United Kingdom, France · 13 Days · 15 Moments · July 2017

Tanya's adventure in France

21 July 2017

Day 13 Temp 16 degrees Not sure today counts as part of our holiday, but as we arrived home after midnight (03.45 to be precise), I've decided it does. The problem with being the 6th car on the ferry is that you're the 6th from last off (well 4th due to queue jumpers). I enjoyed watching the operation of ramps up & down and cars snaking (broadly) in order. Martin didn't. The drive home was tense due to 'the incompetence of the highways personnel to operate the smart motorway smartly'. Bet you can't guess who said that. We made one stop at South Mimms, I've always wanted to stop there - first services on M25 - but was too tired to move. I immediately regretted this, should have got milk for tea - damn! The motorways were busier at 3am than in France at any time, but we finally arrived home and through half asleep eyes I saw roses in the hall which meant there would be milk in the fridge. Happy Martin & Tanya. Thanks Karen! Steps - 6,900 - not bad as all were in 39 Rowan Way

20 July 2017

Day 12 Temp 19 degrees The weather has decided to reflect our mood - grey and a bit miserable. I apply false tan to make believe we'd had lots of sunshine. We're too afraid to skip breakfast (hotel's very school-like & we fear we'll get detention) so I have a tiny bit of dry bread and Martin braves another croissant - why would you? We need to be at the port 45 mins before the ferry departs so we allow 8 hours for the 4 hour journey ... just in case. After a couple of stops (nowhere nice) we arrive 2 hours before departure, you know the same time as the elderly couple in a turquoise Citroen. There's a toilet and .... oh, nothing else! We're the 6th car onto the ferry and Martin was second to get his meal at the restaurant - missing 1st place by a whisker of indecision on whether it was open. By the time we set sail, we'd had a full dinner, coffees and a tour of the decks. With 4 hours to fill I've remembered to bring Canasta - picture Martin's face πŸ˜‚ Steps - 3,333 - pah!

19 July 2017

Day 11 Temp 22 degrees Our last full day of holiday πŸ˜•. Breakfast at Dixmeresse was not great - how did they find bad croissants in the middle of France! A peak in the freezer later in the day answered that question. We had made sure we booked a hotel in the centre of town, what we didn't realise is it's a town with nothing in it. Determined not to let the miserable breakfast, weather or town spoil our day we went to Villandry Castle & Gardens - drawn mainly to it because we've been to a restaurant of the same name in London and it's lovely. It didn't disappoint - phew! The cafe however did, clearly this was the day of rubbish pastries and coffee! We decide on a supermarket picnic for dinner so set our now trusted sat nav for nearest LeClerc (20 miles) - pic 4 is where it took us. All was not lost as we found a car wash on our way back - happy Martin - and played Canasta in the evening - happy Tanya! Steps - 0 (forgot to take the Fitbit)

18 July 2017

Day 10 Temp - 35 degrees (a bit hot if I'm honest) Times roof down - lots It was our last morning at La Girarde, we were sorry to leave and could have happily stayed longer. We were pleased Trish gave us The Tidiest Room Award πŸ˜€. Rather than head straight to the Loire Valley on the motorways we set the sat nav so we could have lunch in Perigeaux, which was a beautiful town. I'd definitely like to come back here, it's much prettier than Bergerac. We're in dispute about who ordered the best lunch (Martin pizza, me salad) so I have shared the points, but you dear reader can decide. We then drove to Brantome, which was another lovely town, but as we were still over 4 hours from our destination we did a drive-through viewing. Arriving in Restigne our hotel and hosts are lovely, a very grand room although not quite as stylish as La Girarde. Dinner was at Restaurant Vincent, and thanks to the translator app we ate very well. Steps - 5,200 πŸ˜• Best choice of food - Martin 1 Tanya 4

17 July 2017

Day 9 Temp - 32 degrees Times roof up on the car - zero! Today is going to be a lazy day (because all the others haven't been - ha, ha!) Breakfast, a read and then a nice walk near La Girarde. We did this yesterday, but Martin's flip flops rubbed off his suncream and burnt his feet and then a persistent horse fly bit him through his shirt - no inappropriate laughing, honest! So today his choice of footwear is comfy boat shoes - which obviously rubbed a blister! Still must have got me some steps - hmm did I remember to take the Fitbit ... πŸ€” Lunch was at Taverne Belvedere - I've probably had enough cheese and bread now - I know, who'd have thought it. Dinner on a Monday is complicated, why didn't we remember that. Everywhere is closed, except Taverne Belvedere and there's nothing wrong with a bag of ready salted and a glass of decent rose.

16 July 2017

Day 8 Temp - 32 degrees Sunshine - lots They're right, the sun comes out after Bastille day and stays out. We head off for a trip down the Dordogne river in a canoe. Life doesn't get much better than this, three hours gently floating down the river alongside a million turquoise dragonflies. We stopped off along the river bank to eat our lunch, cheese, tomatoes and cherries - yum! Not sure why Martin was tired when we got off, perhaps it's because he kept playing with the oar-things behind me? For dinner we headed back to Chateau Carbonneau for the platter - everything was just delicious - chilled tomato and coconut soup, onion dip, peach chutney and of course meats, cheeses and bread. Despite it being incredibly filling, the cake was winking at us .... We drank the Chateau's rose wine which is named after their daughter, Lulu. We met Lulu, who is the daughter at Leeds Uni - small world. We rolled the short distance home and slept for 11 hours 😴 Steps - 6,000 - what 0 on the canoe

