Monday 7th September 2015

Across from the aire was a private garden with some elaborate garden features

this was one just of them!

Today Simmi and Kingsley left to be on their way. We wish them well in their travels and thank them for the lovely times we spent with them.

It was such a gloriously warm and sunny day so we decided to delay moving on and enjoyed another day here, in Briare.

Tuesday

In the morning we left Briare to travel to Aubigny sur Nère as it has been recommended to us. "There is a superb aire, with a superb town" we were told. We stopped at Carefour Market along the way to replenish our depleted store cupboard and wine cellar. Dorothy found some new clothes that she liked and when she tried them on in the motorhome she was pleased to find that the trousers were too big and had to take them back for an exchange. Dorothy has dropped a size and there were many congratulations from Allan.
We then filled with diesel at €1.05 ( about £0.75 ) per litre and carried on our way.

After this, things started to go a little awry. The satnav had chosen our route and we followed it until we came to a river Loire bridge which was much too low for our motorhome! We pulled into a parking space, checked the satnav - yes, it is still programmed for our height???!! and tried to work out what to do next. The Satnav then chose a route in the direction we had just come from! but Dorothy found, with the aid of the Road Atlas, another bridge further south and so we hoped for the best that we could cross the Loire there. Luckily it all worked out OK but after crossing the Loire we had to navigate through the small winding streets of Beaulieu sur Loire and this had put another 8 miles on our journey. They say the journey is part of the experience, so we just laughed it off.
We are finding that journeying along this part of the river Loire is sometimes exacerbated by the fact that not many bridges cross the river along here with its wide banks with shingle and flood areas.

Along the journey it was good to see that the harvest was being gathered in, although it was not good to see that some of the trees are starting to turn brown and some are even dropping their leaves. Automne (French, not a spelling mistake) is certainly starting to manifest itself.

When we arrived at Aubigny sur Nère about lunch time, we were not over impressed with the Aire. Although it was as described and pictured, it was just in the far corner of a coach and carpark and a long way from the water and toilets. However, they have opened a nicer Aire a little further away from the town centre but we decided to stay here as it's just a one night stopover.

The Aire looks OK in this photo and in fact we had a nice quiet night there.

We had a little walk around and found the most important feature, the Tourist Information and the second most important, the Wifi.

The town was of a fair size with lots of timbered buildings

and has very strong links with Scotland..........

We found two geocaches that were also on our list. The hint for one was "London Calling" so it doesn't take a genius to work out where we should be looking!!!

We have said that we won't mention geocaching so much now but the fact is that we are still doing it and have now found 33 since Tours.

Allan returned to the town later in the early evening to upload last week's blog. The emails and other things worked well but unfortunately he still couldn't upload the blog.

Wednesday

A bit of a quiet morning in the motorhome and were undecided what to do, so eventually we agreed to catch up on the photographs and start working on this week's blog. After a while we thought that as the weather was too good we should go for a walk around the town instead. Although we looked in a few shops with a view to Christmas presents and some other nice things, the prices were astronomical - €170 for a pair of shoes is just an example and the way Allan destroys the backs of his shoes by not putting them on properly this would be bad news, so we decided that this would be a good time to move on. We went back to the motorhome and got on the road heading to Menetou Salon.

Menetou Salon was a charming little village with a long history of wine making and has its own Appellation. We first made our way down to the river searching for a geocache and yet again it was found in a Lavoir! After a look around the village where we found a boulangerie, general store, hairdresser, restaurants and bars, a chemist and a tourist Office, we are pleased to be here. However, this visit is just a one night stopover for us as tomorrow we need to be on our way to Bourges.

The Aire is up the hill behind the Church and the free electricity makes it an interesting winter aire for us if we come back this way.

We returned to the motorhome after our walk and halfway up the hill passed the mobile Asian catering van. (See we really do have everything here!) Dorothy asked if we should have an Asian takeaway but we decided against this as we had already prepared food before we went out. Afterwards Allan wrote a few more words for this week's blog.

Thursday

Oh dear, this is another Aire that suffers from the school run! It's a good job we don't have to leave straight away. Although quiet last night, this morning there are cars everywhere in the Aire de Campingcar. The drivers are so inconsiderate in their parking it is difficult to see how accidents do not happen.

