As I write this we should be about 400 k north of sarlat on the banks of the Loire east of Orleans. We are not because it rained all night and most of today. We do not, if we can avoid it, do wet starts. The awning came down late Friday because it was dry and the forecast was not. Saturday saw us enjoying a fine day in Sarlat street market and a good, if not brilliant lunch in one of the myriad restaurants tucked into the narrow lanes of the town. Foi gras figured again but I think my main course was the most unusual I have had here - this time anyway. I shall call it surf and earth since it was Noix de St Jaques braised with superb Ceps in a bullion of many ingredients including basil and rosemary and parsley. Utterly delicious.
Anyway we are, as I said, still here. It is Sunday so we shall miss out on our easy ride use of the HGV rest day. And Monday in France is a bit of pig on the roads, although by paying up for the autoroute we can still avoid the majority of poids lourds.
But maybe this is a good moment to look back on this trip - all these three and four month joints are now described as trips. Since they are not holidays and hardly journeys (too many destinations?) trip seems to encompas the process. No one in the UK will be surprised that rains features heavily this time. We had a sunny crosssing and the Picos Europas were burning but after a week it all went umbrellas. Out of Asturia and into Galicia and confident that the climate records showed some bright sunny days amidst the inevitable Galician showers. Wrong. There were days when we saw no sun, no moon; it may well have been No-vember. It rained on Foz and it settled under the van. We slewed off over trackways of ground sheet pads in four wheel drive - backwards!
Unto the Costa Compostella as it grandly calls itself. This is the west coast of Galicia and it is a superb calmed down version of Norway. Rias instead of fiords but the same amazing interplay of sea and land. Lovely - especially when you can see it. To be fair the climate was maritime so the clouds were often blown away and the sun did shine. The site was disastriously tight for pitches and manouvreing space but somehow we got off.
Now it needs to be noted at this point that we had beenn dealt a rough hand. Our decision was that chucking cushions the length of the Bailey each night of 90 days to set up our rather narrow single beds was not ideal. So we had opted for twin singles - full size basically. And a decent kitcehn. And a virtually fukll-size fridge. And a superb L-shaped dining area. And that meant 8.3 metres and twin axles. So we fitted a motor mover to solve the issue. And it broke down after the first use! I am beginning th get some idea of how to manouvre in reverse but it is a slow learning curve - in fact it is the curve that is the problem of course.
So a tight site in Ribiera meant a sleepless night before we edged off. Then in Cabrera we had loads of space on a rough site and lousy weather. Then came Haro in La Rioja and the weather was great, the site an easy open parkland affair - and I managed to clip a tree. Not serious but....
Big decision to scrap the expensive long crossing and cruise through France. Better site and better weather all the way to today.
More on this later....