Thursday, 16 September 2010

Champagne; drink or region, you're welcome to it! (Rhóne to Champagne continued)

It was an all day drive again, only on 3 brakes this time, but I'm not a fast driver anyway & the car seemed to stop as well as it always has.

This drive from Rhóne to Champagne takes me right through the Borgogne region, another beautiful area, where I stopped before (remember "Lakeside & down to earth" post?) It was somewhere towards the north of this region where the weather changed, black clouds, howling wind & relentless rain were here to stay, all the way to Dunkirk actually, although I wasn't to know that, obviously.

So I was back up north, with wheat fields as far as the eye can see, criss-crossed by undulating, arrow straight roads. Would've been lovely without the wind & rain, but I had a job to do, a ferry to catch in fact. One more night of camping, in the Champagne region, that was all that was left of my holiday, the following night would most likely be a couple of hours sleep, snatched in the car, somewhere near Dunkirk ferry terminal.

I eventually found the village I was looking for, a little place called Lusigny-Sur-Barse (in the Aube area of the Champagne-Ardenne region), which was supposed to have a municipal site. Well, it had lots of new houses springing up all over the place, I eventually found a map in the village centre, showing the municipal site next to the sports stadium. When I got there they both looked derelict, all the fixtures & fittings of the site had gone, leaving a couple of rows of pitches, with well over-grown grass & empty concrete bollards separating them & an empty shell at the end which had once been a shower block. What a shame.

There was another site not too far away, which was also indicated on a newer town map in the centre, it was another 2 star, a few km out of town, only 8€50 this time, still a bit over the top in my opinion, but a good site nonetheless.

It was still blowing a gale & absolutely pissing it down when I got there, so I picked a pitch & sat in the car for the obligatory half hour waiting for it to stop. Then remembered the previous trend in these situations was to get the tent up, getting both myself & the tent very wet in the process, then the rain would stop as I was banging the final peg in. That's what had happened the other 3 times I'd been forced to set up in the rain, not this time though, this time it was so persistent I had to bring the cooker into the porch & zip the door shut just to make myself a coffee! Which was a bit of a fire risk, but I was being careful & enjoyed the extra warmth.

I also had no need to get the maps out for the following day, as I knew I had to go to Dunkirk, via Adinkerque, the first town across the Belgian border, where tobacco was almost half the price it was in France.

So, after a rainy dash to the shower block, I settled in for the evening. I cooked myself something unexciting, got my latest book out & laid there on my slowly deflating readybed (no, the tenacious tape didn't work & I was getting fed up with trying) listening to the wind & rain, convincing myself it would be nice & sunny the following morning, & wondering where I was going to dry the tent out when I got back home.

I didn't care much for the Champagne region, I feel that it's a bit over-rated, just like the drink. But I did like the roads, they were nice & grippy in the wet, unlike most of the other French roads, which are nice & quiet to drive on, but seem to hold a lot of water when it rains, making them quite greasy.

Anyway, here's a pic of the river Sein, which ran through the town. A very ornate & strange looking weir, which I simply had to get a shot of....

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