Good drive up the Rhone Valley to St.Laurent du Pape where we stopped overnight. Found a better route than last year, taking a toll round Aix for 1.40€ which saved over half an hour - unfortunately I obviously didn't explain it well enough to D&M who got lost and despite leaving an hour before us, arrived an hour later feeling very grumpy. So much so that next day they spurned my lovely route up the left bank of the Rhone and cunning deviation round Lyon, avoiding the centre, and took the motorway all the way to Beaune at a cost of 30€ and arriving about 2 and a half hours before us. At least they an afternoon to look round the lovely old town. We all went out for a meal in the evening which was pleasant enough, pricey and rather spoiled by a grumpy proprietor.
We went our separate ways on Tuesday as they had to go and get the dog innoculated in Reims. We spent the night at Gurgy on the riverbank after a nice exploration of Auxerre which we always seem to miss on account of parking problems but this time found a coach park on the left bank of the Yonne which was ideal. Weather getting chillier.
Made such good time on Wednesday towards Mareuil sur Ay, our usual stop, and with the weather starting to get rainy so that we might as well be driving as sitting in the van staring out, that we pressed on to Catillon sur Sambre where we found an excellent aire with electric hook-up for 5€ a night. As gas might be getting critical this was just what the doctor ordered.
This left a 2.5hr drive on Thursday to Gravelines, between Calais and Dunkerque where we had tried to find the aire some years ago without success. As there is a perfectly servicable ( if somewhat noisy) aire in Calais next to a great restaurant we had never bothered looking at Gravelines again, but in conversation with D&M we decided to have another go, this time with better instructions. And a jolly nice aire it is too, overlooking the harbour, quiet within walking distance of the town centre where we had a jolly nice meal that evening......the GF treating me to a late birthday dinner.
Friday was nice and sunny and home by 2pm. A very pleasant,warm and sunny trip with many memorable moments. Van has now been washed and polished and put to bed until January.....perhaps.
9 months ago