Showing posts with label la roque gageac. Show all posts
Showing posts with label la roque gageac. Show all posts

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Swimming, Cycling, Chilling

Tuesday 13 September 2022

For two days Nido's been parked up on a campsite, shaded by trees and next to the Dordogne river.  We came here for a couple of reasons; I needed to be on electric for a Môn SAR Committee Meeting last night and the weather forecast was for some more extreme heat, so we needed to be some place where we could cool down.  We therefore came to Camping La Plage, as it was right next to the river (for Salty to cool down in) and it had a swimming pool (for us to cool down in!).  The campsite is part of the ACSI Discount Card scheme.  This is an annual subscription (I think it's about €20 per year) which provides us with a membership card and two books of campsites throughout Europe.  The campsites who are part of the ACSI scheme offer discounted fees out of high season, with access to all the campsite facilities including full-fat electricity.  In this case, the site is €16 per night (about £13.80) which is a bargain.  We'll make our subscription cost back if we stay on just two or three ACSI sites. The campsite's about ten minutes walk from the 'beautiful village' of La Roque-Gageac, a cluster of golden stone buildings built along the river and in some cases right into the towering cliffs and caves behind.  We've been to this place a couple of times before - once in 2013 and also in 2018, but this is the first time on this campsite.

We slept well amongst the vines at Monbazillac and made our way here via a Lidl shop in Bergerac.  Yesterday was a really hot day - up to about 34'C - and we spent most of it trying to keep ourselves and the van cool. The Dordogne is very low at the moment due to the drought in this region so didn't look too inviting for us to swim in, but Salty enjoyed a paddle and dunk.  We left him in the van with all the skylights open, chilling on his cool mat and went for a cooling swim in the pool, with a magnificent backdrop of limestone cliffs behind us.  It was a warm night and our bedroom area didn't drop much below 24'C overnight.

This morning I was up early and took Salty for a walk amongst the walnut trees just outside the campsite.  The whole Dordogne Valley, leading into Perigord, is well known for the many walnut trees and they can be found everywhere in abundance; many of the 'local produce' shops sell cold-pressed walnut oil - it isn't cheap!  The day started cloudy but still very warm and with high humidity. I breakfasted outside and left Cathy and Salty at the van to go for a bike ride.  Cycling the valley roads here are a delight, with so much to look at along the way - villages, beautiful houses and outbuildings, the river and valley, walnut trees, chateaux high on the clifftop.  I made my way along and turned right after a couple of miles to steadily climb about up a winding road, ending up a small hamlet with extensive views across the valley on one side and forest and fields on the other.  The free-wheel back down was great fun and a lot faster than going up! The only time this trip that I've nearly been wiped out was today when a car pulled out on me during the fast descent, needing some urgent braking from me, even though the road was clear and straight for about 600m; it was a British car!

Back at the van I had a bite to eat and a quick shower, before we all walked along the river towards La Roque-Gageac, following a well marked route which took us around and above the village, through beautiful ancient deciduous forest, with a number of small fields enclosed by dry-stone walls and abandoned old buildings.  They may have been forester or shepherd huts back in the day.  The path descended on the other side and we ended up in the narrow lanes above the village, with the cliffs towering above us.  Many of the properties are Gites and I would imagine they cost a fortune to rent during the holiday season.  We traced our route back to the van, via the river for another cooling dip for Salty, before we went to cool off ourselves in the swimming pool.  Dinner tonight was pork kebabs with a greek salad. Cathy made a delicious pudding of bananas, brown sugar, cinnamon and a splash of wine, wrapped in foil and cooked on the Cadac. It's just starting cool off now as we sit outside listening to the owls.

Our intention was to spend a bit of time in this region, but the forecast is for continuing hot weather.  This sounds ideal if on holiday in a cottage, but not so great in a tin box on wheels; the van is insulated for the cold but this also means once it gets hot inside it traps the heat.  Plus dogs (and oldies like us) are less resistant to the heat.  So we're going to start making our way slowly north, heading for the western end of the Loire Valley.  Then we'll follow the Loire eastwards before turning north to head back towards the Normandy coast and a date with the vet on Friday 30 September for Salty to have his worming tablet and a rabies vaccine booster jab.  That's the rough plan, but we've made these types of plans before and changed them a few days later.....because we can!

