Friday 26 August 2022

Heading West

Friday 26 August 2022

Nido's parked up on a lovely aire in the small town of Broglie, about 80km south-east of Le Havre.  The aire's more like a small campsite, with huge hardstanding pitches and a large area of grass alongside.  It's €6.80 which includes all services, although the electricity can only be reached by the couple of vans closest to the service point.  There's about eight vans here, a mix of French, Dutch and Brits.

We had a change of plan yesterday.  Originally we were aiming to stay further inland as we head towards Brittany.  Our park-up on Wednesday night was pleasant, but it was very hot and we were struggling, as was Salty.  Also, it's huntin', shootin', fishin' season in France and the huntin' was going on right through the night; it sounded like full-bore rifles perhaps hunting wild boar or deer.  Salty is terrified of gunfire so it was an easy decision to head north to the coast to avoid this and find some cooler temperatures.

So yesterday we stayed at a large aire right on the coast at Vuelettes-sur-Mer.  We've stayed here a couple of times before, including on my birthday in 2015, after I'd watched a stage of the Tour de France.  On the way there I stopped off at a Lidl to buy a couple of things.  I use Lidl at home a lot and was interested to see the French version, but didn't take the time to have a good look around - something to look forward to tomorrow! It's not the prettiest resort, but we had enough room to get the table and chairs out.  Salty enjoyed a quick sea paddle on a stony beach and watched a group of children having a SUP lesson, before we walked down the promenade to take a look at the crumbling cliffs.  After a very hot night before with little sleep due to the shooting, we slept well in the relative peace and cool sea air.

This morning the local boulangerie van came round, tooting his horn to bring us all out, bleary-eyed but ready for what he was selling from the back of his little white van.  All the croissants and pain au chocolate you could want, plus several types of baguette; I bought a couple of baguettes and we enjoyed one with a couple of fried eggs each for breakfast.

Today's drive was a couple of hours, which is long enough as we're in no rush and it means we get to enjoy lunch on the road or at our next stop, then the afternoon to explore and the evening to chill out.  Far too many times in the past I've underestimated the size of France and spent too long behind the wheel.  So we're determined this time to pootle along!  It also included the free ferry crossing at Quillebeuf-sur-Seine which, no matter the route we take, we always seem to end up at! Salty was fascinated to see Nido was moving over the water! Lunch today was sat under the awning, then a mid-afternoon walk.  Broglie town centre is relatively small, built around a large church and square, with lots of small lanes leading off, including some lovely old medieval buildings.  There's also a pleasant walk along the river, with some pretty houses and gardens leading down to the water.  We followed a grass track on the other side of the river that ran along the bottom of the aire and followed the river before cutting through a deciduous forest and looping round on a quiet road back to the van.

We've both been unwell for a couple of days with symptoms of CV19, but testing negative with Lateral Flow Tests.  As a result and just in case, we're keeping to ourselves and I mask up when I need to shop.  The timing's not great but we're starting to feel better already, although both are exhausted by mid-afternoon. It's a shame as today we're parked up right next to the Voie Verte cycle path, which would have been fun to explore, but I don't have the energy right now.  I also gave up alcohol before we left the UK; what a time to stop when there's so much fantastic wine and beer to enjoy here!  As a result I have a bit of sugar craving so the odd piece of pâtisserie is called for!

Tomorrow we continue drifting west, through flat countryside and small towns and villages.  It's clear France is suffering from this drought too, as the fields are dusty and the hedges and trees are drooping.  Walking along the lanes, it's clear to see the apple harvest this year will be poor as they're all so small.  With all this and today's announcement of massive fuel price increases, I think there are difficult times ahead. Time for a cuppa and a biscuit and ignore the news!


SUP lesson - challenging in the waves!

Today we will mostly be eating baguette!

Broglie aire - highly recommended 

Broglie riverside

Old laverie - clothes washing area

On this ferry again!

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