Sunday 20 September
Not a lot to say about today as most of it has been spent travelling. We set off around 7.30 from Le Brasilia having dumped the grey water and picked up a Baguette for lunch later.
We took the motorway A75 which is a free one ( as rare as Rocking Horse Poo in France ! ) all the way up from just outside Beziers up to Clermont Ferrand which does allow you to get way up country without any cost ( except Diesel of course ! ) apart from the 11.20 Euros to cross the magnificent Millau bridge.
We arrived just before 2.00 after stopping for 30 minutes for breakfast and a couple of refuelling stops as well which accounts for about 5 ½ hours actual driving. The most we have paid for diesel up to now is 1.09 Euros a litre which equates to around 75 Pence, way cheaper than in the UK where you can pick it up around £1.09 a litre by shopping around. ( Mr Cameron get your finger out and reduce the tax on fuel ! )
Our stop for this evening is a little place a ways off the main road, called Le Cheix, nice and quiet but in a beautiful setting looking back towards the mountains south of Clermont Ferrand which we had driven over some miles back.
We came here with Pete & Nina along with their van last year and spend a raucous afternoon trying to fill a table with empty beer bottles ( of course there was only one way to empty them ! ). This time we were on our best behaviour and limited ourselves to a couple, drinking in the beautiful view. Honest !
The weather here is gorgeous having left in glorious sunshine and driving through quite cloudy conditions until we were near our destination when we are back to full sun. ( you know what they say about the Righteous ! ) We make the most of the weather chilling in the deck chairs because we believe it isn’t going to remain this way the further north we go.
Once evening had arrived Jane cooked a lovely chicken dinner which we ate outside prior to the Mozzie raiding party attacking who must have stowed away somewhere on the outside of “Cis” as we left the south.
Monday 21 September
We are only driving a couple of hours today so we had a steady start and arrived at Digoin ( Not to be confused with Dijon ) and spent a short time in the local Intermarche stocking up on essentials ( No, not just Beer & Wine ! ) before arriving onto the campsite La Chevrette which with our ACSI card is costing 14 Euros a night with electicity, free WiFi, and lovely clean hot showers. There is also a nice aire here too worth stopping in which overlooks the river.
Digoin is a smallish town situated on the Loire river and has the Central canal crossing over it by Aquaduct. This is similar to about 200 km north where there is an Aquaduct at Briare where we have stayed on a number of occasions.
Having pitched up, we have a wander into town for half an hour to see if we can spot anywhere worth eating in tonight. Then on returning back to “Cis” we set off along one of the “Voie Vertes” or Green Lanes that abound here in France, on our bikes. This one is along the Central Canal. We trundle along until we reach the next town along called Paray le Monial where we don’t stop but return along the canal back to Digoin. Total distance was about 30 Km which is pretty good for Jane as she isn’t that confident a cyclist.
By the time we had returned home it was around 4.30 so we made the best of catching the last rays of the sun for an hour or two before changing for dinner ( Not anything formal like Dinner Jacket & Cocktail Dress ! )
We had sussed out that ¾ of the restaurants and eateries in the town were going to be shut as it was Monday but there were sufficient left for us to have a look at before we chose one we liked. We chose one which was inside the hotel Le Relais du Canalou which was very nice inside with a bit of a Art Deco feel to it and the menu read really nice. Jane chose a baked Goats Cheese inside a pastry parcel Salad and I chose a Shrimp and Scallop stir fry, both were delicious and were swiftly followed by a very tasty “Dame Blanche” ( vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate sauce and cream ) for me and a “Tarte Au Pomme “ ( apple tart with caramel ice cream ) for Jane ( Makes my mouth water just thinking about it again ! )
Tuesday 22 September
This mornings early morning “Tour de France” takes me across the Aquaduct and along the canal which is known now as the “Canal Lateral to the Loire” because it flows just spitting distance alongside the river Loire for several hundred km.
I mosey along the canal passing a few little villages until I arrive at Diou which is about 20 km away from Digoin. On my journey I am accompanied by a variety of birdlife including Cormorants, Green Woodpeckers, Grey Herons and Jays none of which give me a fighting chance to catch a piccy of them ( My mate Mouse says it’s because I’m getting Old and Slow ! he might have something there ! )
Shortly before I finish my return trip it begins to drizzle and remains that way for the rest of the morning. We stop in “Cis” with myself catching up on the blog and Jane doing a bit of washing & drying and fettling her nails. We were planning on another bike ride for the two of us but Jane twisted her back and so that is probably going to be the end of that for today.
Just been out for an hour between showers and got back in time as at this moment it is absolutely hammering it down. This will be it for today so am going to post this final comment and then look out for the next few days if I can get some WIFI