long it took to get to the campsite – we finally arrived at nearly 8pm

It’s a nice little site.  Mixed toilets again (the last site wasn’t!)  This time though, instead of 1 cubicle for the hole in the floor we simply have no toilet seats!

There’s a cycle path immediately behind the site which we shall make use of tomorrow.  For now it’s an omelette for me and left0ver curry for Calv.

I’ve had to start putting days and dates on these blogs as I’m beginning to forget what day it is.  When the owner here asked where we’d stayed last night it took me ages to remember!

Days 4 & 5 – It’s brightening up over there…. (errr, no it’s not :( )

So I lost a lot of what I wrote yesterday (twice – I’ve only just realised I lost the re-write).

Let’s continue with yesterday (we did a lot more than today for a start).  We went back to the castle in Talmont St Hilaire boys (I wonder if you recognise it?)

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We didn’t go in though as we arrived at 12.30.  Just as it closed for a couple of hours.  Most places close for a couple of hours for lunch – except hairdressers and bakeries we’ve noticed.  That’s going to take a bit of getting used to!

We then decided to visit Les Sables d’Olonne (somewhere else I’ve been before with the boys).  I was a bit disappointed as it was a bit of a dump and it took an age to find the seafront (French signage doesn’t seem to be designed to help you find where you’re wanting to go…)

Here I had a crepe.  After ordering I told Calv that I believed I might have just ordered a pancake with cream.  I was right – I don’t know why I did it; I knew that Chantilly means whipped cream!  It was okay, but I won’t make the same mistake a 2nd time 🙂

We drove back to the van on the coast road (why didn’t we just go that way in the 1st place?!

Once back we decided to get a wash done, so off we set to the laundry, set the wash going and decided to head to the bar for 20 minutes until it was done.  3 1/2 hours, 3 wines/beers and an impromptu dinner in the restaurant later we were just about to head out for a bike ride (trust me it sobered me up!) when I remembered the washing!  Lucky I did or it would probably still be in the machine now!

The bike ride in the evening took us halfway back to Les Sables d’olonne to Chateau d’Olonne (the 1st sandy beach following an amazing rocky coastline) – 9 miles there and back (and no, I didn’t use the motor for most of the time – Debbie & Paul…)

Today (Day 5 – I think it’s Saturday..) has been a lazy day apart from a visit to Lidl (won’t be going back..)

I’ve finished my book (Jamaica Inn) and started a new one (Make Me – Lee Child).  Calv has given 1 side of the van a polish and I’ve done the ironing.  Rock & roll!!

Tomorrow we’re off again, this time to Lege Cap Ferret near Bordeaux and we have high hopes of finally seeing some sun!

I hope everyone’s well and am fairly sure your weather is currently better than ours 🙂

 

 

 

 

Days 3 & 4 – No! The other right….

It was a long day yesterday. Travelling.  We opted to take the scenic route….  I would say big mistake, BUT, we did see some lovely little towns and villages which, of course, we would never have done from the motorway.  Maybe we should just have got onto the motorway a little earlier though?  Instead of waiting until there was a road closure barring our way, a SatNav that couldn’t deal with that and a Calvin going the ‘other right’ when I said go right….  We stopped at a little town called Rouge (just before Chateaubriant) which had a massive church.  This seems to be a theme – small town/village, big, big church.  Very impressive I have to say.

 

Then we were tootling along a back road and came upon this little cemetery with a small chapel in a village called Maumusson.  Like I said, we wouldn’t have seen these had we taken the motorway.  But we would have got here a lot quicker!

Anyway we made it, finally. Again another lovely site.  Great swimming complex (the sun’s rumoured to be making an appearance tomorrow so we might get the chance to use it as well..)

 

 

Again a lot of Brits here (and a fair few from the Channel Islands – though not as many as were at the last site)

Day 2 – Cycling into Combourg & a wander around old St Malo

We’re staying just down the road from Combourg – the nearest town to La Chapelle aux Filtzmeens.  In keeping with most towns in this area it is mainly medieval in style with so many ancient buildings.  We kept forgetting to look up though, and probably missed loads of it.