15 July 2017

Day 7 Temp - 27 degrees 😎 Times roof down on the car - lots! Hurray, it's the first day we've woken up to sunshine. After a lovely breakfast - we've now started having fruit and yoghurt before gorging on white carbohydrates, which accounts for 3 of our 5 a day, we'll make up the rest with wine later on. First stop of the day is Sainte Foy - not Martin's choice as it's busy for market day, but mention of buying food for our picnic tomorrow brightens his mood! We then headed to Eymet (pronounced Amy) - it's a pretty town and there's a public loo (phew!) so we stay for lunch - not sure what Martin ordered, but he got a cup of cider πŸ˜€. We're close to Le Manoir, but don't quite find it! Dinner at Gensaki was a nice way to finish our day - Martin had beer but not enough to relax him as I drive us back to La Girarde! Best choice of food - Martin 0.5 Tanya 3.5 (we shared the points for lunch Steps - 9,000

13 July 2017

Day 6 - Bastille Day Temp - 22 degrees Roof down on car - 3 times (but we put it back up when the sun came out - obviously!!) Apparently the sun comes out after Bastille Day - yay! Another cloudy day. We drive two hours to the Jardin de Marqueyssac with its 150,000 box plants - it was a fab place with amazing views and lovely walks (... if I'm honest, when you've seen one box plant ... ) Randomly it had a real dinosaur skeleton too! Obviously it was back to Chateau Carbonneau for cake, tea and wine - yum! And I found the recipe online for the Chocolate and Guinness cake - happy Martin! The daughter of Chateau Carbonneau is a Leeds University - small world. Dinner at La Girarde was from the 'big green egg' - and the sun came out to join us, happy holiday 😎. Steps - 7,000 πŸ™„
Day 5 Temp - 20 degrees Minutes of sunshine - 4 Times had roof down on car - 2 It's starting to feel very much like home here, comfy bed, lovely linens, cloudy sky .... Determined we put the roof down on the car and whack up the heating! We found Lake Parbonne, which is small but has a lovely beach, woodland walks and a swing! Thankfully I didn't see the age limit (6-14 years) until I'd been on it 15 minutes. Then lunch at Chateau Carbonneau - speciality tea with amazing cakes and scones (I think we'll be back) - and somehow we ended up buying half a case of wine?! Supper was back to Taverna Belvedere - we ordered everything on the menu, except the healthy crudités, even though I didn't fancy much of it - happy Martin! Best day of holiday so far 😊 Steps - 9,700 (just starting to realise you don't do many steps on a driving holiday - duh!)

12 July 2017

Day 4 Temp - 20 degrees Minutes of sunshine - 3 Times had roof down on car - 1 Nice simple breakfast at La Girarde - Nespresso machine was a happy sight and who doesn't love white carbs! Grey day so we head off in the car again, destination Bergerac. Interesting town and it was market day, but three hours including leisurely lunch is enough. Then we did a bit of self-congratulations at finding Taverna Belvedere - amazing views and Belgian beer on draft - happy Martin! Still got car with us - less happy Martin! Supper at La Girarde was simple bread cheese and meats, but lovely - shared of course with other guests, tonight 4 Americans from Chicago - I think they were impressed with our knowledge of Eli's cheesecake (if a little disappointed that was our only knowledge of their hometown!). Number alloy wheels scuffed - 1, sad Martin (mildly happy Tanya as she didn't do it!) Best choice of food - Martin 0 / Tanya 2 Steps - 10,300

11 July 2017

Day 3 (cont) Temp 18-20 degrees - pah! Roof down on car - 1 56 hours and 900 miles from Rowan Way we arrive at La Girarde, the place our whole holiday has been based around. The room is lovely, with another 6ft bed and enormous bathroom - phew! Not quite as we imagined, no honesty bar so not sure how we get a beer (or cup of tea) ... hmm! Don't worry our hosts (Trish and Mark) were quick to offer drinks. Our quiet read in the garden however turned into a communal gathering - picture Martin's face! Delicious dinner was served in the garden, also en-masse - lots of new friends, Martin can hardly contain his excitement. We survive the evening with only 4 oil spots on Martin's clean shorts ... not too bad! Steps - 7,800 πŸ˜•

10 July 2017

Day 3 Very happy with The Gentleman Hotel, really comfy 6ft bed with lovely linens - boy chose good! Interesting breakfast .... would you think this is nut butter or pork pate .... okay, but in my defence I didn't have my glasses on!
Day2 2 hours to ferry departure Temp - 18 degrees Back to the trusty Brewer's Fayre for quick breakfast before 2 mins drive to the ferry. (You might think that this doesn't sound like Martin, but choice between early check-in and food .... hmmm!) Ferry departed on time - happy Martin! Three hours and one stop (obviously!) and we arrive at La FlΓ¨che in the lovely Loire Valley and sat nav took us straight to Le Gentleman Hotel (those stern words after our tour of Newhaven yesterday seem to have done the trick!). Martin looks relieved that hotel is lovely. Receptionist explains that dinner on Mondays is 'complicated', but at 6.59pm we find a lovely Italian restaurant that opens at 7pm - have you ever been the first in a restaurant for dinner - we have! Best choice of food - Martin 0 / Tanya 1 πŸ˜‹ Times had roof down on car - 0 Total steps - 7885 πŸ˜•

9 July 2017

Day 1 21 hours to ferry departure. Temp 25 degrees. Well we're off - the smile betrays the frustration of the 7 hour dishwasher cycle which delayed us to just 45 mins ahead of our planned departure time! A few amber lines on google maps causing mild concern. After two stops (three if you count popping into Margaret's) and an understanding of the real north/south divide (motorway lane discipline!) we arrive at Premier Inn, Newhaven six hours later. We can pretty much see the port (15 hours to departure). First holiday dinner is a Brewer's Fayre special - it's all about the food - we're in bed for 8pm. That's holiday life! Steps - 4,500 ... pah!