Thursday 24th and Friday 25th August: The beginning of the end

Our holiday is coming to an end and on Thursday we had a lazy day, while we planned how to spend our last few days. We spent some time sitting in the sunshine, before we went into the village for lunch… lovely galettes, then a crepe for John and an ice cream for me, washed down with the obligatory demi-litre de vin rouge.

It started raining while we were having lunch so, afterwards, we dashed round the shops and went back to the van. We checked maps, camper van aires, routes and weather forecasts, and decided to travel up to Lac du Der, a very large man made near Troyes, on Friday. The aire at Giffaumont-Champaubert sounded nice, and we could perhaps spend Saturday by the lake if the weather is good… maybe even hire a kayak.

The journey went well, with none of the dramas that we’ve had other years. We seem to have perfected toll payments and stopovers at petrol stations and motorway aires, and tend to be with the locals moaning at the ‘tourists’ for getting in the wrong lane or pressing the wrong buttons now! As we drove for 6 or 7 hours, the landscape gradually changed from high mountains and zigzagging twisty roads, to the gently undulating open fields and vineyards of Burgundy and Champagne.

The camper van aire at Giffaumont-Champaubert is very good, with trees and plenty of space to sit outside, and just a short walk to the lake, tourist information and restaurants. When we arrived, we had a beer and then went for a walk. The lake is huge and we decided that it was too far to cycle round tomorrow, and that kayaking would be a bit boring as it’s confined to one area without much to explore.

We could hear rock music in the distance and see a large marquee, so we went over to investigate. I think John was disappointed to discover it was the world masters carp fishing competition, not a rock music festival! Very hot and sticky, we went back to the van to wash and change for dinner.

I don’t know why I’m eating in so many of the pictures… that probably says a lot about me! Anyway… over dinner… yet another good meal… we decided to move up to the coast near Calais tomorrow and spend a day there. The weather looks pretty good there, and it’ll be much less sticky than it is here, inland. Back at the van, we sat outside as the sun went down, reading and having another drink, enjoying the cooler temperature. I’m not built for humidity!

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