Soultz Haute Rhin souvenir shop and motorhome aire
We made very good progress this morning, as we left Deluz just after 8.30 am and made it to south of Colmar by 11 am, for we followed the motorway most of the way (A36) and stopped at Soultz Haute Rhin’s France Passion site to buy some Gewurztraminer wine and look at gifts, but only got one tea-towel and some chocolates to go with wine!?
One of our first views of Germany
We decided to carry on our way to Germany following the D1b and D2 to Neuf Brissach and then the D415/D31 to
Freiburg. We used the tomtom to get us to campsite and were here for 1.30. I honestly don’t think we would have found
it without the sat. nav., so for once I was happy to have it, as I didn’t feel too confident reading German road map and signs on road, which I found a bit confusing. I can’t really explain how excited I felt about entering Germany for the first time in my life. The best way I can describe it is with the same sense of anticipation that a child has the night before Christmas. I felt pure joy just crossing the border. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed that wonderful childish feeling.
This sign made us laugh (childish, I know)
Our pitch at Lake Titisee campsite
We registered with very friendly French young student called Penelpe and then set up, had lunch and siesta, as the weather suddenly changed and rained quite heavely for over one hour. I took Bramble for a walk at 4 pm through very soggy wood and then had very welcome shower in immaculate block. After some fiddling about with passwords, we got internet connection and have been on Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with friends and family.
We’ve enjoyed quiche and Adonis’s just gone to bed after a long day.
I spoke to Pepo earlier: he’s very happy to have Fred round for company and to do the cooking. All is good with us. Gute Nacht.
Lake Titisee and Black Forest in background
We are parked just 15 km east of Besançon, off the D683, 2 km west of Deluz, a charming little village with a quaint church with a lovely tiled bell tower. It is just a simple car park by the lock and a peaceful picnic area and the path between the villages seems popular with walkers, cyclists and riders.
Aire at Deluz
We left Pont d’Ain early and were at Super U for 9 o’clock, where we stocked up with some provisions to last us for a couple of days. We’ll be eating burgers and chips tonight and quiche Lorraine tomorrow. We got on the A42 to juncition 7, where we took the N83 to Poligny to empty grey water and toilet at an aire. There was a slight deviation and then we carried on to Besançon, where there was yet another deviation, just south of the town, but finally
we continued with any further problems, apart from busy by-pass with too many traffic lights that made progress slow and frustrating.
Nevertheless, we got here for 12.30 pm, had lunch, quick siesta and then I took Bramble for a long walk into Deluz, where I managed to twist my foot and had to sit down for pain to go away. We were gone for 1.30 hours and when we got back to van, I twisted my ankle yet again and had to lie down on the grass until pain abated. I have now a swollen left ankle and I know it will be painful tonight from previous experience (my all-time weakness since I sprained it when I fell down flight of stairs just before my 18th birthday). ‘Mein Fuβ tut mir weh!
Deluz parking and picnic area
Tomorrow we’ll be heading for a France Passion site just south of Colmar and should be our last night in France for a
Deluz lock by parking area
The weather turned cloudy and overcast this morning, so we set off on our way again, following the motorway A51 and 48 for a while to junction 10 and the the D1075 north. Not a bad road, except for some roadworks and uneven surfaces in some places.
We got here at about 12.30 pm and found a lovely spot right on the shore of the river Ain, where we are parked for free, but there is a lovely campsite just a few meters down the path from here. It’s been a very relaxing
Camping wild at Pont d'Ain
afternoon and we have planned our route for tomorrow to go to Alsace and hopefully stay at a France Passion site before crossing the border into Germany on Friday.
Enjoying lunch by the river at Pont d'Ain
Well, what a magnificent place! We’ve just had a swim with a view of the Alps at this truly stunning lake Monteynard. In fact, ever since we left Orange this morning, it’s been amazing views and landscapes of the Drome, Hautes Alpes and Iseres regions and I couldn’t stop taking pictures.
Stopping for coffe at the Hautes Alpes,
We made an early start from Château Maucoil on the D907, D976 and D576 to Nyons (must stop there next time, as there is an aire and the town looked very pretty from the road), then we followed the D94 to Serres and stopped at Aubres for baguette, cake and apricots, then the D994 from Rosans and the D1075/E712 to Clelles, passing some very high mountains, like Durbonas (2086 metres) and Col de la Croix Haute (1754 m.). We carried on in the Grenoble direction until Monestier de Clemont, where we started the descent to Treffort and the lake.
Treffort, Plage Salette
We might stay here two nights if the weather holds, as today was a long drive and we’ve got plenty of food and drink.
