Wednesday 15th November
We have been away a week now and today was just really a day to travel. Having already been to a few of the places of interest between Cognac and Bordeaux on our trip last year, we decided to just get some miles behind us. It was an easy drive (now I have learnt to plan my own route on better, but still no toll roads rather than let Margret the sat nav take me on a mystery tour to the destination as quick as possible and bugger the rattling and consequences on the way) We arrived at the chosen Aire in Mimizan which was right on the beach GPS n44.20517 w 001.29675 only to find it closed and being dug up! It looks as though they are either making it better for next summer or getting rid of it. Knowing the French love for Aires I would guess the first. A quick look in the Camperstop book and the second Aire in the town was the only alternative and 1.5k away but it had no electricity hook up which we really could do with. We quickly unhooked Sunny abandoned Catori on a safe side road and went to have a quick look. The Aire had been redeveloped and was very large and smart with EHU everywhere, decision made. Back to Catori and Angie had her first experience of driving in France behind me back to the second Aire GPS n44.21375 w 001.28239 its about 1.5k from the beach but has super walks in the woods right behind us and looks nothing like to picture in the book now. There are two things Molly loves more than anything else (excluding us we hope) and that’s woods and the sandy beaches she should be in her element! As for us out came the chairs for the first time for Beer O’clock al fresco.
Thursday 16th November
A 5k run down to along and back from the beach brought me back to the van at about 12pm (yes it was another morning in bed ) and we sat outside again with a coffee in the sunshine. Although it is only 12 degrees the fact there is full sun and no clouds makes it really warm. After a very British snack of Heinz baked beans on cheese on toast we wandered down to the beach again and watched the surfers riding the amazing rollercoasters. I would desperately love to be able to surf like that but a body board will have to do for someone like me with a dodgy knee. For a moment I did think of coming back down with the board and wet suit to give it a go but thought better of it. Instead a beer and a further sit in the sun was the order of the evening watching the wagtails run around the site.
Tomorrow we head off to our last stop in France Biarritz, from there Angie will have to drive Sunny behind me due to the uncertainty of Spanish laws on towing a car behind a motorhome.
Friday 17th November
Mimizan had very little to offer the tourist out of season. In the summer we are sure it would be an amazing beach holiday destination however in Mid November it is just an amazing sandy beach with huge waves pounding which we could hear from our motorhome during the night 1.5k away. So we decided to move on and Biarritz was the destination. 2.5 hours drive and it looked an easy route. It was until we reached Bayonne and Margret decided to take us through the town centre and over the L’Adour river. They had closed the river bridge however and we had to follow a diversion. Just as I thought we had done the worst of it the roads got narrower as we entered Biarritz itself and the route ended up being through a crowded town centre with shops, roadside cafes full of diners and moped ranks all of which were about a foot or two from the side of the van as we squeezed past. We crawled through the twisting maze following Margret’s every order and a queue of cars grew behind us and patiently followed. A taxi stoped in front of us to collect a very elderly lady from a shop who unfortunately could not walk far or fast. Unable to pass the taxi we just had to wait. The elderly lady was helped very slowly to the car by her equally elderly and equally slow husband and two younger members of the family who themselves must have been in their 60’s. The elderly gent finally helped his ancient wife into the car and she slowly sat, bottom first and then he helped her get her legs round and into the foot well which was not an easy task. After doing this it was his turn to repeat the same manoeuvre but on the opposite side of the car and once he finally managed to get there it took him even longer to insert himself into the car. The aged children then decided to fold down the seat on wheels that the elderly lady relied on and the taxi driver got back out to put it in the boot. Well you can imagine that by this time the cars behind us were starting to loose their patience probably believing that it was us stupid Brits trying to get a 30ft motorhome towing a smart car through the narrow streets that was causing the issue. A blast of a horn came from behind us. Lucky the taxi was now ready and shot off at speed leaving us with half of the drivers of the Basque Country behind us. Eventually after more steep narrow and twisting one way roads we made it to the Aire. GPS n 43.46536 w -001. 57162 Phew!! (Forgot to plan the last bit of the route didn’t I)
What a fantastic location though one road back from the beach with stunning walks along the cliff and beach. I am sure there is an easier way in!