Friday, 29 October 2010

ALL GOOD THINGS...........................


Campsite very good but a although the brochure states 800m from the sea we managed to get very lost on our first attempt to find it. We knew where it was because of the sun but the rabbit warren of private roads protecting the villas on the cliffs had us going round in the proverbial ever-decreasing, combined with the lack of any meaningful signs and extremely short,steep roads. We must have spent an hour and a half trying to get back to the site where I discovered we had gone in totally the wrong direction, despite the sun. However, when we got the scooter out and set off again the next day, the beach was a) more than 800m away and b) virtually impossible to get onto because of rocks and cliffs.
The town is a walkable distance away except for the exceedingly steep hill all the way back, but it is an extraordinarily pretty little fishing village with lovely bars and restaurants all around the quay and a terrific Provencal market all along the prom several times a week. 5kms away is BANDOL which is another very smart resort and we shall certainly be back here.
The news is that the French are on strike over pension reforms and blockading the oil terminal at Marseille....we can see the tankers at anchor on the horizon.....and that the refinereries are shut. Fortunately we have a full tank, good for 400+ miles, which will get us halfway back to the channel so will only need one full refill.

Despite the sunny days the evenings are closing in and getting chilly. We are booked back on Wed 27th but decided to start north on Mon.18th and take a leisurely route to calais for Sat.22nd.

Mon.18th. St.LAURENT DU PAPE...lovely Dutch campsite on edge of Ardeche/Rhone. Lovely road to AIX (past superbly situated Paul Ricard race circuit which has stunning views back to the Med); Tomtom let us down by routing through centre of Marseille which is overflowing with rubbish due to strike (looks like normal actually); came across stunning monument to Jean Moulin. Topped-up 32 litres diesel.

Tues 19th. BEAUNE.... Good road along the Rhone and through Crozes Hermitage; round LYON avoiding tolls on truck route and up to Boug-en -Bresse ; our favourite Aire in BEAUNE centre quite full; terrific meal at Le Fleury but pricey - 2 half bottles wine 42€. cars queuing for fuel in town but topped-up another 22 litres in small town.

Wed.20th. GURGY....another rural route to another favourite Aire on a river bank; topped-up 24 litres en route but passed a lot of closed stations; weather bright and sunny but v.cold with frost at night; had lovely walk along river bank in afternoon sun.

Thur.21st. MAREUIL SUR AY .....lovely route up through champagne region to another favourite Aire on the Marne canal; village in throes of beautification (as if it needed it) making access to aire very complicated; had great walk along canal.Stopped off at terrific monument to Battle of Marne 1914-v.impressive; picked 19 litres, filling tank again and plenty to get back home

Fri.22nd. CALAIS....Boring final leg, mainly toll-free motorways. Last year when we had to get back urgently for the GF's burnt leg, we did virtually the same journey in 2 days on motorways (1st night Beaune, 2nd Calais),733 miles and spent £144 in tolls. This year we took 5 days of easy driving,803 miles and spent £2 in tolls on a 2 junction detour round Avignon. Although the driving was fairly easy it wasn't quick and could probably be only cut to 4 days by missing Gurgy. Another terrific meal to finish at Au Cotes d'Argent, which has become a bit of a tradition over the last 5 years. The Gf kept her head down and did not start an argument with the chef this time.

Sat.23rd. HOME....unusually long wait to check-in at Tunnel as British customs stopping everything, esp.foreign registrations for in depth grilling. Took 40 mins to clear check-in but train on time and home at 1pm.......nothing too nasty in the post box and everything still far !

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