19 September 2017

Day 33 - Heading for Home

18 Sept

It was a foggy start to the day.
Foggy Le Mans
We weren't in a big hurry to do less than 300km for the day. We stuck with the scenic route, as much as the fog would let us. The main crops from the last few days of grapes, corn and sunflowers have given way to potatoes and cattle farming.

We stopped in a little village which had a central parking area for a walk around and to find a coffee. One thing we've noticed in the village cafes and boulangeries we have stopped at is the wonderful sense of community. Something lacking in the larger cities and oversized supermarkets. As non-French speaking strangers, we tended to stick out a bit, but nonetheless were welcomed into the establishments.
Our coffee stop in L'Aigle - nice people
European Semi-drivers have to work hard sometimes. Switchback roads and narrow village streets are everywhere.
An even bigger Volvo negotiates the narrow streets.
Our day’s travel has been fog, sunshine, rain, thunderstorms - a bit like when we first arrived here so long ago. For this time of year we have enjoyed good weather when it was the most appropriate. There have been some days we were thankful for not being on a motorcycle. However, some of the roads have whetted the appetite …

We are ensconced in our room for the night. Everything!!! has been unloaded from the car. With some creative packing, what is to travel home is packed into our two suitcases. No new cases required. Tomorrow’s check in at the airport will be telling.

We have had a good look around France. We haven't ventured into Paris this time.

Tonight we steel ourselves for the long haul back to reality … our arrival should be 23:15 on 20 Sept if all goes smoothly.

18 September 2017

Day 32 - Stop-off To Look At More Cars

17 Sept

We woke to rain. Overnight there had been a few passing thunderstorms rumbling into our sleep.

There was less than 300km to do today, so scenic was the option again. It's a leisurely drive through the villages, some take great pride in their roundabouts. Today’s were no exception - a dinosaur made up of plants.
Here's one for you to copy Jeff

We were almost through one village when we saw something odd. A u-turn and we were looking at a baguette vending machine. €1 for a traditional 250g baguette. Never thought we'd seen that.
A definite "Only in France" moment
In setting the route for today, we planned a waypoint for Le Musée 24 Heures du Mans. What a great way to spend a couple of hours. Coincidentally, the local fair was on today as well. There was a lot of traffic to negotiate before finding a car park for the Volvo, a kilometer away.  Nice day for a walk.
One of the first racing motorcycles

A few more recent

Some brilliant old cars in the collection.

"Outta My Way"

My favourite - Bugatti of course.

Not so favourite, but it was actually just an art piece made from road signs.

Time to find our stop in Le Mans. Our accommodation is the Hotel de la Pommerie. It's delightful. We found all the supermarkets are closed on Sunday afternoons, so we had to find something else for dinner. We stood at the counter of the local Quick burger joint, for about 20 minutes without any eye contact whatsoever from the people taking and preparing orders. So we left. We drove around looking for somewhere to eat. There were a few places open, but nothing with close parking. Not ideal when the aches and pains are making their presence felt. We eventually found a sandwich or two to eat back in our rooms. What a complete turn around from yesterday’s culinary experiences.

Tomorrow is our last full day in France.

17 September 2017

Day 31 - An Island Birthday

View of the Atlantic Ocean from our Motel room.
16 Sept

Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

Happy birthday, Clint.
Doing my best Eddie impression.

We've spent a relaxing day exploring Île de Ré with a leisurely drive taking in the lighthouse at the westernmost point and the ruins of a church where Minerva had a fly. 

Baleines Lighthouse

Church ruins Les Châteliers
We took advantage of our location and had a wonderful meal of fresh seafood. Earlier we noticed the bridge to the island had a footpath, so after lunch we walked to the top. 
Pont De Ré
For the rest of the afternoon we watched a 1995 movie “Heat” which was dubbed in French and no subtitles. Interesting to see how well the dubbing matched the movements.

Tomorrow we are in the road again for our second last night in Europe.