Once we had delivered the catamaran we were free of all obligations and able to start our holiday.
We started by staying in Port Saint Louis (our home from 2005 to 2009) where we stayed with our good friends Patricia and Patrick in their house beside the lock. This is the gateway between the Rhone and the Mediterranean.
In addition to small boats large merchant ships also use the lock which can be quite hair raising at times.
We revisited Arles (one of our favourite towns) to see the market and enjoy the sites and the old buildings.
We kitted ourselves out with new tee-shirts and jean shorts and then started on our journey across country.
We were heading for Les Landes on the West coast situated between Biarritz and Bordeaux. An area famous for its pine forests, surfing waves and sandy beaches. Caryn’s son Alex and his wife Jo had recently bought a house there and we were due to spend a week with them helping them spruce it up.
Despite that we were in September it was very quiet and most of the tourists visiting the region come in July and August. However in between visits to the hardware stores and varnishing the doors and frames, cleaning the wooden terrace and making a cupboard in the baby’s bedroom we managed to cycle to a nearby lake where we were able to swim and Svein returned to his childhood by building a castle.
The week was quickly gone and it was time to take to the road again. This time we were heading for the region Lot et Garonne where Caryn’s aunt and other family members live.
On our way we called in to an estate agent and visited a house near the Canal du Midi – so our search had started. We stayed near Eymet for a week relaxing and visiting the family.
One afternoon we stacked the wood for the fire and with many hands it was quite light work.
Our stay had again come to an end and we were on the road travelling north to the Vendee region to stay with our friends Angela and Barry (fellow sailors) who have a delightful house by the river.
Whilst travelling North we passed a superb antique car travelling in the same direction as us dating from 1905 – now that would be travelling in style!
Whilst we were there we visited several houses but none fitted the bill. During our travels in the surrounding the countryside we passed some lovely deserted mansions but unfortunately our means do not allow us buy something like this.
Our three weeks holiday was rapidly drawing to a close and it was time to return to Bordeaux to catch the flight back to Kos. However we did have one last splendid sight of splendour that only happens once a year – a sea of wild cyclamen.
After an uneventful flight via Athens we returned safely to the boat and will now start planning the work that has to be done on the boat through the winter whilst beginning our internet search for houses.
We plan to return to France during the winter to see how the weather suits us and to visit different areas and houses.