Tuesday, 16 July 2013
La Belle France (Part 1 of many)
I've just uploaded a few pictures from France - just enough to show the highlights, and discovered that there are 91. That's a lot of photos. So I imagine that this will be a post in several parts. And I guess that I better delete some of them. But lets face it, half the reason for posting all of this is that we enjoy looking back on it all. So even if you are bored, we won't be! But feel free to scroll past..... Despite not being a morning person, I quite like getting up early when you are going on holiday, especially when it is sunny and warm (and when someone has brought you a cup of tea and spoken to you gently like you are an ill child that needs to be encouraged to try). So getting to the ferry for 9am wasn't too arduous, though it didn't make the A34 any more interesting. But look how excited we all were:
The least said about the ferry trip (SeaCat from Portsmouth to Cherbourg - 4 hours too long!), the better. It was rough. Nathaniel and I were sea sick. With an emphasis on the sick bit. We survived by watching Scooby Doo in French on a big screen, and I could tell when he was starting to feel better because he started asking questions about the plot and became slightly uneasy as to how much peril was involved.
But then we arrived, and after half an hour, everyone felt much better and Thea had a nap. And we started the long journey south of Cherbourg along not very interesting roads through not terribly fascinating scenery. Once we hit the autoroute everything improved becuase you zoom over map pages so quickly when you are traveling at 130kph. We stopped at a service station ("aire") outside Argentan, which is interesting to no-one apart from me as Abingdon is twinned with Argentan, so I have been faintly interested in it ever since I could read the big town sign on the Nags Head bridge.
Eventually, just as we thought that we were going to have to take evasive action and get the kids out of the car, we arrived in Saumur. Twice. Because it appeared a bit more quickly than we were expecting, and we were suddenly hurtling accros a river that we didn't need to cross. Of course, trying to navigate around a French town for the first time with an inadequate map and two unimpressed children is not the easiest exercise, but it worked and we found ourselves in a perfectly reasonable supermarket to stock up on food and shortly after at the campsite.
The campsite wasn't anything special - just in a handy position in an interesting looking town in the right direction, but it was on a island on the Loire, had a great view of the chateau (of which we took no photos), and a swimming pool. We set up camp, had supper (marvellous french bread, cheese, yoghurt and beer - to start the habit) and coaxed the children into bed.
Aware we had a long drive ahead of us, we were up relatively early, and got breakfast inside us.
Nathaniel, Thea and I went to explore the swimming pool while Ian struck the tent. The pool was deserted, so Nathaniel splashed around in his armbands in the paddling pool and I admired the amazing view across the river to the chateau. Thea could not be persuaded into the water and walked around the pools looking at things suspiciously.
Then it was time to get in the car........