After this we decided we needed to do some laundry and have a hot shower and looked for a campsite. Our shower on board is the sort you only want to use in an emergency. I'm a bit of a shower wuss and tend to wait for a campsite or resort to the trusty basin and flannel. Besides which our shower area is the size of a high cupboard which is where everything gets dumped. It's too useful to use for showering!
We were entering the Champagne region and passed cellars and vineyard offering tours. As Martin had done this at 15 years old and must have been bored silly as he wasn't keen to do it again and told me that all it was - was adding more sugar to make champagne and let's just buy some to sample instead which we did. I didn't realise there were so many different types. The dry ones are lovely. Most celebration ones I've had in England tend to be way sweeter and I just thought champagne had to be sweet. Not so!
We found a campsite in Chalons en Champagne and the next day took a bus to the small town feeling adventurous found a nice big supermarket and stocked up with new foods, wines and chocolate. Why is it so much more exciting to do shopping over here? Maybe because we can't understand the labels. Every meal we make is an exciting new experiment in our Dutch oven with unusual cuts of meat or fish that we can't name plus vegetables like 'savage asparagus'. We are also really pleased with how well the dutch oven dry bakes pizza, rolls and anything in silver foil. I am a true convert and so far have managed to avoid being hit by it tumbling out of the high real (but useless)oven (where it lives) when I lift it down, or being burned by picking it up 10 minutes after we've finished with it because it takes so long to cool down.
We heard of this lovely rural aire called Froncles and decided to check it out just because we liked the name. It was enchanting. A stretch of grass between a lake and a canal with a few houseboats moored up with bicycles on top. Just gorgeous.
Around this time I decided to track down a nice pool with sauna spa and steam - a treat which I have been enjoying for a few years. The only searches on google threw up sex shops which were rather surprising and amusing. Finally I seemed to find a regular spa a hundred miles away so we set off determinedly as we ha no other direction we needed to go in so why not that one. Besides I was curious to see if the French actually had spas.. Again sat nav dumped us but google maps sorted it. I had the nicest swim steam spa ever and all for 8 euros. Their Jacuzzi was a strange design. It was rectangular and very thin. About ten people were sitting quietly in a row looking out from the bubbles. It looked very funny. There was no space for me. I considered squeezing in and facing everybody and wished I knew the French to deliver Rowan Atkinson's line in the lift 'you're probably wondering why I called this meeting'
It was a really lucky find as it turned out as the town (Langres) we had to stay in was a walled medieval fortress on the top of a hill! It was fascinating to walk around the battlements. We even got in for free as the lady said there was too much cloud to see anything so she didn't think she could charge!
However this was a period of non stop rain for four days. We had lots of traffic on the hilltop small aire. Being half grass, lots of vans unwisely parked on soggy mud with the inevitable consequence.... After nearly everyone had left on Monday morning and one van was getting nowhere churning up the mud, I suggested Martin don his raincoat and take our 'tracmats' to the rescue. We had bought these heavy duty plastic strips especially for this purpose.
I stayed in bed taking pics thru the window while Martin went and valiantly rescued the German family. Hopefully we will be able to claim our karmic reward if we get in a pickle one day! Here they are on their way.
What we have learned so far:
- A onesie will always get wet in the shower block if you try to put it on over a wet floor - unlike trousers where you can hold each leg up if you're a bit agile.
- When sat nav says first exit off the roundabout he doesn't necessarily mean literally,
- Contrary to what you might imagine - a motorhome is the easiest place in which to lose something. So far we have lost our cheese grater, our washing powder, three torches and our full size game of Scrabble -all of which we both remember packing.
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