Monthly Archives: April 2016

Quend-Plage-Les-Pins, Somme, Monday 11th April 2016

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Quend-Plage-Les-Pins

It has been a disappointing couple of weeks as far as the weather is concerned, as the initial promise of sun and warmth didn’t actually materialise and it stayed changeable, with loads of rain and wind and short sunny breaks in between.  Still, we did enjoy our relaxing time at Lac de l’Uby and were able to sit outside on and off and even enjoyed a couple of spectacular sunsets by the lake, as usual.  And, of course, Adonis enjoyed his carp fishing, catching a total of 6 fish during our stay.

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Another carp in a lovely sunset

We alternated our shopping between Barbotan les Thermes and Cazaubon and I had yet another puncture on my bike on the way back from the latter, but at least this time I was closer to the campsite.  Time to change my bike, me thinks….

My friend Dani arrived on the Thursday afternoon before we left and, therefore, we only and a few minutes to enjoy together and no chance to have a crochet session like we’ve done in the past.  This was a real shame, as I love listening to her speaking in French, which helps me an awful lot too, as I have to force myself to think in that language.  It is all very well to read magazines and books, but to speak it is a different kettle of fish althogether, which is the main reason why we learn another language. 

Dani had made some mackerel pate and gave us a big kilner jar, which we have been enjoying for the last few days and when I say ‘we’, I include Beano too: he’s got good taste!

A new discovery in Barbotan les Thermes this year was a fantastic little restaurant in the centre of town called L’Estanquet, where we had a lovely Sunday lunch with a jug of their local white wine.  The food was magnificent and it was finished with a delicious Café Gourmand, consisting of a cup of coffee and little samples of various puddings: I highly recommend it!

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My gorgeous café gourmand at L'Estanquet restaurant in Barbotan les Thermes

On Friday morning, after a small shop at Intermarché at Cazaubon, we started our journey back north, our first stop for the night being at the aire in Roulet-St-Estèphe, just off the N10 south of Angoulême.  We were surprised to see how busy it was compared to the first time we came here last Easter, so much so that in the morning there were no more parking spaces left and a motorhome had parked on the other side of the road dedicated to buses and coaches.  It is a lovely free aire in a very pretty location and with a wonderful walk for Beano at the far end and following the stream.  We also saw some large otters feeding on the field right in front of us, which is a very unusual sight indeed!

We continued our journey north on the N10 past Augoulême, Poitiers and Châtellerault on Saturday morning, when we were unfortunate enough to come across the aftermath of an accident that had occurred at around 5 am between junctions 25 and 26, where a large lorry was still on its side, almost straddling the north and south lanes, waiting to be towed away and causing major delays in both directions, adding a whole hour to our journey.

So we carried on the A10 all the way to north of Tours and then the expensive A28 to J. 26 (€6 for just one junction) just to make up some of the time we lost due to the accident.

We spent Saturday afternoon and night at the lovely free aire in Vaas, which was very peaceful and quiet, and continued north to Broglie yesterday morning for our appointment with the vet this morning.

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The magical landscape along the Charentonne river at Broglie

We never get tired of Broglie, no matter how many times we’ve been here, and that walk along the Charentonne river to the water mill has a charm all of its own, which is a great medicine for the heart and soul.  I took Beano for his usual afternoon walk and then I went back again just to photograph that most soothing of views overlooking the valley, river, water mill and half-timbered houses: priceless!

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Fantastic Broglie's water mill

This morning’s visit to the vet was a bit eventful, as Beano wouln’t take his worming tablet required for re-entry in the UK and even my usual trick of wrapping the tablet in a bit of fish mousse didn’t work, nor did the vet’s attempt with a creamy cheese triangle, so in the end we had to opt for an injection, for which purpose Beano had to be muzzled and restrained by myself and the receptionist while the vet did the injecting!  Not a performance I would like to repeat, I daresay!

After that dramatic experience we set off again, this time headed for Quend-Plage-les-Pins, another wonderful aire surrounded by pine trees, as the name aptly discribes.  We came here in January 2015 and it was nearly empty, but again, today it is rather busy, even on a Monday.  The ticket machine is still not working, so we’ve saved €7 again, like last time!

