Tag Archives: Bordeaux

Camping Lac des Varennes, Vallée du Loir, Monday 15th April 2013

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We have found the sun again at the always reliable Lac des Varennes near Marçon, one of our favourite spots in France, and not just for carp fishing.  This is just a very relaxing and beautiful campsite, especially this time of year when not too many people come on holidays.  We are surrounded by the lake, the trees and the sound of cuckoos: what can be more soul-lifting than that?

crocheting in the sun

crocheting in the sun

We’ve been here for 4 days already and are sad to have to leave tomorrow to start our slow journey northwards to the Channel Tunnel.  It was a very hot day yesterday, which required a hat and sunblock, and I definitely made the best of it after having been deprived of proper sun for so long.  It was just a wonderful feeling being outdoors all day, fishing, crocheting and reading by the lake in the heat of the first proper summer day of this so cold a year.

Carp Fishing in the sun

Carp Fishing in the sun

Our journey here from Lac de Léon can be summarised in 3 words: Rain and Roadworks!  They’re turning the free N10 motorway south of Bordeaux into Spain into a toll road and, therefore, they’re improving its surface and placing toll booths, so I fear next time we come this way we’ll have to pay.  Because of the massive roadworks, the road was reduced to one lane only and there were loads of lorries from just about everywhere in Europe, so the journey was slow and wet.

The very congested N10 south of Bordeaux

The very congested N10 south of Bordeaux

A very flooded Vallee du Loir

A very flooded Vallee du Loir

Our first stop on Tuesday was Verteuil-sur-Charente again, but it was still raining heavily, so we didn’t go to visit the château gardens as I would have liked to do.  Maybe 3rd time lucky next time!

Our usual pitch was under water at Lac des Varennes

Our usual pitch was under water at Lac des Varennes

Unusually high water's edge at Lac des Varennes

Unusually high water’s edge at Lac des Varennes

The next day we stopped at Ste Maure de Touraine, just south of Tours, where we found a lovely private aire with room for 6 motorhomes which provided toilets, showers and electricity.  We paid just €2.50 for the night as we didn’t need electricity, but a fee of €4.50 would have covered the electric hook-up and water.  Unfortunately, it was a very very wet day and we didn’t venture out of the motorhome, but there was a wood nearby for walks, handy for people with dogs.  When we left in the morning, the manager gave us a free baguette!  How nice is that?

We finally arrived here on Thursday morning, but the campsite itself didn’t open till Friday, so we spent the day and night at the Espace de Loisirs (Leisure outdoor centre), on the opposite side of the lake, where at least Adonis could do his fishing and, of course, we had a wonderful room with a view!

The beach at Lac des Varennes

The beach at Lac des Varennes

So, we’d been enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of this superb spot until Saturday afternoon, when Adonis woke me from my short siesta to tell me he’d shot himself in the eye with one of his fishing pellets as he was using his sling to propel the bait in the lake.  Somehow, very mysteriously, this boilie ‘turned back’ and landed on Adonis’s right eye and, as a consequence it was all blood-shot and he couldn’t see through it at all.  Without any delay, we marched into Reception and they very kindly called a taxi for us, who arrived very promptly.

The taxi driver himself went out of his way to help us and came into the hospital at Château-du-Loir with us and waited until we registered.  After a short ½ hour wait, Adonis was seen by one of the doctors on duty, who decided it was an urgent case and referred him immediately to the Ophthalmology department at Le Mans hospital, as he was worried that if Adonis didn’t get immediate treatment he might lose the sight in his eye.  They called another taxi for us and, amazingly, the same taxi driver appeared and so set off very downcast to Le Mans hospital,

45 km north.

Once again, we were seen straight away and the very kind taxi driver, David, waited through the whole examination to take us back to the campsite.  Unfortunately, there was too much blood at the back of the eye for the ophthalmologist to see properly or to even do a scan, so she gave us 3 different kinds of drops to use to help the eye settle and told us to go back on Monday.

By the time we got back to the campsite, it was already 8.15 pm, so we went to bed feeling exhausted and with just a banana for tea, as neither of us felt very hungry after all that trauma.

So we tried to enjoy the beautiful hot and sunny Sunday as much as we could, fishing included, as first thing on Monday morning we had to make an appointment to go back to Le Mans.  And so it was that this morning, at 8.30 am prompt, I started my first attempt to make an appointment with the eye department for later on in the day as I was told to do, but a whole hour passed before I got through to talk to someone, who told me an appointment wasn’t necessary and that we should just turn up.  So we called the taxi again and the same David came back, this time with his son in the back!