We cycled there!  Into a headwind and uphill most of the way (very grateful for the extra power!)  The next challenge was to make the bikes safe – which we managed to do outside the tourist office – unlike any tourist office we might see at home!  If you look carefully at the picture below you can see our bikes chained up under the tree 🙂

Combourg Tourist Office

There’s a beautiful chateau here, but we tried to visit at 12.30pm, just after they’d closed for an hour and a half.  Then whilst staring through the bars that were keeping us out we noticed the long list of things that weren’t allowed in the chateau – including backpacks.  That was us excluded then!

We went off to cycle round the lake and have our packed lunch by it’s shores, before heading back to the site.  11 1/2 miles complete we were done in and needed to sit with a nice cuppa before even thinking about anymore activity!

At this point Calv announced that he was craving fat chips – yes already!  I said he’d have to make do with a curry, and decided to get on with making it ready for later.

Having finally agreed to go to St Malo old town rather than Dinan we set off (we also gave the SatNav another chance, even though we knew the way, to see if it actually does work – it does!)

We parked outside of the old town because the bridge was closed when we got there, and walked in (by which time the bridge was, of course, open).  When leaving we watched it open to let a few yachts into harbour.  So we wandered in and  spend a good couple of hours walking around the ramparts and the old lanes and alleyways.  I’ve got to be honest, the cathedral with no lighting bar a couple of small electric lamps, is quite possibly one of the loveliest I’ve been in, very tranquil.

St Malo cathedral

Another 3 1/2 miles walked and we really are jiggered now, and hungry.  That’s why we ate a whole French stick with (and before) our curry (as well as rice).  Oops….

Successes:-

  • Found the camera charger (which we thought was lost)
  • Found Calv’s wet jacket (I’d put it in the inside pocket of mine for ‘safe’ keeping – we’ve spent the last 2 days thinking it was lost…)
  • 11 1/2 miles cycled
  • Didn’t get lost once all day….
  • Found the right satellite 1st time – so could get English news

Fails:-

  • Leaving my FitBit behind on charge when we went to St Malo – Calv refused to come back for it!

Weather – overcast (I think we saw the sun for about 5 minutes all day), and cold.  Never mind we trek further south tomorrow when we set off for Talmont St Hilaire which is just south of Les Sables d’Olonne.

 

 

7. More. Sleeps…..

It is exactly 7 days to the minute that we will be leaving these shores for our extended adventure around France.  And to remind me Calv has just sent me a few pics of the ferry we’re going on leaving port – what a pair of saddos.

 

 

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We’ve had so long to plan for this trip, but as ever most of the work can only be done within a couple of weeks of leaving. Continue reading “7. More. Sleeps…..”

Our route around France

I’ve just spent 1/2 hour creating a map with big dots where we’re staying and linked with a wonky red line – being so useless technically though I cannot work out how to insert it into this post….

So I’ll simply list our destinations (boring, I know, but it’s the best I can do in the circumstances – I must watch those tutorials…)

30/5 – Ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo

31/5 – check into 1st site: Domaine du Logis – just a few miles from St Malo (for visiting Mont St Michel)

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Mont St Michel

2/6 – 2nd site: Yelloh Le Littoral, Talmont St Hilaire (3 nights)

5/6 – 3rd site: Camping le Canadienne, cap Ferret (West of Bordeaux- 3 nights)

8/6 – 4th site: Camping du Lac, Lourdes (3 nights)

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The Sanctuary at Lourdes

11/6 – 5th site: Camping l’Arize, Arieges (2 nights)

13/6 – 6th site: Ma Prairie, Perpignan (4 nights)

17/6 – 7th site, an overnighter: Luberon Parc, Arles

18/6 – 8th site: Esterel Camping, Frejus (10 nights)

28/6 – 9th site, an overnighter: Camping du Lion, Bourg St Andeol

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Gorge at Bourg St Andeol

29/6 – 10th site: Chateau de l’Eperviere, Gigny sur Saone (4 nights)

3/7 – 11th site: Bois de Boulogne, Paris (3 nights)

 

6/7 – 12th (& last) site: Chateau de Martragny, near Caen (2 nights)

8/7 – Ferry home

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Boo…