Monday 19 September 2016

The Twenty-Eighth Week

Monday 12-9-16

This week takes us into our seventh month away and we're happily wandering around France. As it's now September our ACSI camping discount card now gives us discounted fees at campings again. We also have French motorhome aires and Camping municipals to choose from, so we're spoilt for choice. Today we followed the Loire valley all the way to the sea. And a sunrise over the Loire was what greeted us when we got up on Monday morning.

This is the first coast we've hit since leaving Greece so we both got a bit excited. We looked at a couple of Aires but they were in towns and busy, we wanted sea views seeing as we'd made it to the coast. At Piriac Sur Mer we found them on an aire that charged 7 euro a night.

We wandered on the beach and then when we went to bed we listened to the waves, like we'd done in Greece, what seemed like a long time ago.

Aire at Piriac Sur Mer, France. N47.39680 W002.51245

Tuesday 13-9-16 and Wednesday 14-9-16

The idea now was to wander around the coast of Brittany. So in true Van Brian fashion today we headed inland. The coast had been busy and I really couldn't be bothered to traipse around aires looking for a place to stop. We also needed reliable internet to upload last weeks blog that was already two days late. We found a 14 euro a night camping with a heated swimming pool and free internet at Pont Scorff.

The weather took a turn for the worse and it started to rain. I got the blog sorted and we decided to have another night there. We had beer, wine and meat, the basics for survival so we wouldn't perish. I cooked kebabs in the rain that evening.

The next day was miserable too so we had a lazy day in the van, not even a game of boule due to the weather.

ACSI Camping Ty Nenez, France. N47.82084 W003.40550

Thursday 15-9-16

Feeling a little stir crazy after two days in the same place we plotted our route north with a list of four aires to look at for our stop tonight. We never got further than the first one. It was in a town with campsite like hedges separating the pitches and picnic tables for each bay. And it was free.

The town was nice, stone houses and shops and a huge fancy church in the middle. The Roman Catholics built a few of these big fancy churches in Brittany in an effort to tempt the Brittany Catholics away from their type of god which wasn't as good as the Roman Catholic one. I didn't take a photo of the church but I took a photo of the nice Bar Tabac next to it.

I'd seen a few Pizzerias in towns we'd driven through today and was gutted to find this place didn't have one. It had a creperie restaurant which always confuse me. How can you base a business on selling pancakes? Seems such a niche market to me, a little market stall maybe but a whole restaurant? But then just as we were getting the salad out for dinner a pizza van turned up in the car park opposite us. There were cheers from the Van Brian crew. I think I captured the excitement in this terrible quality photo out of the windscreen.

Note also the tent pitched on the aire, another first for us.

Aire at St Thegonnec, France. N48.52244 W003.94572

Friday 16-9-16

Today we'd arranged to stay at the house of some friends who live in Brittany. On the way we stopped for lunch, finding a park with a picnic area. It also had a replica British phone box that they used as a lending library, a similar scheme with a phone box is ran in our village. They also had fitness equipment which Liz tried but soon got bored of.

We found our friends house and abandoned the van for comfy settees, a power shower and red wine.

That evening they took us to a restaurant by a lake where I had more red wine, moules and frites and a very large brandy.

Back at their house the red wine thing continued till we'd seen off all we had in the van and all they had in the house. At some point we went to bed.

Friends House, Laniscat, France.

Saturday 17-9-16

I woke up on Saturday afternoon. My friend called me a few names for the state of his head and we sat drinking tea. We consulted the big map and big book of aires and chose one not that far away and late afternoon we left them and by teatime we were there. A nice aire at Prestin Les Greves with a sea view. But even better was what we found parked there. Another van the same make and model as Van Brian.

We've had ours for nearly four years and Bert and Kathy from Rotterdam had had theirs for ten years. Nether of us had ever seen another one on the road till today. They made room for us in front of them and we had a good nose about in each others vans. He'd had exactly the same three mechanical faults as we'd had on this trip, wheel bearing, turbo hose and leaking radiator.

And then it was an early night after dinner, no wine was required today to help me sleep.

Aire at Prestin Les Greves, France. N48.68137 W003.63486

Sunday 18-9-16

We swapped emails with our new Dutch friends and then pottered around the Rose Granite coast. Being Sunday most of the supermarkets were shut but we did find a Netto open, and I'm glad we did. They were doing a buy one case of Burgundy get one free offer. Which worked out at one pound forty a bottle. One small town had two aires at it, the first we looked at had been taken over by gypsies but the second which was just above a beach was just the ticket.  And free as well.

A French lady told us the beach was good for cockleing so we grabbed our bucket and went off in search of some lunch.

We got enough for a pan full but, as we later found out, they should be left overnight in seawater to spit out all the sand they'd ate. My lunch was a gritty affair.

In the evening we watched some strange sand machines driving back to the coast. I presume they're some sort of shellfish collecting trucks but there was nobody to ask.  And luckily the Netto Burgundy was lovely.

Aire at Lermot Plage, France. N48.53147 W002.66379

And so that's our penultimate blog post for this trip, the next one will be uploaded when we get home.
Below are the numbers so far for 194 days away.

Cheers, the Van Brian Crew.