After dropping David’s son to his mother’s he kindly took us back to Le Mans hospital and directed us to the Ophthalmology department.  There, he spoke to the same eye specialist who’d examined Adonis on Saturday and she took us straight away for the scan.

I am very happy to report that Adonis passed his eye test with flying colours, being able to read even the smallest writing on the projection.  The specialist was very happy with the results too and said Adonis had an inflammation of the retina, but that it would go down with the medication and time, but she still wanted to see him again the following Monday.  We said we were due back in England at the weekend and she said to visit an optician there next week, for which she gave us a letter explaining all about the examination, etc.

So here we are again, €300 lighter on taxi fares, but we’re hopeful to get a refund from the travel insurance, and very relieved knowing that Adonis won’t lose his sight on his right eye.  David brought us back after waiting with us at the hospital and suggested we should meet up for a drink next time we are down here, which might be in August or October.  So we have made a new friend!  Funny how these things happen.

Now Adonis is back fishing and I’m continuing with my crocheting and reading.  We might stay here tomorrow night as well if Adonis is not feeling up to driving as, much as I love travelling in a motorhome, I don’t enjoy driving it!  Qué será, será?

Another stunning sunset at Lac des Varennes

Another stunning sunset at Lac des Varennes

Créon, Gironde, Friday 28th December 2012

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Stunning sunrise at Leucate Plage

 

After spending 5 very pleasant and warm days on the Mediterranean coast, including Christmas celebrations with the family, we are now limping back northwest, taking things very easy indeed.

Christmas with the family

Christmas with the family

 

After Portiragnes, we went back to south of Narbonne on Wednesday 26th December and spent the day and night at the motorhome aire on Leucate Plage.  It was a very sunny and warm day and we really enjoyed our two long walks with Sasha on this east-facing beautiful beach.  The aire is divided into two areas, north and south, at Parking du Gallion, and there are loads of parking spaces.  There were only 6 vans when we arrived, but it was quite busy when we left in the morning, with all the spaces facing the sea taken up.  This aire is €7 a day in the summer months, but it’s free this time of year, as the facilities for clean water and electricity are closed.

 

Spectacular sunset

Spectacular sunset

We also enjoyed a spectacular sunset and sunrise and managed to take decent pictures of both.

 

Sunset at Leucate Plage

Sunset at Leucate Plage

 

On Thursday morning we went back on the A9 to Narbonne and west on the A61 past Toulouse and A62 north of this city to J9, where we got off onto the D813 to Moissac and west to St Nicolas de la Grave, where we parked right by the lake on the Country Park of Tan et Garonne.  This was another smashing wild parking/camping spot, but the weather changed and it rained quite heavily in the afternoon, so I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I could have done.  Adonis took Sasha out for her afternoon walk while I was still waking up from my siesta and they were gone for almost an hour, enjoying the herons and the egrets and a good run around.

 

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The Pyrenees: a beautiful backdrop to the motorhome aire at Leucate Plage

 

This morning we stopped at the aire of Valence, just west of St Nicolas-de-la-Grave, still on the D813 to empty toilet cassette and top up with water, where for €4 you get 15 minutes of water, which is more than plenty to fill up.  We really liked this aire for future reference and the town itself was full of character and fascinating buildings.

 

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Motorhome aire at Leucate Plage

 

 

Motorhome aire at Leucate Plage

Motorhome aire at Leucate Plage

 

We were hoping to stop for the day on the banks of the Garonne and we tried several aires listed in the book, but luck wasn’t on our side and we only found this aire at Créon, about 10 km north of the river, at 3 o’clock this afternoon.

 

Leucate Plage

Leucate Plage

He first place we tried was St Martin de Sescas on the D113, west of La Réole, which according to the official motorhome guide (Guide Officiel Aires de services Camping Car), should be open all year round, but when we got there the farmer told us it was closed for the winter.  So we carried on further west to Langon, where we found parking right on the river at a large car park, where a market was being held.  We were just finishing our lunch when a gendarme came and told us they were going to put the barrier down and we couldn’t stay there the night, so we moved on towards Cadillac, on the D10 northwest of Langon.  We didn’t really like the aire at Cadillac and, checking the map again, we chose to try Créon, even though it is not on the river.  This is far more pleasant and we have free electricity, even though there are signs on the borne saying it’s been switched off.  According to the guide it costs €3 a day.  The aire is on Boulevard Victor Hugo, Station de Vélo, and it has a lovely cycle and walking lane that goes on for miles, all the way to Bordeaux!

We are hoping to stay by the Charente tomorrow, but we shall see how we get on…

 

Sasha enjoying a sniff on the Mediterranean coast at Lecuate

Sasha enjoying a sniff on the Mediterranean coast at Leucate

 

Leucate Plage

Leucate Plage