Wednesday 8 March 2018 - Day 4
Blue skies this morning. I bravely tried to switch on the heating, hot water and water pump all at the same time - 12v electrics said no! Quickly dressed, I crawled into the garage (ie the narrow space under the bed, accessed from the van's rear doors) to reset the breakers (twice!) until it settled down. Lesson learned when not on electric hook up. Still, the shower was lovely and with fresh, clean clothes (it's surprising how long they can be worn when you're not around other people!), we hit the road.
Today was a short run to the medieval town of Niort. The aire is lovely - about 15 individual pitches separated by stone walls and hedgerows, each with unmetered electricity - charge up all the things! The aire's by the river Sevre Niortaise and, although very close to the main town, is quiet and feels safe. We enjoyed lunch with the van door open, soaking up the warm spring sunshine. This was especially enjoyable given that it was currently snowing back home in North Wales!
A little bit of Niort history: it's built on two small hills. The most interesting part is the 'mainly' pedestrianised areas, full of stone-fronted or half-timbered medieval houses (by 'mainly' I mean there's less chance of being run down by the cars speeding through the narrow streets than on slightly wider roads!). There are a couple of large cathedrals - not our thing but useful for orientating ourselves. The most striking building is Donjon Castle, built by Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine around the end of the 12th Century, then added to by Richard the Lionheart. With its round turrets it looks like how a proper castle should do.
It didn't take long to wander around the town, so we strolled by the river before returning to the van to chill out for the rest of the day. I did manage to sneak a small bottle of Pastis into my shopping trolley today, so some of that may - *ahem* - evaporate tonight!
Plan for tomorrow (I know I'm not supposed to be planning but we need some idea of which way to point the van!) - reach the Atlantic coast somewhere south of Bordeaux.