Saturday, 6 July 2019

The Coasties are back on the beach - and loving it!

Saturday 6 July 2019

Nido’s parked up at an aire in the seaside resort of Saint Vincent-sur-Jard, in the Vendée region. We’ve travelled a long way north since my last post and it’s SO much cooler and more comfortable.  We’ve walked, swam and relaxed more since we arrived late this afternoon than I think we have at any other time during this trip - we belong by the coast!

After leaving Le Malzieu-Ville yesterday, we drove to Vieillevie and stopped at an aire by the river Lot.  It was really still very warm and, despite a quick dip in the river, it wasn’t somewhere to try and cool off, so we decided to move on and keep heading north to escape the heat.  The cab aircon helped as the temperature climbed into the high 30s again.  I’d plugged in a point way up towards Brittany as a point of aim, and when we’d had enough driving, I pulled in and took a look at the Search for Sites and Park4Night apps, to see if any aires were close around us.  I found one in Chirac about 30 minutes away and we eventually parked up in this lovely quiet village, the only ones there.  The aire had a couple of picnic benches outside and some meadow and trees, so plenty of birds and wildlife.  It was still very hot - in the mid-30s at 7pm, so dinner was eaten outside at the picnic table, with a bottle of Languedoc red.  Cathy took a walk around with her camera while I caught up with some Môn SAR emails, sitting outside well into the darkness of the night.

At about 5am the next morning there was a massive storm with almost constant thunder and lightning and heavy rain, but we were safe and dry in the van and both drifted off to sleep again once it moved on.  Once up, we serviced the van and got back on the road.  In the village of Champagne Mouton (what a great name!), we found an excellent artisan boulangerie and I hopped out to buy a breakfast baguette, some bread and a couple of café eclairs - our naughty but nice treat.  There was a lovely little aire in the village so we stopped there for breakfast, before carrying on towards Aulnay, in the Charente region.  Several years ago (probably about 12 or 13 - I can’t remember), we holidayed in Aulnay, in a lovely little one-bedroom gîte with a wonky first floor!  We had a lovely time there so decided to return to the village.  As always, it looked completely different to how we remembered it.  It was stifling hot on the aire - 39’C - so we had a quick cup of tea, keeping the engine running to benefit from the air con, before deciding to punch on north to reach the coast.

This eventually brought us to this aire at Saint Vincent-sur-Jard.  This is very much a seaside holiday town.  The aire has 60 pitches but there were only about 8 vans when we arrived.  I paid the €9.20 fee and we parked up; within ten minutes we were changed, across the road, through the dunes and on the beach!  Although a little cloudy and breezy, the 32’C air temperature felt so comfortable after the stifling heatwave in the south. We so enjoyed that first sea swim in water that, to us, felt quite warm (we swim regularly in the Irish Sea!) but to the locals was decidedly cold.  At least we have a good tan, compared to some on the beach who I guess are on their first outing of the summer.

Back at the van I made some babaganoush and a tomato and garlic sauce to top the sliced bread I bought earlier - a tasty, vegetarian bruschetta meal eaten outside in the warm evening air.  Later we took a long walk along the beach, paddling in the sea and sitting on the sand watching families play, barbecue and enjoy the sunset.  Although a bit breezy, I’m sat outside in the warm air past 10pm, with plenty of light still in the air, listening to the waves crash on the beach.

Our plan over the next few days is to follow the coast slowly up towards Nourmoutier-en-l’Ile and then on into Brittany.  We’re loving being back by the sea.  We’re Coasties - we always have been and we always will be.

Vieillevie aire

Walking down to the River Lot from the aire

All quiet in Chirac

Preparing for dinner on that picnic bench

Breakfast in Champagne-Mouton

On the Beach!

Aire at Saint Vincent-sur-Jard. Beach just over the road



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