Let’s avoid the motorways… he says!!!

On the 7th May and after a 7 night stay it was time to move on from Campsite Las Casteillets which had been our hideaway and retreat, for the past week we’d enjoyed the beautiful views of the mountains and chilled out there with the donkeys as company, we took just a couple of short walks, even though the place had plenty of walks we just didn’t have the energy to really explore much and found we just needed the time to recharge, but when we did finally venture out we found the the small nearby town to be thriving, with a busy bakery, greengrocers and medical centre plus Chemist…

We definitely needed the chemist as Pete had managed to get himself into a pickle with a dose of athletes foot, I had brought with us medical supplies for treating such ailments and we were armed with Daktarin cream in case one of us ever got the dreaded foot rot, this should have solved the problem and although Pete had been using this cream for nearly a week he was adamant that he would continue to wear these nasty flip flop sandal type things he’d brought along and had been wearing for months… these shoes were material based and were not water proof but he had got them soaking wet so many times they were now giving the bloke a dose of trench foot… this in turn meant that each time he put these nasty shoes back on his feet he was reinfecting his feet despite his medically treating them… the chemist was by now first on my list of shops to visit so armed with google translate… in I went… determined to solve Pete’s rotten trench foot situation… and for a whopping €20 I managed to get him a one step treatment and finally persuaded (nagged) him to part ways with that nasty pair of flip flops before we both ended up needing treatment (I have been teasing him like crazy ever since about his diseased rotting, trench foot ridden feet) hopefully they will now start recovering…

Note the importance of using clean waterproof flip flops or such when using communal shower areas and also the sensible walking shoes you need to bring with you on trips like this… Pete was amazed when we set off at just how many pairs of various walking shoes, even walking shoe sandals and flip flops etc I had brought with me at the start of this trip but I am a firm believer for the health of your feet you should try not to wear the same shoes everyday and to be fair I have managed to get through 4 pairs of the 5 pairs of walking shoes (1 pair were found to be faulty and had to be binned after the heal support began shearing into the back of my foot leaving me with a nasty cut and blisters) and I have also gone through 3 of the 6 pairs flip flops I brought with me so far… I think Pete may well need to go shopping for sensible shoes as soon as his feet heal that is…

We set off from Campsite Las Casteillets on the 7th May at 10.30am Monday morning and headed for the Intermarche which was just a mile down the road to get food shopping, there was also a Camping RV shop nearby and we needed to top up with toilet chemicals, finally we had everything we needed to last us for hopefully at least the next couple of weeks just over an hr later and nearly €300 lighter…

After putting in the coords for the next campsite we were now ready for the off… 3.15 hours the satnav promised for just approx 100 kms… so with Pete insisting the satnav be set at avoiding all toll roads, we should get to the next camp just after 2pm… 5pm we rolled into the next camp a whopping 6 hrs later, we had driven all that way in temperatures of 28° to 30° and we were all sweating like pigs on a spit by the time we got to our destination… we had been taken by the satnav along the very scenic Route of the wines (Route de vins – “Route 20” along the D9) this route though very scenic was very, very long… the first city we hit and passed through was Perpignan and with that we were thinking the sat nav would then take us along the coast and then over inland to avoid any tolls… nope… boy were we wrong… it took us alongside countless vine fields and up through the mountainous region of Corbieres Minervois… we have 3 motorway settings on the Noza tec truck sat nav, motorways are ticked good to go… but then a further 2 settings one to avoid toll roads which is set to avoid as the tolls are quite costly in France… and Pete wanted me to set that as a definite off… but then there’s one more setting which I really should look into for pay per use roads… which I think is the setting getting us into trouble and making our routes much longer as it will avoid all payment roads some of which I think the satnav gets mixed up with toll roads and thus avoids the routes and sometimes we may need to join onto/cross some of the different motorways and some don’t actually need you to pay on those parts (I think), I noticed it did this on the route from Portugal into Spain…

