We were rewarded with vines, wines and beaches in the Bordeaux region after a long drive from Languedoc. Over the Massif Central with a lunch stop in Roquefort (home of the wonderfully creamy blue sheep’s cheese and a must for foodies and cheese lovers!) brought us to our friends already settled in a nice rural campsite at Rauzan just outside of Bordeaux. Our travels, over the next days, around Bordeaux and Medoc regions taking in as much as we could of the vines, wines and beaches of this fascinating area. Some places such as Saint Emilion surprised us with its many fairy tale chateaus surrounded by a carpet of vines all set up for wine loving tourists… and the medieval town centre, though busy, had some quiet, romantic places. Pomerol and St Esteph were particularly disappointing with a distinct industrial feel between the few more ordinary chateaux. The wine never the less was wonderful and of course we took advantage of the abundant wine-tasting and tasted and bought as much as we physically could. But our direction now was north and home. Already desperately sad to be gradually losing the heat and the sunshine we shivered outside the van in the evening though it was still 22 degrees. A check of the map and the weather forecast suggested we may be able to enjoy a view of the sea and warmer weather if we lingered in Medoc.
The beach at Soulac sur Mer is a vast sandy beach, stretching as far as you can see north and south and looking west to the Atlantic. White tops were being whipped up by the back drop of a stormy sky when we arrived so an afternoon for wrapping up and strolling rather than beach bathing. The dark storm that threatened on the horizon never quite reached us… we suspect that us spending half an hour in the blustery wind putting up our canopy, much to the amusement of our fellow ‘camper-vanners’, turned its path. Much like if you take an umbrella or water-proofs on a day out you can guarantee it won’t rain and if you brave changing into t-shirts and shorts, the sun simply disappears. The canopy did keep us warm though as we enjoyed our hearty stew with a big fruity Bordeaux.
Exploring the coast of the peninsula the next day with the storm clouds hanging stubbornly over Brittany to the north… our walk took us to a great fish restaurant by the port at Verdon sur Mer where we finally got around to enjoying the great feast of seafood that we had been yearning for since deep in the Mediterranean south. Rising early, but certainly not with the sun, we’d enjoyed far too much Rose for that, we made our melancholy way to the ferry to Royan and north to Normandy. We hoped to have time to explore the area of the 1944 World War II beach landings on the Normandy coast.