The tourist office was on the other side of the Aire so Allan had a walk over there to see if there was free wifi here. The office is closed until Friday afternoon and there is no internet. The phone is not connecting for messaging either, so a message from Zelie and one from our Letting Agent will have to wait for a response.

So now we need to be on our way. Just as we are about to move to the borne to empty and refill our water, etc. lots of cars come onto the aire, again people parking most inconsiderately and then dashing through a doorway on the other side of the road. We even find to our dismay that a car has blocked our entrance to the borne! We could turn a blind eye to this and get water at our next stopping place but Allan says "*** it" lets try to educate them a little. So Dorothy, in her best French, writes a message on paper to ask the car owner to move it. Allan gets the job of finding the driver and presented the message to the secretary of the meeting. The car owner was called out by the chairman of the meeting that she was attending. She came out to see what the problem was, moved her car and now she has missed some of her meeting!! All this could have been avoided if she had parked with a little consideration. Finally on the borne we do the necessary tasks and are then on our way to Bourges.

Bourges for the illuminations weekend is the next big thing on our calendar. We drove through the suburbs for a long time so it must be a big city. The Aire is along a quiet road just a short stroll to the centre of the city. In the afternoon we took a walk into the city centre, through the gardens towards the Cathedral.

After an evening meal we returned to see the city illuminated and this is just a taste of what we experienced.....

Some of the photos will look rather blue but we had to follow the blue street lights which guided us around the circuit....

yet more steps for Dorothy!!!

Some of the buildings were softly lit........

and some had images projected onto them, accompanied by the most beautiful and haunting music............

See how this building changes when lit differently........................

Slowly these three photos below changed from one to the other.............

And the boat seemed to sail slowly into another dimension...............

Another building and a totally different style of images............... and another with images cleverly shown between the arches and columns.......

A wonderful evening of light and sound portraying these historic buildings in a different and unusual way.

Friday

Geocaches again and then, as the weather was dull, we visited inside the Cathedral ..................

Some more of the stained glass windows which Dorothy tried to photograph especially for her Mum who loves stained glass............

and the fascinating clock

Afterwards a stroll around the shopping streets we made our way back to the Cathedral Square and came across these floral displays which were in readiness for the Cosmopolitan Festival being held tomorrow and Sunday.

After an evening meal we sat in the Cathedral Square and listened to a Turkish band

Then went on a walk around the city but in another direction and along different streets to yesterday evening.

Saturday

Rain, rain, and even more rain all night and all morning. If it eases a little we will dodge from door to door but after working on the photos for the blog in the morning the rain ceases and in the afternoon, although wet with puddles we can go to the city for the Cosmopolitan Festival - "a discovery of the cultures of the world".

The Festival began with a Parade.........

and then the band welcomed the civic dignitaries into the square..

We were then listening to Sunghoon Choi singing,
accompanied on the piano by Louis Lancien................................ followed by the Chorale de Kozalin.................................

Dancing followed in the Square by a Spanish group....

and then American Line Dancing which was very entertaining!......

Walking around the stalls we came across this and had a long chat with the man looking after the stall. He is originally from Paris but has
taught English language in schools in France and has now settled in Bourges. They are affiliated with Peterborough.......

We then made our way to the Museum in the corner of the Square, where they had brought 5 Auguste Rodin sculptures to display as part of the Festival.
La Lorraine - a marble bust from 1877, Le Minotaure - a bronze sculpture from 1885, Fugit Amor - cast iron sculpture from 1887/1892,
Eve - "the little Eve" from 1883 and finally a bronze bust of Georges Hecq. (No photos allowed!)

Later in the afternoon we came across some dancing in the Park............

If you would like to see more pictures of the dancing and beautiful costumes please click here

After a well earned break and a meal we returned to the Cathedral Square stage and were entertained by ABBA Spirit. We danced along with some French couples and had a great evening. Dorothy did a jive with one of the French guys and hopefully a photo they took of us will arrive in our mailbox soon!...........

Our sincere thanks go to the City of Bourges and it's sponsors for providing us with this fabulous gratuit weekend of entertainment.

Sunday

Feeling exhausted after some busy days we had a very lazy day today but at least we have now got our Blog done for this week!

Finally, all can be revealed, the photo that Allan said was not to go on our Blog but Dorothy has put on Facebook, has now surfaced.....

flobba-dob

 

Time is slipping past us now and the season has definitely changed - there is an autumn look and leaves are dropping everywhere!

 

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