OK, I'm on my way towards Bergerac & I've found a McDonalds, I think I'm in a place called Malemort, but I can't be certain. This post & the following 2 have all been written at various points on my journey, just waiting for that elusive wifi connection, so they can be unleashed onto the web, enjoy....
So, off I went, leaving Montapas & I never did get in touch with that English Boat owner in Chatillon-en-Bazois, “never mind” I thought, I'm off on a different track now, in search of an English contact, somewhere on the Dordogne river, who rents canoes, sounds like a mission.
I had a reasonable journey ahead of me, about 220km, which is about as long as I intend any of my journey legs to be. The sun was shining & the roads were reasonably quiet, I was in complete agreement with the sat-nav for most of the trip (for once), & I was heading towards Clearmont Ferrand in the Auvergne region. I couldn't help thinking I'd heard that somewhere before, “the Auvergne region” but couldn't place it, whatever, it was south & sounded sunny.
I was just passing through about my third major town (remember, I'm staying off the toll roads) when in front of me I saw a huge mountain range, with some very angry looking black clouds all over it, I even said to myself (remember, I'm travelling alone here, sometimes my best conversations are with myself) “that sky looks angry up there, I bet that's where I'm heading”, & sure enough, I was absolutely correct. This was the Auvergne mountains & the Auvergne volcanoes, & very dramatic they look too, it's a shame my phone camera (the only camera I have with me) doesn't do very good shots of landscapes, but I will try & get a few before I move on.
So, I continued on, following the commanding female voice of the sat-nav (she's not the best conversationalist I've ever travelled with) & we hit the mountains. The roads are all pretty small & very winding, the rain was treacherous & most of the other drivers seemed oblivious to this, this is another thing I have found in France, they drive like maniacs in the wet, most of them are now driving modern cars, thanks to the scrappage scheme, & as I've always said, these modern cars just don't give you the “feel” of the road & just how little traction you've actually got, but hey, if they wanna kill themselves, who am I to stop them? So I went up & up & up, then down a bit, then up some more, passing many ski shops (all closed at this time of year obviously), & all this time thinking to myself “I'll come down the other side any moment & it'll be bright sunshine”, well, this didn't happen. I'm now camped on a small municipal site in the village of Saint Donat, the surrounding scenery is breathtaking, & some of the small surrounding towns & villages are beautiful. My only problem now is it seems to rain a lot round here, & compared with the other places I've been it's pretty cold, but, apart from all the cows in the surrounding fields having bells on, it would appear I've finally found my peace & quiet I've been looking for these past few days.
The nearest McDonalds is over 50km away, so I won't be going there. My previous 2 posts were written sat in the car in a picturesque aire (layby) & this one is being written sat outside a bar in the skiing village of Besse, just waiting for my Croque Monsieur & coffee for lunch.
My next stop will be the Dordogne river (which I've already seen as a small mountain stream up here), hopefully I will be back down in the sunshine, although this has been a welcome break from the wasps, if nothing else.
Ah, “Auvergne!” Isn't that where the volvic mineral water comes from? No wonder it's so cheap, all is seems to do is rain up here! To be honest, the tap water tastes the same round these parts, & probably is!
These are just a few of the many shots I got of this region, some of which I actually took while I was driving (naughty-naughty!), but everywhere you looked, every little gap in the hedge simply yielded another fantastic, breathtaking view. It might have been cold & it may have rained a lot, but this has to be one of my favourite areas yet! Enjoy.....