The outside of a motorbike engine seen up close near the exhaust

Home Travel StoriesFrance 2013

France Day 20

By Sharon Parker

Our last full day in France finds me ... drum roll...SHOCK!! HORROR!! awake before Ren. He looks all snuggly and comfy fast asleep in his sleeping bag. Not something I have seen much of at all this holiday with all his extra early rising. So I treat him to a very rare thing indeed ... me making breakfast WOW!!

The sun is out and from inside the tent it looks likes a lovely day. Once I am outside though the bloody cold wind cuts right through me. I need a shower so I am going to have to be a brave soul. I take a token so I can at least get a hot shower. Well I hope it is hot. I insert the token and wait expecting to be disappointed but ahhh what is this bliss? A torrent of water at a perfect temperate cascades around me. Angels sing with joy and unicorns ride upon rainbows. Well ok maybe not but you get the picture. After many a miserable shower this one is pretty damn perfect and I am thrilled. So thrilled that I will now take back anything bad I have said about this campsite. With the knowledge of several other French campsites now forever etched on my often freezing flesh I am more than happy to up this ones rating.

The lovely shower lifts my mood considerably now I feel all refreshed and clean. To top it off there are individual private sink areas where I can plug in my straighteners and apply my makeup in complete privacy. Ahh such simple pleasures are so welcome when they have been absent. These are things I would have taken for granted and not taken much notice of let alone feel immense pleasure in at the beginning of this holiday. But such simple things are suddenly brought to my attention now I have gone through the misery of cold showers or 2 second showers, or showers so dismal I did not even dare have one. Sometimes a little hardship is not a bad thing. It can bring joy to things we used to take for granted.

We have time on our hands today so we stroll to the  local Museum Historique 39-45 Ambleteuse. We have a look around the small souvenir shop in the lobby area and then pay the entry fee of €7.80 each to go inside and have a look around the WW2 display. The display is rather extensive with dummies dressed in various uniforms and various military equipment. There is a time line of the war and detailed information is provided for each of the displays. Videos to watch are also included in the price if you wish too view them.

sharon stands in front of a glass cabinet filed with world war 2 uniforms on display
The displays are well thought out and informative.

I see a display of dummies dressed in desert clothing. My ex- husbands grandfather was a desert rat. It reminds me that this place is not just about cold facts and figures. Each life lost from whatever side was someone's beloved. Someone's father, son, brother, best friend.

a large piece of artillery outside the museum at ambleteuse
Lest we forget ? - war is a brutal affair

I have read many first hand personal accounts of life through WW2. The horrors of the concentration camps can leave one breathless at humankind's depths of depravity. I can not help but feel so very sad. Wars still rage throughout the world today. People on mass still lose their lives every day in the name of war. We still have yet to learn our lesson. We still foster so much hate for our fellow man.

a machine gun manned by dummies dressed in desert fatigues
How many men died from the bullets in this gun? How many more will continue to die in the name of war?

We are in a sombre mood as we leave the museum. But we have to remind ourselves that the present is a gift, our freedom today is a gift, our life itself is a gift and therefore we have no place in wasting that gift. We have had our moment of sad reflection and on return to the tent we also remind ourselves what is also like to be on the other side of human kind's hate and that is love, fun and pleasure.

We stroll to the shops later in the evening and fetch back some hearty soup which brings warmth to the belly and smiles to our faces. All too soon it is bedtime. I have often looked forward to bed during this holiday but this bedtime means the end of our adventure. Our last night in France. I have missed my girls and worried about them both a lot. It will be good to see them but oh how I will miss this travelling. The freedom to travel at will. The excitement of new places to be discovered and explored. I am a gypsy at heart that much is true.

Forming a Plan The formulation of a cunning a devious plan to take on Europe is formed in the tiny mind of our intrepid explorer...
The GF Question Do I take the gf with me to France? Can she come? Will she like it? These are all very difficult questions...
France...I wanna go but can I...?? Can Sharon make it to Europe? Will the kids survive? Will the bf behave? Is there any space for makeup? All these questions and more...
The Load Getting everything we NEED and a few items we WANT onto a motorcycle can be a problem. Now I have to work out how to get 3 WEEKS worth of gear onto the poor donkey(aka bike)
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 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 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!
Going West 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. 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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