Monthly Archives: Jan 2020

France: Day two

There was complete silence. No traffic noises, no bird sounds, no gushing river. We opened our eyes. Or had we? It was pitch black. Ahhhh that’s right. Last night we had closed the shutters on our little house to keep the heat in. They work so well they even keep out all the sounds of nature.

It was 6am and it was still pitch black. I opened the front door and the water was still pouring over the weir with loud force.

The day is ahead of us so we enjoyed our breakfast and whilst Rich was getting ready I went for a morning wander along the river bank to find some geocaches. The bird song was so loud. It’s a warm morning, to warm to have my coat done up. I plodded along finding the caches and enjoying the sounds of the water when all of a sudden something caught my eye. Something moved on the river bank. It was the size of a cat and looking right at me. I froze not wanting to disturb the little chap but it had spotted me. We spent some time looking at each other before it gracefully glided into the water and swam with the fast flowing current. This was my first spotting of an otter in the wild. I’ve seen them in zoos but I’ve always wanted to see them in their natural environment. We even spent weeks touring Scotland trying to spot them to no avail.

I rushed back to the house as I couldn’t wait to share my news with Rich and when I did my emotions just took over. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. But not with sadness but pure joy. If it wasn’t for geocaching I wouldn’t have made such good friends, travelled to many different countries and I wouldn’t have met Rich. Now it’s bought us to France to see nature as it’s best.

Our home for the next few days.

Once id pulled myself together we packed up and set out for the day. We can’t let you know where our first stop of the morning was, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that. After this we drove into Laval and parked up. So much easier to park here than in Barcelona. The town was pretty much deserted, but still had some quirky things to see.

One of our first stops was a French patisserie. Who can resist? Whilst we were waiting in the que we heard an English couple chatting behind us. We stuck up a conversation and it only turns out they have the same day out booked as us for Saturday. What are the chances 😆 we chose our pastries and bid farewell. Laval has quite A medieval feel and the small streets reflected this as well as the old castle. In amongst the wonky buildings was pieces of quirky art and sculptures. After all this is the birth place of Henri Rousseau.

Our stomachs were starting to grumble so we headed into the local creperie for a spot of lunch. After perusing the menu we decided to try some savoury galettes with ham and mushrooms followed by a flaming apple crepe for Rich and a flaming pear crepe for myself. Delicious. 😋

Hot stuff.

After finding a few more geocaches near some weird and wonderful sculptures we headed back to the van to plan the next stop.

A cache was needed in the next region the the west so if we sped towards Bretagne. Soon found and signed. Phew. Next holiday looks like it needs to be the eastern side of France.

Time was passing by so back in the direction of our house via a couple of puzzle caches we had solved. It was still light so whilst Rich headed indoors to enjoy some well earned relaxation time I headed of in the opposite direction along the river than this mornings adventure in search of more geocaches.

The only sounds was the gushing river speeding along and the birds song high up in the trees. The only people i passed were a runner and cyclist. I walked as far as the next lock house and weir before decided to head back as the light was fading. This lock house was built identically to the house we are renting but seems to have fallen into disrepair. It looked ever so sad.

As I turned the last bend in the river I saw our little house waiting to greet me. Light shining from it open shutters. It looks ever so cosy.

Dinner tonight was to be some local cheese we had picked up in town after visiting a little cheese shop. I explained to the lady that I could only eat goats and sheep’s cheese and she presented us with a huge selection of each. Variety’s of soft, squidgy or hard cheese. Honestly I thought I’d died and gone to heaven I was so spoilt for choice. We picked a few different ones and some Spanish cured meat for out supper which we enjoyed with crackers and of course a good old mug of English tea.

Local cheeses

A trip to France: Day One

A few months back Rich surprised me with a ticket for us to have a day out. This was no ordinary ticket. For me I can imagine it was how Charlie felt when he won the golden ticket to visit Willie Wonker and the chocolate factory, but for me this was better ( plus I can’t eat chocolate so what good would that do me 😄)

We started planning. Ben agreed to look after Suzy, dad is improving so would be ok with out me for a few days and the van, well that’s always ready for an adventure.

Tickets booked for the Eurotunnel and bags packed. It was decided we would find an air bnb to stay in as it could be very cold this time of year, plus all the campsites in this region are shut for the winter.

It was a bit of a shock getting up at 5am but we were eager to get going to meet our early train. After a good run to Folkestone we discovered that our train had been cancelled so had to wait for an hour for the next.

The train did arrive in good time and off we go on the wrong side of the road. The roads in France are so easy to drive on. People seem to know how to use all the lanes and respect the other drivers. They don’t even have hold ups when they are doing road works.

Our first stop was just past Rouen. Just past as last time we drove through Rouen it was so confusing so best this time to get past it before having a cuppa and relaxing.

The stop seemed familiar to us. When two cats popped their heads out we knew we had been here on our honeymoon travels. What are the chances of stopping at the same services in the whole of France. We remembered the cats as last time they were kittens and now they are more grown up.

Lunch eaten and time for the next stage.

Driving through rain and mist we reached Alençon. A town in the Centre-de-la-Loire. This was a region on our geocaching map that we hadn’t found a cache yet. We drove to a small country lane and in the arco we discovered a soggy cache. Oh well it’s a region covered. Onwards towards our destination.

A small supermarket was in one of the next towns so after a quick stop and checking out local caches we moved on but not until I had purchased not one but two goats cheese Camembert and a fresh French stick.

We didn’t need to navigate to the next cache as you couldn’t really miss it. I’m quite a fan of art and some graffiti and this was not to be missed. The town welcomed two Columbian local artists to carry out the mural. I think you’ll agree it’s spectacular. Region number two now discovered on our trip.

After a short drive we arrived at our destination. The house was the lock keepers cottage and is now used for passing cyclists as lodgings. In the winter it’s an Air BNB.

Basic inside, but warm and clean. Perched right next to the river bank with its fast flowing water. It would do us perfectly for the next few a days as we intend to be out exploring, grabbing a few caches, visiting some local shops and of course our day out.

Dinner had been prepared before we left home but we did bake one of our Camembert to enjoy with the local bread.

Tomorrow’s plan is the exploring and for me as I’m often awake at silly o’clock a stroll by the river hunting for Tupperware, which by sheer chance is a whole series on our doorstep. 😁