The Big Trip with Nick & Ange travel blog












Another day, another drive north, another chance for the weather to get better. It didn't.

We were heading for the Loire area, with an idea that we would find a nice spot to do some walking. The first night we stopped at a smashing aire in a wee town just south east of Bourges that I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called. The aire was in the village, by a canal, and it was very pleasant, although it did get busier later at night and we ended up with 9 neighbour campers, all French. In the morning, after a nice walk down the canal, it was into the village for the bread, of course, to post the postcards, and to visit the pharmacy to get some drugs for old man Martland's aching joints. We also bought a piggy bank in the shape of a horse, but you'll really have to ask us about that when you visit us in York. Too hard to describe, but at least it wasn't expensive.

Then it was off to the city of Bourges for the day, and what a little treat that was. A very beautiful city, with a small walkable centre, filled with cobbled streets and timber framed Tudor type houses, and a fabulous gothic cathedral. There's a massive lake just outside the centre, man made I think, but it was good for a bit of a walk. Very nice, can heartily recommend a visit to Bourges if you are ever in the area.

After that, we headed slightly north east to another very sweet aire in another idyllic French village. This one we had all to ourselves all night, and it was the best we've ever stayed in. It was by a lake, with a nice little walk, there were decent toilets, electricity for a couple of euro, and loads of birds to watch. Remember, this is all free. France is definately the easiest country to stay for free in, the aires are just phenomenol, and are in the most beautiful places. Excellent.

My thumb was getting worse, and we'd run out of plasters, so dug into the first aid kit (first time it's been opened all year) and Nick did me a bandage. It was starting to look like Lawrence of Arabia, so we decided to put a face on it since we had started calling him by name.

The next morning, we headed to the pretty little town of Gien, on the Loire, for a walkabout and a pain au chocolat. We then followed the course of the Loire right round to Blois and then Chambord Chateau which was amazing. The Chambord estate is the biggest estate in France, at about 5500 hectares. It's owned by the French state and is run as a nature reserve, as well as its having the castle and a working village. Enjoyed the park itself more than the castle: although it's very striking, we weren't excited enough by it to pay the entrance fee, even though Leonardo da Vinci did design the stairs.

We're getting to be such grumpy old codgers we really are! Next stop Le Mans......see you there.

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