Got off to a good start as we had a long drive, 250 miles-ish. Stopped at reception first to book in for last night on the way back as Gandspette is popular and can get full. Always handy knowing there is a full bread service at 8am outside reception which meant we started the day with a lovely fresh baguette for breakfast.
Quite a lot of the drive was on dual carriageways, no toll roads but some motorway standard as many French roads are. We headed first of all towards Lille but bypassed the city itself and also all the other towns of any size in this very industrial area of France which follows the Belgium border. The route followed almost a 45 SE degree direction and when not on the main roads took us through some small towns and villages and lovely scenic countryside.
When we drive on dual carriageways I nod off. Can't help it. Normally I click away with my camera, using an Extreme Sandisk fast card, and manage to snap some pretty shots as we drive past. This keeps me awake and alert. Can't snap on dual carriageways, too much armco in the way. So
I snooze, wake suddenly and have to find where have got to on the map. Always a good idea to follow the route because that Tomtom does have a habit sometimes of taking little short cuts and little shortcuts in a 7 metre, 3.5 ton Tandy are not advisable.
One road Tomtom suggested had a 2.7m height restriction which was only visible after we turned onto it. Thank goodness there was a carpark where we could turn before taking the top 0.2 metres off the Tandy under that low bridge. Would have been the death of the aerial for certain !
Halfway along after we'd stopped for lunch Bob suggested we needed fuel and a supermarket would be preferable for that. There is a problem with the way the French signpost their supermarkets from the road. Generally the signpost is just after you have gone past the turn and we missed two good opportunities in this way. Eventually I got my phone out and let it find us a Carrefour in Rethel and we filled up. Took 87 litres so was pretty empty !
More dual carriageways bypassing Reims and a couple of other places I snoozed
past and missed and then we were in the Champagne Ardennes region and heading for the Lac du Der, which is the biggest man made lake in Europe. Campsite Camping La Foret at Arrigny is adjacent to the lake but not on the edge, so have to use a little pathway to get to the water.
The campsite is very pleasant but needs some TLC. Pitches completely unmaintained. It is is a forest indeed and the bird song all round the campsite is fantastic but there is a danger of wrapping a bramble round my ankle as I exit Tandy's door which is perhaps taking the natural look a bit too far. The pool by reception was packed when we arrived so we went for a walk by the very pretty lake instead. Contemplated a swim from the beach area but didn't, just enjoyed a stroll in the lovely sunshine and by the time we got back the pool had space so I had a swim. Lovely.
Main problem with a forest site by water are the biting things and there are lots of those around. Will remember the repellent in time next time.
Another long drive
tomorrow to get us to the edge of the Black Forest in Germany so there will be more dual carriageways involved and undoubtedly more snoozing. There will though be lots of pleasant countryside to drive through and hopefully the sky will be blue again.
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