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Published: September 13th 2015
Our final chapter of France!
Tell my parents I love them dearly because we are dying.... of heat. It has been around 3 weeks since we saw a drop of rain, we have unintentionally converted our Wiz into a sauna and created separate sleeping quarters, not because we are unhappy in any way, just sweaty! In saying this you can't hate the heat completely, we have developed a nice shade of tan, not quite a St Tropez tan but we will see in a few more weeks. We are also pretty conscious that we would like to return home with some elasticity left our skin. In the heat, the last 3 weeks have been a lot of fun, the French scene has changed frequently and each in turn has been a totally different experience.
We started in the Loire Valley, somewhere roughly in the middle of France but more favourably to the East. The Loire Valley is where all the castles, excuse me I mean Chateaux, are. The area is beautiful and the chateaux are amazing but they are everywhere, every sign you see is chateaux this
way, chateaux that way, chateaux up, chateaux down, chateaux chateaux chateaux. As I'm sure you can imagine it wasn't long before Eamon ran out of interest and I wasn't far behind, the thought of anyother chateaux forced an "uuuuugh" to escape our mouths. But we did them. Clearly there is no way you can visit them all so we picked 3, Chambord was the the most grand and if I had my time again I'd probably only see this one because it pretty much has everything, huge steeples, a moat and gardens, it's practically out of a fairytale. The Loire Valley is just a great spot, we scored a sweet little camp spot in a river bed with views of the Amboise chateaux, not the kind of spot a hotel can offer and we have had a few of these to date.Moving on down the East coast we came into wine region. We headed East of Bordeaux to St Emilion. Oh my god this place is amazing, it's so beautiful with their old walls and vineyards it's seriously so beautiful you can't beleive your eyes. An amazing spot
for a morning run aswell, yes still getting my 5km runs on (just don't ask me how my cycling is going). Naturally we took a number of wine tours around the area and bought a few bottles of vino even though we aren't massive winos, we don't even have a corkscrew. Lucky Eamons a thinker and we opened our last bottle with a mini air compressor (he's so clever)! Because the town is so small with a little shop we decided to go out to dinner and Eamon had the opportunity experience escargot...thank god I'm vego, the look on his face was djddkdjsjehsjdhbd even though he tried to hide it. We spent a couple of nights there and tried so hard to photograph the scenery but it's too hard for us amateurs. I really wanted to take some lovely dovey pics aswell. Tried, see posted pics, and failed. Eams was gritting his teeth after about the billionth selfie, poor boy...
So moving along, we headed down along the 2 coasts of France, the West coast is the Atlantic coast and the South East coast is the French Riviera. The plan was to head down the Atlantic Coast and then
cruise along the Southern border to to Riviera which we successfully did however missed a big chunk of the beach close to the border of Spain which we actually did on purpose. If we entered into to Spain we may have added another month onto the trip which we just couldn't do, a trip for another time we think!
So we started our tan on the Atlantic coast and continued it along the border where we spend 2 days following Le Tour de France! The thing about the tour is the stages get busy, like, crazy busy so you have to secure your spot as early as you can. It's not hard to do if your organised but be prepared to sit around aaaaaall day waiting for the action to happen. The sun gets hot hot hot around 9am, around the time Eamon started on beers on day 1 of the tour. There really isnt much to until 2ish when the caravans come past so may as well. There were so many fun things do to at the tour like being bogans, we finally found use of our Austalian Flag and plastered it over the wiz, an easy way
to make friends aswell, people stopping to say g'day - we really are a friendly bunch. Around an hour and half before the riders come through there's a caravan parade that drives the stage with massive floats throwing out free goodies and blasting music. There are actually very few goodies but it's so much fun wailing your arms around trying to score free stuff. Eamon scored so many things standing in the wiz with the door open, turns out people love to try and throw things in the caravans like a basketball through a hoop. We had key rings, muffins and notepads thrown around everywhere, they even throw washing detergent!
Day one of the tour was very much a learning day for all this excitement. People before and after the tour often ride the stage, or like us just a part of the stage, and the spectators in all their boredom cheer you on like total athletes. Eamon figured drinking was the best use of time, and being the classy man he is let out a mega burp and didn't even realize till he hears chuckles and a compliment "Tres bien!", from the French man opposite us....oh Eamon....
