Gamages to Briare

Our second day was definitely a “day of two halves”. Determined to start as she meant to go on, Sophie decided we’d go for a walk. With my invaluable maps.me app, which works entirely offline, I was able to work out a circular route along some tracks, and importantly I could tell it was of a suitable Sophie length. It was a great walk actually, and having spent many hours walking as a child with an archaeologist, I was convinced that I’d come across an ancient flint-working area, so that was fun.

So far so good.

We then headed off in no particular hurry and Sophie very soon caught wind of a chateau. Once it’s in her sights then a visit is inevitable. So we found ourselves parked up outside the Chateau Saint Jean in Nogent-le-Rotrou, and soon realised that we’d been here on a previous trip. Ordinarily, the only way I can get out of a chateau visit is if we’ve seen it before, but by now it was too late. As it happened, it was a very pleasant walk around the castle, and we were soon back on the road.

In a similar fashion we found ourselves parked up beneath the imposing chateau at Châteaudun. This was a rare occasion when Sophie played the “but we’ve walked round it before” card, but I think the steep climb and ever increasing heat had something to do with it. So we enjoyed a relaxing cheese and bread lunch on board, followed by a stroll by the River Loir (not the Loire in this case).

From here on, began the distinctly different second half of the day. As we set off after lunch, the temperature was 30C, and fluctuated between 30 and 33 for the rest of the journey. This, added to the seemingly endless straight roads, plus a poor night’s sleep definitely did not add up to a great atmosphere for the afternoon.

Anyway, I’d laid on a great venue for the night, so I was hopeful all would be OK in the end, and it sort of was, but not without incident.

Briare is an attractive riverside town, and is particularly famous for having a bridge that carries the canal across the Loire. Being a sunny Sunday afternoon, I did know that it would be busy, but fortunately I had anticipated this. These days, we very rarely overnight in motorhome aires and only really use them to get water and empty our toilet, or for day parking. The one in Briare was packed anyway, but Park4night had indicated parking around the corner, near a children’s playground, and it was an excellent stop.

From here we had easy access to Briare’s famed bridge along the canal, and the place to ourselves to overnight in. This really suited us, as the greatest risk we consider when overnighting in a motorhome is noise disturbance by others in their vans, or the neighbourhood in general.

To finish off the day in style, as we were eating our dinner outside, a few young men in BMWs sped past us, adding a fine layer of dust to our food. They pulled up round the corner, but still in sight and decided to have a somewhat heated argument. This led to the inevitable bout of fisticuffs, which I’ve always found safer to ignore, unless one party has an unfair advantage. Sophie, having been coddled by going to an all-girls school doesn’t really understand this rule of the jungle, despite me explaining that this was pretty much a typical happening for most of my school life, apart from the BMWs, or even cars. So, whilst I just pretended nothing was happening, Sophie shouted at them to stop, which of course they didn’t. Anyway, it didn’t last much longer, and they were soon gone.

So the end to a perfect day really, and did I mention that on day two of a trip of almost 40 days, in 30C heat, that our fridge/freezer decided to pack-up. What joy.

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