No fog this morning! We’ve finally escaped its grasp! That, or the weather pattern that created it has moved on.
The morning started with a trip to ‘Green Venice’, Marais Poitevin. Lets see how it compares with actual Venice! We arrived to see people punting around on small boats, and I had an instant vision of Cambridge – but without the pretty buildings. Since it was the thing to do, we hired a small boat to paddle through the green, forested canals.
The experience was incredibly calm/still/serene. It wasn’t until Risa mentioned it that I realised just how relaxing/restorative to listen to sound of birds, water and wind through leaves. The past few months have been so hectic getting prepared for this trip (as well as other travel), that we haven’t had the chance to just relax and listen to the sounds of nature – plus, there isn’t many places that can drown out the constant drone of traffic (including planes) in London.
Our GPS today, like most of the week, chose routes that took us through quiet country back-roads, rather than the (additively expensive) French motorways. It makes for pretty scenery, but slow going. The roads are also narrower, making it just a little harder to relax with a wider vehicle. The farms here are giant, as I guess they need to be now to be profitable. It was sunny today, so finally took the photos we’d been wanting to take. The drone made another flight, however, I clearly need practise flying it smoothly!
After lunch, we visited an old riverside fort at Blaye. It was free entrance, which was good considering there wasn’t much to see, other than the ruins of the castle. It was impressively fortified, with solid gates and walls. Sadly, lots of areas close to tours only, so we got a little more sunshine, laughed at the random photoshoot, and continued on our southerly route towards Spain.
We really wanted to visit Bordeaux, as we hear some truly amazing things about the town. We drove towards the central old town – said to be largest Unesco city area – however, what we found was a traffic nightmare, taking nearly hour to drive final 3km from the motorway. Parking was impossible, and it was getting late, so we had no choice but to move on, settling ourselves with the views of the exteriors of the buildings from the comfort of the seats in the van.
What we saw was very beautiful, and we both wished we’d tried to visit properly – parking outside of town, and catching a bus/train in. I’m not sure if this is usual for Friday night, but the parks filled with people enjoying the sun after work – maybe this was also their first warm/sunny day, too – or maybe they are just French and like to sit in the sun and eat/drink.
We joined even more traffic heading south out of town, our final memories of Bordeaux.
We managed to find a great campsite in Aranchon with views out over the bay, and our first sunset of the trip, which was beautiful.
In the morning we visited the largest sand dune in Europe, Dune du Pilat. We were somewhat limited with the parking situation. There was 30-mins free parking – otherwise we would have to pay for 24hrs (being a motorhome). So, with that 30-minute limit in our minds, we raced to top of dune.
Climbing was made easy by giant fibreglass steps! It was crowded up there, with large tour groups standing around and playing in the sand. I will admit, it was more impressive than we had both assumed – but nothing like Australia’s Moreton or Fraser islands! Oh, and we made it up and back within the free 30-minute window, but we had to run!
We decided to skip Biaritz, so, onwards to Spain!