France Day 3
The nearby church woke us early, but it still takes us quite a long time to get ready for the road each day.
After breakfast (eggs and bacon) we did our first dump (gray water and toilet) and refill (fresh water) and got going. Because I didn't really wanted to drive the seven and a half meter behemoth of a camper and Kaddi doesn't mind that at all, she was our designated driver, while my tasks were to navigate (Google maps), feeding (water and cookies) and entertainment (Google music).
Our first stop this day I had found on Atlas Obscura. Hélice Terrestre is an old cave settlement that a local artist had bought in the nineties and turned into an art piece in itself by carving into caves. Unfortunately he died early and his full vision was never completed. It's still worth a visit and the guy selling the tickets put a lot of effort in telling us the history of the place with the little English he spoke. Much appreciated.
The next stop was Saumur, first for filling up the gas tank, then for a visit to Decathlon where we bought camping chairs. The ones that came with the camper van were tiny and had no backrest. We wanted a bit more comfort for the next weeks.
In Saumur itself it was time for another castle visit. Described as a “fairy tale castle” in our guide book, it is very picturesque with all the little towers and decorations indeed. Unfortunately the inside doesn't have any old furnishing anymore. There are the typical artefacts to see you might expect in a local history museum.
After another supermarket stop we were on the road again. With the next stop picked from Atlas Obscura again: the Troglodyte paths of Souzay-Champigny. Cave dwellings seem to be very popular in this area and we saw many houses built right into the tuffa stone. This particular set of man made caves forms a small system of roads that used to house families and traders. Again the coolness of the caves was a welcome contrast to the heat outside.
Getting to our chosen place for the night turned out rather difficult. There are roads along both sides of the Loire with an occasional bridge connecting the two. The problem is that Google maps assumes that you're driving a normal car. Not something that's 3m tall and more than 2m wide. And road signage is sometimes placed very suboptimal, too. So we ended up in front of a bridge that we couldn't pass. Kaddi had to drive backwards for about 50m or so with traffic routing around her. But she's awesome so we managed without a problem. When we tried to get to next bridge, we were stopped short in the next village that was impassable for motorhomes. In the end we had to drive all the way back to Saumur to switch river sides. In general the north side seems to have the larger roads.
In Chouzé-sur-Loire, our stop for the night, we had butter chicken with rice for dinner. Two rounds of Yahtzee (which Kaddi both won) were our evening entertainment.