We have enjoyed a relaxing weekend at Neufchatel en Bray. This gave us both a chance to relax from driving and navigating and my first trial bike run in France!
But, before we left Long we enjoyed a walk along the canal and admired a rather lovely garden belonging to the local chateau.
We chose Neufchatel en Bray as our next stop firstly, as somewhere we haven’t visited previously, and secondly because it came highly recommended by a travel blog we both read called Love Motorhoming. The ladies were right to think so highly of the aire and situation. A private Aire charging 12euros a night (we have never paid that much before!) but this included water, electricity and our very spacious private pitches about 8m x 8m. Enclosed with neatly manicured beech hedging and partly hard standing and partly grass. Laundry, shower and toilet facilities were also provided and the whole place was immaculate. 450yds before we arrived we pulled in to Leclerc supermarket, Aldi and Lidl were in the same area. We do love a wander around Leclerc….their stockpots are enormous at least 4 times the size of my Ikea soup pan! Essential supplies were purchased plus some meats from the butcher, paupiette de lapin avec moutarde was Sundays treat and delicious too! We had pork brochettes for Friday evening and Merguez saucissons for Saturday. The local cheese, heart shaped Neufchatel was purchased together with goats cheese and a nice blue Roquefort. The aire is next to an Avenue Verte, cycle/walking path. Built on what was the old railway line if we had cared to cycle all 35km we would have ended up in Dieppe. Or, in the other direction, Forges les Eaux 18km away and somewhere we have stayed many times. The sun was shining and before we settled with a glass of wine, we had a late lunch of ham baguette and John took a reccy on his bike to check out directions and paths. On his return we headed along the walking path the 1km into town to explore and exercise my back. Fresh baguette bought and the nearest boulangerie sussed, we headed back to the Aire and a relaxing evening in the sun. Ratatouille was made to go with the pork and rice followed by cheese. Saturday morning we slept until 9! Unheard of! We were ready to face the local market by 11, after showers and croissants. Stalls were both indoors and outdoors. I am pretty wary at markets having fallen foul several times of being sold much more than I want or need and not always my fault. The too many sausages once was my mistake, kg and lbs got muddled! The enormous wedge of cheese was my fault, I asked for a ‘morceau’ when I should have asked for ‘un tranche’. A huge tub of black olive tapenade was not my fault! I wasn’t shown the different sizes of tubs..and on Saturday? Well, the punnet of strawberries was not hand picked by be and was almost a tub of mush when I removed it from the paper bag! Maybe I need to hide the camera and get choosy and wise up! Lesson learned! We stopped enroute back at the boulangerie for un baguette and deux eclairs.. I can’t believe we have been in France 3 days and I haven’t yet sampled my favourite patisserie! After lunch, I could put it off no longer, it was time for the ‘bike run’. How come I can steer a car but not a bike?! I hope to improve, and probably have a little. I cycled 2km along the path to Dieppe and let John carry on another 7. I rested enjoying the sun for 10 minutes then cycled back to the Aire and iced my back while lounging with a lovely cool Perrier water and waited until John was back to have our eclairs. Food was easy on Saturday night, merguez saucissons were popped in the oven and eaten with the left over ratatouille and rice. Sunday morning and another long lie in and John’s turn to walk up for the Croissants. This was the hottest day so far and we sat in the shade and had a lazy day reading books until we made ourselves move and have a walk along the same cycle route. We walked past damsons, sloes, brambles and apple trees. So much free food! But so peaceful and relaxing too. Quite a few of the other vans were packing up and moving on. We are in no rush but plan to move on tomorrow. (Monday)