Iggy the Hymer is gazing out across the surf to the lights of San Remo in Italy. I’ve been woken by the van rocking in the wind. Immediately my mind is full of this blog. I left you all back in Vienne as we stumbled, tired and quite a little dejected, into our beds back on Monday night. A lot has happened since then! And all to the good.
It’s only 04:30, but I’ve had blinding migraines the past couple of days. Crawling into a darkened bed as soon as we get home from our new place “walkabout”. I hope they are finished now, but if not then writing will be a painful, near impossibility by lunchtime. So I’ll take advantage of this break and get on with it while I have the chance.
Tuesday we woke in better spirits ready to face the problem of fixing Iggy’s exhaust. We needed to attach something to his broken tailpipe to take the fumes downwards, away from the vehicle and the tyres. If we stumbled across a place to get the tailpipe replaced – well and good. Otherwise a makeshift, but solid, repair would do until we got to Sicily. If we couldn’t find a mechanic to replace a Fiat tailpipe there…Well where could we?!
Vienne looked like an interesting town, and Google maps also showed up a lot of Auto Parts stores. Setting off to explore we found the closest one, just down the road from our free aire, was a small independent shop. Perfect! We’d had enough of big stores yesterday, and this was just what we were looking for. The owner was hugely helpful, and after 15 minutes exploring options we left with a section of pipe and two clamps for joining two pipes together. Perfect! And only 12 Euros too!
Back to Iggy, ( With a quick stop at Lidl on the way. (We were out of bread, Jay’s cake store was running low, and the beer and wine stores were empty!!) and out comes the hacksaw again. We salvage what we can from the squashed part of the tailpipe Jay had sawn off yesterday. Angled just so, this will be connected to the remaining pipe and should get us safely on the road again. The still attached section of pipe needs trimming. I pace uncomfortably while Jay struggles under Iggy with the saw. I hate watching people under vehicles. They look so vulnerable with just their legs sticking out. I’m always waiting, sick to my stomach, for the vehicle to come crashing down on top of them. I know it’s silly, but it’s just one of those things. Too many horror films when I was younger I guess.
Thankfully the worst does not happen and Jay eventually emerges – safe and triumphant – from under Iggy’s 3.5 tonne body. It’s done! We did it!! The afternoon is getting late. Vienne waits to be explored, but we feel like we’ve wasted too much time sitting around. We just want to get back on the road. It doesn’t matter if we get to Sicily by Christmas – but we’d like to none the less. Slapping “Avignon” into our TomTom we hit the road while I get on to park4night to decide where we’re really going.
Avignon is where we would have been going tonight if we’d made it too Valence yesterday as planned. As it stands it’s a little bit too far for today after all the Iggy fixing. But what’s this? Montelimar? Just a nice drive away? How did I not notice this before? The home of nougat! Oh boy are we stopping there!!
Montelimar is a picturesque town in a beautiful setting in the Rhone valley. The aire was free, with stunning views out to the circling mountains. If you’re going to use it though beware! Satnav led us a merry dance trying to go up roads where motorhomes are not permitted to get there. You need to take the road round the back of Leclerc’s and the McDonald’s. You’ll see what I mean if you go there!
The aire is just a few minutes walk from the centre with a Supreme Nougat store almost on the doorstep! Well it would be rude not to! Mmmmm. Eating nougat in Montelimar. Mmmmmmm. We treated ourselves to a 5 Euro bag. It didn’t make it out of Montelimar…
Wednesday we had a bit of a lie in and Jay didn’t get up till nine. We’d decided to push further South past Avignon as we were so close to it now. The weather forecasts were good for the coast, and it would mean we could be in Italy by Thursday. 12 degrees! That was positively tropical after all the freezing temperatures of the last 10 days. Feeling excited for some warmth we headed South as I searched out a destination for us. I came up with a nice looking little place on the Etang de Berre lagoon. A little fishing village called Saint Chamas with a nice aire on the shores of the Etang. Our planned route from there to San Remo in Italy was only 3 hours on the toll roads. Perfect!
And perfect was the word. I would happily have stayed a week in Saint Chamas. I think I could happily have stayed a lot longer. It’s one of those places that just seems to have it all. Everywhere we’ve been has had something special, and some places have had many. But Saint Chamas is, for me, one of those rare places where I just want to stop. Buy a house. Spend eternity watching the colour play of light across the lagoon. Days out down to the coast. Hop into Marseilles for some big city action. Heck a two and a half hour drive and you can be in Italy! Saint Chamas you are lovely. Thank you! Thank you. x
And so here we are now. In Italy. In San Remo. Today we planned on taking the toll road down to Pisa. We don’t often take the toll roads, but it makes a big difference for this part of the route. Well that’s what we’d planned anyway. However this wind pushing Iggy back and for this morning has whispered other ideas in my head. The weather was meant to be fine for Pisa today. Rain, but no wind. That’s all changed overnight and gusts in the high 40s are now expected. It’s not terrible weather. But I’d rather not be swinging Iggy round cliff face roads in it if I don’t have to. And…I don’t have to!
We’ve been on the road for 12 days now. It would be nice to kick back for a day in the one place. Chill. Read. Delete some photos from my phone ’cause it’s run out of space! Maybe we’ll leave later tonight. Maybe we’ll leave tomorrow. For now San Remo? We’re yours.
And I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.