Monday 6th July 2015
This morning we said our goodbye's to our neighbours from Le Mans and all had another laugh over his concern about the farine on our tyres! As the weekend was quite hectic we needed a relaxing day today staying close to the motorhome. Most of the French people stay off the streets during their 2 hour lunchbreak so we decided that this would be a good time to do the geocache that has eluded us for too long. After a short search in what seemed the most likely place, Dorothy suggested that we look further along the girder, and there it was all the time. Duly signed it was back to the motorhome. Dorothy felt a bit poorly today so Allan cooked the dinner. Corned beef, potatoes and baked beans, just about Allan's limit. (Dorothy says so not true)
We had a planning meeting so tomorrow we are off on our travels again. It is as easy as that, there is no forward planning, what ever happens is just by chance. We know where we are going tomorrow but no further than that, except that the 14th July is a public holiday and a major celebration for the French being Bastille Day. Nearly everything closes, except for a few high tourist areas so we need to be prepared. Because of France being on high alert we didn't fancy going into Paris and have been told that the celebrations in Saumur are worth seeing and so we are heading down in that direction. Allan would also like to go to a Son et Lumière called "Légende de la Source" at Semblançay but there are many performances so we don't yet know when to book for.
OK, we thought that we knew where we were going to. It was to pick up internet at the Tourist Office on the way out of Longue-Jumelles and then to the out of town shopping. The Tourist Office was closed and the Marie "town hall" were a waste of time; together with this, Allan missed the turning to the shops!
So we travel on to Saumur and found a huge E Leclerc surrounded by other shops. Dorothy does the shopping and Allan has a choice of free internet cafes to upload the blog. He finds 70 emails (mostly spam) and the virus checker needed a massive update. We have been to Saumur in the past so know that it is a good place to stay and lots of things happen especially along side the river Loire ( that E on the end is important). We just can't wait to get parked up and into the town. Something is happening and the streets are closed, everything is looking good for our stay here. BUT, the riverside Aire has closed down and motorhomes are prohibited. Never mind there is another Aire on the Island that was being prepared two years ago. Fenced off and not even started. We find that they have now moved the Aire 5k outside of town and charge as if it were a campsite. Parking in the town is very restricted now and only for daytime. Blow them or words to that effect, if they don't want us to be there then we are off somewhere else.
So, here we are at Turquant which is an interesting looking Troglodyte Village perched on a hillside in the wine growing region of the Loire. According to one of our friendly French motorhome neighbours there is a special shop up the high street that is built into the hill. We shall find out when we climb up the hill tomorrow.
When we climb the hill tomorrow should have been if we climb the hill because we didn't!
We just sat on our bottoms on our nice new chairs and took in the ambiance and the view.
The garden where we are parked, and I use the word garden here because that is what it is, is absolutely beautiful.
These are photos from "our garden" this morning.....
More often than not we seem to be beside a lake or river, this time we are in a garden and the River Loire is beyond the massive park, then the other side of the main road and then across the other side of the woods. Travelling along beside it yesterday we did notice that the water level was really low with many mud banks midstream where we believe the river should be covering them. According to a guide book the church behind us has, in the past, flooded when the river rises and breaks it's banks. Not a chance of it now with so little water and apparently since they built the new road that chance is even more remote.
In our garden each tree is different, I don't know the names of most of the trees but I do recognize the Horse Chestnut, Willow, Oak and Copper Beech but there are many, many more here. There are flower beds full of many different flowers and one of the roses Dorothy said had the most beautiful smell.
When Allan went over to have a sniff he was quite taken aback because the smell took him back many long years to when he was a child. His Mother, when hanging out the washing on the line to dry during the winter months, always had a squirt of hand lotion to stop her hands drying out. She never wore any perfume or makeup except this hand cream in a tube. And that is what the rose smelt of. It is surprising sometimes what will evoke a distant memory.
Later in the afternoon we did go on a short walk around the centre of the village and visited the church but unfortunately it was not open.
The tourist Information point is an unmanned little room and it was supposed to have free wifi for the Internet there. Unfortunately it is not working and the lady in the Town Hall "La Marie" just shrugged her shoulders at Allan's French.
The town, some of which is hanging to a steep hill and some of which seems to be crumbling and falling down, has many artists working here. Unfortunately it looks as if the tourist season hasn't started yet, or ever will, as some of the tourist shops are empty and to let. This is a theme running constantly on our travels this year.
This morning Dorothy gave her Mum and brother an early "wake up" telephone call!
On our Aire here there are abut 10 motorhomes each day. A mix of Dutch, the Dutch are educated people and always speak English as well as their own language!, German and of course French. During the morning a Spanish motorhome came in. The couple introduced themselves, Götz and Evelyn, who both speak fluent French, German and English having both been to Durham University. Götz is a food Journalist and the Evelyn is a watercolour artist. They live in Mallorca but both were born in Germany. We have some entertaining chats with them both.
