Friday, 11 January 2013

French Winter Sun

After spending a few weeks "back home" in Blighty for the festive period we are back on the road again in search of new adventures
We fancy just a spot of anonymity for a while away from unforeseen dramas but just know they are probably round the corner!
It was good to catch up with family and friends and they are just as we left them back in October. Much easier this time to leave Britain as we know they are OK and hopefully now used to the idea of us being out the country for long spells
1st port of call is a great pub near Saffron Waldron for the night that does good food and a last chance to down a pint of real ale.....
Posts on the blog will be adhoc as ever but we are considering buying a French dongle as, at this early stage, we plan to stay in the South of France for around 3 months
What could possibly.......................



This was Riqueval near St Quentin on our route through Northern France
The canal was built over 200 yrs ago and had a famous name open it..



Also significant was its history relating to the Tommies at the time keeping the bridge open during the end of the Great War to supply the "Final Push" I guess
Just a pleasant walk now but like so much of this area what would it have been like during the two conflicts?
We make an effort each time we pass through the swathes of military cemeteries and memorials in this area to visit and pay homage to the countless poor souls who gave everything for us to live our lives as we do today, they had little chance of achieving their dreams and goals
We owe them all so much....





What a relief finding this "Flot Bleu"
We had been searching for 2 days and after numerous Aires with their service points either frozen or closed for the winter we stumbled across this one by chance
We, I suppose, are heavy water users as we both like a shower each day and the tanks give us 2 full days before replenishing.
Not normally a problem as water is usually free or 2 Euros or so. Add to this temps of minus 10 C and things can get a little awkward


It got quite hair raising after this with a long decent down to the South through snow in the mountains
We were quite annoyed as we had tried to avoid this weather but then saw the news later of the awful
snowy conditions in the UK over the past week and produced our smug grins




This was a solid "round" of ice,about 2m in diameter swirling in stream on its way down through the Verdun region of gorges
We were around 20m up on the hill pass looking down at the time



More like it..
The view from Cannes promenade as the day ended many, many degrees warmer



Every town, any time of day!





The obligatory posh outlets for Nina to window shop



Nina turned up late for the grand premiere of "Two Muppets on Tour"








What a contrast this was to the freezing weather on the way down




After a few days on the coast we ventured in land and visited several beautiful villages on our way towards Avignon


Hilltop Aire which this guy has made his permanent home.
The next morning he got out his street fighter motorbike and brought back stuff from Mr Bricolage, the French B & Q, and fashioned a plywood box for the back of his bike
We would have loved to see what he'd done to the inside of the truck to make it 'homely'






Beat this for ingenuity!



We spent two nights at a lovely village called Fontaine Du Vaucluse
At the top of the village is a large pool area which is in fact an underwater cave from which an enormous amount of crystal clear water emerges and thunders down the gorge and through the village at speed
When it hits the village bridge there is around a foot clearance from the bottom of the arches 
Several restaurants ply their trade with the punters sat on decking only feet from certain death should they bend to pick up a fallen knife or fork
Amazing place..





The village's overhead canal