3. May, 2017



Well that was a nice peaceful night's sleep, and all for free. We could afford to be liberal with the use of water because we had the luxury of replacing it before we left the Aire later today.

We were out in good time for a wander through the village towards the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud www.abbayedefontevraud.com 

The Abbey is the largest and most remarkably intact medieval abbey in Europe. It was founded in the early 12th century by Robert d'Arbrissel, a visionary itinerant preacher who set up a Benedictine community of monks, nuns, nobles, lepers and vagabonds. The radical founder entrusted the running of the abbey to an abbess, usually from a noble family, and the abbey became a favourite sanctuary for the female aristocracy, including Eleanor of Aquitaine.

From 1804 to 1963 the abbey was used as a prison, since when the buildings have been undergoing painstaking restoration by the French State.

The legendary Counts of Anjou were named after the genet, the sprig of broom Geoffrey Plantagenet wore in his cap. He married Matilda, daughter of England's Henry 1. In 1154, when their son Henry who married Eleanor of Aquitaine acceded to the English throne, the Plantagenet dynasty of English kings was founded, fusing French and English destines for 300 years.

I found this interesting as up until now I thought the Plantagenet's lived next door to Jack and Vera Duckworth on Coronation Street.

Once we had completed our tour the Chef popped in and bought a crusty loaf for lunch. Once we'd enjoyed that we were back on the road.

I had intended to drive to our destination, the Aire at Meung sur-Loire (GPS: N47.823556 e1.697762), a place we know well, using the main roads rather than the 'tolls'. But the satnav was telling us that it was a three and a half hour journey and after a number of miles of twisting roads, speed humps and roundabouts travelling much slower than I would have liked, I chickened out and made for the toll road. This was much safer, as by then we were getting rain showers, and I don't like driving on wet minor roads when the motorhome is a bit light on the front end.

So that was that, we arrived here at the Aire and have enjoyed watching kiddies learning how to roller-blade in the sports facility across from us, before enjoying some of our 'emergency rations' which we carry - three days of food in tins or packets to see us through any unexpected situation, a bit like out in the sticks near Bordeaux with no access to bread or provisions. Though on that occasion we had stocked up at a 'Super U' before arriving at the campsite.

Tomorrow we begin the long run for home, two days behind the wheel to get to Calais, during which time I'll need to book a ferry crossing, as well as pay in advance for one crossing of the Thames River for the motorhome.

This has been a long trip. It seems ages since we arrived in Spain, I think we've waned because of it. Whilst it has been lovely being in a lovely warm climate, it will be nice to get back home.