Sunday 2 July
Bidding farewell to Villeneuve Les Beziers we set off North back along the Free motorway where we were buffeted around due to the ever present wind for several miles until we reached the Millau bridge, where unbelievably it began to recede. Very shortly after that we turned off the motorway and headed West towards the river Lot. Instead of the wind we had to suffer very heavy and wet mist which made visibility very bad and was quite a strenuous drive concentrating where the next bend was coming up. This continued until we reached Rodez where it finally lifted and allowed us to continue the next 50 miles in clear visibility until we reached our destination.
St Cirq Lapopie, which as many of you may remember is where we have been a number of times and is one of our favourite places in France. It is built on a huge rock overlooking the river Lot valley with sheer cliffs for much of the terrain.
We park up on the aire and stroll down the river for a short while before chilling outside “Cis” where the cloud broke up a little giving us brief glimpses of blue sky and sunshine. This is forecast for the next few days so fingers crossed ! We stay inside for tea and the rest of the evening contemplating our next move tomorrow.
Monday 3 July
This morning was quite overcast so we decided to go for a bike ride. We cycled along the river Lot and came upon a boat lock at a place called Ginal. There wasn’t anything here except a walkway that has been hewn into the vertical rock face which allows you to continue walking for about 1/2 kilometre before the river moves away from the cliff and returns to a normal path and then opens out into a flat pasture bringing us to the village of Bouzies. Here you can go on boat trips which take you along the river passing St Cirq Lapopie.
We had a wander around the village with me getting told off for wanting to take photos of a rusty old rail bridge and eventually ending up on a terrace of a hotel overlooking the river and their swimming pool. Here we refreshed ourselves with a nice cold beer ( very apt in a village called Bouzies ! ) before returning back to the Aire.
By this time the sun was fully out so we chose to stay the afternoon by “Cis” enjoying the sunshine and relaxing. We had tea here and apart from me nipping off for an hour to take a few photos sat outside until about 10.15 when the nibbling things forced us inside to take refuge in bed
Tuesday 4 July
We woke up this morning to a real thick mist and we couldn’t even see St Cirq where we have planned to walk up the very steep hill and have lunch. Undeterred we set off around 10.30 and took a steady hike up the hill. By now the mist had gone and it was the making of a extremely hot day topping out around 32 degrees C which we don’t see a lot of in dear old Blighty. Us Brits are never happy with the weather. Too Hot !, Too Cold !, Too Wet !, Who’s been sleeping in my bed !
After wandering around for an hour we need a cold beer and choosing a very nice shady patio area in a lovely Restaurant, we opted for a nice glass of Leffe. This was followed by another, and by that time it was Lunchtime. I had a very nice Cassoulet and Jane had a warm Rocamadour cheese salad. Both of which were delicious. 2 1/2 hours later after acting like real French folk we came out to a roasting afternoon. Good job it was all downhill on the way back!
On our return to the Aire we did absolutely flap all as it was too hot to move. I opened every vent and window and put out the awning to grab as much shade as possible. We both had cold showers later but it was still a very uncomfortable night in terms of sleeping. My good friends Pete & Nina have been suffering 40 degrees down in Spain in their Motorhome. How could you guys stand it !
Tomorrow we are planning to go to a campsite which has a swimming pool. I don’t think I’ll leave it all day !