Discovering Chateau de Chenonceoux and Amboise nearby

We moved on towards Tours after leaving la Ferte-Vidame.  This route was chosen after much deliberation regarding our route – resulting with us eventually, and reluctantly, deciding to abandon our plan to cross the Millau Viaduct (boooo….); mainly due to the seeming lack of campsites open for us on that route 😦

Having decided on Tours, I thought that we might actually stay for 3 nights, having seen a weather forecast suggesting full sun and a high of 21C on Monday.  Sadly it turns out that there are several towns called Tours in France, and my app had decided to provide me with information for a different one, rather than the main town of Tours located in the Loire Valley.  So we just stayed for 2 nights after all.

We could have hopped on the cycle path and ridden into Tours to visit the old city (about 4 miles away, with the cycle path passing within about 50m from the site – albeit across a busy road); but we didn’t…

Instead we used our 1 full day there to visit the Chateau de Chenonceaux.  There are so many chateaux to choose from to visit; we chose this one as it actually spans the river Cher.  It turns out that it is actually a Unesco World Heritage Site.

We paid 14 Euros each to visit the castle and gardens – other attractions within the grounds include a maze, wine cellar (caves), gourmet restaurant, tea-room, self-service restaurant, 16th century farm with carriage musuem and donkeys 🙂

But the main draw is without doubt the castle itself, where many rooms are open to the public.  One of the interesting facts we learned was that Continue reading “Discovering Chateau de Chenonceoux and Amboise nearby”

1st few days into France/Spain 2018/19 – Brighton-Newhaven-Dieppe-La Ferte Vidame :)

6th November was the day we left home for our next adventure.  We said our goodbyes and waved to the house, with barely a backward glance.. except we had to go straight back before we made it to the motorway as Calv had left his phone behind…!!

1st stop Brighton for an overnight at the Caravan Club site situated just inland from the marina.  We had a bite to eat in the marina; a first ever visit to Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and later in the afternoon (although it felt like the evening by the time we came home (by which I mean ‘van’) at about 6.30pm, as it was so dark), we headed into town to visit the Pavilion and the ice skating rink.

We drove around for a while trying to find somewhere to park for less than £10 for 2 hours; on the seafront you will pay £6 for 2 hours closer to Palace Pier, but we parked nearer to West Pier where we paid ‘only’ £4.20 for 2 hours.

I’m glad we did though, as it was just a 15 minute walk back to the Pavilion which looked perfect all lit up for the ice-skating.  We didn’t partake (we didn’t want to risk either of us breaking a leg before going away!) but it was great fun to watch.  (We have no idea who these lads are in Calv’s photo – but they seem very happy with themselves!!!

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Our ferry was leaving Newhaven at 11.30am so we didn’t have to get up too early – we just headed off about 9.30am and were at the port by 10.15am – so in plenty of time for our crossing.  It was a bit rough out there, but I managed to ignore it!!  Until we headed out of the safety of the harbour that is…  See videos below for a small taster of what we experienced! Continue reading “1st few days into France/Spain 2018/19 – Brighton-Newhaven-Dieppe-La Ferte Vidame :)”

May 2016 – Cycling into Combourg & a wander around old St Malo

A lovely stop not too far from the ferry at St Malo. Lovely site near to an interesting town. Also within striking distance of St Malo, where the Old Town is a must see

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.