In the afternoon we did go for the long walk and in the heat of the afternoon it certainly did seem a long way,
climbing up and down the rocky hillside to find little lanes and troglodyte houses, wondering how they get their cars into the garages! Finding Artists at work in their cave studios. We had a look at the work of a few of the artists but when you see a small piece and it's priced at €800, then it is not for us!
Then up even further onto the vast expanses of vineyards, as far as the eye can see.
144 hectares of four types of wine - red, white, rosé and white sparkling.
The grapes have a way to go yet!......
And below us, in the caves underground are mushrooms being grown! 1000 tonnes a month in 30k of limestone caves under the sloping hillsides.
We returned to the motorhome for dinner and during the evening got chatting with Götz and Evelyn and were invited to look at Evelyn's watercolours at 11 am tomorrow morning.
We have been to visit Götz and Evelyn at their motorhome and her paintings are lovely. They are mostly of the places that they have visited in France and we had a long talk of places to visit, some of which we have been to as well. They have invited us to visit them at their home in Mallorca but with a ferry trip of €600 we don't think that it would be possible to visit in the motorhome on a pension. We had a very enjoyable couple of hours with them.
During the afternoon Dorothy mentioned going for a cycle ride over the road to the River Loire and then along its banks to the next village called Montsoreau but with the temperature still climbing and set to reach 35 by late afternoon Allan wriggled out of it. We did however stroll over to the Tourist Office and also found the Church to be open and so we were able to visit the Church here in Turquant with its modern stained glass windows, very light and pale blue depicting the River Loire.
During the evening we discussed what to do for the next few days. Götz suggested where we could park for the day in Saumur and we have decided to give it a try. So, the plan now is to go into Saumur for the day on Saturday and again on Tuesday the 14th, Bastille Day. Will we do it or will the plans change. Just watch this space as they say!
A late night phone call to Dorothy's Mum and brother rounded off the day.
Today we woke to good news from England, Amy gave birth to a son early this morning. This is another Great Great nephew for us. Congratulations to Dean and Amy on the safe arrival of baby Oliver. We expect that you have been up all night. We're going back to sleep!
We got up early to visit Saumur, with a stop on the way to fill up with water but found Parnay Aire closed. Then we had to search for a parking place in Saumur because the recommended one was full due to it being only half open! We asked a guy who was excercising a horse near the parking and asked him about the restrictions. He said we could only stay a short while here and so had to go to the other side of town to park and we didn't get into the town centre until about 12 noon. Saumur is looking very festive but we do hope they are not requesting rain as it it so dry over here!!
It was market day and after doing every market stall we needed to stop for the obligatory glass of refreshment at a pavement cafe!
We then walked to
the Tourist Information Office where we settled a few details about things that
we are planning.
Then a walk around the town to do three Geocaches.
One was in the wall of a church were a wedding was about to take place...
Weddings seem to be another theme running through our travels over here!! so we sat in a park opposite the church until the coast was clear and we were pleased to have a few texts from Dorothy's brother.
Another geocache was located on a tank at the military Academy.....
and another near to the bridge crossing the Loire.....
Then followed the long trudge back to the motorhome. Now where did we leave it???
When we returned to Turquant there had been a Boule de Forte competition. From Allan's previous practice session perhaps he should have stayed and helped them to win. There were cars everywhere and even the Aire was full. We tried to squeeze in behind one motorhome but the trees were too low. We went out onto the road and parked on the grass verge hoping that someone would leave the Aire. Then to our relief, Götz came to our rescue and kindly suggested that we park up in front of his motorhome as they are not leaving until Monday. Our hero!
We ended the day with dinner and a relaxing evening after our long day.
Just a quiet day sitting
in the sunshine drinking
beer coffee and writing the blog. We have remarked
that the fields around are now turning yellow again, this time with beautiful
We had bread and wine for lunch then took a stroll up to the Troglodyte and Artists' Quarter. Such a pity that it is overrun with tourists in our home today. We can't move for them!
Later Dorothy managed to contact James and had a good phone call with him and Frankie and we are pleased everything seems to be OK at home.
In the evening whilst we were having dinner outside under the cooler evening sky, our new friend Götz came to serenade us with his guitar and soft singing. We felt very special. After our meal his wife Evelyn (our new friend also) joined us and we spent the rest of the evening listening to our friends playing guitar and singing along with them in a mix of languages! Götz's catchy song "Roll up" will remain in our memory forever and remind us of this very special time with them xx
Tuesday is a Public Holiday here (yes, another one!!) and of course "the pont" tomorrow so we needed our rest today to build up to the celebrations starting here in the village tomorrow!
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