Having decided to leave on Saturday morning and Saturday being the day of the huge market in Sarlat-la-Canéda, we were away early to try and avoid any disagreeable traffic jams. Sarlat passed with no difficulty and the only other potential bottleneck was Périgueux, about a quarter of the way through the 170 mile journey to Les Mathes near Royan and the Ile d’Oléron. As we approached Périgueux, the sky appeared particularly threatening; not at all what we were hoping for from our strategy of heading west. Not wanting to waste precious diesel driving into more bad weather, we found somewhere to stop and buy yet another Aujourd’hui but predictions for the west still looked good so we stopped questioning our decision and got on with it.
Our journey didn’t use any autoroutes so the 170 miles took about 4.5 hours and, glory of glories, the sky was basically blue with a scattering of white clouds blowing down from the north. The northerly wind produced a lower-than-might-be-expected temperature of about 20°C but, at this point, we were simply happy to be in dry, sunnier weather.
We are on a site that we used once about six years ago. They’ve clearly had plenty of rain, as has France generally, because part of the site is closed off due to being too wet. However, we found a pitch that we liked, got set up and settled down to a late lunch in the sun of good ol’ grilled asparagus with goat cheese.
This is much closer to the coast than we usually like to stay but it is an area with some interest, not just a beachy place. This is oyster farming territory. There are some slight aspects of a kiss-me-quick seaside culture but they can be avoided. It is another area where some effort has been put into good cycle tracks so, after lunch, we used them to go and see the coast at La Palmyre. The brisk northerly wind seemed to be proving ideal for a considerable collection of kite surfers off one of the beaches.
We had a chunk of veal for our evening meal and, given this first realistic opportunity, I had to stir "ze little grey cells" into remembering how to barbecue. The poor cooking grid in the portable Weber had developed some rust from lack of use. Argh! If the weather keeps up I’ll also need some more charbon de bois. Let’s hope I do.