Drive 370 kms from Le Havre and you can be south of The Loire; a good enough reason for us to spend our first day in France getting to the intriguingly named town of Airvault. We used the gloriously empty French motorways for about half of the kilometres and paid around 30 Euro for the privilege (this makes our £210 road tax seem very reasonable); arriving at a campsite that is English owned, English run and English occupied, although the mixed sex sanitary block is very un-English.
The sun is shining and the good people of the Thouet valley have put together a cycle route along this beautiful tributary of the Loire, so it seemed rude not to make use of it. The route took us past a Franco-Roman Hypogee, thought to be an underground burial place, ancient fords on the river, a grand chateau, a large reservoir and pretty villages. Our picnic by the river gave us chance to watch a Kingfisher going back and forth and we spotted a large, green snake swimming at quite a pace across the river, which certainly put Anthony off any ideas of paddling.
Back in Airvault the town was sleepy, but the park was where all the activity was; around 20 men (yes, all men) were playing boules.
It feels so good to be back on the road again, moving at our own pace, learning about new places, sitting by the van listening to the bird song, relaxing and meeting new people. It may only be for 18 nights, but we will enjoy every one of them.