Category Archives: Summer 2010

7-week trip from Calais to La Corunia (northwest Spain) and back to England.

Gradignan, Bordeaux, Friday, 16th July 2010


We are now south of Bordeaux, at a little campsite called Beausoleil.  We arrived just after 1 o’clock, after leaving Dompierreat about 9.45 this morning.

Camping wild under the trees in the Charente

We really enjoyed our little break between La Charante and the cornfield, as it was quiet and warm, if a little windy perhaps.  Adonis spent most of he day fishing, even though he only caught a tiny fish and a baby eel and Pepo and I just read our books and I managed to crochet a lovely Irish rose for the van, which is now above mirror on bathroom door.  We also had a nice swim in the river and we were joined in the evening by a young man and his Alsacian dog called Rita.  He was very friendly and very willing to talk and hard to get rid of and I didn’t enjoy the pile of poo Rita left by the van, which he failed to pick up!

But what I really liked the most was the patisserie, which really is the life and soul of the village, not just selling bread and cakes, but fishing licences and jetons (tokens) for the water supply for motorhomes.

Fishing in Dompierre (Charente Maritime)

After swim in the river we enjoyed our dinner of merguez and mashed potato and then Pepo and I watched a very funny film with Jack Nicholson called ‘About Schmidt’.  Actually, that was the first evening: last night we watched ‘Shanghai Dreams’, which was also very good.

So now south of Bordeaux, this campsite is small and quiet and after lunch we all had a shower and I did the first load of washing of the holiday, so that Pepo can have clean shorts and shirts to take to Béziers.

Adon’s just gone with Bramble to get some tobacco and we are just relaxing here for the afternoon, our last night before Pepo’s departure on the train from La Gare St Jean.


Dompierre, Wednesday 14th July 2010


Le Bac (ferry) at Dompierre (La Charente Maritime)

Here we are parked right on the bank of the Charante river by the ‘Bac’ or ferry that transports you to the other side for free!  It’s been a very wet and windy day, but the sun is shining now and Adonis’s just got his fishing licence for the Charante Maritime and is now enjoying some very well deserved peace and quiet.  It’s lovely that we can benefit from such beautiful places for free and I quite enjoy the wild camping experience.

Yesterday we had another short drive from Gennes to the lake at Clavé, northeast of Niort, but managed to get lost trying to find the D24 off Mazières-en-Gatine as we thought we could manage without the TomTom, but the exit wasn’t clear and we wandered for about 10 minutes before realising we didn’t have a clue where we were, but the Sat Nav found exactly where we were stranded and guided us in no time to D24 and Clavé.  We found a lovely spot which had been taken over by the 14th July celebrations and was being set up for a firework display, which later on would wake us all up about midnight!  Nevertheless we found another stopping place at the end of the road, by the launching pad, where we enjoyed the use of a picnic table and a swim in the lovely warm water of the lake.  We were later joined by a group of 8  young French men enjoying some acrobatics with their bikes, launching themselves from a portable ramp they brought with them, bikes and all, leaping up and somersaulting and looping the loop in mid-air before crashing into the lake to the amusement of all around and much laughter from their friends.

After all that excitement we enjoyed our dinner of Oriental flavoured prawns, vegetables and rice, watched the last episode of ‘Desperate Housewives’, read a book and went to bed jut after 10 pm, only to be woken up by La Bastide celebrations with noisy fireworks at midnight, followed by music, which included the Lambada, La Macarena, Morena and ‘Mi Jaca’, strangely enough.  I thought it quite surreal to be parked by a lake in the middle of nowhere  in France listening to old Spanish songs, which amused me greatly. 

So today we carried on south to Saints and we  are just half way between Saints and Cognac.  Despite the national holiday we managed to buy some bread and milk and a licence for Adonis to fish.  Adon will be cooking kebabs under the grill later so I can carry on reading my French book ‘Suite Franςaise’ by Irène Némirovsky, which I’m enjoying and not struggling too much with the language.

Camping wild at Dompierre (Charente Maritime)

We might stay here tomorrow before heading for Bordeaux to put Pepo on a train to Béziers.