Adonis stopped at St Cecile-les-Vignes to buy some Côte-du-Rhone table wine, as the bottles from Château Maucoil were a special treat for his birthday and must save them for more deserving occasions.
Treffort, Plage Salette
Relaxing after bike ride in Portiragnes Plage
It’s been a wonderful week with the Saysells at Portiragnes and managed to fit in two celebrations: a 50th wedding anniversary at the best restaurant I’ve been to, ‘Octopus’, in Béziers, where we all enjoyed a magnificent nouvelle cuisine meal, and Adonis’ birthday yesterday, when he insisted on cooking his famous Moroccan lamb with couscous. The rest of the time we just lounged around the pool, apart from that cycle ride to Portiragnes Plage, where I swam in the sea.
I had to take Bramble back to the vet this morning and, as stitches had fallen off and the wound was open, I was given some spray at €32: some injury!
So we set off this morning and, after horribly congested roundabout, we joined the A9 towards Montpellier and Avignon and took exit at junction 22 to Orange, past Roquemaure on the D976 and then D17 to Châteauneuf-du-Pape and then the D68 to Château Maucoil.
Chateau Maucoil, Chateauneuf du Pape
Chateau Maucoil, Chateauneuf du Pape,
We got here just after 2 pm, to this France Passion prime site, with some wonderful views over the vineyards and the mountains beyond. We had usual lunch and then visited the cave to buy some of the local wine for Adonis’ birthday. Afterwards, I took Bramble for a walk up the road, past another Château (Mont Redon) and continued uphill to some more stunning views and got a bit carried away with it all. I made it back to the van at 5.20 pm and enjoyed coffee and pear tartelette: a perfect afternoon.
What will tomorrow bring?
Chateau Maucoil, Chateauneuf du Pape,
Chateau Maucoil, Chateauneuf du Pape,
Chateau Mont Redon
Parked under the pine trees at in-laws' house
We’ve been here since Sunday lunchtime and time has just flown by.
We left the campsite at La Capelle-Viescamp just after 10.30 am hoping to find a nice camping spot at Lake Salagou near Clermont-L’Hérault, but the parking area was too steep and rocky and not quite suitable, so we decided to try Montagnac instead. That’s where the trouble started, as the motorway junction was shut due to le Tour de France and had to make a detour via Castelnau-de-Guets, only to find that this road was shut too for the same reason and after 2 hours of failing to find a suitable overnight stay, we decided to head for Portiragnes, on the southeast coast, and Adonis’ parents’ house one day earlier than expected. And here we are parked under the pine trees in this beautiful garden.
It’s been lovely here, just chilling by the pool all day, except for Bramble having a bit of an accident with some wire on his private parts, which was bleeding quite profusely at one point. So we took him to the vet just after 6 last night, but had a long wait to be seen (at 7.10 pm eventually). We left 10 minutes later with some antibiotics, some cream and €55 worse off.
And then the girls!
Cooling down at the pool: first the boys...
Yesterday was a very windy day, and an even windier night, which kept me up for a while, but it’s lovely and sunny today and we are thinking of going for a bike ride to the beach later on. It’s nice to be close to the sea, for a change.
Parking at Lake Salagou
St Etienne-Cantales lake
We followed a very interesting road to get here this morning, going up and down hills on the D1120 from Tulle to Aurillac to end up at this charming campsite by the St Etienne-Cantales lake, called La Presqu’Ile du Puech des Ouilhes. We got here at around 11.30 am, but had to fiddle a bit on the first pitch of our choice, as we couldn’t turn round to desired position because we got stuck on soggy ground.
St Etienne-Cantales lake
We’ve had a very relaxing day, mainly in the sun and enjoying a swim in the lake and the campsite’s swimming pool, and Adonis managed to do some fishing too.
We didn’t stay at campsite at Seilhac as it was too far from the lake to do any fishing, so after spending one day and filling up with water, emptying grey water and toilet and enjoying hot showers, we left this morning at the late hour of 9.50 am.
We are hoping to stay at this campsite by lake for 3 days before making our way southeast to Portiragnes, with one more stop along the way.
Cooling down at St Etienne-Cantales lake
A spot of fishing at St Etienne-Cantales lake
We haven’t been very successful with satellite dish so far, maybe due to too many trees in the way, so last night I watched a weird film by David Lynch called Mulholland Drive, which was thrilling enough, but confusing towards the end.
St Etienne-Cantales lake
Not sure whether to watch another tonight or just carry on reading book, which is also very entertaining.