Shady pitch

A lifesaver in this heat

Out on my bike

This is what the bottle holder's REALLY for!

The Dordogne is extremely low

La Roque-Gageac

A lovely forest walk

Loo with a view

Perfect spot for apéro time

Friday 11 May 2018

Don't scrump the nuts!

Thursday 10 May 2018 - Day 67

Nido’s parked up in a lovely little aire in the village of Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, another ‘Beau Village’, with many honey-coloured cottages and narrow cobbled streets, with the river running alongside.  Once a rich inland port, changes in transportation gradually pushed this village into the background.  It’s been resurrected by tourism and, as today is another public holiday, it’s been quite busy.  Several pétanque courts are in front of us and they’ve been well used all afternoon by people of all ages.  The aire is in a small copse of open walnut trees, each with a large signed attached to the trunk saying ‘Defence de remasser les noix’, or in other words, don’t scrump the nuts!  I’ve just wandered into the village and ordered takeaway pizza; our victuals are low and the supermarkets are closed on the is public holiday.  But we’re overdue an ‘eating out’ treat.

We left Beau Rivage this morning and drove the few minutes to La Roque Gageac, parking in the aire by the Dordogne.  This is (yet!) another beautiful village, built along the bank of the river and climbing up and into  the steep cliff-face.  Since our last visit in 2013 it’s naturally become more commercialised, with lots of tourist shops and a few more restaurants.  We walked up the narrow lanes, past the botanic gardens with its palms and bananas.  It was busy so we took a footpath that climbed steeply through the forest and were soon away from the crowds.  It was another lovely walk through forest and past meadows and beautiful homes.  The circular route brought us back into the village opposite the aire.  

Our drive to Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère was on small roads through yet more deciduous forest - there are literally hundreds of square miles of oaks, walnuts, sweet chestnut, hazel and beech.  We took a walk around the village, which has a number of well documented noticeboards detailing the history of the village and its buildings.  So we’ve not done much today, apart from enjoy the peace and greenery of this lovely part of France.

Some houses are built into the cliff

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Cycling, walking, chilling

Wednesday 9 May 2018 - Day 66

We’re still chilling out at Camping Beau Rivage by the Dordogne.  It’s been good for both of us to put down roots and do not much for a few days, particularly allowing Cathy to recover from the insect bites around her eyes.  She no longer looks like she’s been 5 rounds with Muhammad Ali! 

Yesterday I went for a bike ride around some of the villages and cycles lanes, while Cathy spent some time cleaning the van, changing bedding and sorting out.  It sounds like she got the bum deal, but she really does like me out of the way when she does her ‘van slavery’!  I took the road right out of the campsite, cycling along the D703, firstly through the village of Montfort, with its imposing castle on the rocks above the river, no doubt once belonging to Simon De Montfort, who was a ‘grande fromage’ in this area.  Following the road above the river, I carried on to the next village before reversing my route and taking the bridge across the river up the winding roads to the village of Domme.  This is another medieval fortified village on top of the cliffs above the valley, with narrow streets and half-timbered houses, surrounded by high stone walls and easily defendable gate houses.  It’s clearly made the most of the tourist trade and was busy on what is a public holiday in France - the anniversary of VE Day.  Through all the villages, the war memorials were the focus for ceremonies and they all had wreaths and bouquets, with many of the old boys wearing their medals and berets.  I hope they enjoyed the lunch - they certainly seemed to be!  

