Sunday, 27 September 2009

Inland





Six hours of road and ferry - across the mouth of the Gironde Estuary - delivered us to the lake, pine forest and sand-duned landscape of the Gironde region. Perhaps it was the damp weather, the slightly dour toilet-less Aire de Camping-Car we stayed in, the ‘Marie Celeste’ air of a recently busy yet almost entirely deserted region or the disappointing combination of a beautiful steel-grey-gloss yet waveless sea at Hourtin followed by a stormy grey-brown slosh down the cost at Lacanau reminiscent of a winters day at Brighton marina, but our attention turned to the plight of our dwindling budget. We’ve spent over €200 of €250 weekly budget on fuel and an extortionate €45 5km ferry crossing with the rest (and more) going on food, supplies and campsites. Yet we feel the compulsion to keep moving. With the weather forecasted to continue in the same vain for the next few days we head inland, through the beautiful city of Bordeaux to visit Sofie’s family friends Graham & Carol in their newly acquired home near Angouleme.

Emily guided us through the winding, rolling, charmingly rural French countryside delivering us stress-free to our exquisitely isolated destination. We ran a few miles in the rain to forget the drive and take in the beautiful surroundings, arriving back at our hilltop refuge to find our hosts returned from their day in the city, and a wonderfully warm welcome to their magnificent new abode complete with an achingly beautiful southerly vista over rolling fields of corn and sunflowers. Hot showers, good food, delicious wine, great company and a level, free camp spot beneath an accommodating walnut tree gave us the impetus to spend the next morning shifting boxes and furniture from the creaking old barn into the house making a very small but appreciated dent in our hosts task of moving in. Tea and cake fortified us for the drive South into the Dordogne region and Christopher Timothy spurred us on by reading All Creatures Great and Small to us as we drove past decaying farmhouses, derelict Chateaus and a landscape that was almost too French to be real … Ahhhh, the rock’n’roll lifestyles we lead!

La Roque Gageac, the venue for many a Radecki summer camping holiday, is a town apparently carved by the Dordogne river into the sandstone cliffs which tower above. The next morning we get a lift 20km up the valley and in our rented canoe we glide, slide, sunbathe and picnic our way lazily downstream as villages, Chateau and ancient fortifications drift by, the sun shines and our sprits lift. The slurp (splosh) gurgle as the water eddy’s from the paddles is as soothing a soundtrack as one could wish for. Inspired by such an enchanting day we go wild and find ourselves an under-used carpark right on the Dordogne’s banks and fine-dine on a candle-light terrace of our own making, drinking champagne as the sun sets. If life is a series of interconnected events, why not try to make each event as indelible as possible?

1 comment:

Richard said...

Canoeing looks like its a serious business.
La Roque seems a lot quieter than in the summer no canoe traffic jams on the river then. Must be quite nice having a look around without hundreds of other people doing the same thing at the same time.
Great photos
Bon Voyage