"A tour of Gaul" it has been. Three months ago we left Amsterdam to drive south. We drove along the west coast over Caen, Avranches, Nantes to Bordeaux. After a week in Bordeaux we went on to Ariège, nearby the borders of Andorra. Over 2,5 months we stayed in this beautiful, unspoiled region and last Friday we had to leave...
The sun was shining it's *** off after a week of clouds and rain. After a morning run to say goodbye to this gorgeous place, we got into our little van and started to drive to the east. As soon as we hit Foix, the traffic increased. It was weird to be in traffic again after a time of almost solitude. We passed by Carcassone and Montpellier. Because the first part of this trip, was all without highways, time passed by quickly and we decided around 6 o'clock to leave the highway and search for a camping to spend the night. We ended up in a village south from Avignon in the heart of the Provence. Maussane les Alpilles had a camping with a spot for us. We were very much surprised to see that this camping was almost full with Dutchies. And then I remembered: the Provence is loved by the Dutch. The village and surroundings were typical for this region. Light stone houses, open sunny squares with terraces, lavender on each corner, little art shops and nature that exists out of a kind of dry orange coloured clay with pine trees, rocks, low bushes accompanied by the sounds of the cicadas. Less than 400km driving and so different to what we had gotten used to in the past months.
We stayed a night camping with our van and cooking outside. I had to get used to it again but that only took about 10 minutes. The following day, after some shopping, a visit to the vet and drinking coffee, we took off again. Towards Lyon and up to Dijon. Another 400km further and the end of the day was near. We left the highway and ended up on a beautiful little camping in a small forrest on the top of a hill. Camping Le Relais des Hautes Côtes in Chambœuf was empty, thank good lord. It is a small camping with lots of shade, some nice tents and cottages for rent, a swimming pool and big big camping spots. I guess it is a nice place to go with your kids in the summer. Unfortunately the weather wasn't so great as it was in the south at the moment we arrived. There was a cold wind. We blocked it by putting the van in front, but I still needed two sweaters in the evening to stay warm during cooking outside.
On Sunday we took it easy in the morning (yes we are not really morning persons...) and we took off around 12 o'clock. It was 700km to reach Utrecht, a long trip but we didn't feel like camping in Belgium. I am glad we didn't because after driving through Luxembourg where the weather was again warm, we hit really really bad weather in Belgium. We had heard about the flooding and heavy rain in the north of France the past week, that is why we didn't drove over Paris in the first place. But I didn't expect it in Belgium as well. While we were driving on the highway, rain and hail started to come down. I couldn't see where I was driving so I decided to put the van on the side of the road and wait for it to pass. We stood there for around 10 minutes, luckily it passed by quickly and we could continue our roadtrip.
As soon as we crossed the borders to the Netherlands, a big surprise was waiting for us: the weather started to clear up! We were expecting bad weather and cold wind but nope, it was summer up here in the north. Around 9 o'clock in the evening we reached Utrecht and we could enjoy a summer evening in the garden with a cold beer. A really great way to end such a trip!