“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill
It was a long-ish drive from Noirmoutier to St Coulomb, near St Malo – the last stop of our French Odyessy.
It appears that we have been getting a bit cocky with our caravan skills and it was time for the gods to hand us a leveller. Mark had nonchalantly reversed onto our pitch at Barbâtreperfectly; first time. However, it appears that we were to end our trip the way we began – on a colossal note of incompetence…! Continue reading “St Coulomb – Back Home to Mr Cock Up!”→
In Search of The World’s Most Expensive Potato, The Longest Submersible Road in Europe & The Perfect Storm.
14th September – We wondered if we had made a mistake leaving Oléron. As we departed the Charente Maritime for the Vendée, we drove through a featureless coastal plain to Longeville, recommended to us by Friederike and Dieter.
It was always a risk; Campsite Petit Rocher advertised that it took only one dog – which seemed to be a worrying standard in this area. On our travels, most campsites have stipulated ‘maximum 2 dogs’ although we have not yet encountered a problem checking in with four. In Longeville, however, even my “ils son tres petit et tres gentile” made no difference. The 1 dog policy was politely, yet strictly enforced.
While the campsite looked pleasant, with lots of woodland and the beach nearby, it was quite commercial. “Didn’t want to stay there anyway…” – the sour grape rebuttal of the snubbed!
As always, however, it worked out better in the long run. It was early afternoon, so we decided to push on to one of our planned stops a couple of hours further up the coast. I love arriving at new places and exploring but it is a while since I have been this excited about arriving somewhere! Continue reading “Holy Fools – Île de Noirmoutier”→
A Storm in a Teacup; The Ubiquitous Evil & The Wrong Kind of Wind!
8th September: The dogs were suddenly excited. Even we were aware of the delicious, briny smell of the sea as we crossed the bridge on to the Île d’Oléron. At 22 miles long, Île d’Oléron is France’s second largest island after Corsica. There is no toll on the bridge; Oléron is altogether more down-to-earth than its swanky neighbour, Île de Ré.
With salt-pans and mussel beds on each side of the road, we were overjoyed to see the gorgeous, big, blue expanse of the Atlantic laid out before us.
We mused that our trip is the longest period that we have been away from the ocean since we took up (‘became obsessed with’) windsurfing!!!!
5th September. We seemed to be oscillating backwards and forwards through time.
From the Lozère, we went from Gallo Roman, via Celtic to Prehistoric at our destination on the River Vézère, a tributary of the Dordogne.
Summer also changed to Autumn as we drove through the Parc Naturel Regional des Causses. Deciduous trees bordered the parched, golden fields with rims of blood red foliage. Neolithic Dolmens and Menhirs abounded. It was a complete change from the dark, secret forests of conifers that we had left behind.
Summer re-joined us as we crossed into the Dordogne. Temperatures soared once again into the 30s, while lush, green forest clung to cave-ridden limestone escarpments above the river.