Down from Domme, I was back on the D703 past the campsite and onwards into the village of La Roque Gageac.  This beautiful village, on the banks of the Dordogne and built winding up and sometimes into the cliff face, is a favourite stop of ours and, given the public holiday, was very busy.  I cycled through and carried on to Tournepique, where I stopped to buy some bread and replenished with a can of orangina and a snickers bar.  Just outside the village I picked up one of the many cycle paths in France, well away from the main road, and cycled along through myriad walnut tree forests to reach the very peaceful village of Daglan, deep in the Perigord Nord countryside.  Another quintessential French village, the local bistro/cafe was doing steady business and I sat on the opposite side for a drink of water, just chilling out.  My return route took me along the main roads back to the campsite.  A really enjoyable 40 mile ride that helped me clear my head.  We enjoyed our pork, vegetables and potato dinner (cooked in the Remoska) and spent the evening watching some TV series on the laptop.

Today we didn’t wake up until 1000, which meant I didn’t have a chance to pick up Cathy’s pre-ordered croissants before the campsite shop closed!  Still, we had some bread left from yesterday which toasted well.  It was a bit drizzly first thing but eventually it dried and we had a good walk (about 6 miles) around the country lanes, past lots more walnut trees, wild meadows and farms.  We even saw an otter floating around in a lake. There were also some lovely old, remote homes.  It’s so peaceful walking around the lanes here.  Tonight’s dinner is a curry, again cooked in the ever-useful Remoska, then perhaps a bit more TV series watching, while we have electric hook up (and we’ll charge up all the gadgetry overnight).  We’re moving on tomorrow, with only a few days before we start a week’s house sit near Bourganeuf, not far from Limoges.  

Monday 7 May 2018

Making camp by the Dordogne

Monday 7 May 2018 - Day 64

We’ve set up camp for a few days at Beau Rivage campsite, on the banks of the Dordogne, about 3.5km from the lovely village of La Roque Gageac.  Our original intention was to stay on the aire at La Roque, but with good weather, we decided a few days in one place, with electric hook up, long hot showers and a heated swimming pool, was too good to miss.  And all for only €13 with our ACSI Discount Card.

Yesterday we stayed on a free aire right alongside the Dordogne in the village of Gluges.  It was busy, next to a large picnic site, so cars were coming and going during the day too.  There’s also a campsite adjacent, but that wasn’t yet open for the season.  It was a hot day (yippee!) so we spent most of the day sat outside reading in the dappled shade of the trees.  We also had a good spot to watch the kayakers heading downstream and a couple of fishermen in small inflatables, with their legs dangling in the water, wearing flippers; I’ve no idea if they caught anything but it looked fun!  Cathy’s still suffering with the insect bites around her left eye and that side of her face is still swollen and sore.  I roasted some vegetables for dinner, mixed into boiled rice and eaten with some merguez sausages cooked on the gas BBQ.  Once darkness fell we were treated to a ‘dry’ thunderstorm - lots of sheet lightning and rumbles of thunder but not much rain.  It cooled a little during the night so we both slept well - especially C who had been up the past few nights in pain.

This morning we had a lazy breakfast and slow start and after topping up with fresh water and emptying the loo, we only had an hour’s drive to our current location.  We’ve visited La Roque Gageac before, back in 2013 when we first came to France in a campervan.  Then I enjoyed a great bike ride and Cathy a good walk, so we want to explore a bit more on foot.  We did drive to the aire, but it was busy and hot, hence the change of plan to come to this campsite.  After setting up camp, we made good use of the large heated swimming pool, for a cooling swim and a sit in the sunshine with our books.  Now fed and washed up, I’ll stick the kettle on soon for a brew.  

I’ve seen the reports of great weather back in UK for the Bank Holiday weekend and it’s made me feel homesick for our lovely house on Anglesey (C’s been feeling it for a couple of weeks).  This has been an interesting trip, but we’re missing our new home and are excited about getting back in just over 3 week’s time.  Although we’ve got a lot planned for the first few weeks back, with decorating and replacing the bathroom, we’ll also be making the most of the summer weather with the beach pretty much on our doorstep.  I’m also really looking forward to picking up my training again to become a qualified Search Technician with the Anglesey Lowland Search and Rescue Team.

Aire at Gluges

Dordogne by the aire

Nice to put down roots for a few days - Beau Rivage campsite