Spent last night at Chatres-sur-Cher. Sounds so simple, doesn't it?
We'd left Auxerre reasonably early that morning to visit Chablis. We parked at the Intermarche supermarket to stock up, then left the van in the carpark to cycle into the old town. Pretty, of course: narrow, winding stone walled lanes, all apparently built on top of one another. And then I thought, I'm pretty close to my neighbors back home, albeit in a weatherboard sort of way. Many of the lanes in Chablis won't even admit a small car. On your velo - bike- however, you can go anywhere.
Next drove to Vierzon, about 90k away. This was the closest biggish place to where Al had spotted, on the map & in the camping guide, what he thought would be an ideal camping, between the river Cher & its canal. But the place, Chatres-sur-Cher, wasn't on the map.
Well, getting to Vierzon wasn't a problem. Easy. When we arrived we found it was a sprawling suburban 'working class' sort of place. No indication of which way to go to find our 'ideal' camping.
We stopped in a Maccas. The young girl serving couldn't have been more obliging. She even drew a map with traffic lights and a 'hopital' to show us the way. If only I'd had her 'plan' - map - the right way up when I was giving Al directions.
Al was very kind.
Eventually we found the camp on the road to Tours & it was so ideal that it only cost 8 euros for the site & we could park anywhere cos there was only one other couple there. As an added bonus we'd found the only canal in France without a cycle/tow path so no rides there.
On the other hand, the washing machine was free & it was blowing such a gale that our washing dried within a couple of hours. Also had a bit of an opportunity to develop my French skills when the washing machine flooded. (Pardon Madame. Il y' a l'inundation dans les douches. Excuse me, madam. I've flooded the showers.) Struck up quite a rapport with the patron - boss - as we mopped the laundry floor.
Actually, that camp in the middle of nowhere was wonderful. Big river; sun on my back; no traffic noise. And the woman at reception was delighted - & surprised - to have customers. She spoke absolutely no English so my French got a good workout. Also got the showers & toilets to myself in the morning. Very cleansing.
Now, we're in the municipal camping in Onzain in the Loire valley. Got a bit shirty on the way here. We were searching for a four star camping as recommended by the guide book. Was like solving a goblin's riddle - or is it a troll? - trying to find the place. When we did, at the divorce stage, it was a veritable suburbia of tin cabins & indoor heated swimming pools. Despite the 90 minute search for the sodding place, it wasn't for us. We returned, through the vines and waving barley fields & tortuous villages, to the basic municipal on the Loire. And, btw, right on the cycling route along the Loire.
Hard to remain shitty when you've screamed with joy into the wind whipping through the Loire valley as you cross the bridge - walking your bike because otherwise you'd be swept off.
Tomorrow, a 46 k round trip along the flat between here - Onzain - and Blois. With chateaux to spare.