Week 7 – Rocamadour to La Rochelle

Index for this trip HERE

On leaving Rocamadour we had a nice chat with our “neighbours” – and her English was only slight better than our French, but it was actually rather good to mutually cock up both languages yet still have a conversation! 

We headed to Sarlat-la-Canéda which was overly familiar – think my parents must’ve taken us there when we visited them.  A rather pleasant, but touristy medieval place – and yep – seen too many now to take too much notice.  Opting to dawdle along the river roads, there were some pretty and interesting villages, more medieval hill-top constructions, and we ultimately stayed at a reasonable aire in the pleasant Lalinde.

When we left, we had to check the day as it felt like a Sunday.  Not much open and not many around, so probably some public holiday though the lady I tried to speak to in the only open cake shop had no idea what I was on about.  Heading to the Atlantic coast was probably the most boring drive of the trip so far with very little of interest to us.  There were a fair few vineyards but our wine trips will be in the future (with someone who knows what they are doing hopefully!).   At Lake Cazaux we headed to a great location tipped to us by some friends, but sadly due to it being August (and there being loads of big white vans) overnighting was banned.  So we headed to Biscarrosse-Plage where we spent the afternoon with one of Mels b’day presents – a bodyboard.  The Atlantic surf was superb and Mel was acting her age again (teenager obviously), and apart from me getting whiplash from a big wave smacking the board in my face, it was rather good fun.

Our good luck continued in the morning as at 8:30am we heard a big bang but saw nothing, and only when we left our wild-camping spot did we see that a car had come off the road and t-boned a parked car, pushing it into the one next to it, and then into the one next to that.  All about 20m from where we were hiding.  Oops.

We then headed further south to near Léon through a national park to a place we stayed for a few days buried in a quiet pine forest with a nice (but dangerous) beach.  The waves and tow were immense and we’d not have gone in if there were not lifeguards every 10m or so in the bathing area.  The waves were so big you actually had to look “up” and you could see the underneath of people just before you got belted by the wave.  Superb fun, though Mel ended up with a bum-rash after being thrown on the beach and dragged backwards by the tow; and I got a injured toe from being thrown up and against Mel  which resulted in having to go to the first aid room – and me having  a black toe and a limp for a while 🙁

Biking was either boring along tarmac paths, or impossible down deep sand trails, so we opted to have more of a chilling time knowing the UK chaos would be coming soon. 

When we left we sorted the van water and noticed one of the tyres was a little flat and the compressor didn’t make much difference, so on closer investigation we found a huge screw in it.  Bugger.  Its quite a pain to change the wheel so we limped to Euromaster and they fixed the puncture there and then – though relieved me of €22 for the pleasure.  The delay put us off course and slightly later than expected and the route north was just choc-a-block with hundreds of holiday makers trying to get home.  Bordeaux is a huge bottle neck for this so we gave up and headed to Lège-Cap-Ferret for the afternoon and evening and planned to clear Bordeaux in the early morning.  To be fair, this part of France has some lovely beaches and the area best treated as a holiday destination due to the many like tourist-style towns, rather than picturesque villages.

There is a huge beach at Lège-Cap-Ferret with a massive car park under pine trees with a few people wild camping (some literally in tents), but the sea was far too rough to go in and the sky black – so we just chilled and watched the thunderstorms and watched the tenters get soaked.

On the drive to La Rochelle we had hoped to find somewhere interesting to stop see, but apart from vineyards nothing looked exciting enough so we actually made it all the way to La Rochelle.  There probably are good finds along the route but you’d really need to go hunting which would be very slow going, and as the “home bug” has started to set in we’re currently not inclined.

La Rochelle is a big and busy town, loads of shopping and millions of eateries, with a huge marina and old town area.  Hundreds of Motorhomes about which should hopefully all vanish in the next day or so, and with it the crowds that shared the town with us.  Well worth a visit.

So week 7 is over and unless anything major happens we’ll be back in the UK next week.  We suffer from the same problem each trip – as soon as we head towards home the brain starts thinking about the things we need to do, and also about our next adventures which will be house hunting and a backpacking trip to Asia.  This does mean the heart goes out of the current trip and we never seem to get the most enjoyment out of the last week.  Next time we’ll go anti-clockwise!

We do have some plans to try and stall us from getting to Calais too quick – not least there would be a 25€ summer surcharge if we get there too quick!

 Click HERE to go to week 8

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