Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Views from the Road

No idea how to make this the 'right' size; I can live with this if you can...

The early days of the holiday were taken up with driving.  Our ultimate aim was to visit Simon at his new flat in the south of France.  This being our first journey to France in the motorhome, we had loads to learn. 

Lesson number one was not to be too ambitious about distances in an older motorhome. 

Lesson two was that the smaller roads are quite scenic, but there are roundabouts every few miles and the few places one can stop are not well marked.  What is saved in toll fares is probably lost in fuel efficiency.   Mind, you all probably watched the Tour de France and won't be at all surprised that France is scenic.

Lesson three:  the large highways are pretty boring.  You could be driving anywhere, they are so modernly non-descript.  However, there are well marked  rest areas (aires de repos) which are most welcome.


We only stayed one night at Châlons-en-Champagne and another at Port de Lyon before heading to our first long stay near the small village (about 600 pop.) of Bourdeaux in the Rhône-Alpes region. 

If Châlons was convenient for a bread shop, the site at Lyon gave access to a Hypermarche Auchan - looked like Wal-Mart to me, only without Wal-Mart People. 

Lesson four:  bread from a supermarket is not nearly as nice as from a boulangerie.


Beryl said...

How funny that we both thought of Walmart as the equivalent to the Hypermarche. While the bread there isn't as good as a bakery, it is still pretty good bread.

Beryl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rick Stone said...

We have pretty much the same attitude about our travels over here. Can make good time and easy driving on the Interstate system but not really going to see much. On the other hand driving the back roads, which is what I prefer, has to be at a slower pace, less places that will allow stopping (with a 37 foot coach and a full size car tied on behind) AND must be aware of backing up traffic behind us since I don't drive full highway speeds in this 32,000 pounds of coach and car.

Another thing about the backroads: Our coach is 102 inches wife (8'6") and many of the lanes are only ten feet wide. Add to that the fact that many don't have any shoulder a driver has to be very careful about keeping the right wheel on the road.

Anonymous said...

Love the pics...and all your lessons learned. : )

Shelley said...

Beryl - I must admit to having been relieved to find a place that sold fresh food of any kind within walking distance. Our store-bought bread was OK, but it went off pretty quick. This is one reason why traditional French bread works better - smaller loaves get eaten quicker (or is that better?) Hmmm.

Rick - My experience with most American backroads is that one main road has priority and all the side roads have to stop. The side roads don't tend to go as far. In France, the roundabouts mean that no one direction of traffic has priority, everyone has to slow down enough to consider right of way. Our motorhome is nowhere as large as yours, but staying on the road did seem a bit tricky at times,though thankfully not often. These weren't really back roads - most of them - they just were the very old original highways.

Bliss AKA VFC - I'm glad you like the photos and lessons. I'm big on learning lessons - it makes life easier and you get to make new mistakes!

Designing Domesticity said...

Wow, what a lovely driving tour. We once drove from London to Austria - I really don't think I appreciated it during the ride, but looking back, what great memories. Thanks for sharing yours, liz