Adios Spain; Bonjour France

We had overnighted at Hondarribia with our eyes wide open, knowing that we were sharing a car park with 150+ motorhomes, and most of those being Spanish families, where the keeping of normal hours is very different to ours. 

Even when the people noise began to abate sometime between 11 and 12, there continued a seeming non-stop stream of fresh overnighters. Also cars were regularly circulating with the obligatory loud music booming. I noted the last vehicle to disturb me was at 3:23am. It seems that Sophie slept right through it, so I’ll need to blame my sleeping problem last night, not on the loud locals, but on the cortado espresso I had during the afternoon. 

Earlier in the evening we’d got chatting with our Brit neighbours, Liz and Rich from Leeds. They’d been away 4 months kite surfing in Southern Spain. We did the usual comparing of notes and tips and we got on very well, until Rich said that Sophie reminded him of Jo Brand. Sophie took it in good humour, Liz was mortified, and Rich quickly qualified that he was referring to her accent only. So no hard feelings and hopefully we’ll keep in touch with Liz and Dick, sorry, I mean Richard. 

I was unusually ready to roll this morning by 10am. It was a beautiful day and the seaside location, with its views across to France, only a matter of a few hundred metres away, was very lovely. Anyway, we then got chatting again to Liz and Rich, who has now been forgiven by Jo/Sophie. They were also talking to another fun Yorkshire couple, Anita and Paul. It seems that most Brits we’ve met on this trip so far are from up North. 

We finally dragged ourselves away by 11:30, and even Rich had to excuse himself for a shower and breakfast. This morning Hondarribia hosted a triathlon, with our carpark sitting at the centre of all 3 stages, which were happening all around us. I mention this because when we came to leave, we realised that the car park exit was cordoned off as the running stage crossed there. Anyway, 20+ minutes later we managed our escape, but prior to that, as a silent protest we both devoured a doughnut in full view of these elite athletes, realising what a torture it would have been for them, no doubt having been deprived of such luxuries for some time. 

In a very short space of time we had said our goodbyes to Spain, and without ceremony found ourselves back in our familiar France. My mission was to take Sophie on a route through a part of France she’d not seen before, which is no mean feat, so I chose a route that would ultimately take us to the right of Bordeaux, but making sure to keep to the left of Condom, which I understand we visited in the early part of this trip, although it has all become a blur, and hence the importance of this blog for us to remind us where we’ve actually visited. 

So Dax seemed perfectly placed and so before we set out this morning I programmed in a trip to a nice looking aire at St Paul les Dax. As it happened, Anita subsequently confirmed they’d been to that site and it was definitely worth a visit. We arrived at about 2:30, but it was quite small, with clearly defined, and limited, spaces between the trees, and there was nowhere to even pull over. A very kind Dutch lady stopped us and showed us an alternative aire in town. However, Park4night had indicated a pleasant spot in a small carpark lakeside, which is where we ended up. 

Sophie has just read that Dax has Roman heritage and that Henry II also had connections with the town. Henry’s wife was Eleanor of Aquitaine, with whom Sophie had once heard she had family connections. So perhaps I’ve made a good choice?

Apart from the live big band style music which is coming from across the other side of this otherwise peaceful lake it’s a very pleasant location. We long for weekends to be over when traveling because everywhere is so busy and stuff like this music, triathlons etc are strictly weekend events. 

One strange incident happened here just after our lunch. Obviously regular visitors to France will be aware of the perfectly acceptable practice of men having a pee more or less wherever they feel like it, sometimes being subtle about it, but mostly not. This afternoon though, an otherwise respectable lady, clearly oblivious of the fact that we were sat in the living space of our motorhome, walked into the trees near the road just to the side of us, but in full view, then standing there, facing us, removed her shoes, trousers, and pants and then did what she had to do. 

Being a true Brit, I removed myself to the rear blind side of the motorhome, where I could look the other way, but Sophie tells me that the spectacle continued as the lady struggled back into all her items of clothes, accidentally dropped a lady item in the grass, then returned to her respectable car in front of us, where she spent the next 15 minutes or so, trying to wash her trousers and shoes, which presumably must have somehow become caught up in the torrent. Bizarre – a great big welcome back to us from France, delivered in a way only France knows how. 

Not sure where we’ll end up tonight, but we’re both tired so I don’t think it’ll be too far from here. 

Progress as follows:

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