San Remo, Menton, Biot, Monte Carlo, Frejus, St. Tropez, Six-Fours-les-Plages, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon
160 days away
288 miles / 463 km since last post
8,222 miles / 13,232 km total
The showers at the campsite in Vesimo were really poor. They cost 50 cents for just 4 minutes, they looked quite shabby, and they were outside of the shower block with nowhere to put your clothes or get changed. The worst showers we've come across in a while. Stu opted to try them out, but 4 minutes was nowhere near enough time to shower and wash your hair, so I decided to shower in the relative comfort of the motorhome instead.
We headed onto San Remo, which was a nice drive along the coast, through countless tunnels and across many bridges. We found a campsite so we could wash our clothes. Fortunately, the weather was a warm 21 degrees so we could hang out the washing to dry in the sun - something we haven't been able to do since being in Hungary. While the clothes dried we relaxed for the rest of the day. Stu decided to cook up a meal in the evening using the fresh artichokes he had bought a few days back in a local market. He was getting a bit stressed over miscalculating the cooking time for the artichokes, but after he had calmed down and I took over the rest of the cooking and everything turned out OK!
On Sunday we were woken around 8:30am by the sound of rain. After a few seconds we remembered that we still had the washing hanging outside, so it was a quick dash out of bed to retrieve the washing before it got wet. Thankfully, we'd got it just in time and the clothes were all dry. We left our site and parked in a car park right on the coast, then took the bikes for a ride along the coastal cycle path. We thought the view would be nicer than it was, but it was still a pleasant ride if just for the exercise.
We left San Remo and headed west, crossing the border into France. We had decided to find a stop not long after getting into France, and Stu had found one in our book located in Menton. This would be handy as we could then get a train nearby into Monaco. Unfortunately, trying to get to this site proved to be an utter nightmare. We hadn't anticipated the narrow roads and that the site was up a very steep hill. We managed to scrape through the narrow roads - with cars parked both sides of the road - but only with Stu pulling in our wing mirrors. Then came the hill! As we turned the first hairpin bend leading up the steep road, the motorhome front tyres started to slip and our clutch started to get very upset. I think the combination of the heavy vehicle, incredibly steep road and slightly slippery conditions due to the wet weather was causing us a serious issue. Feeling quite concerned, we had to just stop the motorhome on the incline after just the first bend - not an ideal location to stop due to traffic coming in both directions, but we were too worried to continue. Reversing back down wouldn't be an easy option, as I would have to navigate backwards, down a steep road around a tight bend. After a couple of minutes we decided to try going up. Stu had run further up to see how steep it got, and it seemed liked we may have been past the worst bit. Going round the next bend was fine, but the bend after that we had a similar clutch and tyre issue as before, though not quite as bad. After stopping for a second, we proceeded onwards. Feeling quite stressed out, but relieved that the steep hill was over with, we were very disappointed to find that the site we were heading towards was actually shut! We parked outside for a few minutes to work out where we would go next, and then had to head back down the steep road! At least going down was a lot easier. As I was driving down, I must admit I did wonder how the hell I'd managed to get up there in the first place!
The next site we headed to didn't seem to exist. We spotted a couple of motorhomes parked nearby on the side of a quiet road, and almost considered staying there the night. However, Stu managed to find another campsite not too far away. He phoned them up to make sure they actually existed and were open! I think we were both relieved to finally park up the motorhome for the night. Even better news was that there was a train station just under a kilometre away from which we could travel to Monaco.
On Monday morning we walked to the train station and headed off to Monaco - it took around 40 minutes. After some dreadful weather the previous day and night, we were extremely fortunate to have some sunshine. Once we arrived we took a general meander around Monaco and Monte Carlo. We took a walk up to the royal palace, where preparations were obviously in place for their national holiday the following day. There were flags being hung and camera equipment being organised. We had lunch at a cafe - with two sandwiches and two cans of soft drink costing nearly €20!
It was pleasant to walk around, and there were some good viewpoints across the harbour and the city. We decided to take a bus over to see the casino, as it was the other side of the city from where we were. Stu had originally thought about having a gamble, but it was another hour before the casino opened for business. Plus, it had started to rain at this point and it wasn't much fun to be outside. We'd felt we had seen most of the things that Monaco had to offer, which wasn't a huge amount to be fair - it had been an interesting place to visit all the same.
