Rained all night, it's quite nice sleeping in a nice cosy spot with
it on the roof, but cleared in the morning. Long straight roads
today, fairly boring, on the southwest of France to Bordeaux but no
views of the coast. We passed a nice lake at Sanguinet which had
golden sand beaches around the lake edge matching the golden autumn
tones of the trees, the day has been mostly overcast. Managed to
negotiate the full on motorways around Bordeaux with only one
argument and popped out the other side no worse for wear. Immediately
after heading out of Bordeaux city we are back in golden and red
vineyard country. Starting to shower, looks like the rain is back for
countryside in Europe is open, except where animals need retaining
(often they are not retained but have a bell for locating them) there
are no fences. Not like NZ where everything is fenced – THIS LAND
IS MINE, DO NOT TOUCH OR ENTER! - Yes we have a lot of animals
needing retaining but we fence EVERYTHING, - KEEP OUT!!! Where did
this attitude come from, instead of – I understand that you will
respect my property if you enter on it so I don't need a fence. Here
in Europe despite there being trees full of ripe fruit and grapevines
full of ripe grapes right beside the roads we never saw anyone
stopping and helping themselves. Are we so afraid of being ripped off
by others that we will spend thousands of dollars on fencing or does
some influencial manipulative Kiwi own the 'Buy Fences Here'
funnily enough in contrast the very thing we often do not fence in NZ
(nothing to steal?) and they fence here with high concrete structures
is the cemeteries...
French road numbering is terrible, a signpost at roundabout will show
route number (which usually agrees with Google map) but number will
change to something else ½ mile down the road. Morning here is
bleak, 10.30am and sun can't break through the low cloud, almost
foggy and cold. The area is very flat, farmlands in all directions.
Buildings are like in Spain, no colour, front doors right on the
street. Passed thru Luçon, a
reasonable sized town, nothing appears to be open, places often look
like this until mid afternoon but this was more so than usual, we
checked and discovered today is All Saints Day, so is a holiday.
Daylight saving ended yesterday.
have arrived in the very pretty countryside of Bretagne (Brittany),
green pastures and lots of trees. We have decided to head to see the
Loire Valley with it's vineyards and grand chateaus. The weather
forecast is for showers, we have had great luck in Europe so far with
the weather so can't complain.
was an easy drive to the first chateau we picked on the Loire tourist
trail but it was not the most beautiful, they are expensive to enter
so we will just be viewing them from the outside and the countryside
as we go. The scenery again enhanced as it is with the red and gold
colours of autumn is beautiful even with a grey sky. We wound about
the valley for a couple of days viewing some quite spectacular
chateaus and one extremely interesting museum of old things collected
over 60 years by a Mr Dufresney. The only negative has been that
we're a bit sick of turning up to places and finding them shut
because it is lunchtime (1pm – 4pm usually), including the tourist
information offices. We are beginning to realise how lucky we are in
NZ, England and USA to expect everything to be open between the hours
of 9am and 5pm with no breaks.
Life is not always easy (as you can imagine) when you are constantly together in such a small space, we manage well but have had a couple of really difficult days. You can't just storm out anywhere and if its raining you have to stay in close confinement... :) All good though, we are sorted and continue.
see our photos http://cjb.pascoe.net.nz/
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