Day 555 – Loire Valley – 8 Sep 11
For piccies see www.eastmidlandsdea.co.uk
Good journey further south to the Loire which took about 5 hours including a couple of stops on the way. This was mostly on motorways, and some peage, and yes I know some people will say what a waste, but for us it makes life a whole lot easier. When you consider the toll fees, set against slower driving, constant gear changing and tackling some towns whose roads seem more like intentional obstacle courses with incomprehensible road signage and sleeping policemen every 10 metres, the smooth economical motorway driving seems a joy. It’s less stressful and most probably works out about even, moneywise, at the end of the day, especially when you are a large vehicle and towing.
Anyway we arrived nicely at Obterre, just south of Tours, and once off the motorways we drove through some very ‘tight’ villages, and just thank our lucky stars nothing was coming the other way on some occasions. We were welcomed by the owners, Mike and Cath, who are very friendly and have a good knowledge of the area, and whose brains I shall be picking when I organise our ‘easy touring itinerary’, which I haven’t told your father about yet! There are 6 other caravans (!), a couple of tents and us, and the pitches are huge! If we had been in Bruges they would have easily fitted at least 8 wags on each. There is a good ‘family’ feel to the place, and we have just fed the ducks and chickens with stale bread and on strolling around we can see that there is a communal gathering area. It is also very peaceful.
Today we are taking things easy and have just cycled 1km downhill into the village of Obterre, which didn’t take long. We found ‘the’ bar, which by 12am had 9 men standing around having their lunch time beers, so we stopped and joined them for a coffee and a lager, whilst the teenage son played his heavy rap music in his bedroom for all to hear. I’m sure he didn’t quite understand the wording, because in England it would have been banned! The adjoining ‘mini market’ had closed and so on departure we asked for a baguette and litre of milk, and the total bill came to less than 4 euros. Now there’s a bargain which you won’t hear me say often in France! Then it was the uphill journey back to the campsite – phew!
On Friday we had a nice round of golf – only 9 holes as it was around 36 deg C by the time we finished. Mum beat me and played really well. Got 3 real pars! Went round in net 3 under par which is excellent for an unknown course.
Then back to sweat out the afternoon by the wag. We were planning a BBQ and were waiting for the Mobile Butcher to arrive – but we foundout too late that he was ‘ en vacances’. Typical! So it was a quick re-jig and Piri-Piri chicken. Thanks Sue!
A day out on Saturday to Loches. Never heard ofit I hear you say. Neither had we but it was amazing. Only about 7000 people - but full of history and medieval relics. A grande chateau, 11th century church and a castle – ‘donjon’. Joan of Arc came here in 1429 and persuaded the then Dauphin to seize his throne – which he did. Excellent market selling everything one might need spread throughout the town. Parking was free as well. Then home via a bit of shopping and yes, the supermarket had only about 20 people in it!!! How do they make any money?
Got our BBQ tonight and a Paella Sunday tomorrow. Some of the caravans heading home now or leaving in storage for the winter.
Nice Paella and weather windy but fair. Had a nice drive in the country to 4 of the local towns and Chateaux. 3 were closed as it was a Monday but a nice trip anyway. It's amazing that every little village seems to have a chateau or a castle or a giant church. I don’t know how they could afford to build them and where did they get the labour? It's a puzzle. Saw a weird thing in La Roche Posay. The memorial statue to the French dead had a wasps nest around the back of the head of the statue!
Jobs around the van today. Paint the rear bumper to kill rust, sorted the battery charger – dodgy fan, fixed the cigarette lighter – fuse, cleaned Smartie and sorted out our itinerary until we finally get to Cabopino on 5 November- Hurrah!
Looking forward to today, as we took a cycle ride into St Flovier (6 kms) for lunch. A 4 course meal @ €11.50 with wine! We think lunch started at 12 noon and we got there
12.40 and the place was full! Where had everyone come from it’s such a small village? Once we got served we soon realised, after looking at what other people were eating, they had run out of a choice of starters. Guess what we were offered, a tuna salad with dressing, and as you know your father does not ‘do’ tuna, salad or dressing so that didn’t go down well at all. Could things get any worse, well yes, as they had also run out of the choice for the main course, which was fish and rice or chicken and frites. But luckily someone must have been looking down on us and we were offered steak as an alternative - hurrah! After that things got better and better with the help of a little more wine, a good selection of cheeses, then sweet and coffee. So all in all it was a very good lunch.
We had to work hard on our journey home as we had a head on wind, which must have affected your father’s mind, as a French driver stopped, coming from the direction of Obterre, and asked us the way to same named place, only for dad to reply in perfect French that it was in the opposite direction! I think he must have had a moments memory lapse (or too much wine).We started to peddle like mad hoping we wouldn’t be on the road when he passed us again going back in the opposite direction, needless to say we didn’t make it, and he drove past leaving us in a cloud of dust in the road. Oh well.oh:
Extremely windy night as the far edge of the UK weather passed us by. Sightseeing again today though and we went off see yet ANOTHER picturesque French village. Problem is that there are hundreds of said villages and in between – nothing but empty, flat farmland. It really is completely boring. I looked it up – 33 people per square km! Every village has got its’ tourist trap castle but unfortunately, get past 1 Sept and they are generally closed. We’ve decided that this is just too boring to waste our time in. OK for a fortnight’s holiday but when fulltiming we need to experience something unique and vaguely more interesting. If you’ve seen one French Chateau or Abbey – you’ve seen them all. We will have to plan our route more carefully next year when starting west from Colmar in July. No reflection on the campsite which is great. It's just that we feel that 9 days is too long for this area and that's our problem.:Sad:
Packing up today and moving on to Rocamadour tomorrow – 9th Sep – then Carcassonne, Arles for a nightstop and on to Le Lavandou to meert up with the Cabopino crowd again. Should be good.
Bad luck about the chilli aversion! Les will be your best mate in restaurants now!
All for now
M and D
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