Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Party time at Le Portel and a dry Honfleur - Feb 16th

He says...

A fairly restless night with the French townspeople of Le Portel partying until gone 2.30am. No idea what it was in aid of but a good time was definitely being had, they even seemed to be dancing and singing around the van at one stage, never mind it was bucketing down with rain and extremely cold. So, a not so early start to Shrove Tuesday, although it didn't really matter as we were only intending to bumble along to Honfleur.

Snow in the fields but as time passed the sun shone more brightly and the clouds disappeared - hopefully a sign of things to come.

We got our diesel at a HyperU at a healthy 1.05 a litre and managed to get a 13kg propane cylinder replaced for 23 euro. We carry one 13kg French propane and a 11kg Spanish butane. This works well for us, as we try to manage to need refills when in the relevant country. I've been pleasantly surprised that our butane has worked quite happily despite some very cold temperatures on the outside.

We crossed the very impressive Pont du Normandy outside Le Havre before arriving at the aire in Honfleur. Sad to say though, that there was no water or electricity available. We contemplated changing our schedule but as we were pretty tired by now, decided to stay anyway and stretch out the water that we had left on board. It's also a really good job that while we were in the UK I'd ditched the old (knackered) 85ah leisure battery in favour of 2x100ah replacements - nice when I get something right!

Strange what you find beside a river???

We found a lovely place to park up, facing onto the river, allowing us to watch the gulls diving for their dinners. Speaking of which - pancakes! Coals to Newcastle as we'd brought UK shop bought examples with us, they were excellent nonetheless.

Ducks ducking

The plan for tomorrow is to head south to our original destination for the day, but to call in wherever possible to search for water supplies, there are a few aires en route so we'll see how that plan works out.

Phew, that was close!!

She says...

Inevitably we woke up later than we really should have, a combination of our revellers singing at us until 2.30 ish, heavy rain beating down and the hour difference which turned a respectable 9 o'clock wakening, very quickly into a 10 o'clock one. Ho hum never the earliest risers we have a swift breakfast before getting on our way.

Sat nav wants us to choose between tolls or not and in this case its a little tricky. We unusually, for us, accept tolls but agree that we will follow the national road to Le Havre until we get to Pont du Normandie where we know that a couple of Euro will get us quickly across to Honfleur. After a diesel, gas and egg and water stop the journey seemed long despite being bathed in lovely (warm through the windows!) sunshine - winter is not yet gone and the snow lying around, significant covering on some of the fields, pays testament to that. It was however a pretty journey and we got sight of at least three lambs - very cute!  Well we finally reached the toll and yes 1.20 euro seems very cheap. Added to the 5 euro for actually traversing the fantastic bridge we realised that our memories had once again been rose tinted. We saved about twenty minutes and about 30 km! We will probably go back to our rule of not bothering with tolls as the countryside is so much more attractive and you see the sights too! I am sure that the roundabouts take their 'toll' on our usual driver but he doesn't complain.

Quite empty it is at Honfleur, in distinct contrast to our previous wonderful trip here - that'll be because the electric and water we were hoping for is turned off! Ahem well we have a quarter of a tank so that'll just have to do. So a simple bread and cheese dinner with pancakes to follow - shop bought in England especially for Shrove Tuesday it is. My domestic input is therefore limited today - not at all bothered by this! Seems that by saving the washing up I also save on cooking. Win win!

Anyhow the lesson today is when you remember a fantastic Aire from a previous trip check the 'bible' to ensure the services are year round! Naivete or complacency?

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