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Monday, 20 May 2013

Pontorson & Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Our journey through France continued and our next stopover was at http://www.camping-haliotis-mont-saint-michel.com/english-version-camping-haliotis-mont-saint-michel.html for a very pleasant week prior to catching the Ferry from Roskoff to Plymouth.


Great little site very clean, modern and well kept. Our  large pitch with full services was a haven for many wild birds and the local church bells told accurate time! Our friends Dave & Di joined us here and pitched up next door. We enjoyed the welcome sun, a few beers and even managed several games of Rummikub!  

Mr H and I once again donned our lycra and used the cycle route along the estuary leading to Mont St Michel as it was just outside the site gate. This historic citadel was a magical place despite the throngs of fellow tourists.

 







The choice of food was vast so Mr H and his mate left us in a souvenir shop to scout a venue for lunch. They found us a lovely little restaurant with a varied menu and good chilled beer! Result.

Our ferry to Plymouth set sail early on a Sunday morning so we decided to head for an overnight stay on an Aire at Roskoff so we didn't have to be up at stupid o'clock. The sat-nav once again took us on a detour! Mr H followed her instructions and realised too late that the prescribed route was not going to accommodate the sacred bus. The road narrowed alarmingly quickly as we crept along and the stone walls on both sides seemed to lean in a bit more every few feet. We eventually stopped with no room to turn and I volunteered to walk down the narrow bendy lane to see what was ahead.  Luckily around the next bend was a large farmyard big enough to turn around. So we detached the trailer and Mr H did a ten point turn around the muddy sharp bend into the yard. With the trailer re-attached Mr H managed to get the RV back on the main road but we ended up down a dead-end in the centre of Roskoff . My girl guide skills kicked in and I guided a hot and bothered Mr H into the library car park which luckily had room to turn round in. Armed with the aire address and a smile I went into the library. Thanks to a combination of mime and bad French I managed to extract the route from a non English-speaking but very pleasant French librarian! So we arrived and spent one long night on the aire, crammed full of caravans and motorhomes doing the same on a sloping pitch and no facilities. Never again I say!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Grand Parc du Puy du Fou

Onwards and upwards again we journeyed to http://www.camping-domaine-eden.fr/accueilUK.htm on Mr H's birthday. Eight hours of driving and he still said he had a good day bless him. I had a numb arse but felt it inappropriate to complain.

As ever some of the access roads were sphincter twitchingly narrow, resulting in some oh-ohs and swear words from the cab, (I'm sure the woman in the sat-nav does it for a laugh) but we managed it just to spite her. We were greeted on our late arrival to the site by the owner who was very pleasant and gave us a guided tour while we selected our pitch. This rural site was very green and peaceful with large pitches although the facilities were very basic, multi cobwebbed and air-conditioned (open to the elements!).

A stocked pond on the site was the home of the local and very vocal, mating toads but as they were downwind to our pitch we only heard them when passing the pond thank goodness. The pond provided Mr H with his first fishing opportunity since leaving Marjal and he recovered from his Spanish exertions by landing a nice upper double!


One of the main reasons for travelling this way was to visit the Parc Puy Du Fou http://www.puydufou.com/en and we weren't disappointed. 


This theme park puts on many and varied shows throughout the day. Each tell a story performed by very skilled and fantastically costumed actors. The special effects were good enough to entertain young and old, a difficult task in our computerised age. We witnessed invading Vikings complete with burning ships that rose out of the water with men on the deck!  








We then sat in a full scale Roman amphitheatre along with a few thousand other visitors chanting, Mexican-waving, booing and cheering as appropriate. We championed our favourites and pretended we were not scared of the baddies (large and mean looking roman soldiers dressed in black ). Lions, tigers, amazing full throttle chariot racing and gladiator fights to the death (not really but still very fake-bloody and dramatic ).








A medieval knights production included enthusiastic jousting, trick riders, horses in embroidered costumes and a full scale castle wall and rotating tower rose out of the ground. Amazing. 





An indoor theatre show acted out many French historical events with a grand finale of flamenco dancing ladies and performing Lipizzaner horses upon a flooded stage.   


In between the shows we wandered around the vast park and found these giant chickens. They were very well cared for and obviously used to posing for the public


We even found talking statues, trees and plant pots!




The last show of our visit was just as impressive. Shifting rocks that released owls, a secretary bird killing a large snake (rubber) and hundreds of different birds of prey performing aerobatics just above our heads. Most of the large birds of prey were released from the surrounding walls of the set but others were released by remote controlled doors in a floating aviary in the sky high above us. Photographing them was difficult but we managed to get a few anyway.







A truly amazing place and we managed to cram it all into one day's visit!! Thank you Chris and Cris for recommending we visit, enjoyed it all.



Saturday, 4 May 2013

Labenne - Ocean

So we continued our journey back to Blighty by heading up north through Spain and the Pyrenees, this journey is not for anyone nervous of heights, tunnels, toll gates or lorries.


Mr H tackles every obstacle along the way with his can-do attitude and the back up of a few driving essentials. Our travel days supplies have sadly become very non-rock and roll!  Mr H essentials consist of his trusted Ray Bans, a random selection of sweets and chewing gum, Ipod and sat nav.  Mine consist of numerous road maps, Ipad, emergency bananas and a thumping great clear quartz crystal.


Certain duties have to be completed during our road trips, refuelling is just one. We approach refuelling with military planning and at times emergency manoeuvres.  Finding a garage that meets our exacting criteria is a mission in itself. We require unleaded petrol provided at a pump with enough height and width for our RV that also has access in and out without reversing! Many attempts fail but we have become resigned to the fact that we are not the type of vehicle they usually cater for. People stop, stare and at times gasp when we rock up next to their tiny cars and vans. Forecourt attendants have been known  to spring over the counter to stop us refuelling as they think we are putting petrol in a diesel HGV!


Our destination was Labenne-Ocean and a Leading campsite called
http://www.sylvamar.fr/camping-landes-uk/index.php which was 900 metres from an atlantic beach that was a favourite surfer spot. 


The weather was not as warm as further south but we managed to get out and about to explore the area. There was a canal path right outside the site and Labenne village just up the road.


This site has good access, facilities and some larger pitches  complete with a stone built BBQ and covered seating area. The hard standing on our pitch consisted of parallel lines of pavers and with only centimetres to play with Mr H parked the bus dead centre and level!!  We enjoyed our week there chilling and managed to survive listening to the mighty Tigers (Hull City) gain promotion to the Premier League in their final game before moving on again.