|Ogelet and Gilley, The Jura, France||Week 31 16th - 18th November 2011|
| Our first loo stop for the day.
With apologies to Barry Humphries and anyone else who uses Australian euphemisms.
The photo was an accident, but it seems we really do have a porcelain pedestal pointed at percee!
| A quiet chuckle as we crossed a motorway.
That's a toll gate.
We had a minor altercation with an automated toll booth earlier as we couldn't figure out where to put the money.
We are trying to avoid Geneve without using motorways.
Its like Switzerland has a big toe that cuts south west into France. We feel the need to go round it.
A quiet lunch stop.
Just noticing the green grass and the variety of trees (most of which we are totally incapable of naming).
We have our entire music collection on USB sticks. Today it seemed appropriate to play the soundtrack from Chocolat. A book and film we like.
| But this really is France!
Bread and cheese for lunch.
We had a moment's thought of Susanna (China guide) and the poor substitute of "crackers", non-French cheese and imitation margarine that we inflicted on her.
We've been dreaming of this moment for some time. And thoroughly pigged out so we needed a short post lunch snooze.
Just as well we didn't add any wine or we wouldn't have moved for the rest of the day.
The netbook gave us a bit of all important information that we had been lacking. Diesel is Gazole in France. Looks like its a little bit cheaper than Italy and Hungary.
| We also gave thought to the source of the cheese.
Viewed from our window at lunch time.
Even the cows are different in France! We've seen a few hints but this variety of cattle and the sort of dairy farming has mostly been absent from our travels up to now.
| Navigation was a bit painful at times as we found minor
roads across the normal flow.
But we feel like we've clipped Switzerland's big toe nail and are headed north on the French side of the border with Switzerland.
We've watched so many "Tour De France" tv transmissions that we are feeling at home!
| One of the helpful bits was that green sign - "toutes
Our gps was very insistent about going through the middle of towns. We followed the signs. Proudly ignoring the incessant "route recalculation" of the gps. Confident that we knew better. And only occasionally having our confidence dented.
The two members of the gendarmerie we saw were directing traffic around a broken truck. A welcome change from carrying oversize guns and annoying motorists by pulling them over for no obvious reason.
| Christmas is coming.
Along with all the other road obstacles we encountered a few truck mounted cranes in use for putting up the decorations.
| Lake Vauglans.
The tide is out!
Our private beach.
| We camped on a headland jutting out into the lake.
Walked about 100m down a steep bank for the previous photo of the lake.
There was evidence of a camp fire.
Very noticeable was the lack of litter.
We've noticed that the large piles of empty plastic bottles and other rubbish of Asia have been replaced with a few festoons of used loo paper in some of the roadside rest areas as we cross Europe.
| Part of the morning ritual is disposing of rubbish.
We can't really define where it changed, somewhere partway through Ukraine we think, but its pleasant to find rubbish bins that aren't overflowing.
Ali is rigorously checking that its the sort of bin that we can put our rubbish in. I attended to the much more important task of unlocking the front hubs (locked just in case we needed them on the narrow, wet, track to our campsite).
| There was a note pinned to a tree at the entrance to our
campsite which read "Dear Friends, Welcome to you all in our
beautiful area and thank you for coming". It was in 4 languages.
On a nearby tree was a poem. Unfortunately our French wasn't good enough to translate but we think we caught the gist of it.
This "Lire un Paysage" was next to a description of "Landscape Reading". We are instantly at home with the concept of the countryside as a book to be read. Just pleasantly surprised at the signs.
We think a "well done" to the Maitrice d'oeuvere, Olivier Francois.
|A last look at Lake Vouglans.|
|We'd been headed towards Ongelet to camp when we happened
on our lakeside retreat.
France has "Aires". Remember we inherited a book of Aires from a couple of Kiwis in Budapest.
Ongelet has an Aire with a service point for camping cars and room for ten cars to camp - at no charge.
We haven't seen an Aire and thought we should have a look so we know for when we really need one.
| There was one overnight occupant of the Aire.
Nobody home for a chat though.
The Aire is a hop skip and a jump from the center of the village.
One thing we couldn't help noticing was that while the cafes were all closed all of the ten or so coiffures (hairdressers) were open. I need a haircut, but today was not the day.
Couldn't help wondering why so many coiffures in this particular village.
| The 18th century convent. Now a private residence.
The Ancien Couvent des Capucions.
|A simple memory of the second world war above a door opening onto the village square.|
|Somewhere near here is a 16th century college.|
| L'eglise Notre Dame.
Not the one in Paris and very different.
If you look closely you'll notice that the clock has only one hand.
Memories of the castle near where I went to school as that clock also has only one hand.