On Tuesday morning we were rudely awoken at 7:30am by a guy sitting in his car with his music on full blast! Unbelievable that someone would behave like that. Stu went out and told him to turn it down - he said the guy looked a bit startled, but at least he kept it down after that. When we got up properly, we headed out of the site and on to a site in Frejus. It seemed like a quiet place and we decided to take it as a lazy day, making use of the wi-fi available. After Stu complained that the internet was quite slow, he managed to blag double the allowance we'd paid for too. Result!
On Wednesday we drove to St. Tropez. We found a big parking area right on the sea front, and after a bite to eat headed into the town. It was quite interesting being here out of season as it was so quiet. A lot of the cafes and restaurants were shut. We took a walk up to the citadel, though I can't quite understand what the big attraction is for this place. I imagine that the hot weather and open restaurants in the summer probably makes it more appealing. We did find a lovely little cafe that was open however, and enjoyed a coffee and one of their lovely looking desserts on display. Both the coffee and dessert were delicious.
We had to pay by the hour for the parking, so headed out of St. Tropez and onto a nice little site at Six-fours-les-Plages. It was a really quiet site with electric and wifi included in the price, it seemed like a good place to spend a couple of days. The weather had turned pretty rotten by the time we arrived, with heavy rain and strong winds, but we were nice and cosy and warm in the motorhome.
It was my birthday on Thursday, and the day started with a lovely surprise birthday cake from Stu. He had obviously been arranging it with the receptionist the previous night. We had a lazy morning, and then later took a walk down to the beach as the weather had improved greatly upon last night. The wind had completely dropped and we had some lovely sunshine, although it was a little chilly. We had considered getting food out, but we had obviously missed the French lunchtime as everywhere serving food was closed. Instead, we picked up some snacks of olives and cheese on the way back and on arrival cracked open a bottle of Prosecco. After a few snacks, Stu cooked a great Thai red curry and we spent the rest of the evening quaffing Prosecco and listening to my choice of music (Stu normally hogs the music choices in the motorhome). It was a lovely birthday.
On Friday we awoke with slightly sore heads, got ready in the morning and then drove to Aix-en-Provence. We found a site, and made some lunch, before heading to the bus for the town centre. Aix-en-Provence was a very nice town, with lots of streets to explore. Whilst there weren't many sights as such, it had some amazing looking cafes, restaurants and food shops. We couldn't resist the temptation of buying something from one of these lovely shops. Stu opted for a slab of dark chocolate with hazelnuts from a chocolatier, and we also bought some orange flavoured biscuits from a bakery too. Stu said he fancied stopping for a drink somewhere and we just happened to be near an Irish pub at the time. Stu couldn't resist the temptation for a pint of Guinness so we popped in. I felt a bit guilty that we had come to this lovely town in Provence and then ended up in an Irish pub, but the Guinness was good!
We headed back on the bus just after dark, by which time it had got quite cold. I have finally been able to get some wear out of the winter coat I've brought with me. Not bad to be getting to the end of November before needing a coat for the first time!
It was a cold night, and a cold start to Saturday, although the sun was shining at least - a lovely winter morning. We drove to Avignon where we found ourselves a site to stay straight away, then headed into the town. It was only about a ten minute walk across a big bridge, and with the extreme winds I thought I was going to be blown into the road! We headed to a restaurant for some lunch, with the intention of just having something light. I opted for a chicken salad, and it was absolutely huge! But I have to say, it is probably the most delicious chicken salad I've ever had. It consisted of chicken, salad leaves, cous cous, puy lentils, potato salad, tomato, boiled egg, toast and the most amazing olive bread. It wasn't that cheap either, but happy to pay good money for a delicious meal.
We took a walk to the Palais des Papes, which is where Pope Clement V transferred the papacy to in 1309 to escape the political turmoil in Rome, and is where it remained for the next 68 years. We opted for a walk around rather than paying to go in. As we took a wander up through the gardens we had a lovely view over the river and town below.
After a gentle walk back through the town, and past some lovely shops and a big food market, we decided to head back to warmth and comfort of the motorhome.
Let The Bells Ring
Don't Let Me Down
I Live For You
Tie Your Mother Down
The Black Keys
Little Black Submarines
Momma Miss America