Travel StoriesFrance 2013
France Day 9 - Poppies, Vines and a Wet Lettuce
By Sharon Parker
Due to the terrible weather over Europe our plans to travel through Italy, Sweden, Austria and Germany have to be abandoned and we decide to stay in France. I am disappointed but not too much, it will give us a opportunity to really see a lot of France and that is hardly a bad thing.
However when I awake this morning I do not really feel like discovering anywhere. I feel horrible, really shitty. I had a sinus infection not too long ago and this feels very similar. One side of my face and head is really painful. My head also feels like it has been stuffed with cotton wool and I would like to give it a good shake and clear it but I can't. I think I would like to stay here another day, I really like this site and to be honest I would like just to curl up and sleep my fuzzy head off. But I can see the bf is already packing and his itchy feet will not be happy staying here another day. Besides I have to admit to myself we have explored what we can here so I guess it is time to man up and get going.
We leave early with plans to make our way to Nimes. The start of the journey begins with some more lovely twisty tree lined roads. But these become straighter the further we go and it all starts to become a little samey. My groggy sore head is making it hard for me to concentrate and enjoy my surroundings.
We pass through Tourettes and this amuses the bf no end and he insists on a picture of the the town's name on the roundabout. Despite a couple of attempts I can not get the photo straight.
I can't get this effing photo straight
We stop for essential supplies...teabags...in a pretty little village that with my cotton head I fail to notice the name of. It is clearly popular with bikers as the square is filled with various bike and their riders. We park up and while the bf goes teabag hunting our heavily laden bike attracts the curious attention of some of the other bikers. I am approached my one gentleman who enquires in French if I speak French to which I reply in my bad French, Un petite, only a little. He nods and goes away and then returns with a friend who speaks English, who then asks various questions about what an earth is in all the luggage? How does the bike carry such a load? And various other questions. I answer the best I can and he then translates this to a gathering crowd of French bikers. I have no idea what they say in reply but from watching them closely I can guess that some are nodding heads in approval while others shake theirs in disbelief. The bf returns with a smile, so teabags are back on the menu.
A fly in my eye mean a quick stop and time to take a photo of the bike looking good in the sun.
We continue on and I really try and make a concerted effort to clear my head and lift my mood. I am vaguely aware we are passing Châteaus, young girls are galloping astride super shiny horses in wide open fields, there are also fields of waving poppies and fields of structured ordered vines. I have to force myself to try and take notice and enjoy it. It seems such a terrible waste of a day, of this great opportunity, to just sit here in my own little world of foggy fuzziness and pain.
Fields of Poppies
Fields of Vines
I spy a couple parked up along side of the road in their camper van. They are tucked away just behind some trees and look most comfortable basking in the sun on their chairs. I like the idea of a little break. I have images of a lovely flower filled field to lie back in and unwind. I pass on my wish to the bf but despite keeping a vigilant eye out we do not spy any suitable parking like the couple in the camper van had managed to pitch on.
The bf eventually spies a patch of open ground but it is - err - rather exposed and windy as hell. Not quite what I had in mind but I know he is trying his best and I know nothing else has really come up. The wind makes it almost impossible to make a brew but he manages being the resourceful man that he is. I try and find a little shelter by tucking behind some bushes. I know I am being a wet lettuce today and I am sure my mood is affecting the bf but my head is still throbbing and I am really doing my best to keep smiling.
A pretty place to stop, blue skies but it is blowing a gale
We travel through Salon de Provence when we are suddenly caught in a lot of traffic. A roar from above and we see planes in formation streaking across the sky. The air display is clearly a very popular event with masses of people emerging from cars parked in any available spaces*. Due to the event certain roads are closed and diversions get us rather lost for a while trying to find out way out of this area.
We come to a pretty village with the standard tree lined streets and spot a sign for a campsite. It is getting late, around half 6 and it has felt a long day for me today with feeling so unwell so I agree with the bf that is would be good place to stop.
I love the tree lined village streets.
I just get off the bike at the campsite and leave the bf to try and find the owner. It takes me all my strength just to stay upright on the stone I have sat on. I am really pissed off with myself now. The bf sorts out the camping with the owner. She is polite but once again not over friendly. So far I have found the French to serve you well but not to be particularly warm and cuddly. The Municipal de la Bastide site is situated south of Nimes and is €16.50 for the night. I do not find the campsite that inviting but I am aware my mood may be playing a part on my current perception. The toilets are the outside type with no seats. The showers are inside and acceptable. The site is rather empty. There is only one other tent on the site. There are a few motor homes dotted about and lots of wooden chalets without any residents as yet. The wooded site however does have a large population of flies and mosquitoes. We decide to camp near to the other tent as this is also close to the toilets. The bf does nearly everything, poor guy, including making tea. He is wide awake and wants to explore but I have to tell him to go it alone. I really, really still feel like crap and I just need to curl into my sleeping and and get some sleep. The bf is not away for long, the bar is already closed and there is no other entertainment to be had. I feel bad about being such a misery today, I sure hope I feel better tomorrow.
The Municipal de la Bastide looks far better than my mood would indicate.
* The event was the Patrouille de France 60th Anniversary Airshow (25-26 May 2013) in Salon de Provence. Almost every military aerobatic team from Europe participated.
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The GF Question
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Camping In Cambridge
The start of our Epic Adventure...or bike holiday around France. Cambridge is surprisingly nice really.
France - Day 1
Sharon's first day from her point of view. Cushy Cambridge and dry weather...what more could a girl want?
