Monthly Archives: July 2017

Back to Guînes – 18 July

Three months in a big circular tour of France. Here is the trip from Wimereux to Guînes via the local wine shop:

Which is where we started this.  Back to UK tomorrow, rain expected overnight, and the forecast for Birmingham, where we are spending a couple of days before going home, looks dire:

Oh, pants, but typical

The complete trip:

Wimereux – 16-17 July

Went to Wimereux for a couple days, a pleasant way to end the holiday.  Here is the route:

Wimereux is a seaside town not unlike some in the UK.  It has some nice shops selling a mixture of tourist tat and nice stuff and is generally a nice place to be when the sun is shining.

There is a bus to Boulogne-sur-Mer for a Euro, where there are boats and seagulls and an interesting old town.

A well behaved seagull. Cornish seagulls take note

Up above the world you fly, Like a tea tray in the sky

The prom at Wimereux

Picquigny – 15 June

Picquigny is small but nice, on the river Somme.  Today we got the train to Amiens for a wander round, which turned out to be a big but somewhat uninspiring place on first impressions.  Cathedral is nice, but not the best in France, and the town center lacks the charm of nearby Reims or Troyes.  Off north tomorrow.  We’ll look at some guide books when we get home and give Amiens a second chance, as the campsite is great and the transport links are good, if a bit infrequent.

Tabac in Picquigny

Not the best cathedral in France

Maybe not even the best cathedral in Amiens

Honfleur to Picquigny – 11 July

Heading for home now.  Route from Honfleur to Picquincy:

Important information:  If you leave the A16 north of Amiens (at J21) hoping to find a supermarket, just go to the Super-U you drive past, even if you are looking for the Intermarché down the road.  The Intermarché appears to have been taken over by Romulans who have hidden it using their cloaking technology – you will never find it.  Fortunately, Picquincy itself  has a small Carrefour.  Unfortunately, it has about 10 parking spaces, of which we took up four.  Never mind, we now have enough food and drink to last us until after the public holiday, when we will hit the road for the channel.

Of course it is raining again, and cold, so in France, in July, with the heating on.

Also note that filling stations are few and far between on this route so don’t embark on it with a nearly empty tank.

Went to Honfleur – 7 July for a few days

Went for a wander round Honfleur, another place full of tourists but not really selling that much tourist tat.  In fact some of the stuff on sale here does not have prices on, so not affordable by the likes of us.  Here is a cow trying to entice us into buying some of the local produce:

I’m just a cow, why have I been roped into this?

On the subject of cows, there was much mooing from the cows in the field next door to the campsite.  Much more mooing than anybody would reasonably expect from a field full of cows.  Then last night the fields fell silent.  Were the cows aware of their fate?  Poor cows what a shame we thought, as we sank our teeth into our cheeseburgers.

Tourists taking pictures

Reminds me of Leith

This is Pierre Berthelot, one of many local celebrities whose busts are on display in the Busts of local well known characters.  This poor chap was a sailor, cartographer and navigator who gave it all up to become a monk.  Later, working for the Portuguese, the Dutch took exception to his activities and saw to it that he was tortured and murdered.

It’s a bust

Here is a big boat sailing past Honfleur:

A boat. Makes a change from a farmyard animal

The bridge in the background is the Pont de Normandie.  We have been over this a few times but it still looks a bit scary on the approach as it goes way up in the air.

Scary bridge

We are off from here on Tuesday and need to be a bit careful since Friday is a national holiday, and Saturday and Sunday will be mad as usual.  We need to stock up on food and drink to keep us going into the next week.  This is a nice campsite where we have been before and will be again, but the wi-fi falls apart in the early evening and doesn’t seem to get better until morning.

Gien to Honfleur – 4 July

Having assessed our gas situation we concluded that it is probably about time to end this trip.  Without the lack of gas we would have gone back to Burgundy, but instead we decided to head north with a view to going home, maybe a bit earlier than planned.  The GPS got set for Chartres, but it looked look incredibly busy so we carried on going towards Dreux, where we topped up on provisions.

On we went to Honfleur, a place we know well.  The campsite here has everything anyone could need, is on a bus route to lots of places, and is next door to a supermarket and wine shop.  It is also sufficiently far north that we can get UK TV on Astra 2.  Oh, great.  We’ll stay here for a week and try to visit various local places on the bus.

Pitched up at Honfleur

Gien – 3 July, and in early evening it gets warm and the sun comes out!

But we are off next day, so four days in this place has been a complete waste of time.  The campsite is ok, the shop looks good, but for goodness sake don’t go in five minutes before closing time because you will not be welcome.  Here is Gien in the sun:

Sunshine in Gien

Here is the Nuke with the clouds of smoke getting blown in a new direction:

The wines, we mean winds, have changed direction

The clouds of smoke are probably good news, since, given the location, this is probably a water cooled reactor, so if there are no clouds it is probably about to go into meltdown, and that would really put a downer on the holiday.

One of the more annoying things that can happen on a campsite is that you pay for your little bit of land for a couple of days and then somebody decides to use it as a shortcut to get to somewhere that is easily accessible on the designated paths.  So look at this joker:

Now you are on the internet and there is nothing you can do about it

Still chucking it down in Gien on 2 July

Rained cats and dogs all day then brightened up at sunset once again.  Also, we have now completely run out of gas.  We thought we arrived in France with a full bottle of gas and a nearly full bottle of gas, whereas in fact we must have arrived with an empty bottle and a nearly empty bottle.  In practice this means we have no fridge unless we are moving or on a campsite, and we have no heating unless we are on a campsite.  Nor can we cook unless we do it outside on the Cadac, or make do with microwave and our single electric hob.  No chance of bringing any food back to UK from France either, as we have no idea how long we will have to wait at the tunnel.

Ville avec pluie more like

Gien – day two, prisoners in a motorhome

Poured with rain all night.  Poured with rain all morning and afternoon which is all a bit worrying when you are 100 meters from the Loire.  Stopped raining early evening so I took the opportunity to wreck the campsite chemical toilet emptying facility.  Drenched again but not my fault, the tap just came off in my hand while it was on full power.  Turned up at reception dripping wet with the broken tap still in my hand suggesting somebody may want to take a look at the toilet block.  Non motorhome/caravan owners should probably be relieved to know that all this mess was clean, fresh water, not sewage.

Late evening and the sun comes out:

Sunshine on Gien, nearly.

Sunset somewhat obscured by smoke belching out of the local Dampierre Nuclear Power Plant:

It’s going to blow, wake up, Homer!

Finally, some sort of local event next door with tents, food, drink, and maniacs on motorbikes so we stopped in for a look:

Mad person on bike

Another mad person on bike.