Thursday, 2 July 2009

Saturday 27th June 2009

L’Isle aux Moulins, Jargeau (ACSI2009-953) N47.86909 E2.11531

This is a very pleasant site, right alongside the River Loire. Facilities are basic but clean and functional. Only 13Euro/night however. It is a 5 minutes walk into town, where there are a selection of places to eat/drink, a small supermarket, plus of course the usual range of French small town shops, and a church (it is Saturday, so finding a church is a priority), with mass 10:30 on a Sunday. Plus there is a pleasant cycle track or walk along the river bank.

The rivers of France are one of the things I find amazing, they appear to be so enormous, we have been following the Loire more or less for about 240 kilometres, and at this point it is about 300 metres wide, and there is still about another 140 kilometres to go before it reaches the sea.

Jargeau is somewhat famous in second world war terms, although I must admit I had never heard of it, but it was here that elements of the French army stopped the advance of the Germans after they had invaded France. They presumably did it by holding the bridge, which appears to be the only one for a considerable distance in either direction. Not sure if it was a permanent stop or more a delay, but there you are.

The good weather has returned after yesterdays rain, and we have hot sunny weather with a clear blue sky.

We find we are not alone, compared to most places we have been this a little England with no fewer than six GB campervans/caravans there. As usual however the place was occupied mainly by Dutch.

It is strange how some sites are more “friendly” than others, within an hour we have had conversations with our Dutch neighbour and 5 of the six GB’ers.

The other thing about campsites or course is that they present great people watching opportunities. Pitched opposite to us are another Dutch couple, who are travelling by bicycle and camping. The female of the pair was rather large, a size 18 at least I would say, whilst the man did not appear to have an ounce of fat on him. I must point out, before continuing, that it was Kathleen who brought this to my attention. I suggested a theory to Kathleen, that perhaps her used her as a counter weight, whereby having got her to the top of the first hill, he could use her momentum on the downhill stretch to tow him out the hill. I was rebuked severely for this, on the basis that I was discriminating against fat people. I just want to remind you here that it was not me who drew attention to the Dutch lady’s size!.

Joking aside, you have to admire these people, we subsequently found out that they had travelled by train with their bicycles from their home in Holland to Basle on the Swiss / French border, and were then cycling across France to the Atlantic coast. At that point their son is to meet them in the car and give them (and their bicycles) a ride home.

They obviously were carrying a minimum of equipment, but even so their bicycles were well and truly loaded down with each of them having four panniers, two on the front, and two on the back!

In the evening we walk into town for a drink or two. This brought us a possible lesson in French language. We have been taught, that if you have had (say) a gin, and you want another the same, you say “encore un gin, s’il vous plait”, and that if you ask “un autre gin, s’il vous plait”, the waiter will interpret this as meaning that you did not like the first one, and want a different type for the subsequent gin. Well, we ordered our drinks using our best Michel Thomas French, “un Gin et Sweppes, et un pichet de vin rouge, Cotes de Rhone, s’il vous plait”. No problem. But when we came to order a subsequent gin, we asked “encore gin, s’il vous plait”, where upon the waiter said to us “un autre gin, mais oui”. Obviously he did not learn his French from the Michel Thomas CD’s! So we ask ourselves, is this autre vs encore a load of rubbish?

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