Dramatic aire at Égouzon-Chantôme/Cuzion
It was really wet this morning and poured down for almost 2 hours from 7 am. Adonis took Bramble for a walk, then we packed up and headed for Romorantin-Lanthenay and arrived at hyper Leclerc at 8.50, where we had to wait at the entrance sheltering from the downpour until opening time, mercifully only 10 minutes.
After doing our shopping, we took the D922 and D956 road to J11 at Levroux and joined the motorway A20 past Châteauroux until we got here (Cuzion) at a smashing aire that really isn’t an aire, but it’s very rural and it doesn’t look like it gets a lot of use. It’s on a beautiful spot by the river Creuse, where we can swim, under some dramatic cliffs where some children were doing some rock climbing earlier and there is a lovely dog walk, as well as fresh water. The sun is out and we are having a nice sparkling rosé on our own in the shade. What more can you want? Just lovely!
Adon and Bramble had a long swim in the river and I just took lots of pictures of them. We’ve just spoken to Pepo, who is very happy in Portiragnes playing with Huntley, the new family dog, and his cousin Gabriel.
Sunkissed cliffs at Égouzon-Chantôme/Cuzion
Tonight I am preparing a Caesar salad: the weather is just too hot for cooking. This is the calm after the almighty storm this morning!
The cliffs in the setting sun
Cooling down in the Creuse river
Motorhome aire at La Ferté Beauharnais
We’ve found yet another magnificent aire on the river Beuvron, just east of Neung-sur-Beuvron that we loved so much last year. We are parked right on the edge of the lake, where Adonis is now fishing. There is lots of room, shade, picnic tables, toilets and running water: ALL FOR FREE!!! It’s very hot today, the hottest day so far, and it’s just nice to laze around doing nothing.
La Ferté Beauharnais
We left Marbué at around 9.20 am this morning and had a couple of failed attempts at buying a baguette and cake before we realised that down here most shops and business shut on a Monday. We finally got our required items at Vidal supermarket and continued on our way down here, arriving at 10.30 am, so a very easy drive on local regional roads D925 and D923.
Enjoying the heat in Motorhome aire at La Ferté Beauharnais
They seem to be getting ready for celebrations on 14th July (Bastille Day) and there are a few marquees set up already. No doubt it’ll get busy and noisy and I expect fireworks too like last year. I wonder if they’ll ask motorhomes to leave, although this is a proper especially for these recreational vehicles. I doubt we’ll be here by then, but I worry we might find it difficult to get a space wherever we go on such a popular national celebration. We’re going to have to discuss this in a minute.
Walking the dog in my bikini
Tonight I am just cooking some marinated pork kebabs with spicy couscous and cherry tomatoes: It’s just too hot to do anything else.
Adonis had caught a bream of about 1 1/4 lb! Apparently this lake has loads of small fish and he’s going to try again later on this evening.
Walking and swimming the dog!
In France again! Left work early on Friday, just after 11 am, and got back home with plenty of time to put finishing touches and load last minute food/toiletry items in van and we were off by 1.30pm. They let us board an early train (16.45) and arrived in Calais at 18.15, local time. There was plenty of room at Wissant aire and spent a quiet night there after walking Bramble and eating pizza (this time I remembered to take if off plastic base!
On Saturday morning we headed for Boulogne to do our weekly shopping and finally made it to Broglie aire by 2.30 pm without any incidents. I cooked some mussels à la Marinière, followed by baked bream with new potatoes and, despite oven keeping blowing out, it turned out quite crispy on the outside and nicely cooked on the inside!
Adonis also managed to get our new ‘Multimo’ satellite dish going, which we bought as a wedding anniversary present (5th July), so we enjoyed channel 4 News last night.
We’ve also been experimenting with coffee bags instead of cafetière, which broke before departure, and, after not getting it quite right the first couple of times, I’ve just produced a lovely cup to rival anything from a cafetière. The reason behind it is to save water needed to rinse coffee jug and plunger, which has been a problem when water is in short supply.
It was an early drive this morning from Broglie to Marbué, especially after I spotted TomTom was trying to take us through small country lanes (white D roads on our Atlas) instead of the more comfortable and wider yellow and red roads (Regional and National roads). I was very pleased with myself for having a better brain than the computer and getting here without any major traumas at precisely 12 noon.
We’ve had lunch, siesta, walk, coffee and apple tart and Adonis is just setting off for the river Loir for a spot of fishing before dinner. I am going to revise my German, which I haven’t really done since Monday, and then start on my famous chili con carne.
- Marbué aire