Going on holiday and taking a break from blogging.
As usual, we will have a leisurely drive through France, this time to the Pyrénées-Atlantiques – the French Basque country. Having taken the Portsmouth-St Malo crossing, we plan to briefly visit Mont St Michel before spending the first night at Nantes. After nights at Saintes (re-visiting more of its Roman past) and Bordeaux we follow the coast of the Landes via Arcachon and the largest sand dune in Europe at Pyla-sur-Mer to our campsite at Bidart, just south of Biarritz. The return journey will be via Périgueux and Saumur, seeing its wonderful fairytale chateau again, before making our return via the Ouistreham-Portsmouth ferry.
Here is a film of the region. The quality is a bit grainy but it gives an idea. As usual we have a list of places to see both sides of the French/Spanish border. Just a few possibles are: Biarritz, the beaches famous for their surfing waves, walks in the Pyrénéan foothills including Col Ibardin which has been recommended by friends, places on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostella such as St Jean Pied de Port, Orthez and Sauveterre, Bayonne and of course, the views from mountains such as La Rhune which overlooks St Jean de Luz. It may be just too far to go to visit Lourdes (as a tourist rather than a pilgrim) in its 150th year. May well not get to them all! There will be plenty of places to sketch, I’m sure – and I have a pile of books to read too.
We will be seeking out regional foods, including the local cheeses, such as Ossau-Iraty, Cherry Jam, which is a speciality and, as usual, the abundant seafood.