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The charming aire at Quend-Plage-Les-Pins seen from the woods trail

Beano’s afternoon walk today was on the trail through the pine woods, where I was pleased to see some young people doing a tree-top adventure trail, what we know in the UK as Go Ape.  I wouln’t mind having a go myself, as it looks like a lot of fun.

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Adventure trail at Quend-Plage-Les-Pins

Afterwards, Adonis and I walked into town and the sea front and enjoyed looking at the high tide breaking against the promenade walls and the children chasing the waves: great fun!

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Chasing the waves: priceless fun!

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Looking towards the sea from high street in Quend-Plage-Les-Pins

It’s back to Wissant, Pas de Calais, tomorrow and then home.  We’ll be back in May.

Lac de l’Uby, Gers, Thursday 31st March 2016

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Stunning sunset at Lac de l’Uby whilst Adonis enjoys a spot of evening carp fishing

 

We have been on the road for a whole week now, but we have finally arrived at our holiday destination at Les Rives du Lac, Lac de l’Uby, between Barbotan les Thermes and Cazaubon, in the heart of Gascogne country.  We got here on Tuesday morning, but we had to wait for the campsite to open for the season yesterday, so we spent a very plesant and sunny afternoon at the motorhome aire by the Tourist Information Office in Barbotan les Thermes and gardens before driving to the lake for the evening, as Wednesday morning is market day in town and parking is not allowed there, as some of the market stalls are placed in that car park.  It was just lovely being parked near the lake and we were able to take Beano for a walk along the shore.

 

The wonderful thermal baths at Barbotan les Thermes

The wonderful thermal baths at Barbotan les Thermes

 

 

Early Wednesday morning, we thought we’d make the most of the warm and sunny weather and we walked into Barbotan to buy some food at the market and came back with a tub of Paella, a punnet of delicious ripe strawberries, some radishes and, of course, our daily baguette and cake.

 

By the time we came back, the campsite had already opened and we duly checked in and set up for the week.  We were able to have lunch and dinner outside in the sun and indeed spent all afternoon and early evening outdoors by the lake, soaking up the much needed rays of sunshine and loving the early spring warmth.

 

Setting up camp for the week

Setting up camp for the week

 

Our pitch seen from across the lake

Our pitch seen from across the lake

 

Adonis got very lucky with his fishing on our first day here and caught a 19 lb (9 kg) carp soon after our evening meal and his luck has continued today with 3 more carp of 17, 25 and 29 lb respectively, even though the sunny weather has left us for now and it has been a very wet and blastery day.  Still, the weather is supposed to improve again for the weekend and we still have another week here, as we are leaving on Friday 8th April.

 

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The first carp of the holiday at Lac de l’Uby in the early evening

 

On the journey down, we stopped at our usual motorhome aires at Wissant, Pont de l’Arche, where we bought some lovely Nids de Pâques (Easter Nest cakes) for our morning coffee break, Villedômer, Verteuil-sur-Charente and a new one for us, Capian, near Bordeaux.

 

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Delicious Nids de Pâques from Pont de l’Arche bakery

 
 
 

Villdômer motorhome aire, one of our favourite stops

Villdômer motorhome aire, one of our favourite stops

 

We really liked the aire at Capian, which also offered a nice dog walk for Beano, past the cemetery and on the edge of the vineyards towards the woods at the far end.  We didn’t visit the Châteaux this time as we still had quite a bit of wine from our shop at Bouloge-sur-Mer, but we’ll make a point of buying some of the local products next time we are in the area.

 

The very attractive motorhome aire at Capian amongst the vineyeards

The very attractive motorhome aire at Capian amongst the vineyeards

 

We also tried stopping at La Bastide d’Armagnac aire, but it was mainly on grass and, as it had been raining, we didn’t think it would be very sensible to park there, although it would have been lovely in drier weather.  We finally stopped briefly at Notre Dame des Cyclistes chapel, but it was closed and couldn’t visit inside, althogh we still managed a couple of photos outiside in the rain.

 

Getting wet at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

Getting wet at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

 

I loved this gate at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

I loved this gate at Notre Dame des Cyclistes

 

I am afraid to say I have a bone to pick with the Lady of the Cyclists as I had a puncture on my bike this morning on the way back from the wonderful bakery at Cazaubon, just opposite the Château, and had to walk back (about 15 minutes), but Adonis has replaced the inner tube and hopefully, I’ll cycle into Barbotan les Thermes tomorrow and take some pictures of this most charming of towns.