Today we’ve covered quite a few miles. More than we intended to be honest, but needs must. We have a problem with Vince’s awning where one of the struts has snapped its plastic mounting so we did a bit of research and found a specialist in Narbonne. We thought trying to explain the problem in limited French would be easier than explaining it later in non-existent Spanish!
After topping up with fresh water we set off from the Lac Du Laouzas in torrential rain. Although the aire we were in was supposed to cost €7, nobody came to collect it so we benefited from free electricity all night meaning we can go another couple of nights without needing a camp site. The roads were a little challenging at first but we soon picked up some wider and faster D roads as we headed south through the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut Languedoc. These roads have been filed away in my “must come back on the bike” folder; fast sweeping bends with many a hairpin thrown in to keep us awake.
We paused to admire a few villages along the way; St-Pons-de-Thomières, the administrative centre of the area and La Salvetat-sur-Agout which seemed to be a ghost town with nothing moving in the narrow Vince-and-a-bit wide streets. We found a campsite near the church in St Chinian but decided not to stay in case the bells of St Chinian’s kept us awake.*
Once we’d tackled the horrific traffic on the ring-road round Narbonne some two hours later, we squeezed into the packed car park of the motorhome dealer. I’d been rehearsing my speech to the service assistant all the way down and to my surprise he knew exactly what I was saying. He had a quick look at the offending parts on the van then took me through the parts listing on his PC – all this in French eek! He worked out prices and added in labour costs to come up with a salty €327. After much agonising we decided to go ahead – another assistant took down our details and said they’d give us a call when the parts came in. As an afterthought Gill asked roughly how long – expecting a day or two – to be told FOUR WEEKS! Sadly that’s a non-starter so we’ll be without shade until we get home. Mind you it won’t be a problem unless this bloomin’ rain lets up. A friendly Irishman we met tonight assures us that from the weekend it’s going to be sunshine all the way; but then again they’ll give you any old blarney if you offer them a drink 😉
To add insult to injury we were right out of provisions so we (Gill) had to do a massive shop in Narbonne. I offered to accompany her round the store but apparently it doesn’t take her so long if I’m not there to ‘help’. While Gill was shopping I had a look at accommodation options but really didn’t feel like driving much further so we did a half hour through rush-hour traffic to Narbonne Plage. This collected our third sea of the trip – I dipped my toes in the Channel in Arromanches, in the Atlantic on the Île de Ré and in the Mediterranean today.
And don’t talk to me about the French priorité à droite rule where drivers entering a main road are given priority. I thought I’d picked up all the signs coming out of Narbonne until I missed one – just one – and was rewarded by a toot and a screech of brakes. What a stupid ****** rule it is anyway..! Thank goodness it’s hard to miss Vince looming up from the left.
Today hasn’t been a picture-taking day really so I’ll leave you with a screenshot (literally) of last night’s stop, tonight’s stop and er…some sand on this Mediterranean beach. Hopefully things will look up a bit tomorrow 🙂
*Ask your Mum