Its not that its fallen off. The big hand is of course redundant! Not necessary to tell the time.
Perhaps the origin of my suspicion of things digital which promise so much more but generally fail miserably.
|Classical quadripartite gothic arches.|
|The window behind the altar is stained glass.|
| The church was originally built in the 13th century,
rebuilt in the 17th century.
The original spire was replaced after the ten years war (1645) with a dome topped with a lantern.
|More cows and green grass.|
|A mosaic pattern on a church spire as we drove north east, parallel to the border with Switzerland.|
|And after making a fuss about the lack of fences in Mongolia we have to notice the presence of stone walls in the farming landscape.|
|Plus mechanical muck spreading.|
| Vive La France!
This one got away but the generally less intrusive visual pollution of western Europe is noticeable to us.
The only use we have for MacDonalds is their free wi-fi which we haven't yet used but will be grateful for if we do, and of course to poke fun at.
Memories of carting our children around Europe for 4 months in a tent and successfully avoiding the big M - we can't remember all the excuses we had but there were many! And they worked!
Will they ever forgive us?
We didn't manage a photo but we did see a sign for a fast fooderie (can't remember the French). At least one other person understands its not the food that's fast!
| The centre of Gilley.
The Mairie is the grey building on the right opposite the church.
| We are camped a couple of km outside Gilley.
Why we are here is really simple. The camping ground is open, while most are closed, and we need another rest.
Camping Le Lava.
Somewhere in Italy we made a decision about which direction to head. We'd been vascillating a bit.
Our original plan was to head for the warmer climate of southern Spain and Portugal then head north to be in Scotland for niece's wedding at Easter.
After a phone call to friends Tim and Angela in England we decided to head there and do some overdue truck repairs. I really wasn't looking forward to trying to do some of the work from a camping ground, in a foreign language, with inadequate tools. Possible, but would take so much longer.
Apart from which, none of the camping grounds have had clothes driers and only some have washing machines.
We've also noticed its nice when we can talk English other than street English to someone other than each other.
| After pigging out on bread and cheese for lunch again we
thought we should go for a walk.
A disused rail line converted to walking / cycling track and a couple of country lanes to walk off lunch.
Quite a few other people cycling or walking.
A hint of rain in the air though as the barometer is falling. As is the temperature.
| This rather innocuous looking bit of laneway provided us
with our excitement for the day.
It rained a little last night. Just enough to wet the grass and the road.
And then it froze overnight.
Fortunately we only tried to walk across it rather than drive.
The penny dropped as we slid half way across. Black ice and immediate thoughts of Dave's warnings. Not a good day to be driving - just as well we aren't.
Apart from that the sun is shining, there's lots of amps from the solar, and its a nice day for a walk.
| We headed towards Gilley.
A couple of km away.
| Across the railway line and past the station.
Some welds, some fishplates. The rails are shiny but we haven't seen or heard any trains.
The line is from Pontarlier (behind us) to both Besancon and across the border into Switzerland.
| A couple of hours walk and we returned with our bounty.
Our French village didn't disappoint. As well as everyone we passed saying "bonjour" with a smile it had a boucherie and an artisan boulangerie, as well as a supermarche. Life is so much easier when the shops are recognisable and we understand a bit more of the language.
It also had a coiffure which I again avoided.
A baguette, a boulo (we think - at least "one of those" round loaves of bread), a bottle of chardonnay, some chocolat, and, last but not least, a bread knife.
That most important piece of kitchen equipment that we forgot to pack - we've obviously become too used to cutting soggy bread.
Thence more fresh bread and cheese for a lunch we convinced ourselves we've earned.
A long overdue day of simply pottering.
Not sure why! To add to our delight neither Ogelet nor Gilley are mentioned in our guide book!
|Vasoul, St Dizier, and Soissons, to Calais, France||Week 32 19th - 23rd November 2011|
|Tony LEE||Fri, 25 Nov 11 23:01:12 +1100|
|In France, cheapest fuel is nearly always from the fuel outlets run by the supermarkets.|
Best thing about baguettes going stale so quickly is you are compelled to eat the morning one asap and buy another fresh-baked one after lunch.
Glad you made it OK.
|Rodney||Sat, 26 Nov 11 21:50:27 +1100|
|Just finished catching up with your travel up to now. What an awe-inspiring adventure & what a tribute to you both that you are still talking to each other. Well done all round.|
|Daughter Jennifer||Sun, 27 Nov 11 11:56:22 +1100|
|I'm not entirely sure Rach has forgiven you for lack o macDonalds visits in Europe, but I can't Tolerate the stuff now beyond the occassional hash brown.|