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Published: August 25th 2011
Les Ceriselles in the Yonne on the banks of the Canal Niverais. A lovely setting with the area very reminiscent of home, rolling chalk downs and flint flecked houses.
Next day we set off to the local market - it is a wonderful slice of French life. We fill our bag with all the things we didn’t get to sample in the Auberge the night before. I even get brave and try things from a stall ominously called La Tete du Vache…. Whilst I am at this stall, Simon takes Thomas to the boulangerie for a baguette and I am half way through the transaction when I see him sprinting towards the fountain with Thomas in his arms to dunk his foot - It turns out that one of the filthy ubiquitous smoking French have dropped a lighted butt on the pavement and Thomas has scooped it up in his crock and burnt his heel – grrr
After the market we take ourselves off for a spot of VeloRail. Being veterans of this hilarious pastime we are looking forward to it immensely. We make our way to the station in the middle of nowhere and Madame
confirms that she has a railcar for us. First we have our picnic of things bought at the market and during this time a Grandma, daughter and grandchildren turn up and go and then two very chic looking ladies in their 50’s. Now what is Velorail I can hear you say – well, it is a small car that you peddle down disused railway tracks. This particular Velorail is about 11km long and has many road and track crossings – and now you understand why we were surprised at the demographic of the other clientele.
With everyone else safely dispatched, we set of. Simon and I peddaling and the boys on a bench between us. The pace is lovely and you can look at the scenery and admire the flora and fauna. On this particular day we were very lucky, lolloping up the track towards us was a stoat/weasel type thingy (if someone can confirm what it is we would be grateful) and a red squirrel.
The hilarious thing about VeloRail is that it is usually on a single track railway and you peddle to and back from an end point. This means that at some point you
are going to meet someone peddaling towards you and with no passing point, when you reach each other you have to get off and swap carts. Great fun, we managed about 11km in 90 minutes, I don’t think TGV see us as much of a threat.
Our next day was spent in one of the most odd places we have ever been. Touted as a Maize Maze, this lovely farm turned out to be the site of one of the most eclectic selections of games ever seen. Alongside antique wooden games were gladiator style inflatables, pedal cars and sand toys. Thomas and Miles were in heaven, though Thomas going around collectiong all of the balls from the myriad of antique wooden games in one bucket was probably not appreciated by the Farmer, who good naturedly put them all back in our wake. We spent a good few hours there and there were howls when it was time to leave.
Our next campsite for 2 nights was in the Loire valley, Parc de Loisirs. It would have been lovely but for the rain and the legions of French school children on holiday there. Situated on the river with a
heated swimming pool and slides it also boasted a miniature train, mini golf, pedaloes, inflatables etc all of which were enjoyed by the boys on the only rain free afternoon we had.
All of a sudden, the remaining week of our trip was becoming tedious. We cut our stay at Loisirs short and moved a day early to our campsite in Brittany. Our 400km journey was almost all in the rain and when we arrived it was a mere 14 degrees. A quick call was made to Brittany Ferries and just like that we were booked on the Ferry home the next night.
Coming home a little early was definitely the right decision. We have had a lovely week catching up with friends, washing and the post! Our welcome home from all our neighbours and friends heart warming.
And yes, we are keeping our caravan, The Major, he’s part of the family now.
Its wonderful to travel, but its always great to come home…..
Next stop …..
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You lucky people!!! It's a Pine Marten!!! Shy and mostly nocturnal, there are even naturalists that have never seen one! I certainly haven't!
Really enjoyed the updates - very jealous. Seems you had a fab time. All the best Rob