16th March 2011 – Azay Le Rideau to Gace

16 03 2011

Some days you have bad days and today was one of them.

Last night we had realised that we were only just under two hours from La Suze-sur-Sarthe which is an aire that we have used numerous times, for €3 it is right on the river Sarthe, has electricity and there is normally an open wi-fi signal available, I had loads of photos to upload as well as updating this which hadn’t been done since we were at Pego do Altar in Portugal, in addition we could use the wi-fi to check ferry prices and book Jack in at a vets prior to our departure back to the UK, all in all an ideal stop to get ourselves sorted before we continued north to Calais to catch the ferry back. We were up and away before 10am planning to get there relatively early and relax there for maybe two days before moving on again. It seemed as though we had been doing quite a bit of driving of late and we both felt like we needed a bit of a rest.

We arrived at La Suze-sur-Sarthe at around noon only to find that there were gypsies on the car park next to the aire, washing machines in the middle of the car park, clothes hanging everywhere, kids and dogs running around and no motorhomes on the aire at all. We didn’t feel too confident about stopping there for the night, in truth if there had been other motorhomes there then we probably would have stopped but it was most strange to see none there at all, it’s a popular aire and whenever we have stopped there there have always been others about. So, we had a bite to eat and reluctantly started checking out where we might be able to go that was within easy reach, it didn’t look too promising so we decided to go to a small town called Ballon which had a ruined chateau there, we thought that we might be able to stay somewhere there. There was nowhere for us to park for the night that we could see so we then headed to Montbizot which had an aire outside the campsite. We arrived there to find that the aire was closed, despite a sign saying that it would open on the 15th March so we headed off to the next one in Sille-le-Guillaume. Driving through the countryside toward the town was an experience that I didn’t make the most of, the views and scenery were spectacular but I simply was not in the right mood to be enjoying it. When we eventually arrived the aire there was awful, right on the car park for the main train station but not in the main part, tucked away down the bottom end amongst what looked like disused factory units, not ideal at all. We did have a walk around the town to see if there was somewhere suitable for us to stay but we couldn’t find anywhere so we headed off again. I was hot, tired and getting increasingly annoyed about little things, it’s been fine giving up smoking up until this point but it’s in situations like this that I really missed being able to have a calming smoke!

Our next port of call was a town called Fresnay-sur-Sarthe which also had an aire but this too was very badly located indeed. Well out of the town and alongside an old train station, a bit rough and too remote for our liking. We did manage to get some water there though which was welcome as we also had the problem that we were empty. We stopped there for a while and scoured the book on aires that we have trying to find something suitable, in the end deciding to head toward a town called Gace which had parking available outside the Town Hall, on the way there we would look for other places to spend the night as it was just under an hour and a half away. It was starting to drop dark and typically the mist was coming down as well. We didn’t find anywhere on the way but when we did arrive at Gace (N48°47.730′ E000°17.767′) we were both very relieved indeed. Not only were there 3 other motorhomers parked there but we immediately recognised one that we had seen at Vivonne a couple of days earlier and, very strangely, one that we had briefly met whilst parked at Boiro in Spain last year!

Finally happy and settled we managed a short walk with Jack who had been most patient with our faffing about all day before eating a thrown together dinner of Toulouse sausages with a mix of chilli and bolognaise all washed down with a bottle of Monsaraz from our Portuguese stocks. Not the kind of day we particularly enjoy, not the kind of day you generally expect to have when you are in a country with such a good network of aires but, these days come along every now and then and to be fair, this is the first of this trip so we haven’t done too badly I suppose.

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