Lac des Vieilles Forges, Ardennes, Saturday 7th July 2012

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Beach on lake at Les Vieilles Forges, Ardennes

It’s been a long day driving today, as the aire we had chosen to stop at at lunchtime and for the night at Catillon-sur-Sambre, just southeast of Le Cateau-Cambresis, was shut for the weekend to accommodate a motorbike rally, so we kept on driving and stopped at the canal at Landrecies, where we had lunch, but 2 noisy teenagers arrived and started playing their music and singing along, so we thought it’d be better to move on.

We are now on a completely different route on this holiday, as we are crossing the north of France in a south- easterly direction with the idea of spending some time in the Alsace region before crossing into Germany.  Other than that, we have no plans whatsoever and we haven’t booked any campsites at all, so we are travelling on a whim with no schedules to tie us down.

I must admit I’m finding it very strange not having Bramble with us, as he sadly passed away only 10 days ago, on Wednesday 27th June.   The reason why he was getting sick so often was a tumour that taken over 70% of his stomach lining and was also attached to a vital part of his liver.  He only had a few days to live, so we had to have him put down while he was still under the effects of the anaesthetics.  I miss him terribly and it’s going to be a while before I can enjoy travelling like this fully again.

Arques motorhome aire

 

Our new route took us on the A26 from Calais to junction 3 and we paid just over €5 for our short journey to Arques, where we stopped on Friday night at the motorhome aire right by the lake.  This is a funny aire, as the facilities are actually just outside the campsite, but the parking area itself is a bit further down on a gravel lane and you need to call at the campsite for the assistant to come and open the barrier at a price of €3, so it isn’t free, as the aires guide claims!  Still, it’s pretty enough and we enjoyed a very peaceful evening and silent night.

This morning we woke up in the beautiful sunshine and already 20°C by 8 am and took some pictures of the swans and coots with their chicks.

 

 

Coot’s chicks at Arques by motorhome aire

 

 

We needed to stock up on food, wine and beer, so we headed for Béthune on the D943, but found no supermarket there so we continued southeast to Arras and found a Leclerc at Noeux les Mines.  All done by 10.30 am!

After lunch at Landrecies, we followed the SatNav all the way here and I must confess I fell asleep for about 45 minutes and can’t remember much about it, apart from TomTom saying “after 800 metres turn right”.  This is very unusual for me, as I like to follow the map while Adonis drives, but we don’t usually travel after lunch and siesta time got the better of me.

 

Pitch at Les Vieilles Forges campsite

 

This campsite is attractive enough, with big enough pitches, without being too generous, and it’s above a lake, but too far for Adonis to go fishing.  Nothing like Lac des Varennes or Ile des Trois Rois, with such large pitches and right on the lake.  All the pitches seems to be under trees, so there’s plenty of shade for when it gets really hot.  It’s been very sunny and hot today for most of the day, but we had some rain just after lunch.

 

Les Vieilles Forges lake

 

I must mention I wasn’t very impressed with the shower I had earlier on at about 5 pm, as it was only lukewarm and not very pleasant.  I hope it’s hotter tomorrow, as we’re staying here for 2 nights.  Watch this space!

 

DIARY ENTRY BY ADONIS:

Yes, a bit strange without Bimble, but it’s still nice to be away.  I’ve been driving a lot today, so we’ll stay put for a couple of nights.  The site is OK and flat, but it’s a bit cloudy, but warm.  We’ll have a look around the lake on Monday and decide from there.  Not really worried, though, because there’s a good aire at Stenay and an (apparently) really nice site at Villey le Sec, where I can fish.  Anyway, I’ll try to have a swim tomorrow in the lake and it’ll be good to do nothing, although there’ll be plenty of that over the next few weeks! (Months!)

 

Enjoying the sun at Les Vieilles Forges

 

Morning walk around Les Vieilles Forges lake

 

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