The Chunnel, I'm excited but also stressing because the bike's already broken before we leave the UK. I worry too much...
France - Day 2 - Bikes, Trains and Tents
Sharon leads us through sunshine, hair issues, the Channel Tunnel and into France. But France is eerily quiet...
Here Comes The Rain
Bike fixed...bike broken. Rain, endless dull roads, miserable towns and more rain. Oh the joy of travel! At least Epernay welcomed us with a huge smile :-)
France Day 3 - Crying Through The Rain
The rain plays tricks with Sharon's spirit but a stiff upper lip and giving herself a good talking to see her through.
Rain Into Dijon
Rain, rain and more rain. Just how long can it last? Would we be better off with a Jet Ski? Can we continue to keep our Great British Stiff Upper Lips?
France Day 4 - We Are Mustard We Are
Dijon is the destination and we're surviving the rain...that makes us well mustard!
We're happy in spite of the rain but how long can we keep smiling?
The Joy Of Being Lost
As we head south the rain lightens but will it ever stop?
I get lost which is no surprise, but lost turns out to be the best part of travelling.
Are things finally taking a turn for the better? I do hope so...
France Day 5 - Biker's Paradise
Sharon's day 5 in France starts out rough but improves considerably.
What delights can put such a joyous grin on her face?
The Stunning Alps
We are both facing a very strange situation...that of sunshine, warmth, beauty and pleasure.
France Day 6 - Magnificent Mountains
Sharon shares the delights of the Alps. Sometimes life is good!
Highs And Lows
From the stunning Alps to our ultimate destination...MONACO!
Is it all I expected? Will it be as I imagined?
France Day 7 - Scooter Mayhem
Sharon describes the best and the worst France has to offer.
Ride on the back with her from the beauty of the countryside to the mayhem of Monaco
Resting And Deciding
Today we stop to take a breather and recuperate. It's also time to make a decision about the rest of our journey.
I used to be indecisive, I'm not so sure now.
France Day 8 - Chilling In The Pool
A day off from the journey sees Sharon and Ren doing something very silly, breaking things and achieving very little.
What a splendid way to spend a day!
Day 9 sees us heading west from the coast. It's finally dry, but it's still windy so not too hot. The gf's not well and Ren is relentlessly lost.
Overall not a bad day then!
France Day 9 - Poppies, Vines and a Wet Lettuce
Feeling poorly rather spoils Sharon's day today. Still on she must go on and survive what might have otherwise been a good day.
Biggest Bridge In The World
In glorious sunshine and fine health we make our way from Nimes to Millau complete with it's Viaduct.
Sometimes life is good, occasionally it's great!
France Day 10 - Deflated to Elated
Today is a good day for Sharon. Today the sun shines, the scenery is beautiful and the people are pleasant.
Join her as France puts a smile on her face.
The Wettest Bridge In The World
The Millau Viaduct ought to be impressive. It is, but nowhere near as impressive as the amount of rain falling from the skies.
France Day 11 - Grim
Not every day can be filled with sunshine and smiles, even on holiday. This one certainly was not for Sharon!
False Hope Part One
Ren would like to invite you to a joyous report about the delightful weather in the South of France!
He'd like to. Instead it just rained and rained and rained and rained...
France Day 12 - It's Gloomy Inside And Out
Sharon freezes her butt off during the night then is treated to a cold and wet ride.
The Ren sure knows how to spoil a girl.
False Hope Part Two
Is this the end? Has Armageddon arrived? Is this the Apocalypse? It sure as hell feels like it.
France Day 13 - Quietude For A While
Sharon's report on another day of mixed weather. There's peace and beauty then there's mud and cold.
Adventure...no-one said it would be easy!
Sunshine After Rain
A night of rain soaked delirium. Will the day be any better? Will our travellers ever dry out?
France Day 14 - A Bit of 5 Star Luxury
Sharon has a much better day on the road and a luxurious 5 star campsite. It's amazing what difference a little dry weather can make.
Back Into The Flatlands
A quiet, simple and easy days ride through France for Ren. Pleasant enough but the flatlands are getting a little boring now.
France Day 15 - A Bit Of 2 Star Delight
Sharon has an ordinary day and a frustrating battle with the weather.
Not Far To Chinon
It's a short, easy and peaceful ride this day in France. Ren gets all philosophical too.
France Day 16 - A Historical Walk Around Chinon
Sharon enjoys a hint of sunshine and the history of Chinon, France.
Shopping To Mamers
Ren's airbed's leaking now. No problem, find a shop and buy a new one...easy? I don't think so...
France Day 17 - The Gift Of TIme
Even though the weather is cool Sharon's heart is warmed by the people she meets in France today
Don't Go To Ault
Ren has a grim, long, dull and uninspiring day in France. The accommodation doesn't help.
France Day 18 - Is This Misery Or Joy?
Sharon finds sunshine, ancient caravans and ponders about hapiness.
Looking For Luxury
With time on their side Ren looks for the perfect campsite for the next to night. Not finding it makes him a very grumpy boy.
France Day 19 - Campsite Conundrums
Although the wind blows the sun is shining while Sharon looks for the perfect pitch.
Resting In Ambleteuse
Ren philosophises too much on the final day of his trip around France.
France Day 20
Sharon's in a reflective mood on the last day of our French trip.
Back Into England
Ren recalls the final day of the French Adventure. It's all over far too soon.
What Did We Learn?
Ren sums up his thoughts about France and the French trip.
France On Reflection
Sharon sums up her her experience of the French Trip. Damn those Alps.
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Travel StoriesFrance 2013