Monthly Archives: September 2011

Montreuil-sur-Mer, Monday 19th April 2010

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Part of Montreuil's city walls

We met lovely people doing the washing up last night and swapped tips and places where to stay.  I must admit that even doing that chore by the Seine wasn’t such a chore after all and, what’s wrong with washing up with a view, anyway?  Another treat was to see the Chateau Gaillard all lit up in the evening, although our camera couldn’t capture its true beauty.

Woke up this morning and, looking through van window, my first sight was the river again, so it was with a heavy heart that I got  up at 9 am thinking we had to leave such glorious campsite.

With Adonis at the wheel again, we set off at around 10.30 am and stopped nearby for diesel and a baguette.  Without further ado, we set off on our way to Montreuil and once again we had to disagree with Mrs Tom Tom (or Pandora, as Pepo and I call it) with her choice of route through Rouen.  Instead of taking junction 22 off the A13, it took us to the next one, which crossed the city itself and what a spaghetti junction that was! I swear we looped the loop at least once before we exited that almighty labyrinth. Good job she knew how to get us out of there for I’d never seen such confusion of roads before in my life!  But then again, she took us there in the first place.

Walk and view around Montreuil's city walls.Part of Montreuil's city walls

Once safely out of that maze, we carried on our merry way and finally got here at about 1.30 pm.  Took Br. for a little stroll by the city walls and had lunch outside.  There’s a big difference in temperature from 2 week ago and it’s lovely sitting out here eating, reading and about to make coffee now…

Ile des trois Rois, Les Andelys, Sunday 18th April 2010

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We were sorry to leave the idylic and gorgeous campsite at Neun-s-Beuvron, the woodpecker, cuckoos, swallows and the young travellers with their five noisy dogs!  Nevertheless, we needn’t have worried as we have found yet another treasure amidst the French countryside, right on the shore of the River Seine.  We are now at medieval Andelys, on an stupendous campsite called L’Ile des Trois Rois, and we couldn’t get closer to the river without actually being in it: pitch 98 with lots of room and nice couples at either side, one Dutch on the right and one British (from the Ile of Wight) on the left.

There is a lake on the other side that is full of fish! This could really be a good site for us at half term as it’s near the tunnel, it’s sunny and there’s lotsto do!  The worst thing will be going back!

View of the River Seine from our pitch at L'ile des Trois RoisView of Chateau Gaillard from Ile des Trois Rois campsite

The village is full of wonderful Tudor-style houses and I couldn’t stop taking pictures of them, the river and the gorges beyond.  I’ve read the leaflets about the history of the castle or Chateau Gaillard and the rivalry between Richard the Lion Heart and Philip Augustus in the 12th century and how the poor local people were shut out and starved to death in the winter.  It does make you shudder a bit and feel sorry for the locals of the time and a bit guilty about being able to enjoy such a glorious little town as this.  I would like to see that painting by Tattegrain of the ‘Useless’ as these people were known.  Still, I’m glad we found this little jewel in the heart of the Eure and would love to come back for a longer stay.

We’ve just had a lazy dinner of pizza bought at Carrefour yesterday and I’m just trying to gather up the necessary enthusiasm to do the washing up, but first I must finish my glass of Coronas Crianza…

View of Chateau Gaillard from Ile des Trois Rois campsite

Neung-Sur-Beuvron, junction 3 off A71, Saturday, 17th April 2010

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The following diary Entry was written by Peter Saysell

Generous pitch in beautiful Neun-sur-Beuvron municipal campsite

Today we left the aire and travelled into Montlucon.  We found Carrefour and did some shopping for today and tomorrow and then filled the van up with diesel. 

The Municipal site is excellent, in a wood and by the river. Perfect for Bramble, who ran about madly and went in the river for a swim.  On the way here we saw a Marsh Harrier.  We have a huge pitch and everything is quiet. Dog is tired at last.

