Around Briare.

We’ve been out and about on the scooter around Briare, and there are some lovely little villages hidden away. The great thing about them is that they’re not touristy at all, just pure unspoilt places.

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Chatillon sur Loire

Today we’re going north to a small village to check out the market, which usually consists of maybe 3 stalls in the remote places,  this is to get us prepared for our next move in the van to Auxerre about 7 km East,  as they have a large market tomorrow. We’ll stay on the motorhome aire there on the river, and it puts us in a better position for our weekend religion of the worship of the vide greniers! We have so far I think found 5 very large ones,  so are planning our route around them.

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Getting around, vide greniers and canals!

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So much going on… We enjoyed finding our way around Tours, although failed to fall for it, but we did enjoy the flower market and indoor food market with huge queues at each of the beautiful stalls. Sadly in Spain most indoor markets are suffering from the crisis,  but in France almost every stand had a long queue,  even at french prices. We find the food here more expensive as a rule than Spain. We heard one couple buying some scallops and spending 55€ on them for just under a kilo. We were tempted to ask for a dinner invite!

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We spent Sunday touring around the local vide greniers ( car boot sales ) and had a great time. It’s always a bit hit and miss when I plot our itinerary for the day,  as here en France their vides Ho on really until around 5pm, so plenty of time to travel to a few of them. We like to see the largest, so I think we managed 5 on Sunday!

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From Veigne we moved East and found a beautiful lake to park at for a couple of nights, so peaceful.

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Then we decided after some research to head further East,  and at the moment are in Briare which sits on a network of canals, again idyllic scenery.

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Fishing!

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The river Dronne.

We moved on to a small village called Martizay, which has a free motorhome aire right on the river Dronne. It is a beautiful setting and Bruce was very happy fishing in the sunshine amongst the noise of the frogs which were in the reeds around him.  I saw my first ever kingfisher which was too quick to get a photo of sadly.

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After Martizay we then moved East to Veigne which is near Tours, again a great place to fish if a little noisy with the road.

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Culvert at Veigne.

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Lovely kitchen garden in Martizay.

Poitiers excitement.

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Today we went on an escapade to both  Chauvigny  and Poitiers to see the local and bustling markets, but were slightly disappointed to find very few stalls in Chauvigny or any outdoor stalls at all in Poitiers!  But we did find the usual awesome cheese and vegetable stalls, not to mention the odd deli,and butcher as well…..oh, and cake.

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Needless to say we still had a great day, splashing out 2.5€ know a white coffee so we could get the cafe wifi code and check emails etc. Plus we enjoyed exploring around Poitiers again with the beautiful half timber houses.

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Then it was back to the van for lunch, and afterwards off to a local motorhome  toy shop as we lost a stool table top when we were in  Portimao  back on our trip at the beginning of the year so needed to replace it. While we were in Poitiers  I saw a leaflet for a local tannery so thought it’d be good to see where my work stuff comes from. So we went across country to find it, around diversions and through tiny country lanes….Our usual exciting tom tom adventure in the van!

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Bourdeilles.

Bourdeilles is a small village near Brantome  on the river Dronne, a beautiful setting for a motorhome aire right on the riverside. Thinking that the fishing would be good for Bruce we parked up, but the river was too shallow,  but we stayed anyway,  walking round the village and taking in the scenes including the  château which dates back as far as the 13th century.

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We also found these really weird carvings in the wall….. freaky!

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Nous sommes en France!

Well…. finally,  we are in France. But I need to backtrack a touch as we had an awesome gig for Bruce at our regular haunt of Taberna del Port in Calpe, where it was packed and so much so they asked him to play on  so he did! When the crowd is buzzing it’s easy for him to extend the time.
We finally got to bed around 1.30am, knowing that I had to be up early for my May  Fayre the following day.
So I was up around 7 am,  and in place thanks to Bruce who became my roadie for the day, and was easily set up in time for the start of the fayre at 10 am.  I missed a chance to sell part of my stall as 3 Germans were walking around early,  and spotted my wrought iron corner stand which I use in my stall (bought from France for 15€) and thought it was for sale, asking if I would take 10€ for it….hell no! Everything is for sale at a price, but not that cheap!
So the fayre for me went very well, lots of regular Bagleteers,  and lots of new ones, some of whom had seen my posts on Facebook  ( great for networking! ). Loads of baglet’s found new homes,  which was lovely for me to see my products being bought by people who really loved them, appreciating the work involved,  and especially good as I launched them there 2 years previously.
After a great 4 hours of sunny Sunday fayre,  I went home and we finished the packing for the trip and left for France. We made it up to Zaragoza for an overnight stay, then finally stopped at a regular motorhome aire at the amusement park, loud until 10pm, but silent after that. A long afternoons  drive ended with a few vino and beers for Bruce, a day an awful cheap and nasty pizza ( note to self do not buy that one again , as it was terrible, not a patch on the pizzeria in Orba! ).
An early start on the road for us this morning meant we were in France by midday, and we’ve  pitched up at Labastide d’Armagnac on a free motorhome  aire having seen some awesome scenery coming up from Spain via the Somport tunnel and Pau.

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View coming into France from Spain via the Somport tunnel.
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Labastide d'Armagnac.
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Labastide d'Armagnac.
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Geraniums.
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Labastide d'Armagnac.

A baking hot time!

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So it’s been a few days of madness here. We’re getting ready for the next trip away which starts on Sunday after a May Fayre I have booked a stall at. But before that I had a wedding and craft fair down near Almoradi which is a 1hr 45 min car drive away. 
The setting for the fair was at a house that was featured on the tv show Grand Designs,  and it was a spectacular house in a lovely setting on the edge of a reservoir.

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Sadly the fair was on the hottest day of the century,  with the temperature being 26 degrees when I left home at 7.30 am, and when I got back in the car at 3pm the temperature gauge was reading 51 degrees!!! Although I did well the heat really affected the turn out so numbers weren’t as high as expected.

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So after the hottest fair I drove all the way back with the air con on in the car on full blast! A dip in our pool made up for the pain of having spent the day In that heat, followed by a meal out with Deb and Jim.
The meal was very adventurous as there was a massive forest fire going on towards Pego where we were going to the chinese restaurant.  Lucky for us the road was still open,  as we had actually tossed a coin to decide chinese or Italian. But we could see from the road the flames,  more so on the way home when it was dark. 
This fire is alleged to have been started by a campo fire that got out of control.  These fires spread so quickly and destroy anything that comes in their way.

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It was still burning the following morning, and has left a huge area behind Pego and Adsubia totally devastated.

Friday night was a day off for both Bruce and myself,  an we went to Denia on the coast to their weekly rastro and also to the vegetable market on the chilli hunt (still unsuccessful for sweet red ones so I will keep hunting for them).  The evening saw us camping out in Mr Ben at Jim and Debs for an evening of paella and a few cheeky glasses of wine!!

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Mutley enjoyed running around and found one of the toys while Hoba and Lexy weren’t looking.

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