Beyond Bordeaux

And so our journey continues……..!

We try not to make the drive a chore as there are so many beautiful places to see en route. The long journey South forms an integral part of our Winter tour. We are constantly keeping one eye on the weather fronts, more for safety than anything else. We have to take one high route or another to get over those mountains and the white stuff often comes early and can take an unprepared traveller by surprise. Do invest in a decent set of snow chains/socks as bonkers as it may sound as we are sitting here basking in 26 degrees. They are actually a legal requirement on some routes over Winter as far as I’m aware.

Anyway, I digress. Today I am trying to make our drive at least a bit scenic before we hit the notorious Bordeaux Ring Road (not as bad as it sounds, just avoid it at rush hour). Whilst it would be smashing to meander down the Gironde, stopping off at Meschers, Talmont, Mortagne etc., there has been a fair amount of rain over the past few weeks and the river levels are still high. Some of the Aires are on grass which could well be soggy. Instead, common sense must prevail so we’re going to do part of the ‘Bordeaux Vin Route’. This takes you through the Vineyards and Villages and towards Blaye. From there, you can choose to cross the Gironde by ferry to Lamarque and continue west down the Medoc Region. (Be careful as you manoeuvre on and off not to ground if you have a bigger van like ours). They are very helpful guiding you on, just take it steady. Blaye has two good Aires and the pretty, medieval village is built inside the walled Citadel (see previous heading). The scenery along the way is spectacularly beautiful. The vines are in their Autumn colours, fields and fields of red, green and gold. I love this drive. The air smells sweet. You often get fields of huge sunflowers between the vines in season. St. Emilion is one of my absolute favourite places in France. There is a small Aire there, not suitable for anything bigger than 7 meters really, certainly no good for us. The Yelloh Campsite is a short bike ride away through the Rose Vines or they do a shuttle bus twice a day from the site. Not one to be missed. Lots of lovely little Chateaux, much glorious tasting to be done!! Paul and Ange Appleyard, definitely one for you guys.

Today we’re moving closer down to the Border and having a couple of nights at Soustons Plage and Vieux Boucou Village. I’ve covered it before, it’s a regular stop for us. The Aire is between a pretty tidal salt lake and the beach. It has a relaxed ‘holiday’ vibe and is frequented by surfers, families and travellers alike. It has all services and electric for 9 Euros. Anything over 10 meters may struggle with the air-lock barrier exit system. The village has a few restaurants (touristy types, no great shakes) and a good wood-fired takeaway pizza place. You can hire kayaks and paddle boards if you fancy a spin on the lake. It’s a pleasant place to chill back for a few days. The dog absolutely loves it. Our neighbours were a couple of smashing kids from Macclesfield of all places, Mel and Jay with their very cute daughter, Amia. Mel worked in Buxton, small world or what! Lovely people. Interesting to watch the kids of all nationalities interacting. No language barriers with children. They just communicate naturally.

We’ve decided not to bother stopping at the La Rouletta site this trip. It’s at Urrugne, great for visiting the Basque Town of St-Jean-de-Luz and getting your laundry and stuff done before you hit Spain. Instead we’re going to get our foot down and motor straight on and into Rioja country. Brian and Vera our pals from Bakewell have recommended Haro, it’s the Rioja Capital of Spain. Time for some ballsy Spanish red methinks! Camping de Haro looks like a great site and has all facilities. Off we go again!

I’ll let you know when we arrive dear chums. For now I’ll say toodaloo to you and a few miles on, Au Revoir to this amazing Country once again until we return in the Spring.

See you over the Border! Peace and love y’all ❤️

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