We think we may stay another night, meaning we have to get to Montreuil on Monday. The Sat Nav says 4 hours 10 minutes, so it should not be too traumatic.  Tonight I’m cooking Milanesas.

This site is truly tremendous, with loads of space around us, immaculate toilets and showers and wifi to keep Pepo happy.  Bramble is loving it too, chasing his ball along and in the river, and there are lots of forest walks, a bit like the New Forest.  We are thinking about booking a few days here for the beginning of our summer holiday, but I’m guessing it won’t be as peaceful then.  The temperature is making it a very desirable place to stay for a few days, as it must be at least in the mid 20 C (70s F) and it’s already 5.45 pm.  I just don’t want to move from here, but we have booked an appointment with the vet in Montreuil for Tuesday, 9 o’clock, si time is running out.

I surprised myself with my French skills on the phone to make said appointment, so this trip is also helping me to brush up this beautiful language.  The chap in reception speaks a little English, so half English and half French we understood each other very well and had a laugh too.  Nice chap!

Estivareilles, Friday, 16th April 2020

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Lovely warm and sunny morning by canal and enjoyed walk with Br. and Adonis while Pepo sorted himself out.  It was great being able to enjoy the eastern morning sunlight by the river before setting off again on route to Estivareilles in the Allier region.  Just had a couple of stops before Millau for coffee and Clermont Ferrand for lunch.  I got to drive for a while, but I must admit it wasn’t easy driving on all those hills going up and down at an altitude of 1,100 metres and windy roads all through the Massif Central.  I learned that in order to change from 4th to 3rd gear in this van you have to be driving at just over 40 mph, otherwise it’s tricky to find the right gear, and on a couple of occasions I had to drop down to 2nd gear before going up to 3rd again! Lesson learned!

The reward fo this difficult drive is, of course, the spectacular views of the gorges, rivers, bridges and little villages dotted here and there.

We arrived at the aire of Estivareilles at 5.20pm and were a bit surprised and slightly disappointed to discover that contrary to the information given in Le Guide Officiel d’Aires de Services Camping Car, Estivareilles’s aire didn’t have any toilets or facilities to empty ours.  Still, we were able to enjoy a warm sunny evening by the Salle Polivalente and I cooked some rice with tomatoes and peppers for Pepo and myself and Cassoulet for Adonis.  It wasn’t so good for walking Bramble, though and we just went round the village with him on the lead.  We bought half a loaf of bread in the local boulangerie for dinner and after this, Adonis and I enjoyed a beautiful strong coffee and cognac at the local Hotel/Restaurant, The Lion D’Or, all served by friendly waitress.  Again, it was surprising to see that the village Bar/Tabac was closed by 8 pm, although it had been open when we went for a walk earlier at about 6. 

It’s not easy to write on the move, so I’m going to leave it there!

Portiragnes,Thursday, 15th April 2010

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View from coastal path at Port Vendre

Lovely sunny day! Got up a bit earlier than usual, had breakfast, washed up, Pepo walked Br. and Adonis and I got van ready for departure at 9.45 am after saying our good-byes to abuelo and abuela. We stopped for coffee at a beautiful Spanish aire at Montseny, with an arboretum, picnic area and wonderful facilities, including showers and clean toilets.  I’ll definitely stop there again if en-route stop is needed in the future in that area between north-east Spain and south-east France.

Adonis insisted on driving all the way, with another stop at lunchtime, just north of the border at a charming little town called Port Vendre.  After lunch we went for a walk to view the port, town and mountains and took a few pictures.  We set off again before 4 pm and made it to the Canal du Midi at Portiragnes by 6 pm.  It was a warm spring evening and took Br. for walk along lovely canal, where he enjoyed chasing the ball, runners and cyclists!

I’ve just prepared a meal of solomillo, saute potatoes, couscous and the left overs of the Bolognese sauce for Pepo, washed up and hope to do some

crocheting and reading before joining Adonis in bed, who’s ver tired and has had an early night to get over driving feat.  More fun in the sun by the canal tomorrow. I hope!

