Showing posts with label dampierre sur loire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dampierre sur loire. Show all posts

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Fantastic Caves and an empty river

 Tuesday 20 September 2022

Nido's parked up on an aire in Dampierre-sur-Loire.  It used to be a municipal campsite, so there are no pitches, just park where you like, under the trees or in the sunshine.  Its €6 per night including services (no electricity); the servicing point to empty the loo and grey tank and fill up with fresh can be accessed without entering the aire.  It's about a mile east of the town of Saumur.

The last couple of days have been fairly quiet, with short hops to the next park upa.  Sunday was admin day.  Before we left Romagne Cathy emptied out the mats and covers and gave the van a really good clean, while I did the emptying and filling when we moved over to the service point. We found a Super U with a laundrette to do our fortnightly (and last of this trip) laundry session.  What should have taken about an hour took three times as long though! It's great having so many outdoor launderettes in France, many available 24/7.  The downside is they all seem to have their own, unique complex instructions as to how they work!  This wasn't helped by my thinking the 18kg washing machine was a dryer, so we sat there for half an hour waiting for the other washing machine to finish.  Once I'd worked this out I then realised these machines were cash only payment.  So we had to drive off to find an ATM!  Luckily there was one just around the corner so, once the instructions had been translated , we fed our €10 note into the machine, received our change and all was good.  Forty minutes later, the washing was in the dryer and turning.  I'd pressed the button for medium heat, but it took a couple of drying sessions to finally work out there was a particular sequence for selecting the heat, which entailed starting the dryer first, then stopping, then selecting the heat!  But three hours later the washing was all done, folded and put away.  

Sunday night was spent on a free aire at Saint Loup-sur-Thouet. It was a good spot in a long grassy field, but with some road noise, which died off later.  The next morning Cathy and I had a walk around the town and its medieval buildings and narrow lanes, before he moved on.  The plan was to spend the next night in the town of Thouars and explore the medieval walls and centre, but Salty was starting to get a bit freaked out by the noise of the vehicles (he pretends to be tough with other dogs but really is a bit of a softy!), so we opted for a much quieter stop in the countryside at Le Coudray-Macouard, parked up amongst the trees.  We've actually stayed here before - back in October 2014.  

After lunch and a snooze we all went for a walk, along some lanes then into explore the village.  This is another lovely place to wander around, with honey-coloured sandstone buildings, narrow lanes and high walls.  Some of the houses even have caves underneath.  Back at the van we ate and spent a quiet night, waking to a chilly morning but again with clear blue skies and the promise of a warm, sunny day.

This morning we stopped off at a Decathlon store.  We'd never been in but had heard good reports from others using them in Europe.  This was a large store that had pretty much everything you need for outdoor life - clothing, boots, climbing, kayaking and canoeing, cycling.  We've been looking for some outdoor and walking clothing for some time and found everything we needed at a reasonable price - think Go Outdoor prices but much better quality.  Cathy prefer to buy men's tops and jackets as they're longer in the body and have loads of pockets!  A huge Le Clerc hypermarket in Saumur - within a big shopping centre - was next door so I popped in for a couple of things.  It also had a Culturel Centre (technology stuff) and, if we've been at the start of the trip, I'd have bought a REGLO data sim to go in the Mifi - 120 Gb for €15.99.  We're getting by on the SMARTY SIM with 12Gb per month (plus our Tesco phones with 12Gb each) but are having to watch our usage and we have no capacity to catch up on our favourite YouTube channels.  I've had a couple of online meetings with Môn SAR and Cathy has two online Welsh lessons before we go home  We should have enough data, but some additional interweb juice would have made life a bit simpler.

After lunch we took a walk along the cycle path that runs alongside the Loire, heading east towards Saumur.  It was quite shocking to see how low the river is.  On the section by the path it was completely dry and we were able to walk on the riverbed which, in normal times, would have been 6 - 8 feet underwater.  Even the navigable section of the Loire looked very low.  Worrying times in this year of drought and a further indication of climate breakdown.

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading and snoozing, watching the tree creeper birds and a couple of lively horses in the field next to us.   We enjoyed a lazy dinner tonight will be halloumi burgers, sauté potatoes and green beans.  We still have a craving for pizza and/or chips; we're still looking for the next pizza machine!  We'll also be tucking into moules-frites when we get to the Normandy coast in a week or so. 

Our evening walk took us in the opposite direction to this afternoon's along the cycle path running adjacent to the road.  There was a low wall that dropped down about 20 feet, with steps down at regular intervals. It was clear this was once the original quayside with ships tied up alongside and the steps down to lighters to move goods around.  The houses on the opposite side of the road were made mainly of sandstone and some were built into the cliffs and caves.  We took one path up and disappeared into an amazing maze of cave tunnels, with houses tucked away, the path slowly making its way up until we came out on a huge vista of vines as far as we could see.  As the sun started to set, we stood and soaked in the atmosphere. We had no idea these paths and caves were here; sometimes it's good just to follow your nose.

Saint Loup sur Thouet

A long-closed boulangerie

Dampierre sur Loire

There should be about 6 ft of water in there

Even the main Loire channel is well down

Now I know why the people in Le Courdray-Macouard are so happy!

We found these amazing caves on our evening walk from Dampierre

House with a pool and caves!