Chez le Médecin….

Greetings from a little town called Bourcefranc de Chapus which is on the west coast of France just North of Bordeaux and the Gironde estuary. We are parked up in a lovely little car park; some may call it a garage forecourt but for tonight it’s an official, fully authorised Aire de Camping…..

After my last post we’ve been trundling slowly through France, taking the slow scenic roads wherever possible. As a result we’ve seen plenty of French day-to-day life, including an elephant being taken for a walk….
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We went through the Dordogne, which we visited on our first Kampington adventure in late 2012, stopping off this time in the area around Les Eyzies de Tayac Sireuil. We’re finding that quite a few aires in France have had their water turned off for the winter, including the one at Les Eyzies. No matter though: at St Cyprien, a nice little town about 10km down the road, we found everything turned on and the Office de Tourisme was even open for us to buy the obligatory jetons (the tokens you need in some places to get water and, at St Cyprien, the luxury of electricity from the service post).

We found that most places in the Dordogne had a “Fermeture Annuelle” sign dangling in the window. Come back in April if you want to see anything or buy anything! Undeterred, we visited the Musée Nationale de Préhistoire, which happens to be in Les Eyzies and as a national museum, was open (well, except for Tuesdays and an exceptionally long period over lunch). It started off really well way back with the discoveries of our early relatives in Eastern Africa so we had high hopes. There were also some interesting displays on the animals to be found in Europe at various points in time and some big animals to look at….

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It wasn’t long though before we found ourselves gazing at the usual row after row / case after case of sharpened bits of rock used as tools. I am sure that if you’re knowledgeable or passionate about such things it’d be fascinating, but I’m afraid that to me the bits of rock pretty much all looked extremely similar…. Oh well….. The museum is housed in a very flashy new building. Here’s Mark on the roof terrace with Cro Magnon man (a group of whom were found in the area and date to about 40,000 years ago. Unlike most remains, these were no youngsters – they were all about 50 years of age – so I guess the archaeologists dug up the remains of a very early old folks’ home).

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We then headed North West to rejoin the coast North of Bordeaux, planning to follow the coast up as far as St Nazaire before turning inland along the Loire valley. We stopped off today at a Mercedes garage in Royan, just across the Gironde estuary from Bordeaux. They sent us in the direction of the garage we’re now camped outside, about half an hour away but on our planned route anyway so no detour required.

We are hoping to find a solution to Kampingtons Jessiedom tomorrow…… Basically Kampington still refuses to start in the morning without a squirt of WD40 down his air inlet. Strangely, as soon as he’s started once he behaves impeccably for the rest of the day. Then the next morning we start all over again….. The garage was able to rule out some things this afternoon but they can’t work out exactly what the problem is while Kampington’s starting fine. No problem though, the bloke from the garage had a cunning plan….

We went off and visited the nearby Île d’Oléron for the rest of the afternoon. When they closed up for the day, they left an empty parking space lined up facing the workshop doors and closed the big sliding gate to the car park but didn’t lock it. We could then let ourselves in later and park up for the night.

Tomorrow morning, they are planning to push Kampington into the workshop (rather them than me….) in his cold uncooperative state and set to work on finding the exact problem.

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Fingers crossed that the French Kampington doctors will work their magic and all will be well again very soon….

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