I almost forgot: today we’ve seen the first motorhome (or vehicle of any kind) with a ‘FIN’ registration number plate. What a long way to come!  Will we ever make it as far as Finland in our travels, I wonder?

Port Salou, Wednesday, 14th April 2010

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Cloudy and chilly again, so abuelo decided to go shopping near Tarragona in a huge Carrefour hypermarket.  Stopped half way through for coffee and were able to top up on essentials such as olive oil, wine, bear, chorizo, Manchego cheese, etc.  Got back with plenty of time before lunch, which we shared again in abuelo’s hymer, as they have more room round dinner table than in our Elddis.

During siesta time I kept reading David Copperfield, which makes me laugh, and Pepo kept surfing the net and chatted with his mates on Facebook.  He then took Br. for walk and we watched another episode of Star Trek Voyager (we really are born travellers and explorers)

The abuelos came back for aperitif and Adonis cooked delicious Moroccan style pork and spicy couscous as our last supper in Salou.   It seemed a bit sad to think we were leaving the next day, but at least we dined in style with a bottle of Rioja Siglo and horchata for Pepo.  Washed up, read some more and went to bed.

Port Salou, Tuesday, 13th April 2010

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The following entry was written by husband:

Cloudy again. Took dog out, had coffee, lunch and siesta.

In the evening we went ot the Sanguli Restaurant and verey good it was too.  Floppy and I shared clams for starters, then I had veal and Floppo had rape.  We were the only people there, but the service was good and everything was cooked perfectly.

 

Most enjoyable meal with friendly waiters and first class service.  Will definitely go there again.

Port Salou, Sunday 11th April 2010

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Another beautiful day, with the usual schedule in the morning plus a load of laundry, which cost 6 E, but the campsite laundry assistant did everything for me, including folding all the clothes when she took them out of washing machine!  I thought this was really good value for money.  All chores completed by 10 am.

Peter and Peggy moved from their campsite at Cambrils to Sanguli at around 11 am, as they didn’t like their noisy and inconsiderate neighbours.  We walked to Marina for horchata and ice-cream, except that there was no horchata.  However, my tiramisu cone was absolutely delicious and the walk along the palm tree promenade was a real treat and the changing pattern of the water fountain was a lovely surprise and I took a few pictures.

We all came back for shared lunch outside Hymer and rested for a bit.  Adonis, Peter and Peggy went for a swim while I took Br. for walk and back again for aperitif and dinner.  Adonis cooked gorgeous lamb chops and saute potatoes.

The wind is picking up again and rain is forecast for tomorrow, so we might have to change our routine. We shall see…

Port Salou (Tarragona-northeast Spain), Friday 9th April 2010

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A much more relaxed and lazy day today. We went for walk along seafront after breakfast and met with Adonis’s mum and dad, who had been there for a week already waiting for us in their Hymer.  The beach is lovely and deserted in the morning, but no dogs are allowed and this proved to be a problem, as dogs must be kept on lead all the time and Bramble is used to ramble on the loose.  Nevertheless, as there was no one sunbathing so early in the morning, we took a risk and Adonis threw the ball for him in the Mediterranean sea a couple of times, which he loved!

We all came back to Sanguli campsite for morning drinks, including ‘horchata’, which is a lovely refreshing drink made from tiger nuts, water and sugar and looks very much like milk, but doesn’t taste anything like it! I’ve always loved this drink, as I was born in Alicante and it originates from the region of Valencia, on the east coast of Spain.  After drinks we went on a tour of campsite, which is by all means impressive and deserves its 5 star status, with its 2 swimming pools, bars, gormet restaurant, cinemas, tennis courts and organised activities like aerobics, etc. Wonderful for families and popular with British holidaymakers, even that early in the year.