Wednesday 14 September 2016

The Twenty-Seventh Week

Saturday 3-9-16 and Sunday 4-9-16

So we were camping on an allotment close to the town of Jockgrim who were having their two yearly beer and wine festival.

Last nights festivities had took their toll and we slept till mid morning. The town has a lake with a beach and we met some of our friends there and laid about chatting in the sun. After a power nap in the afternoon we donned our very orange festival tee shirts and met up with everyone. We found them in one of the courtyard bars and commandeered a table.

After drinking and eating there, we moved on to the town square and mingled with the locals, but it was hard to loose our mob due to their orangeness.

We made it back to the van in the early hours of Sunday morning in a very happy mood. Sunday was painful though and we took it easy until I got the bbq out and made a pizza using some ready made pastry and a pile of toppings for lunch. My mate and his wife were also stopping on the allotment with us in his van and they came over with a bottle of German champagne and we shared our pizza. Then it was back to the festival for the last time and then a very good Italian meal with everyone. After the meal we had one last drink at the last bar still open. We sang a song for the barman and he served us beer and wine but wouldn't take any money in payment. What a nice man.

On an allotment near Jockgrim, Germany.

Monday 5-8-16

We said our goodbyes to everyone and then mid afternoon wandered off back to France. This was going to be a quiet day of rest and recuperation. At a town called Blamont we found a camping municipal, bagged a pitch near the lake and started to recuperate. There was us and one French caravan stopping on the site.

I fried up some sausages for dinner and that was about as exciting as things got. An early night was called for.

Camping Municipal at Blamont, France. N48.58821 E006.85075

Tuesday 6-9-16

Refreshed and starting to feel human again I was up early. Which was a good thing or I'd of missed a lovely sunrise over the lake next to our van.

We were slowly heading west now, with a plan to hit the Atlantic coast and then follow it north. So the big map was consulted and a place found a couple of hours drive away. We decided to use French aires on the drive west and today's was a good one. The town had allocated an area next to the canal as a motorhome overnight parking area.

The town itself wasn't that interesting, we walked around it and the only thing that caught my eye to take a photo of was this chap and his lad on the back of his bike.

The aire filled up that night and we slept well as it was quiet even though we were in the middle of the town.

Aire at Ligny en Barrois, France. N48.68779 E005.31945

Wednesday 7-9-16 and Thursday 8-9-16

So another day and another aire was picked out of our big book of aires. This one was a surprise when we got there. In a very pretty old town they'd given over an grassy area to us motorhomers.

It was one of the best we'd stopped on and as they allowed you to stop three nights we decided to have a couple of days here. We found a great looking bar but typically for France it was closed with no sign to say when it would open.

There was a footpath at the side of the river running through the town and we wandered down it. There was also a boule area on the aire. I played Liz for a while and a French guy wandered across and asked if we'd like a game with him. Two hours later we'd played 20 games and he'd beat us, but not by much so I didn't feel too bad. We did find an open bar and had a beer with a group of French skinheads. Doc Martin boots and neck tattoos seemed a bit out of place in the town, when they wandered off with their beer the barman shouted them back and they sheepishly gave him the bottles back. I think they were good boys really.

Aire at Chaourcy, France. N48.05998 E004.13933

Friday 9-9-16

My favourite shorts had finally given up after six months hammer and they'd started to fall apart. So on the way to tonight's stop I spotted a Decathalon and dived in. I successfully found a new pair of favourite shorts and a rather natty little bag for my boule balls. The camping we found that day was yet another virtually empty municipal. No body was in the reception but a sign said they'd come around in the evening and take payment for the pitches.

I found some hooks in my bag of useful tat and made a home for our boules. Note my posh new boule bag.

Camping Municipal at Coullons, France. N47.62341 E002.48618

Saturday 10-9-16

Nobody ever came for the money but at six the next morning I heard someone walk by. When we got up later there was a note on the table under our awning that just said “11.20 euro pour le emplacement” When we left we wrapped the money in the note and pinned it to the door of the still closed reception. I hope they got it. Our laundry bag was full and I was sick of shifting it out of the bathroom in order to use the crapper so we looked in our ACSI camping book and found a site with washing machines. Being September the ACSI off peak discount scheme was back. The site we picked was in a town with a big river running through it. The site had been flooded by the river when France had the heavy rain in June. It still showed signs of the flood but the washing machines had survived. We filled our pitch with drying laundry.

We shopped in the town and while walking back heard the sound of car horns. It was Saturday and a wedding had taken place in the town. The tradition in France is to have a procession of honking cars between the church and the Mayors office where the couple have to sign the wedding papers. We found the bride and grooms car in the parking next to the campsite.

ACSI Camping at Montbazon, France. N47.29048 W000.71582

Sunday 11-9-16

We were following the river Loire now, all the way to the sea. The Loire valley is famous for it's chateaux. And we found an awfully pretty one on our drive today.

And then I got a treat. At the awfully pretty camping municipal at La Fresne a group of French car nuts had had a weekend camping with their old cars and old camping kit. They were sat together having lunch and we asked if we could take some photos. No problem but don't put them on Facebook was their reply. So I presume it's ok to put them on my blog. I was most impressed with the micro caravan with a boat on top, but to be honest they all looked great.

Camping Municipal at La Fresne, France.  N47.39900 W0.93373 

47.399, -0.93373And that's another week done, only two left before our crossing back to the UK. So we're making the most of France for a bit longer.

Below are the numbers so far for 187 days away.

Cheers, the Van Brian Crew.

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