Gennes, Monday 12th July 2010


Entry written by husband

Gennes spacious campsite

After going up to the village and getting bread, tobacco, ointment for Pepo’s bites and ‘lait’, we took D roads (D338 south towards Le Mans) plus a bit of motorway (A11) and then the D306 and and D938 and D79 to Gennes on the Loire.  The site is very open with plenty of room.  We now have a good routine and there is a good walk and run for Bramble.  I would like to fish, but we are leaving tomorrow.

Bridg on the Loire by Gennes campsite

 Bramble has been very naughty and picked 2 pieces of bread from the table.  Floppo is going to wash up with Pepo, si I will take the hound for a walk.

Walk by Gennes campsite


Sans Souci Campsite, Fresnay-sur-Sarthe, Sunday 11th July 2010



Generous pitch at Sans Souci Campsite

Another jewel of a campsite in a charming village, which we’ll explore better tomorrow morning, as by the time we got here today, at about 12.30 pm, it was already too hot to go exploring.

The wake-up call this morning was a bit unusual, with the church bells ringing for quite some time at 7 am, and we couldn’t go back to sleep after that.  So after breakfast and customary washing up and tidying up, we left St Nicolas de Bliquetuit at 8.45 am.  It was a wonderful straight and clear road, so we made very speedy progress on the D490 and 913/313 roads to junction 25 on the A13 to join A28 with just two junctions on the A28, which cost just over 5  euros, then the D438  to about 15 km south of  Alençon and finally the D310 west to Fresnay-s-Sarthe.

After a very friendly welcome by charming receptionist, we settled on our pitch No 54, very near the river, in which we have already had a couple of swims all together, including Bramble, and I have the paw scratch marks on my back to prove it!

Family swim in Fresnay-sur-Sarthe

So we’ve had a fairly lazy afternoon reading and crochetting, enjoying the shade of our awning and our brand new ground sheet.  Bramble seems to be suffering slightly in the heat, panting more than usual, but we’re making sure he’s in the shade and with plenty of water nearby.

Adonisito is cooking Moroccan lamb and couscous at the moment, and just tried to get TV going for the Football World Cup: the final between Spain and Holland, but without success.  Pity, as I would have liked to watch Spain for the first time in a World Cup final.  Still: just my luck: for once I really wanted to watch it and I am in the wrong place to do so.

I nearly forgot to mention the ’21’ mosquito bites that Pepo’s suffered in the last 24 hours or so.  I got away with just 3 and Adonis with none!  We must be extra vigilant tonight before going to bed and make sure van is free of biting insects in order to avoid suffering tomorrow morning.

And SPAIN HAS WON THE WORLD CUP for the first time EVER!    11.20 pm local time: ESPAÑA!

We watched the match outside reception bar surr0unded by mainly Dutch supporters, so I had to keep down my shouting at the end as I was the only Spaniard around!

St Nicolas de Bliquetuit, 10th July 2010


The Following entry was written by Adonis

Today we woke up early at Carrefour in Citi Europe and did our shopping.  There was a small portion of ground to walk Bramble.  We managed to leave at 9.40 am and arrived at St Nicolas de Bliquetuit at 12.40 pm, just off the D982, about 40km east of  Le Havre or 25 northwest of Rouen. The journey was straightforward, although the motorways cost about 15 euros.  The Aire is lovely and is on the banks of the Seine.  Bramble went swimming and there are good places for walks.  Spag Bog tonight, then a morning’s drive to Fresnay-sur-Sarthe: it’s a municipal campsite, so we hope it’s not too busy.  Van is going fine and Floppo is radiant as ever.  A very good first day.

view from St Nicolas de Bliquetuit aire

Today we have used our shower for the first time, as it’s been a really hot and humid day, and we’re happy to report it works wonderfully well.  It was a very welcome cold shower to get rid of sweat and dust and I think we’ll be using it more frequently in future.

This is another beautiful and well maintained aire, right on the River Seine again, with magnificent views over the village,  and we could stay here for up to 48 hours if we wanted to, but not this time, as we’re making our way slowly down to Bordeaux to put Pepo on train to Beziers.  There’s a very welcome breeze now to cool us all down!  Adonisito’s taken his shirt off and is looking as super-cachondisimo as ever!

view from St Nicolas de Bliquetuit aire.