On some parts of this drive through the mountains the roads we were on were pretty much single track roads, although they were in good condition and were well tarmacked roads… but some parts had sheer drops off down the mountain side, so with me clenching the side of the seat with one hand and holding tight to the door handrail with the other and pretty much by now close to re-seeing whatever I’d had for breakfast that morning… and Pete’s there declaring what lovely views of the valleys below us and also of the lovely sights of the mountains we were getting, whilst going along these winding, twisty, narrow roads and how he thought that I should be taking photo’s… even though by this point I could barely glance out the windows without getting dizzy with fear or taking on a lovely shade of grey/green with the colour quickly fading from my usually rosy coloured cheeks… I really do not do well with heights or if there are sheer drops down the sides of roads I turn a lovely shade of green/grey just going over the tall viaducts in Spain, I have serious height fear issue and I simply must look straight ahead or close my eyes, if I catch sight of the sheer drops my body tends to go into panic mode… although I did manage a few pictures when the road safety had improved and the drops weren’t quite as bad and of course once I had managed to prise my hands off the aforementioned objects…

 

 

 

We thought about stopping at an Aire we’d found along the road in the mountains and we pulled in but decided not to stay here as the next day was a French holiday and this week being slightly odd in the French calender as the French have 2 bank holiday days in one week so we were a little concerned as to whether we would be able to book into somewhere the next day being one of these mentioned days so instead stopped for lunch on a mountain pullover and then once refreshed we continued along our journey finally managing to get onto some better roads, where we just had to navigate down some narrow streets when passing through some of the towns, but these streets although narrow at some points were sign posted as suitable for 15 tonnes so we made it through…

 

 

 

We had a slight delay in one of the towns we were passing through where a lorry was making a delivery and blocking the road, but after about 10 minutes we were on our way again…

 

We knew we were very near our destination when we passed the city of Carcassonne… if you have never been to Carcassonne I would highly recommend visiting the place… you will find in the old part of the city the most wonderful ancient walled city with streets like mazes, filled with restaurants, cafes and bars the place is a well deserved world heritage site and one that my passing photo does no justice too!! nearby is the canal du midi which is another of France’s beautiful attractions and another must for the list if you are healthy enough or get the opportunity to go and rent a canal boat, take a slow meandering trip down along the canal as it passes through some magnificent places and wine making villages and towns these are also worth mooring up along the canal to go take visits…

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We were lucky enough to have had at least 2 canal boat holidays down along the canal du Midi in the past where we witnessed wine running down the streets, eaten some fabulous food and had fun mooring up along the banks, enjoyed exploring places and also entertainingly maneuvering into and back out of the stunning locks, it’s certainly something for the list of holidays and adventures!!!

It’s the morning of May 8th as I write this and we can hear the remembrance celebrations at the statue in the nearby town Villegly marking the Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day, it was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. … It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe… and is celebrated to this day… We shall go take a look, I’m all for celebrating peace over a cuppa!!!

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We arrived at Campsite Le Moulin de Ste Anne at about 5pm and managed to pitch up and enjoy an hour or 2 before a predicted Thunderstorm hit and boy was there loud claps of thunder and lightning, but to be fair the air really needed cooling as the heat and closeness was intense in the hours beforehand…

 

When we woke this morning we decided to stretch our legs and check out the local village & also the grounds of the local Chateau… there was a statue in the grounds which Toffi clearly thought this was a real person in distress and was very concerned for it… bless her!!! and then the beautiful medieval bridge in the middle of the gardens where once the stream had ran underneath this however was long ago diverted to make the gardens larger…

 

 

 

 

Well enjoy folks till next time take care of yourselves, happy safe travels…

Donna x

 

Campsite Le Moulin de Ste Anne, France GPS N43°16’59”  E2°26’29”  €17 per night free wifi

Campsite Las Casteillets, France GPS N42°30’36”  E2°46’59”   €13 per night €5 per week for wifi   Total spend €93 (including 3 x wifi passes each for a week)