So, yesterday I left Stu & Syb's wonderful hospitality, feeling ever so slightly the worse for wear, but ready for the simple 110km drive to Montrichard, on the banks of the river Cher, which I believe is in an area called Loire et Cher, in the Loire Valley (Val-de-Loire).
So, this simple, yet beautiful 110km journey looked like it had one tricky spot, I would have to drive through Tours to avoid going on the payage motorways (toll roads). Not all the motorways are toll roads here, but it seems the further south you go, the more there are. Anyway, the sat-nav informed me we were going on to a motorway, & as I took the entry slip & made a 50/50 decision on which way to go (it all looked pretty new) I realised the sat-nav thought I was driving across a field, so I managed to do a U turn across the central barrier (there was nothing about) & get on my correct bit of road. I had about 10km of motorway to go when it suddenly left the blue line on the sat-nav & once again showed that I was driving across a field! I thought this was quite funny & was sure I was heading in the right direction nonetheless, until I ran out of exits & found myself at a "payage" barrier, with absolutely no idea what to do! I've been deliberately avoiding these as they nearly all involve getting out of the car & wrestling with a ticket machine or some sort of payment machine, also I really don't have the budget. Well, I didn't have a clue, & I had also almost run my budget for the first 2 weeks completely out, waiting til I got here to look for a cash-point, I had about 12€ in loose change on me.
Anyway, after a considerable queue had built up behind me, a lad in a hi-viz vest came over & pressed the big yellow button on the machine, a ticket came out & the barrier went up, he handed me the ticket & off I went, extremely embarrassed. I took the next exit, which was just far enough down the motorway to have all of my captive audience from the previous payage point overtake me, I never even looked over to see what kind of reactions I was getting, I blame the sat-nav entirely!
Anyway, I eventually made it, & got charged the outrageous sum of 1.20€ for about 6km of motorway! But once that living hell was over I was back on the country roads, & somehow managed to miss out Tours altogether, which apparently can be a bit of a shit to drive round. Once I was drawing closer to Montrichard there just seemed to be small town after small town, each one as picturesque as the last. I had no idea where the camp site was in Montrichard, but I knew it was a municipal & therefore should be adequately sign-posted, & it was. It turned out to be just on the outskirts of the town, on my route in, which was fantastic.
So, the site is fantastic, it has an automatic barrier at the entrance, has about 90 spaces, plenty of shade, good toilet/shower facilities & all for 6.40€ per night (+ deposit for electronic key for the barrier). It also has a small gate at the bottom which opens out onto a riverside path (pictured), it's then only a 10min walk into town, that's what the other pictures are, just a couple of spots along the walk into town. The town is also very nice, typically French, with the beautiful stone bridge across the river. There's also a museum of heavy vehicles, which I intend to visit this afternoon.
The other thing I've noticed round here is the amount of interest my car is attracting. When I was further north I would be lucky to get one person look at it per day, they just didn't seem to care less. But the further south, & east, I head, the more people seem to look. All through the little villages on my way here I had people stopping & staring, the site manager said "nice car" when he let me in, & when I took it out for a spin around the town yesterday I had blokes standing outside bars pointing a watching, & even van drivers, stuck in traffic, hanging out of their windows to have a good look as I went past. It really seems they are much more enthusiastic about their cars the further south I go. And it's not just the men either, I had women having a good look round it when I went to the supermarket yesterday. I'm sure sometime soon enough it will start a conversation & maybe I will have someone, other than the sat-nav, to talk to!