Michael and Pam's Travels

Gastes, Coast Atlantic. 2014

Travelled : 130 miles

Visited : Bordeaux valley and Dune de Pilat

Stay : Gastes, Aire de Camping Car, €7 with basic services, N 44.19.720, W 01.09.023

As we walk up the quay for our morning walk, we find the Circus has moved into the Port overnight. The big top is being erected and some camels are grazing on the small reserve opposite the quay. Nearby a large fibreglass elephant sits on a trailer waiting to do whatever large fibreglass elephants do in the circus. I ask Pam if she want to stay an extra day to go to the circus and she give me that look !

It's like waking up in an episode of the Simpsons, the Circus is in town, France.  2014

It’s like waking up in an episode of the Simpsons, the Circus is in town, France. 2014

 

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We do the usual housekeeper duties before saying goodbye to Montagne de Gironde and continuing our journey south. In no hurry we take the D road, we cross into the Bordeaux region of France. The road meanders through a series of small valleys, each valley has two or three small stone villages. They are all very picturesque in their own way. The Bordeaux is the primary red wine region of France. For some eighty kilometres we pass vineyards, cellars and bottling plants.

Finally we cross the Garonne River and into the city of Bordeaux itself. It’s a large city and we have decided to bypass it and take the ring road and head into the Arcachol. The ring road around Bordeaux is 45 kilometres long, and full of traffic. The country to the south of Bordeaux changes almost immediately to traditional farmland, large irrigation system lining the roadside.

 

Get Directions

 

 

As we approach Arcachol crops give way to pine plantations, these plantations continue for the rest of the day. Rather than head into Arcachol we bypass it and stop at Dune du Pilat, the largest and highest sand dune in Europe. Currently at 117 metres and over 3 kilometres long, that’s one big pile of sand. Rather than have lunch and take a couple of pictures Pam was dead keen to climb it.

Dune de Pilat, France.  2014

Dune du Pilat, France. 2014

 

Half way and still smiling, Dune de Pilat, France. 2014

Half way and still smiling, Dune du Pilat, France. 2014

 

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These guys made Pam's day, they were crawling. At least we managed to stay upright, Dune du Pilat.  France. 2014

These guys made Pam’s day, they were crawling. At least we managed to stay upright, Dune du Pilat. France. 2014

 

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Like all dunes, they are built by the wind. They build gentle on one side and drop away steeply on the other. Well unfortunately the steep side was facing the road and therefore us. After a hard slog we made it to the top, well worth the sweat and sore legs the view is breathtaking. Long wide beach and ocean on one side from horizon to horizon. On the other side pine forest as far as the eye can see. Getting down was much easier thankfully and we were cooling of have lunch in the Hymer 20 minutes later.

 

Get Directions

 

We continued south planning to stay at Mimizan Plage a small beach resort town recommended in the Lonely Planet, but by chance took a turn in Gastes a small village on the shores of Biscarrosse et de Parentis, a large freshwater lake. When we stop at the lake, there’s a small aire a 100 metres away. With a lovely aspect and some trees for shade we call it a day.

 

Gastes, municipal aire, France.  2014

Gastes, municipal aire, France. 2014

 

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We find we have some English neighbours, travelling in their VW transporter conversion. They had their 3 Scottish Terriers as travelling companions as well. Anyway we got to talking about travelling and the beer and rose came out so it was a great evening as well.

 

Cats ?

Cats ?

 

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