Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A note for those who are jealous...

written 16th November

For those of you who are jealous - and some have indeed expressed the opinion that the blog is written purely with this goal in mind ;) -  of our carefree existence, unfettered by the yoke of wage-slavery and the daily grind of pointlessly pushing pieces of paper/code from one side of the desk/monitor to the other or sifting through trouble tickets from idiots, you will be gratified to know that yesterday was dull, dull, dull and pointless and dull.  There does that make you feel better??

Leaving Nantes with a general goal of La Rochelle, we had planned to do the journey in two stages and try and find somewhere free to sleep en route.  Having left after lunchtime on a Sunday, our chances of finding an open supermarket in France were slim to nothing but we did at least find an open bakery - the only thing open on a sunday as it seems even God needs fresh bread ;) - so baguette and sticky breakfast buns were ours (I can't decide whether I prefer croissant or pain au raisin - I have inexplicably never liked pain au chocolat - so I had to have both just to see) but not much else.  We had set our sights on La Roche sur Yon as a good midway break point which avoided the toll roads and had a cathedral marked on the map but it was shuttered up, deserted, raining and dull. 

After a couple of hours sat in the van in the rain for lunch of smelly cheese and pate on baguette whilst Will did some programming and I read my book, we set off again and made an impulsive decision to see what Les Sables d'Olonne was like.  Not, as it turned out, a good plan.  I am sure that in other circumstances it is very nice, but in the dark, on a sunday night, with no prior information, we found an unlit beach road with several "no camping-car" signs, a marina with a couple of open but deserted bars and not much else - other than the fact that it is twinned with Worthing of all places.  I haven't been to Worthing - this doesn't really inspire me to go.

Following this detour, which was as pointless as it was fuel consuming, we headed on La Rochelle-wards down a minor road, stopping in some small town square carpark to use the public toilet and cook our dinner of emergency pasta (vacuum packed fresh pasta from Lidl bought for this exact eventuality) topped with parmesan cheese and accompanied by bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar - a little taste of Italy in a dark corner of rural France.  We then set out to find a suitable layby and ended up just outside a town, just south of Lucon and passed the night in a layby, next to an increasingly busy road, buffeted by the roar of trucks thundering past - truly living the dream.

I should have added here that, eaten for breakfast whilst waiting for the mist to clear (from inside the windscreen, not out!) the pineapple was indeed three times nicer than any other pineapple I have ever had... ;)

We are today in La Rochelle - another advantage of van over tent is that in the wet, it is much easier to pack up and move on to look at the rain from somewhere else for a change - and having stocked up in life's essentials from Leclerc and armed with a map of the town from the very helpful English gap year student in the tourist office, we are about the set out and explore.  As soon as it stops raining...

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