Sunday, 31 July 2016

A warmer sun!

Since I've moved to Norway the one summer road trip has pretty much been a thing. But three in three months is somewhat new :). Yup, after the western fjords in May and then the southern coast in June, it was time for a proper change of scenery and for July it was the middle of France!

Another thousand odd kilometres, a week, this time, of fantastic weather and much bigger vistas of plains, hills, valleys and distant mountains. But it all started in Terminal 1 of Paris Charles DeGaulle airport with me getting handed the keys to a black Panda. Yeah, not the most fantastic of cars, however, one of the more entertaining ones I've ever driven :P.

The plan was to drive down to Limoges through Melun, Fontainebleau, Orleon and Vierzon, keeping off the big roads to enjoy the scenery along smaller windier roads. Armed with road maps instead of a GPS, that part of the plan worked out really well. Then, meaning to get to the airport at Limoges on time, we thought to take the fast motorway from Vierzon, only to realise that while the speed limit was 130 kmph and cars were going faster, the little Panda was magnificently unhappy at anything above 110. In fact 90 was the most you could reasonably expect it to do, especially heading uphill :).

We did make it to Cisternes (a village in the middle of the Millevaches natural park area that I'm sure not many people have ever heard of :D) eventually and so began a week of perfect holidaying! There was no wi-fi internet, no consistent phone coverage, (to be fair, who wants phone coverage on holiday anyway) no TV and basically no interruptions to the enjoyment of the weather, food and the surrounding nature :).

A succession of bright sunny days drove up the mercury all the way to 37 degrees Centigrade and there being many brilliant lakes within close driving distance, we made the most of the temperatures with frequent trips to go swimming! There was even a day when as I waded into the water I didn't even feel the slightest bit of cold! Not something I ever expect to happen in Norway :D.

There were walks in the woods to pick myrtles, early morning drives down into the town of Meymac to grab some fresh baked croissants and bread, trips to farmers markets for fresh fruits and vegetables as well as a mind blowing assortment of meats and cheeses. There was a rather lovely concert at a nunnery nearby on one of the evenings and even a wedding in the village, with trains of honking cars following the newlyweds.

All too soon however, it was time to head back, and knowing the Panda's aversion to high speeds and big motorways, we devised a route consisting entirely of smaller roads. A few stops on the way at small towns made it quite the ideal way of rounding off the whole trip. Although once we did get back home and I got to drive my own car, I was greatly relieved :).

Since then it has been a mixed week of rain and sun. Sadly not much cycling. Although I did manage a fair bit of cycling in the weeks leading up to the France trip. One hopes there will be some more sunny days before the days start shortening too much. I guess we shall see.