Well, I’ve gotten all behind (we had a crazy couple of days then I kinda lost my stride…) so I’m going to try and bring you up to speed….
From Agen we headed to the dramatic and gorgeous La Teste-de-Buch. When a friend suggested it I hadn’t realised that it is the location of a ridiculously big sand dune. Like huge. 117 metres, in fact. And I was fortunate enough to find a site right at the base of it.
That didn’t, however, help much when I came to climb the thing. Yeah, it’s big but it’d be rude not to have tried. So I did. With M slung on my front I gave it my best shot. I dug deep and, on all fours, I pushed and pushed on up the crazy incline. Until I thought I would pass-out. And since I have a history of doing exactly that, when the sparkles started coming I made a hasty retreat, sliding and twisting back down the half part of dune I’d made it up, just in time to detach M and throw up in the sand. Well, at least I didn’t black out in the end! But certainly not my most elegant of athletic endeavors.
M made do, while I pulled myself together, by eating sand. Quickly becoming a favourite snack!
I’m not sure if it was the sand that did it, but that evening M developed a nasty temperature of 39 degrees. Had me very worried and checking it every hour through the night, googling local hospitals, until it finally broke in the early hours.
I decided to leave early and head for La Rochelle in the hope of some better fortune…
The route to La Rochelle was no particularly eventful, except for the short diversion to avoid a house in La Teste’s village whose garden had disappeared into the Earth. Yes. It was at least 10 feet lower than where it appeared to have been previously. I didn’t mind avoiding that patch of ground much at all!
I found myself in favour again nabbing one of the last couple of pitches in the town’s municipal campsite – just a 10 minute walk from the centre, perfect. We both needed time to rest, stroll, munch and just ‘be’ for a bit, and La Rochelle provided an ideal opportunity. It is a place full of charm, well-preserved character and beauty. It also ended up being a great place for a rare lunch out (we normally picnic at a service station – not nearly holidayish enough for me!).
During the day M seemed a lot better than he’d been, but come the evening the fever struck again and after another very wakeful night by 4am I’d planned my route to Calais and decided to head for home.
It would seem that leaving a campsite at that hour is not the done thing to do so it took a little persuasion to get the security guards to agree to let me out. They came to check on my final packing and I think it was the sight of me changing yet another very sloppy nappy in the dark to convince them of my need to escape, and in the end they were both very gracious about it.
There is a surrealness to driving abroad just before dawn on your own, that I found kind of other-worldly. The sunrise was beautiful and almost worth the early rise in itself.
As I passed through the final few peages and watched the satnav slowly count down the hours left from 7, I started to strongly feel the pull from home – imaging our lovely bed, that I was realising I would actually get to before dusk, I felt the emotion and tiredness hit me. Fitting, really, that the only proper bad weather came that day to accompany me and my mood back home.
(M having a go at driving through the Tunnel)
The destination was well-worth the hours put in driving. My bed has never felt so wonderful to be back in!
As M conked out and I caught my breath, I reflected on the miles we’d done, places we’d seen, beautiful people we’d met… And I fell asleep smiling…