We are back in France on this lovely aire in the Department of Le Doubs river, right by the canal, with toilets and showers (for which you need a token that you can buy for €1.50 from the reception from 6pm) and all the other usual facilities: water, etc. It has space for 38 motorhomes, but it’s very quiet and peaceful. This was the aire of the year in 2006 and I can see why.
We got here just after 10.30 am after a short drive from our last night’s stop at Chavannes-sur-l’Étang in the Haut Rhine department. Again, that was another charming, clean and tranquil stop along the way, where tours were organised from La Porte d’Alsace leaving at 8.30 am to discover the wonders and cuisine of the region. We were also asked to complete a questionnaire about the facilities on offer at the aire itself (first time ever), so these people really care about making life comfortable and pleasant to the like of us, fellow motorhomers.
We just love the tranquillity and serenity of these rural areas and one can almost hear the fabulous Bethowen’s Pastoral symphony or Delius and Vaughan Williams’ enchanting works.
Crossing the border from our final stop in Germany, however, was a bit of a nightmare. After our stop at Füssen we went to Überlingen on the Bodensee lake, where again we were lucky to find a space in the very popular Stellplatz for €10 a night. We cycled into the town and along the Bondensee and enjoyed a drink at one of the café/restaurants along the front. The town was very lively getting ready for their summer festivities, which reminded us of Friedrichshafen last year.
The next day we followed the A31 northwest to join motorway 98 southwest past Singen and Schaffhausen, which happens to be in Switzerland and where we had to buy the obligatory motorway pass for €40 (£30), but the signposts weren’t very clear and we couldn’t see the directions and exits to where we wanted to go (Waldshut-Tiengen and Laufenburg), so when we saw the sign for Germany we took that exit, which took us back north to Blumberg. At this point we decided it would be better to use the Satnav again, which took about 5 minutes to position itself, but eventually directed us towards Titisee-Nuestadt, further north than we intended, even though it was a beautiful drive and lovely to see the Black Forest again. We continued N.W. towards Freiburg and S.W on the 5 motorway to junction 65 at Neunberg and over the Rhine and border across to France.
We needed to do some shopping and when we saw a big Carrefour hypermarket outside Mulhouse, we got off the road D39, but they had put up height barriers and we just couldn’t get in. We tried going round the road, but this took us back to the A35 motorway heading north yet again towards Ensisheim and got stuck on it for 10km to the next junction 31 where we had to make another U-Turn. Exasperated, we gave us on unwelcoming Carrefour and went back south to Altkirch and west to Chavannes-sur-l’Étang, just 12km east of Belfort. We finally found a wonderful Super U – with NO height barrier – where we got some local delicacies like tuna and tomato quiche, which was utterly delicious if a bit pricy at €10 for ½ Kg, and finally arrived at the aire just before 2pm, about 2 hours later than intended!!!
At least we are enjoying a full day in the sun here at Baume-les-Dames, where we might even stop 2 nights just to make up for yesterday’s frustratingly long drive.