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.

🙂 🙂 🙂

The wrong gorge

From Winetown we headed back north a little into the mountains near Florac again. I seem to have found the knack of picking perfect-for-us campsites. This wasn’t the same site as before and tho’  on our previous stop here the campsite was perfectly pleasant, this one was another real gem, further up the mountain, quiet if you discount the R. Tarn babbling incessantly, and a fabulous 4k riverside walk down into the very picturesque town. The neighbours were great too, a lovely Dutch couple Paul and Miriam, and then the Kiwis arrived in hired motorhome – R0X1’s twin (non-identical, see if you can spot the differences). I asked the site owner Nicole (a lady who describes herself as feeling international as she has German/US parentage and has spent the majority of her life in France!) if she thought R0X1 would be OK going through the Gorges du Tarn which I have a fancy for driving through and was the reason for my return to the area. As she thought it might be a little tight I decided to err on the side of safety, for once, and took the next gorge over for the trip to Millau, and had the delight of 82k of the best yet squiggly, snakey, switchback drive. Fantastic views and huddled mountain villages aplenty.

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On arrival at Millau Paul and Meriam informed me, having driven via the Gorge du Tarn that I could’ve managed it without problem as the height restriction is 3.5m and I’m just under 3m – well R0X1 is, I’m vertically challenged!  That information is now filed for a later date or maybe, as I don’t want to head R0X1 east again, I may hire a car to drive my first choice gorge.

The 3 of us hadn’t arranged to go the same town let alone the same site – it was only after we hugged our farewells we discovered our mutual destination!

🙂 🙂 🙂

(Only one photo as this took over 1/2 hour to load!!)

I don’t think so …

All Roman/Medieval/Papalpalace heritage sited out so I’ve left Avignon. I’ve reverse planned my route to ensure I’m in Calais for the ferry on the 23rd Oct.
(and also so I don’t have to park anywhere near Calais. I’m not stopping for anything within a 15km radius – don’t care who throws themselves in front of me. I’m not stopping because I don’t know how to lock the cab doors when I’m driving without the internal sensors registering my movements and I really don’t fancy announcing my arrival in Calais with the alarm system screaming. I’ve got such a sophisticated alarm system it goes off as soon as I stick my toe out of bed. Perhaps it’s time to read the manual …

I digress; how unusual.

So. I’ve headed slightly north and a lot west and am now in the Dordogne. One of my longer journeys but so many of the campsites are now closed shorter drives with an overnight stop are not as easy to work out. On the way the heavy cloud around Montpelier had me worried but by the time I reached the desired services on the A75/E11 the sun was out and I managed to get what I wanted …

Le Viaduc de Millau

The tallest, longest bridge in Europe. It took some amazing inventions to get this bridge slung in sections over the gorge, but even so I doubt it will last as long as the Pont du Gard. Both are equally beautiful.

Underneath the arches

Left the motorway immediately after the viaduct and a few kilometres later replied “I don’t think so” to an exhortation to visit “Micropolis – Le cite des insectes”. Given my recent difficulties with one particular species of insect and the approximately 20 itchy bumps that still remain, I felt the invitation was a tad insensitive.

However, I might be slightly tempted to have one last dose of heritage – they have some grottes with prehistoric cave paintings near here – but I’ll bet a few euros they don’t allow photos there either …

🙂 🙂 🙂

If you don’t like the weather …

… move on.

After a severe thunderstorm which literally and noisily lasted the whole night and having seen the forecast assuring me I can expect several more such events daily for the next 3 days, I’m out of here just as soon as the courier has been.

Shame it’s a lovely place, and the campsite is great (mind the river level’s come up somewhat overnight). Because of poor light/weather I haven’t been able to get a decent photo of ‘le viaduc’ despite a round 14k hike along the banks of the R. Tarn yesterday . Better luck next visit

🙂 🙂 🙂