Month 4 – June 2010

Published by John & Joan in the blog John & Joan's blog. Views: 188

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]1st June. We moved on from Ouistreham today and drove along the cost towards Arromanches. On our way we saw a sign for a German Radar Museum. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]This according to the literature contained the only working WW2 German radar station on its original site. The site had the original bunkers some of which have been set out as a museum showing how the station was during the war. The troops held out here for 20 days after D-Day and they were supplied by air drops of supplies by the Luftwaffe. The museum site is only a fraction of the size the establishment was during it working life, but remains of other bunkers can be seen from the site but these are not open to the public as they are in private hands.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]We then continued our journey to the Aire at the car park for the 360 degree cinema above Arromanches. The charge to stay here is 4 Euro for a Camping Car as we also had the Smart on a trailer behind and they charged an extra 2 Euro for the car. This is for day parking you can stay overnight at no extra charge but there are no services provided. There is another Aire in Arromanches up a narrow side street that has facilities.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]We went to the 360 degree cinema and it was a very moving experience with the sound of bombing and gun fire with moving images of actual war footage of the invasion and the Mulberry B harbour in operation as well as images of today projected around the wall giving an impression that you are actually in the battle. There are no seats only rails to lean against.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]We then had lunch and a siesta before going out again into Arromanches which is down a very steep hill. Fortunately there is little train that acts as a shuttle running that links the top car park with the town. We went into the D-Day museum in Arromanches which is situated on the edge of the town square and adjacent to the beach. You can clearly see the shape of the harbour that was build of 5 storey concrete casements that were towed across from England and sunk together with a line of ship to provide a breakwater into which a floating harbour was constructed starting the day after D-Day and was working within a matter of 3 or 4 days enabling the invading troops to be supplied as the Germans had fortified all of the other harbours or had them ready for destruction if they should be invaded. In the museum are models of the harbour and other military displays. It was also explained in a film that there was a strong gale a few days after D-Day and Mulbery A situated further along the coast was totally destroyed, but Mulberry B at Arromanches survived and was able to provide the invading troops with fuel and ammunition as well as men, vehicles and weapons. 18,000 tons of supplies were being brought in here each day without out it the push into Europe would not have been possible. After having a look around the town we took the last train back up the hill and had a good quiet night overlooking the bay and the remains of the harbour. The Aire is on the on the site of another German Radar Station that was totally wiped out and only a few remnants of it remain.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]2nd June. Today we moved on to Avranche. We tried to navigate without the sat nav and finished up back at Ouisreham again so we then set the sat nav to get us to the Aire at Avrance. We went along road that weren't even shown on our map but it got us eventually onto the A84 where we pulled into the services to top up our gas tank. We had intended to use the Aire here to empty our toilet but there was a wagon and trailer parked in it. There is no other point to park here as it is off the exit road. On looking at Google Earth it would appear to be a common practice for trucks to do this as there is one shown in the image at the same place. We continued our journey along the A84 to Avranche and to the Aire which is at the top of a very steep hill. The road then drops down to the Aire 48°41'11.47"N 1°22'4.84"W which has a Borne on level ground, but the parking is on a quite steep slope and despite double chocks we were still unable to get level. This Aire is free to use but the borne takes a 2 Euro coin to give 10 minutes of drinking water. The disposal in the toilet disposal point flushed free but there is no provision for separate water to flush the cassette out with. We used our waste water to do this.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]3rd June. After a night here we went to visit Mon San Michel in the Smart Car and parked on the causeway. There is good Motorhome parking here. We did spot Camping car signs outside two establishments along the road though, but we didn't investigate them. After a coffee and a spot of climbing to the abbey on top of the hill we returned to the car and had our picnic lunch before returning to the Aire at Avranche for another night.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]4th June. We spent today exploring Avranche and discovered a wonderful garden just above the Aire with fantastic views out over the bay to Mon San Michel. The air was almost full but at 17:00 lots of cars arrived and parked all over the available road and parking spaces. There is a Cultural Centre next to the Aire and many parents and children went into it from these cars. At 18:30 the cars began to clear. However a few Motorhome had arrived and being not able to park, left again. One French van however parked on the borne for the rest of the night. After the cars left two more motorhomes arrived making 12 in total on site. The slop of this site also puts many off and it is common to see vans arrive, look and drive away.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]5th June. We topped up with water and disposed of our toilet waste as we intended say goodbye to Normandy bypassing St Malo and to move onto St Cast-Le-Guildo Aire in Brittany 48°36'30.07"N 2°13'48.00"W (Pointe du Baye) which again is a free, but has no services. The run to the Aire was uneventful being mainly on fast dual carriageways. We seemed to have travelled quite as way on the map compared to other days, but it only took us under one and a half hours. The Aire here is very busy. There are very nice views out to sea but we are on top of a quite steep cliff. There is a path down, Joan attempted it and gave up. There is a police notice warning users to put all valuables out of site as the Aire is a target for thieves.