Sunday 10 September 2023
Nido's still parked up at the side of Lac de Vassivière. We'll have been here six nights by the time we leave, longer than we've stayed anywhere for a continuous period. All of it has been on a simple grass area, although we did move to a different spot yesterday to have a better view of the lake and to be a bit closer to 'our' swimming beach. On and off there have been about 8 other vans here with us, although it's been very quiet with everyone just chilling out.
It's been the ideal place during what's been an extended heatwave, not just in France but throughout the UK too. Here, it's been about 35'C every day, but at least with the occasional breeze. So our days have consisted of waking up, cup of tea, walk the dog, chill, swim, lunch, chill, swim, dinner, chill, watch the sunset, sleep. It's been very restful.
On Thursday I cycled around the lake, which is almost 24km. The route is known as the Circuit Raymond Poulidor, the famous (late) Tour de France cyclist, who lived nearby; two of his grandsons - David and Mathieu van der Poel are also a professional cyclists. I also realised, due to the road graffiti, that the road running to the south of the lake - right next to where we're camped - was also a part of Stage 9 of this year's Tour de France, so I've managed to cycle a bit more of that too! Stage 9 started in the Raymond Poulidor's hometown of Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat.
On a couple of occasions I drove (leaving Cathy sat on our spot with the chairs) to the nearby village of Royère-de-Vassivière to service the van on the aire, recycle rubbish and top up with food at the small supermarket right next to the aire. This has allowed us this extended six night stop. The solar panel has kept our leisure battery topped up. A few days ago I had a problem with the EcoFlow River 2 Max powerbank not charging on 12V DC. It's fine charging on 230V AC, but we need to be hooked up for that. This is annoying as I bought the EcoFlow specifically for this trip and to spend more time off-grid. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, I eventually got hold of someone in EcoFlow UK and they've agreed to provide a brand new replacement unit when we return home.
The heatwave is due to break tomorrow and cool down by several degrees, which will be welcome. Obviously with that will come the westerly fronts bringing wind and rain. We've enjoyed the hot weather, are thankful for trees to shade us and water to cool us, but now we're happy to take what ever weather comes our way and hit the road again.
So tomorrow we'll move on, heading north of Limoges to a supermarket to buy food, brim up the LPG tanks and service the van, then on a bit further north west. The outline plan is to take a couple of days to make our way into southern Brittany, then see where we end up from there. It's 3pm now, the sun will soon be sneaking around the awning, so time for a swim!