I woke up early this morning to try and get some catch up time on the blog. Despite the freezing temperatures Iggy is always snuggly warm in the morning. All thanks to the fantastically good (and cheap!) gas blown air heating in Hymer motorhomes. So on these cold dark mornings, I’ve gotten into the habit of taking a peek outside as soon as I get up. Just to see what the day has in store for me. This is what greeted me at 5a.m. today in Troyes! Snow!
Hello December in the Grand Est! Already it feels like we’ve been on the road forever. My accelerating stress at trying to catch up on the blog decreases slightly, when I remember that Namur was barely two days ago. Not the lifetime it feels like at all!
We left Breda bright and early on Tuesday morning for the two hour drive through Belgium to Namur. Well it would have been two hours if not for the rush hour traffic outside Antwerp and Brussels! Still it wasn’t too bad – for Belgium! Belgian roads are often heavily congested and not in the best of condition as a result. But we still managed to arrive in Namur just after 10 a.m. Result! The citadel had looked interesting on Google, and the town fairly pretty. In person Namur is much more impressive than the few photos I had seen. It’s a truly lovely spot and again a place I would definitely return to for a leisurely couple of days. When I’m not busy racing snow clouds to Sicily!
Just ten minutes walk from Iggy’s stopover spot was the ascent to the Citadel. I say the ascent! Our intrepid team huffed and puffed ourselves skywards for an eternity. Under ever present threat of imminent heart attack or plunging to our deaths over the precipitous edges of the path. Every summit led to another until we heaved our “Really need to get fit!” bodies into the huge open space of the old sports arena at the top of the path.
Of course after we’d spent a couple of hours wandering around the citadel we found there were, in fact, many different paths to the top. We, in our ignorance, had apparently taken the one for super hikers! Go team Anima !!
The Citadel was great fun, and we really enjoyed wandering around it. Completely free to roam as well. Always a bonus for our shrinking wallets. As the afternoon wore on though the strengthening cold started to get to us, and we descended for a walk around the town.
We made our way over the bridge and into town to explore. Only to be stopped in our tracks by the wonderful smells of rotisserie chicken outside a boucherie. Our legs were aching. Our fingers slightly numb. The smell was too much to take! Five minutes and 7.50 Euro later we emerged from the cosiness of the shop into the bright, sharp Belgian air. Clutching our wonderfully aromatic chicken, complete with hot chilli and olive sauce and fresh french bread we scurried back along the Meuse to Iggy. The town would have to wait for another trip!
The rest of our time in Namur kind of followed naturally from that purchase. There was a lot of munching. And licking of fingers to outdo any over salted KFC any day of the week! Add in nice warm Iggy and a movie and it wasn’t long before our eyelids began to droop and we slid off into our waiting bed for a few zzzzzz….
The early night had a strange effect on our Jay. Not renowned for being a morning person, imagine my surprise when he woke me at four o’clock in the morning suggesting we get on our way. I mean I’m all for early starts…but…4 am?! Once the initial shock wore off I figured “What the heck? May as well!” and 45 minutes later Iggy was ready to roll and we slid, ghostlike, through the silent pre dawn streets of Namur.
Almost too ghostlike! The first close shave of the trip came as Satnav directed us on a pleasant riverside shortcut on our way out of town. Just in time I spotted the sign for the 2.4 metres low bridge that was innocently waiting ahead to rip poor Iggy’s head off! Not a good start!
The rest of the drive was easy on the almost empty, morning roads. I’d spotted a free aire with services in Bouillon, a short drive from our first French destination of Sedan. There were quite a few sleeping motorhomes there in a nice spot by the river as we crept in for water in the darkness. It’s really hard to be stealthy in a 3.5 tonne van, emptying toilet waste and tripping each other up in the dark. Nobody shouted or turned lights on though so I think we got away with it. Or maybe not! Sorry sleeping people! But it was 7am by this point so technically morning as we scarpered quick style to Sedan.
I’m a sucker for stopovers by the walls of a good old castle or fort and the picture of this one on the park4night app had made Sedan an obvious stopping point. How much closer can you get?!
The Fort was enormous and truly an impressive building, The tiny historical town centre attractive with a Wednesday market in full swing. So I don’t know what it was but we didn’t really take to poor old Sedan. Maybe it was the 4am start? The unremittingly grey sky? The sub zero temperatures? The growing, gnawing worry that we’re using a lot of gas and wondering if we’d find a place to fill up okay? Or just the slight dissonance caused by easing back in to a travelling life? Day 3 on the road and feeling a bit…bleurgh! I don’t know, but I think it was probably a combination of all of the above and after a few hours wandering around town we headed back to Iggy for some down time.
I managed to get some photos organised and we finally found time to rehearse some tunes. Yay for music time! Then off to bed looking forward to seeing Troyes on Thursday.