Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Bergerac, Bordeaux and Biarritz!!!

Heading South and West towards Bergerac, chosen because we like the wine from there! We stopped off for a brew and to let us and the dogs stretch our legs a bit at a place called Sadroc, which despite its name is a very pretty little village that has one of France’s many camperstops. There was one other campervan there and the driver approached us and started chatting. Turns out he sold his pub in England and moved to Spain where they had lived for 5-6 years. They had just sold up there as they found it too hot and had bought a house in France not too far away. On asking him where we could buy the blue stuff for the portable toilet he gave us a couple of the fancy sachets you can buy to last us until we found a camping shop. I remembered about all the paperback books we had both read and offered them to the man’s wife. She was thrilled to bits as she was almost finished her last book! I remembered reading in one of the campervan books that novels in English are very expensive to buy over here and highly sought after. We have left books all over the place. Usually in a communal area in a camping site, with a note on the front saying to read and pass on! It’s quite nice to have a foot in both camps; the motorhoming community, usually older people with a bit of money and all mod cons, and also the younger ones in the Mercedes vans who don’t! Both of these groups have been very friendly and helpful, but I think we belong in spirit more to the younger lot though ;o)

We made it to Bergerac and found the camperstop by the banks of the Dordogne river. It was a lovely spot, had good dog walking areas and was well within walking distance from the town.

The only problem was that being so close to the town and being on quite a straight bit of road we were kept awake by lads on scooters and small motorbikes buzzing up and down. However we spent a lovely afternoon wandering around Bergerac after we had dropped off our washing at a launderette. Smalls etc. we can manage in the van but not sheets and duvet covers!

We sat and had coffee and crepes with rum and hot chocolate sauce in a covered terrace outside the cafĂ© in a part of the old medieval town and looked at a coloured statue for ages before realising it was of Cyrano de Bergerac…Doh!! We discovered a Chinese shop selling loads of freshly prepared food and bought lots of samosa /tapas type little goodies and chow mein along with a nice bottle of the local Bergerac wine! We also bought a replacement for one of the tiers of our bamboo steamer as it had started to come apart. We use this a lot as it only takes one gas ring to cook tatties, carrots, beans and broccoli etc. saving on gas and steaming up the ‘van! …and a lot healthier too!


We drove on to Pellegrue to the camperstop there and found this lovely little spot just outside the village. Again this was complete with free electricity, drinking water for refilling the ‘van and a chemical toilet and grey water dump all in lovely clean condition with reasonably flat hard standing to park on … you gotta hand it to the French for looking after their campers! We cooked and ate the Chinese food washed down with he wine and had a lovely peaceful nights sleep!

This is a picture of the curious ‘Roman bath-house’ like building that was situated by the camperstop( or the other way round!) it looked very old and was filled with water from a spring … the dogs certainly liked it! We walked into Pellegrue the following morning and bought some food at the market before moving off in search of the vineyard we had decided we would search out; part of the ‘France Passion’ scheme. We called into the town at Caudrot on the way to stock up with food supplies etc. and while we were waiting for the supermarket to open we went for a walk along the banks of the river Garonne, which was very swollen. The swollen river was fast and very muddy and had lots of trees and other stuff floating along. It seemed a bit sinister and I didn’t like looking at it in case a body floated by!

The area here is full of grape vines as far as the eye can see… well it would have to be to produce the amount of wine!! We found the vineyard of Chateau Majoureau and met Monsieur Delong who said, I think, that his children, who were working in the vines at present could speak English and later that night we would could taste some of the wine. I think that’s what he said! We had our meal and waited and waited. Monsieur Delong nor his children came near where we were parked behind his barns to invite us to the wine tasting and we were unsure whether to go to the house or not, so we didn’t! So no Bordeaux straight from the vineyard for us! We left a note thanking them for allowing us to stop as there was no one about in the morning…perhaps there had been an accident or someone took ill???!!!

Heading for the coast at Biarritz; and on the way we passed through mile upon mile upon mile of pine tree plantations in the area known as ‘Les Landes’ in Gascony. We stopped for lunch and to walk the dogs in a pine forest between Uzeste and Prechac.

I liked the patterns of the deeply ridged tree bark and the regular swirls of the cone.

On the way back I spotted this snake on the road and shouted to Peter to come and see it…he always walks way ahead of me!

I got this pic of it going into the grass where you can see by the zigzag on its back that it’s an adder. Just after this the dogs spotted a hare on the road and dashed off to chase it not heeding our calls one jot! They were not gone long and came back knackered and panting hard after running I the hot afternoon sun!

The pines are all in flower and everywhere and everything is coated with the yellow pollen, including everything inside the ‘van as it too hot to drive with windows closed!

We stopped at Tartas looking for an internet Wifi signal and spotted this Mercedes van as it drew in beside us.

We invited the young couple (Andreas and Elo) that were in it for a cup of tea and as they spoke no English we had a very short conversation about Mercotribe and they told us about a lovely area in Portugal we should visit.

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