Monday, 22 February 2016

A trail of breadcrumbs

Those first drifting thoughts of the day…
Why is the bed moving  
Good, Clare’s home 
No really, why is the bed moving 
I don’t think I drank last night so it’s not that 
Jeez my hips ache 
Hold on, it’s bit bloody noisy 
Bed. Moving. What?
And then I woke properly. The vague recollection flickered in to my mind of being on a ferry and with the dim glow of dawn showing I must be near France. Meanwhile Popeye wailed that she had no signal and hence no idea where we were. But being the sensible types we are it was time to leap in to the shower and go in search of tea.

Unfortunately the towels were clearly designed for those of a more delicate frame. And not me. Oh dear. I hope the people in the next cabin didn’t mind my early morning cackling with laughter as I fought with the handkerchief that masqueraded as a towel. Still, the shower was really good!

As was the tea. And a croissant. Something to savour as we rolled in to Le Havre with the excited one gleefully looking out of the window at the world rolling by.

Our first stop of the day was unscheduled. As It was very blowy and drizzling I hadn’t put on the headlamp adjusters. I found a suitably place to stop in Saint Arnold, a sleepy little place which appeared to be closed, well it *is* Monday. I then found that I had a bulb out.


I mean really, the bulb unit was hidden behind an air conditioner hose. Gah! Still nothing quite like the fabulous sight of a mad english-woman leant over a bonnet with her skirt billowing as she attempts to change a bulb in the gale force drizzle.

We didn’t get far until the next stop, just on the other side of the fabulous Pont de Brotonne there was a rather handy place to stop and deal with middle-aged bladder issues. It also give ample opportunity for us to say awwwwwwwwww a lot.

Problem solved and legs stretched we bimbled through village after village with occasional forays on to bits of motorway for the next 90 minutes until nature decided that it was time for us to stop again. Our first attempt was an abject failure with none of the loos being unlocked. Which was a problem as having stopped we really needed to go. Fortunately it wasn’t too long before a very clean Total service station hove in to view. And they sold tea. HURRAH!

45 minutes of nattering later we resumed the trek to Chartres and the promise of lunch…

But that wouldn’t be until after I got all excited about the corkscrew car park by the cathedral. Again everywhere seemed closed but we stumbled on a place called Brasserie de l'Ouest which was really quite good and certainly was more acceptable than having the only other option of a  kebab.

Lunch was followed by a wander through the town ending at the cathedral. I imagine that missy will have more to say on the subject but I was quite taken with the restoration work that has been carried out so far and how it gave an insight in to how light this massive building would have been when it was first used.

By 4pm we were off travelling again. The plan had inevitably changed and we decided to head straight for Bourges as it would take best part of three hours to get there. We could have done it more quickly but we were also determined to stick with the no péage rule as it provided for a far more interesting journey.

Though I did regret this slightly as we stumbled around Orléans in rush hour…

Still we got out eventually escaped and trundled happily until we reached La Ferté Saint Aubin and seeing an open boulangerie opposite a gorgeous chateau we decided to take a break. And found yet another closed town. It turns out the continental coffee culture people keep bleating about in the UK only really exists within the UK.

With light failing and still over 90 minutes driving to do we headed off once more with the vague
plan to pitch up at any place near Bourges. This lead to our Hansel and Gretel moment as we descended further in to the vast forest we’d been passing through on the promise of a signpost showing accommodation. If there had been a cottage made of gingerbread we might have stopped instead we made our excuses and escaped.

Finally though we arrived on the outskirts of Bourges, found a suitable place to spend a night, grabbed our bags and… I fell asleep.


Tomorrow we do it all again. That is we will do once we decide what it is though definitely a look around Bourges after breakfast…

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