Unexpected delights

Out walking with the LWD and approaching the centre of Villeneuve-léz-Avignon, I saw a familiar sight. You can recognise them anywhere, the ubiquitous car boot sale. The difference being that whilst English car boot sales are generally out of town in a large (frequently muddy) field, this one, with all roads closed to traffic, was in the town centre. It made for a great atmosphere; every narrow, windy street was full of stalls and busy shoppers. In the town square as well as the stalls all the cafés were open, shaded outside tables full.

Town centre “booting”

The “official sights” were good too!

Phillipe le Bel Tour (top left) Fort Saint-André (bottom)

🙂 🙂 🙂

A Grand Day Out

I decided to treat myself to a trip on the train of the Cévennes, of course that meant taking the LWD. She didn’t remain an LWD for long. It was a steam train. The carriages had no windows so there was soot all over the floor. What does the former LWD love doing? Rubbing her scent all over floors … she currently bears a remarkable likeness to a panda. Apt considering where else we went. Apart from the ugly looking dog it was a beautiful 40 minute journey and for once, as I wasn’t driving, I was able to enjoy the views without worrying about going off the rails.

Sûr le train à Vapeur des Cévennes

We arrived in Anduze, the other end of the line, but I wasn’t particularly bothered about seeing the town as I’d noticed the previous station called Bambouseraie and caught a glimpse of what was on offer. Throwing all caution to the wind I decided to check it out properly and interrupted the journey back with a 3 hour visit, even had lunch out – blowing the budget for the entire week!

It’s a fascinating place celebrating bamboo, loads of different varieties from a couple of inches high to 50 or 60 feet, twisted, green, yellow and black. It also had a Loatian replica village built of bamboo complete with pigs (real not bamboo), a Chinese dragon garden and Japanese bonsai. Everywhere the sound of running water from the streams and of course there was plenty of shade under the very tall bamboo forests.

Bambouseraie

A delightfully refreshing but tranquil place. The former LWD seemed to enjoy it too.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Travels with a Daisy in the Cévennes …

with apologies to RLS (see column right)

My regular reader will have noticed I haven’t mentioned driving wriggly, winding, steep lines this trip. Well, I didn’t want to bore myself, let alone you my faithful reader (but I’ve been grinning – lots and lots and lots over the past few days).

Today I travelled a different route from Florac towards Ales. I went along the N106 in both directions, (so) last year. Today I drove via the Cévennes and the views were much better, and had more stopping places for the all important photo ops. So lets hear it for the D9. Poor Daize found my frequent oohs, aahs and wows quite disconcerting.

The D9 through the Cévennes

On arrival at lunchtime the road to the Aire was closed as it was market day, so we had a wander round. I bought some olives and artisan bread for lunch and ate them with cold meats, parked by the side of the D9 waiting for the road to open at 14.00 hrs. 14.05 found R0X1 parked in another great Aire, in St Jean-du-Gard. The Smart One might be interested to know we are in the car park of a steam railway station. I might even indulge myself in a little treat tomorrow …

St Jean-du-Gard

It’s still very hot …

🙂 🙂 🙂

River rising

As I said in my last ramblings the circus arrived amidst a blast of horns and sirens. There’s also been a very noisy promo vehicle driving around several times a day blaring out a recorded message, just in case anyone remains unaware of the visit. The circus is camped right by the river. It’s a circus with animals. I do not approve of circuses with animals. The river has been rising. Perhaps if the river rises a bit more the circus will go away …

The circus by the Tarn

But then …

A lot of people have been very worried, and not about the circus.

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Some of the worried people

There has been a heck of a lot of rain. Have these swans built their nest in the wisest of places? The tiny island is already a little flooded.

 The tiny island

They have two eggs – if the river rises much more will they survive to hatch? I really hope so …

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 The nest

 … but will never know, as we leave Millau tomorrow. We are certainly not running off with the circus. We’re off up the Gorge du Tarn.

🙂 🙂 🙂

France under a cloud

It started with a thunderstorm, luckily it didn’t last all night like the last one I experienced in Millau, as my regular reader may remember. Today the skies are grey, all 54 shades, and spewing the wet stuff hard. My first reaction was to start main engines and head south – fast. On my way to reception to pay for the 2 night stay I commented to a fellow countryman that the weather is just like home. He’d obviously seen the forecast and informed me that the whole of France is under this depression until Monday. In his opinion this is the best place to be, a sheltered spot close to the town centre and its amenities; a comfortable site, showers and electric that at €13 per night is excellent value. I concurred, picked up my baguette at reception and informed them I will be remaining a few more nights.

Rain has stopped play, or may be not; literally as I write, amidst police sirens and blaring horns the big red lorries of the Circus are arriving in Millau! Have raincoat and brolly, will investigate later …

 

When I was last here the old mill building on the bridge beside the Tarn was falling apart, it would seem the renovation is coming on well. As for the bird; is it a goose? Does it have a need to visit a ducktor/dermatologist? Or is it merely very embarrassed?

🙂 🙂 🙂

You say Ow and I say Oh

BB’s latest wind up attempt is to insist Millau is pronounced Meel-ow and correct me every time I call it Meel-oh. Am I bovvered? I’m here and it’s so deliciously sunny and very warm even the French are wearing sandals!

The night before we left the last campsite, on a very dark last thing walk, Daisy had her first encounter with a toad, least I think it was a toad, it was far too fat for a frog. Every time she tried to sniff it, it jumped. It couldn’t jump very high or far, but every time it jumped, she jumped. It was all I could do to hang on to the lead I was laughing so much, she had her head cocked to one side trying to work it out.

Wonderful two day drive down the beautiful Lot valley stopping at an Aire for one night, where on our late evening walk Daisy was intrigued by a glowworm but didn’t bother to sniff it. I called in at a couple of those “plus beaux villages de France”, jigsaws of which inspired this part of the trip…

Conques

Estaing

Then I cut across to Rodez as there’s apparently a very beautiful cathedral there. Arriving at the outskirts I decided to forego the delights, I wasn’t expecting such a large place so just kept going and headed towards one of my favourite towns …

We’re settled once more on 2Rivieres campsite in Millau (3rd visit) beside the Tarn for a couple of nights so I can do some laundry (well that’s my excuse) and then we shall mosey on up the gorge.

🙂 🙂 🙂