6 September till 17 September

Marian and myself after the car being packed drove via the highways through Holland, Belgium into France.  Just north of Antwerp the traffic was horrific. One lane with trucks who drove just a few metres apart which made it difficult to change lanes. The further south we got the easier the traffic. We arrived before everyone else in La Muette near Rouan. The B & B was fantastic. An old apple juice factory transformed in to an B & B. The weather discouraged making an exploratory walk. Next day everyone left the same time but because I did want to see a bit from the countryside we meandered through small villages after which we got completely lost. The detour took a fair bit of time. When we finally figured out how to get on the highway it was lunchtime. When we stopped at a restaurant the village looked deserted including the restaurant. When we stepped inside the place was chock a block. All work stops at 12.30 and resumes 14.30 when it is eating and drinking time. There were plenty of wine bottles on the table. After a very filling camembert sandwich we were on our way again.  Most of  the highways are tollways. It gets you there fast but is very uninteresting driving. After Nantes I took a wrong turn which cost us more time. Without a GPS we would still be driving around. We got to our destination 3 hours after the first one got there. Everyone had already started happy hour and dinner was cooked. The house we rented is an old farm house and modernised with a shower and toilet. This was our accommodation for the next week. It is in a two house village named Chateaulonge near La Roche Sur Yon in the Vendee. The view is fantastic looking out over a lake.


               First B & B                                                                                           Inside rustic.
Next day relaxing. The weather also discouraged outings. The meals are prepared on a roster system. Every meal is a feast. Day three we visited the old holiday Home from Ket and the grave side  from Marius. Lunch in a restaurant. The spot where the locals sat were all taken which was a pity but for 15 we had a three course meal and two drinks. We dropped the rental money of at the owners who live in an enormous villa with an enormous yard.
Day four. Went for a walk around one section of the lake. On the way we picked 2 Kg blackberries. The afternoon was taken to make jam and relax.
Day five was planned to visit some markets but the weather prevented us from leaving early. This worked out very well for Susan as it was her cooking day and this gave her time to prepare.
The weather cleared and we went for a drive to several villages to visit the markets. A lot of crockery was purchased.


           Toast on first day.  Ket is missing.                                     One of the many evening meal sessions.
Day six. The day was started with a scrumptious French breakfast. The weather let us down so we spend the day playing cards and eating. Day seven. Still raining but we still decided to head for the beach. The weather cleared and a beach walk was on the menu. Back just in time for happy hour and more cooking.




                                     All the views from our lounge window.
                                             As you can see we did not starve to death.

                                                     One of the sunny spots this day.
Last day Chateaulonge. Beautiful weather and the whole group made a walk around the lake. I declined to bake in the sun and made another walk around the second lake. After another "few" drinks the last evening meal. Everyone went early to bed because we had to wake early. No one really slept well that night. Last breakfast and cleaning up and we were on our way at 8.30. It is freeway all day but luckily the GPS send us through Rouan. We decided to do some sightseeing. A beautiful old inner city. A pity that the cathedral was closed just on the day that we had to visit. The cathedral is also in disrepair. You could see where big parts have fallen off.


                Downtown Rouan                                              Used to be an old farm house



       Dining room at B&B                                                                  Last view from the French landscape    

Because of the few comfort stops we arrived last at the B&B. An old farmhouse from what must have been a very wealthy farmer. Only partly restored. We had a large comfortable room with five beds in it. The "music" at night from five people was melodious. Next day only 350KM We only made some comfort stops apart from one where we made a detour to have a cup of coffee in a restaurant where they also give you a shot glass of advocaat as a bonus. From there on straight home. The traffic around Antwerp was still horrific but we made it to Bakel where we left our suitcases in good time and from there to Ket and Hemmo in Zalk near Zwolle. End French experience.