The past ten days have flown by as I've made my way south to the sun. I took an afternoon ferry from Dover to Calais then drive west along the coast to Boulougne-sur-Mer where I stayed for my first night. Leaving Boulougne the following morning most of the other campers left early, I found out why at 9:30 as there was knock on the door, it was the guardian wanting €5 for using the aire. Obviously many knew the situation and so left early. €5 wont break the bank, but I’ll know for next time. From the aire I passed by the large sandy beach area that was full of people racing about in wind powered beach trikes. Built like a small dingy but with wheels and steered in the same way, these contraptions can reach amazing speeds. It certainly seemed like a popular sport for the locals.
From Boulogne I took the road to Abbeville then to Rouen. I found an aire on the GPS in Le Sap, between Rouen and Le Mans. It was a pleasant drove along the route national roads and the quiet country roads which passed through woodlands and farmland. The weather was changeable with overcast skies, sunny periods and thick mist in some places, at least it was dry.
Arriving at the aire in Le Sap, just on the outskirts of town, I found a single French motorhome. As I parked up the man came over to tell me about the electric hook-up. Although there were four parking spaces there were only two electric points, which was lucky for me as ten minutes after I arrived another French van turned up and didn’t seem to happy that they couldn’t hook-up themselves, still first come first served, as they say. The aire is opposite the towns fire station, which looked all locked up, perhaps being a small community it’s run on a voluntary basis only being maned when needed. Alongside the aire was a small pond with a picnic spot, very pleasant aire and nice and quiet.
A light drizzle greeted me when I woke around 7:45, but it soon stopped and the sun came out turning what I thought would be a grey day into a bright, mild and really pleasant one. I walked into the centre of Le sap, a small and rather medieval town with no one about, it was nice to have a wander and take some photo’s.
I left the aire at midday having decided to make my way to Le Mans. Once again it was a super drive through picturesque countryside. I’m still getting used to the new fridge and was surprised when I stopped for lunch to find almost everything in it almost frozen, it obviously works well, so no more worries.
There were two aires listed for Le Mans, one slightly larger than the other, but according to the guide noisy. The second smaller one was alongside the river and although quieter wasn’t very flat, for one night it wasn’t going to be a problem and I parked up and settled down. There were several other campers at the aire so we are parked quite close together, hope no one snores to much. Fortunately I topped up with water this morning and emptied the waste as the service point was out of order.
After another pleasant day’s drive through the French countryside, the weather was still be kind to me as the sun continued to shine and the temperature remained mild.
Last night I studied the guide books looking for an aire further south. There was listing for Confolens, not to far from Limoges. The guide said the aire was part of the municipal camping site and was open all year round. I thought it might be a good place to stay for a day or two and go walking. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. When I arrived in Confolens I found the aire easily enough, but the campsite was closed. I took a walk into the town centre, which was very pretty, with old world buildings and an ancient bridge crossing the river than ran through the centre. It was very peaceful with no wind at all. Walking back under a clearing sky the temperature dropped, it felt as though it would be a chilly night.
Leaving Confolens it was another superb day. I took the slower roads through the countryside and tiny picturesque villages, devoid of people, as is more often the case in France, but full of charm. The roads were quiet with few cars, but many tractors. I didn’t want to travel far and set my sights on Objat, about 130 kilometres further south. It had a camperstop which I hoped, unlike in Confolens, would be open, it was. Set by a small lake with walking paths surrounding it, the camperstop was well laid out, having the benefit of toilets, showers, electric hook-up and a service point. The cost €5 per 24 hours, plus €2 for the showers. Keeping clean and tidy in the camper is not hard but it’s great to have a nice hot shower with plenty of room to move about in.
I took a walk in the town centre, walking along the road and returning along the lake, at least it was a lake but had been drained of water, maybe something that is done in the winter, I don’t know, but there were several signs indicating water sports so perhaps the draining was to clean up the bottom to prevent injuries and make swimming possible.
Back at the camper I sat in the sun for awhile, it was another lovely sunny day, reading and relaxing. I may stay for a couple of days as it’s so peaceful, depends on the weather though. There are several other campers on site, one or two look like they have been here for a few days. With the weather so mild and sunny who could blame them.
I slept really well last, waking at 8:15 to another beautiful sunny morning. I took another walk into town via the walking path that winds its way around the camperstop and the nearby lake, its about a kilometre in length. There were a number of locals walking and jogging along. The town was quite busy having a good selection of shops, all local businesses, no large supermarkets or chain stores, which was good to see. On the way back I passed a small field with a number of Goats and chickens, it was more like someones large back garden rather than a farm. The animals seemed content to laze around eating the grass.
Back at the camper I decided to stay for another night, I had nowhere to get to in any hurry. Before leaving the UK I bought some dark smoke window tint film to put on the camper side windows and it seemed like a good idea for something to do. It took several hours but the end result was worth it. Now I can still see clearly out, but it’s more difficult to look in, giving me some more privacy, it also looks good. I still have some things I want to do to Lottie, but slowly and surely seems the way to go.
It seems I've been travelling all my life. For the past eight years I've been following a simple, nomadic lifestyle, living and traveling full time in a camper van and meeting with other like minded travellers.
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