Day 2 of the tour and we experts, securing a spot on the actual mountain side of the Pyranees. The Pyranees are incredible, we drove through a narrow town and as we exited were basically smacked in the face with these astonishing mountains. The mountains as we learnt are the best place to watch the tour because the riders are slower and staggered so you can get more photos. Photos from day 1 were few given it was one big paleton on the flats that wizzed past in about 15 seconds of blur! Even still the waiting around, and speedy show is still worth the experience.
The South of France is all pretty mountous, mountainy, mountainess?? As you head along there are Cathar Castles which, in our opinion, poo all over chateaux because they are ruins rather than the kind that have been glamourously restored. They exist along the southern border and similar to the chateux are dotted everywhere so again only choose a couple especially because it's generally a bit of a hike up, the cathars chose the build their castles on the peaks of mountains, clearly they weren't thinking about tourists at the time. The views and
the isolation of some make it worth it.
From these cathar castles the plan is to head to Italy, omg exciting, stop in at Pont Du Gard, a massive aqueduct built in Roman times, the French Riviera and Monaco to try and win some mula mula!
On our way we stopped for the night, parking up in the most creepiest abandoned farm. It really was the creepiest of creepiest places with boarded up windows and doors, graffiti and even a little cemetery....wiiiieeerrrrddddd. Eamon went exploring, I chose to stay behind and make dinner not that I was scared or anything....
St Tropez, Cannes, Nice and Villefranche. Thank god there is nothing to do here except beach. These were the most relaxing 4 days of the holiday. While we couldnt park up the wiz in any of these places, it ruins the beauty of the scenery apparently, we found places in between, our favourite was the Golf of Juan, quiet with still waters that hadn't been roughed up by swimmers. I went for a run into Cannes and back, then went for a swim to cool off. Loved it!! The riveria is super busy though but so nice,
not for surfing though it's flat as...we were total beach bums, we would swim and rinse off with the -10 degree water at the beach, not bother showering or washing hair, no make up, living in bikinis and boardies. Loved it!! We did go for a dive aswell but honestly nothing to write home about unfortunately.
It was a massive change when we went into Monaco and had to come back into civilization. I had budgeted a big loss for the Monte Carlo Casino, succesfull loss btw. The highlight of our night out had to be the 60 year old that misjudged his wifes as for mine. Both Eamon and the man's wife thought it was hilarious while us others were left slightly embarrassed. Good to see they still have it in em though.
Very quickly have I mentioned the food in France? I have really had to watch what I eat. We don't have scales or anything but I can see my cheese baby developing and it's scary. We don't actually use the bikes as much as what was intended but I still get out for small runs when I can. Some places we stay don't have
footpaths so sometimes it's just not possible so unlike home where I just thought I could work it off I can't actually get away with here. As my pregnant friend has said, just get fat and we can work it off together next year haha!
We are nearly at our 3 month anniversary away from home and everyones been asking how we are surviving eachother. Well considering Eams and I are confined to a space about the size of your standard ensuite bathroom and have only ourselves to entertain I thinkable we are doing ok. The truth is it's hard, motorhoming is really about team work and patience. Travelling full-time is actually hard work and comes with it's daily challenges but I couldn't imagine doing it with anyone else, plus not sure of anyone could tolerate me for this long!
Just to end our French adventure here's a poo story for you all. As you know it's my job to empty our waste. Firstly we were at St Emilion doing what we do and I have no idea how but a little piece of poo found its way on the ground and I stepped in it. But it
wasn't as bad as when not long after the tank splashed back in my face and landed straight on my lips. It was possibly the grossest thing ever, I couldn't talk or my mouth would open so I had to charade with Eamon. He washed my face down for me, good boy, but undid all the good when he nicknamed me shit lips. He's such a turd, no pun intended.
Now to move to Italy, I'm pretty scared. France has been amazing to us as motorhomers, we haven't had the stress of finding places to fill up water, gas or dump waste. We have learnt the best supermarkets and the prices of fuel. A new country means starting again, fingers crossed we have nothing to worry about.
You'll have to stay tuned to find out! Xxx
Tot: 1.058s; Tpl: 0.073s; cc: 7; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0505s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb