Andorra to Calais Week 102  March 18th 2013
We stopped a couple of days in the municipal campsite at Albie.

Neatly trimmed hedges for the birds to sit on. 

Next to the River Ariege.

But no shops.

I heard this rather old tractor before I saw it.

Nicely tuned. And not at all like more recent tractors.

The Ariege tumbles down from the Pyrennees.

If the weather was better we would find a valley and go for a walk.

But alas.

France is in the grip of its worst snow since 1970.

At least the north west. Around Calais. The NW is on orange alert, most of the rest of the country yellow alert, near the Pyrennees green alert.

Alerts that don't really tell us much apart from roads closed, motorists stuck in long jams, and rail / air services cancelled. Little detail about "which roads". The weather forecast looks like a series of lows.

The south east of England is similarly snowed in.

We stocked up at the supermarket "just in case".

The reason we didn't hear it raining in the night was because it snowed.
And it continued to snow during the day.

Though the roads were clear.

We headed down a few minor roads to an Aires at Alcambal.

Tired after a couple of hundred km watching traffic and weather. To say nothing of roundabouts every few km.

We've been avoiding "peage" (toll roads).

An old chateau that was a mixture of lived in and falling to pieces.

And a disused railway station.

The village was "closed". Apart from the boulangerie which we'll stop at in the morning.

We sat in the Aires (the car park next to the Mairie) for a bit.

Went for a walk and discovered the River Lot a few hundred meters away.

At this time of year we figured no-one was going to complain if we stayed in the fishing / dog walking / boat mooring spot next to the river.

Another walk along the river bank and the sun came out for a short while.

We'll see if "red sky at night" is true.

There must be a bit of "pressure" for out of the way sites. In bygone days it was for "lovers' lanes". This morning there were a couple of discarded empty boxes and instructions for methadone. Apart from a couple of over zealous Moroccans offering us smokes and a discarded syringe somewhere in Scandinavia we've seen little of drugs. Not something we need.

Headed almost due north we crossed the Loire at Cahors.
And later the Dordogne.

We are just a bit east of Les Eysies.

Stopped the night below Eguzon Dam.

Truck is visible mid right (as a white dot).

Below zero inside in the morning. And a bit colder outside. Brrrrrrr.

Good timing. The heater fan in the cab is on a go slow and will need some maintenance.

Through Orleans.

Avoiding the "peage" takes us through some interesting places.

Its not an illusion. The arch is on an angle of about 20 degrees from vertical.

North of Orleans we began to see signs of last week's snow.
But much more interesting was Ivry La Bataille.
Possibly a "guppy". Used by Airbus to transport parts.

Maybe Mercedes could use a bit of help.

EDIT: thanks to Denis (who we met in Quiberon) for identifying the plane as a French made Breguet Deux Ponts. Two decks. In service between 1953 - 1972. Maybe it was Boeing learned from Breguet! 

Across the Seine.

Maybe the rivers flow from the Pyrennees and the Alps towards the sea.

Perhaps it doesn't look like a north south or east west country because there are so many bridges.

Though we are aware of making a few detours.

The snow ploughs must have worked overtime here.
To Ault.

The Aires is up the hill to the right.

Victor Hugo must have had a holiday home here.

Its where the flat coastal plain ...

... meets the cliffs.

Victor also observed that since it didn't have a port the population were absorbed in lock making.

We've had no success at finding wi-fi so called in to a MacDonalds.

Thanks for the wi-fi, we really appreciated it, but we didn't try the food.

The weather is still miserable as we near Calais.

More by accident than design we drove through the middle of Calais.

Just as well its Sunday with little traffic.

We're reasonably certain that some of the signs meant we shouldn't have been there.

England tomorrow. And another phase in the journey.

Fleetwood, Grasscroft, Peak District and Spilsby, England Week 102 - 107 March 18th - April 26th 2013

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