Published: February 20th 2011February 20th 2011
DIARY NOTES – 2011
The easiest way to do this is to write a little blurb each day, then copy/paste it as and when we find Internet. Have tried to keep it short and hopefully not too boring!
Mon 14 – Set off mid-afternoon for pub in village near Folkestone. ‘Valentines’ dinner and overnight in carpark.
Chatted with a local about an aeroplane propeller displayed in the pub – turns out it belong to a Dakota which crashed in 1948. All but 9 of the 37 passengers were killed. This chap’s father (aged 14 at the time) was the first on the scene and rescued an 18 month old baby from a hedge, reuniting her with her mother. It was 70 years later that a woman now living in USA and having been shown newspaper clippings of the incident by her relatives, travelled to UK to track down her rescuer – now aged 84! ................good story!
Also, as we left the pub a couple said they’d overheard us talking about Long Buckby, the small village where Claire and Paul live – they’d lived in Harbolets Lane, just around the corner, some 25 years ago! .........small world!
Tues 15 – Delayed at Eurotunnel for an hour – passed time watching ‘Have I got News for You’ on BBC desktop i-player! Good to be in France, though same wet/gloomy weather. Overnighted in Arcques (nr St Omer).
Wed 16 – Drove south-east. Had to remember to take speed bumps in towns seriously! A lapse in concentration results in our worldly goods’n’chattels being jettisoned into the air to land back down in more or less the same place!
We stopped for a look around Douai – ok town but had to dodge the ‘merdre-au-chein’ (Les Froggies don’t seem to pick up their doggy-doos!) Stopped again at Le Cateau-Cambresis to check out the Matisse museum. Overnight at Aires by the River Sambre.
Thu 17 – Northern France isn’t the most stunning of areas – largely flat and a fair amount of industry. There seem to be a quantity of ‘Friteries’ and funeral parlours – perhaps an excess of chips leads to their demise!
Into Champagne area today - stopped in Reims (parking next to a Patisserie!) then checked out the Roman Triumphal Arch, the impressive Town Hall and the massive Note Dame Cathedral –site of coronations for centuries.
Apparently under the streets are miles of fermenting champagne bottles! Onwards with vinyards as far as the eye could see (including those of Moet & Chandon and Verve Cliquot) and just missing the appropriately named village of Bouzy! Many roads must be Roman as they cover mile after mile without a bend. Had intended to park overnight in Troyes but gave it a miss – too big & busy and instead chose a quiet lakeside Aires at Geraudot.
Fri 18 – Happy Birthday Tom and Happy Moving Day to Claire & Paul!
Visited the Charles de Gaulle monument at Colonbey-les-deux-eglises with its 40 metre high cross on the hill. Managed a quick whiz around a supermarket before it closed for lunch – beware......everything shuts up for 2 hours at lunchtime. Later, we saw the massive viaduct at Chaumont, then walked the walls of the mediaeval town of Langres, finishing with a cafe-au-lait etc at a local patisserie! Overnighting by a pretty river in village of Fontaine-Francaise.
Sat 19 – Onwards through Burgundy – prettier area, wonderful vistas inc miles of vinyards and lovely villages. Skirted Dijon and on to Baune for a look around – a great place,
then a real cross-country route to our overnight in Buxy – not the buzziest of places on a Saturday night, although there is a touring reptile show (inc crocodile) set up in the main square!
Our Route (overnight stops in bold)
Calias; Adres; St Omer; Arques; Bethune; Lens; Douai; Chambrai; Le Cateau-Cambresis; Catillon-sur-Sambre; Laon; Reims; Louvis, & Chalon (Champagne region) ; Vatry; Feuges; St Benoit-sur-Seine; Troyes; Geraudot; Colonbey-les-deux-eglises; Juzennecourt; Chaumont; Langres; Fontaine-Francaise; Dijon; Beaune; Aluze; St Mard-de-Vaux; L’Abergement; Buxy;
There are more photos below