Thursday morning and Homer, the sat nav was programmed for Gurgy, a riverside Aire with electricity for 6 euros all in, a bargain and considering the last 5 nights were completely free then the budget was healthy and just as well because we were about to splash out 20 euros for laundry!
Not long in to our journey John spotted an Intermarche and given we needed to refuel and replenish supplies we ignored Homer’s pleadings to ‘turn around when possible’ and parked up and double bonus, the Intermarche at Toucy also had washing machines and a dryer in a corner of the car park, very modern and very clean.
The bed was stripped in double quick time and loaded into the big machine while our personal laundry went into the smaller one. Laundry liquid or ‘Lessive’ was included automatically. Instructions were on a touch screen and although it was reluctant to change to English, it eventually did. It even gave me the option to enter my mobile number if I wanted an sms to let me know when the laundry was complete. Well yes, that would be great, thank you! Payment was by card or cash. Easy! Off we went inside to shop and we had everything on our list except the wine, when my phone buzzed. John was happy to peruse the wide selection of vins while I set up the tumble drier, this time the touch screen refused to change to English but fortunately I could follow the instructions.
Shopping complete, we sat and ate lunch whilst the ‘sechoir’ dried the laundry. Neatly folded and airing, we made Homer happy by continuing on our planned route. Gurgy is on the Yonne just north of Auxerre. We had fun with Homer as he tried to take shortcuts over ‘lanes’ that were barely single track when there was clearly a bypass we could use. We compromised after an unnecessary detour ( through the hospital grounds) and followed a yellow road! Sat nav users will recognise the use of diplomatic language there, John’s version of my conversations with Homer would be much different!
The yellow road gave us the bonus of going through Moneteau and over a one way, florally decorated, metal bridge.
15 minutes later and we were at our destination and in Homer’s words we could ‘hold our heads up high’ for we were ‘a genious’!
The sky was blue, the sun was shining and within half an hour and after a chat to a Scottish couple now living in England, John was getting the bikes organised. We headed along the river track past walnut trees and beautiful gardens and doggie walkers and could hardly believe it when we recognised the floral, metal bridge above us as the one we had driven over earlier. We didn’t have the camera, but took some phone photos and cycled a bit further into the town before turning back and enjoying the return trip.
We were told that the wooden sheds 50yds down were opening in the evening for wine, Chablis, and cheese sales. Tastings of course, first. We were well stocked and were ready to just relax so we declined the invitation but maybe another time!
The next morning we took the bikes in the opposite direction, passing a house with a book swap cupboard built into their fence for passers-by, how thoughtful! Some very weird fishy type models were a bit less easy to understand in the river under a bridge. Our return journey by a different route, took us past several fishing lakes and into the village where we were disappointed to find that the patisserie was closed for holidays.
Back at the motorhome, John loaded the bikes on to the rack and we set off heading to what sounded a lovely campsite for the weekend at Tonnerre. The road took us over a hill into a very different landscape once past Auxerre, (the bypass was very easy to get on to when I took control of Homer). As we got closer to Chablis, there were vines as far as the eye could see. Hill sides covered in vines of different ages and sizes, woven together to look like an intricate pattern. Very beautiful!
The drive to Tonnere was lovely, the campsite at Tonnerre was not lovely. Coffee time and plan B. We reverted to the list we had been roughly following and the next aire on our list was at Chaource.
It wasn’t too far away and by happy coincidence fellow travellers had been recently and recommended it on their blog. No electricity, but everything we needed had been charged so we headed off again and by 1.30pm we were parked up, chairs out and in lovely surroundings. John nipped up to Tourist info to purchase a 2 euro jeton for fresh water, but as it was closed until 3pm that could wait. We enjoyed a late lunch and relaxed in the warm sunshine, this would do nicely for the weekend.