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]There is another Aire lower down by sea, the with a service point, but parking is on the road side.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]6th June. From St Cast-Le-Guildo we made our way to Frehel where we sought out our first France Passion site on a goat farm and cheese maker. We were able to watch the goats being milked and half an hour later we were able to but 2 litres of fresh goats milk. This tasted fantastic and Joan was supprised with the taste as it was nothing like the milk she had bought in the UK. We were having problems with the gas burner in our fridge so we set too and had a look at it. It was burning but the flame was very small. It was enough to keep the igniter from sparking but not enough to heat the coolant to keep the fridge cold. It has been a problem for a while but seemed to be working fine up to parking on the sloping site at Avranche. It was working fine on mains and 12volt, it is only the gas that is not working. Tried using carburetor cleaner spray over the jet but that didn't seen to make any difference.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]7th June. From Frehel we moved only a short hop to Pleneuf Val Andre N 37.523 W 002 34.000 the Aire here is next to the marina with a view over the masts to the town. The fridge was not cooling and the milk we got went off. This is a very nice aire.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]8th June. We moved on from Pleneuf Val Andre to Plouha N 48 40.554 W 002 53.107. The Aire here is level grass for a change as all of the others we had used so far had been on dry bare earth or tarmac. We were carrying a fridge in the Smart car for use outside in the Safari Room. This also works on 240/12 volts and gas. I had used it before in England when we had a hookup on mains but had until now never used the gas. I took the pipe off the Safari Chef Barbecue and put it onto the fridge and got it going. This cooled rapidly so we transferred everything out of the internal fridge into it. We hadn't filled with water from arriving at Le Val Andre so we needed to put some it on the morning of the 9th June. We disconnected the outside fridge and the awning skirt that I had put on the night before in a heavy rain shower to protect the fridge. We then went to the Borne and connected the hose. This took 2 Euro for water but we found that it stopped at half a tank or 50 litres. Most on other airs had a limit of 10 minutes or 100 litres. After finishing all the other jobs at the borne we pulled back on the same pitch. I had only shoved the gas pipe on the fitting not clipped it on and on moving the fridge it had fallen off. I didn't notice this and Joan plugged the pipe into the barbeque point on the van and turned it on. I tried to light the fridge but could only smell gas and then there was a woosh and flames were shooting along the side of the van and up the step. I quickly moved the fridge away from the side of the van and disconnected the pipe from the Barbeque point. Joan had got the fire extinguisher out and found that it no longer was working. I had used it before to put out a small fire and thought it would be OK the re-use it as it was dry powder. The nozzle was all blocked up and was unusable, so two lessons learnt here don't just fit loose gas pipes and extinguishers are only one time use. We had a walk along the shingle beach last night, at low tide it is golden sand but the tide covers this completely at high tide. This had a good ramp down onto the sands and many small boats are launched here into the bay. The site is actually at Palus Plage a few Ks down the road from the town of Plouha and has a few houses and a couple of Restaurants and a Creperie. We are staying another night here.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]11th June We moved on to Tregastle N48 49.464 W003 29.881 the barrier was only working intermittently. The Bourne is custom made and whilst being quite good the tap for rinsing the cassette was in a position that made it difficult to get the water to go into it. There is a charge of 7 Euro a day to use this Aire and the borne if free. The ticket states that a stay of 7 days is permitted. Payment is by credit card (not Mistro or Visa Electron) but as the system was not working it turned out to be a free Aire for our stay.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]15th June. We left Tregastle and headed for a free Aire at Lannalis N48 33.420 W004 41.918 When we arrived we found this Aire is on a sloping site adjacent to the D13. Access is at the roundabout and then two left turns bringing you back to the side of the D13. The sat nav took us off to the right just before the roundabout through a narrow lane and back to the D13 opposite the now closed access road to the Aire. Building work on toilets was in progress with piles of materials and a digger. The area around Bourne didn't smell to pleasant so we left and moved on to Ploudalmezeau – Portsall N48 33.961 W004 41.918 This is a reasonably level grass field with plenty of space even for the largest unit. The Toilet block was locked and it looked like a new Bourne had been installed. This takes a card (debit or Credit) and dispenses 5 minutes of water or 55 minutes of electricity for 2 Euro. There were some graffiti on the building and elsewhere in the village. There was a notice about needles but we found no problems at all on the beautiful Aire. The Aire is free with unlimited stop so we decided to stay a few days and enjoy the nearby beach. Whilst the rest of France was having torrential rain we were having cold North Easterly winds and the temperature was only getting up to 14 c during the day. At home the forecasts were for 18 to 20c. We walked along the beach a couple of times and it was bracing. We went for a drive in the car to explore and found a E.Leclerc in Portsall 2 Km away. With the vans fridge not working and the wind blowing out the gas flame on the portable one out, we were resorting to buying fresh food every day. On Thursday the 17th the wind dropped and we decided to spend the afternoon on the beach which is only 2 minutes away from the Aire. We had a lazy day on site on the Friday before packing up to move on Saturday morning.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]19th June. Being in need of a top up of Gas to run the generator and for cooking, we made our way to Saint Renan and topped up at the Super U where we also did a shop. We have decided that in future we will not try to shop on a Saturday in France the crowds were horrendous. We then back tracked up the D5 to Lampaul Plouarzel. The Aire is in the dunes at N48 28.824 W004 46.584. This Aire is on a number of levels on a sloping site as well as a Euro Relais borne there are toilets and separate wash rooms in two buildings. There are many good sandy beaches here with cliff to walks. At 18:00 a young gentleman calls to collect the fee of 3.50 Euro each day, There is no stay limit . The borne takes 2 Euro coins and dispenses 10 minutes of water as well as Electricity.[/FONT]


