Today is Wednesday, we’ve travelled a fair few kilometres over the last couple of days, we’re now back in the Dordogne (we do like to keep you on your toes, keep up, for heaven’s sake!) We’re meeting up with family next week, chances are there won’t be a blog during that time so this one will be a bumper edition! Photos-a-go-go!!
When I last wrote, I believe we were on our way to Cognac! We drove through some incredibly beautiful countryside, each village that appeared had a church spire, a grand house, a chateau or an abbey. I was in my element although composition hardly comes into the photo taking when it’s done on the hoof. (Or on the wheel!)
We parked up in Cognac in an aire, there was room for 3 vans even though the book said there was room for 6! As all the spaces were taken, we pulled in as tightly as we could in the car park alongside. We were starving, so we opened up the gas and started making our lunch (some rather lovely sole as it happens!) No sooner had we put the first fish in the pan, than one of the motorhomes left, it was all hands on deck, close the gas, put all loose things away, and I sat in the back of the van, with a skillet full of fish while the hubster manoeuvred the van into the vacant space. There … we could relax now, no one would be along to ask us to move along! The fish was delicious by the way! By the time we were ready for bed, the other vans had left and we were once again alone, maybe it was the smell of the fish that drove them away!
We went for a short stroll that was way marked around the town/city of Cognac, it is located on the River Charente which was full, there’s been so much rain in these parts. Cognac, looked a little unloved, it looked like it needed a good wash and scrub up.
We were parked up, slap bang next to the Hennessey Cognac Distillery and the smell of evaporating alcohol is called ‘the angels’ share’! Well, evaporating alcohol or not, neither of us slept very well, it was chilly and every time I turned over, my bedding went AWOL!
We got up so early and set off on the next leg of our journey, it was foggy, very foggy. I, initially, was disappointed as it was evident that the countryside was stunning, mile after mile of vines (for the making of Cognac of course!) but, in fact, we stopped on the top of a hill and I managed to get a couple of shots which I think are very atmospheric.
As the sun burnt the fog away, the countryside and views became more and more beautiful, we were approaching the Dordogne region – it was lovely. Even though it is only the beginning of Spring and the leaves aren’t out on the trees yet, the landscape was just so, what’s the word? ah yes, French!!!
We arrived at the campsite that we had found in our book, it looked wonderful, peaceful, quiet and more or less empty! The welcome we were given was warm as the owner Derrick (French surprisingly) told us to go and choose a pitch and settle, he was going out so to call back into reception after 7pm to register our details. We pulled in and chose the first good looking pitch, we aren’t the fussiest of campers, so long as the site is more or less level, hard standing preferable and not too far from the washing facilities, we’re happy. The hubster reversed back into the pitch and I suggested he pull forward and straighten up, well, easier said than done, Harry’s front wheels spun furiously and Harry went nowhere, in fact, he just seemed to sink deeper into the grass!! Whoops! Yep we were stuck, we tried all sorts, a couple of doormats under the tyres, which just flew out under the tyres as they sped round at super fast speed, we gathered some chippings and stones and tried them to see if Harry’s tyres could grab some sort of purchase on them. Nope, he was just sinking deeper and deeper, so we were scuppered. What did we do? Well, we got out the sun chairs and a bottle of wine and just went with it! We were eventually helped out by the owner’s wife, Catherine (also French), who turned up on a tractor with her three year old daughter on her lap and her five year old daughter leading the way on her little pink bicycle! Rope was attached and Harry was pulled from the quagmire! We are now parked up on the gravel path and have no intention of going anywhere near the grass again. I’m glad to report that we weren’t the only ones who needed a tow, there was in fact another Hymer stuck too! Damn German vans eh?
Once settled we had a look around and this place is most obviously a hidden gem, it’s a campsite as I imagined campsites used to be. A lovely family atmosphere, the grass is rough and ready, the hedges are higgledy piggledy, not manicured but just beautiful. The birds are singing, and Spring is really on it’s way. There is a stunning view of the Beynac Castle and this morning we set off with Charlie into the town, he did ever so well for an old boy, and was very pleased to find a local fountain where he was able to refresh himself. The castle is truly impressive as it clings to the edge of the cliff top! How on earth did they build like that, back in the day? It’s incredible! It’s quite obvious that the location was ideal for looking out for the marauding English!!!
Anyway, the shopping done, the sun’s out and all is well with the world.
I’ve kept the best for last and I shall pop these photos into a little slideshow so you can sit back and enjoy them!