[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]22nd June. Moved on to Camaret Sur Mer N 48 16.418 W 004 35.693. The Aire is divided in bays separated by flowering shrubs. Payment of 4 Euro per day at the machine at the entrance. The Bourne has places to dump from a toilet tank as well as the usual services at 2 Euro for 10 minutes of water. We had to use a pen to press the button mechanism as the button was missing, electricity is 2 Euro for 80 minutes. We went for a walk to the Menhirs (standing stones in lines) that are just outside of the Aire and then to the runes of a Manor house build by a French poet and then walked along the top of the cliff to the Musuem of the Battle of the Atlantic which is situated within the massive German gun battery that protected Brest during WWII. [/FONT]

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[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Had a day of rest on the beach topping up our tans on the 23rd and went to find a Museum of minerals on the 24th but found it shut for lunch so we went to Cameret Sur Mer and had our lunch of Moules in a restaurant overlooking the beach and harbour.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]25 June. [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Cleden-Sap-Sizen N 48 02.915 W 004 39.030 has a nice spacious under-used Aire which is in a large car park just on the outskirts of the town opposite the cemetery. The Bourne had one side not working and care is needed when discharging the cassette. Again no rinse facility for the cassette. In this area of France they have a flush built into the borne but the only water available is from the drinking water taps at 10 minutes for 2 Euro.[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]We decided to stay here and explore the Pointe du Raz area using the car as the roads around this area are very narrow. 26[/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]th[/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif] June we went to Point du Raz and parked in the visitors centre there are Motor home parking bays here and you can stay overnight without any services for 15 Euro The Aire at Cleden Sap Sizen is free. We explored the area and found the France Passion site at Cap Helix so will have a night there. The streets here are very narrow and there is a very tight blind area by the medieval church.[/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]27 June. Drove 7 km to [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Cap' Helix Escargots Visited the Prance Passion site at N 48 03.071 W 004 34.345. Had tour of the site and bought some snails in Garlic Butter? These were very chewy and we didn't like them. The taste was not bad but it was like chewing a piece of rubber. Although the French like to think that eating snails in something French the actual snail species in common use for producing edible snails are from Belarus. The snails are housed in long green net tunnels and feed on clover and radishes as well as supplements containing limestone for their shells. There is a sprinkler system to ensure a damp environment. The harvest 250,000 kilos of snails per year and it takes two years for a snails egg to reach harvesting size. They get the eggs in February from last years stock.[/FONT][/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]28 June. [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Pont L'Abbe (E.LECLERC) N 47 51.849 W 004 14.152. Very hot today with temps 28 to 30 degrees c. Nice supermarket Aire with borne and 12 marked Motor home bays. Four of these bays are against the back fence and have 230v hookup facilities. We hooked up and put our money in for 3 x 7 hours of electric but it cut out after 30 minutes. We sought help and they restored our connection. You can only have 7 hours at a time putting in extra coins does not increase the time as we found out. They gave us our money back though.[/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]29 June. Drove past Quiberon and out on the Spit of land just before Port Maria to the Aire at N 47 29.500 W 003 08.334, adjacent to the Municipal Camping at Kerne. This is under redevelopment with new tarmac and a barrier system is being installed. The cost is 5 Euro per night plus water at 1 euro for 33 litres. The Borne is a custom one with all the usual facilities but the taps for cleaning the cassette were again not working leaving the drinking water tap as the only water supply. The push button rinsing facilities were rather pathetic and didn't clean anything away when used as only a trickle came out of the jets. The ticket machine (Horodateur) was unreliable and we learned not to park near these machine as lots of people wanted change from us if we could supply it. We had problems ourselves in keeping enough 1 and 2 Euro coins for the machines and bornes. We went into Port Maria and went into a bank but found that some French banks do not operate like UK banks and they do not have facilities to change notes for coins. The gentleman in the bank did however direct us to “La Post” where they have a machine that take 20, 10 or 5 Euro notes and give change in coins. We stocked our supply of coins up here. Most of our shopping was done using cards or notes and we didn't ever seem to acquire enough change in these transactions. This Aire is on the Cote Sauvage and there is no bathing on this side of the spit as the waters are dangerous even when calm. On the 30th we had a morning at the Alignment at Quiberon which are hundreds of stone Dolmen and Menhirs in lines and date from the same period as Stone Henge. We went on the Petit Train around this monument and the town of Quiberon. This is interesting as these trains also have commentary in English. We will have another day here and then move on.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]This has been a very interesting month on the road. Lots of lessons learned. July will take us further south and west befor returning to the UK mid month.[/FONT]
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