We arrived in the pretty Brittany port of Vannes on it´s weekly market day of monday, and it was packed with shoppers. We parked on the point near the boneyard, and rode our bikes down into town. The food on display was mouthwateringly good, with charcuterries (butchers), fishmongers, bakers, and local artisanal producers diplaying the local tasty tidbits. Karina really rates French fashion, and happily browsed the stalls and clothes shops with a knowing eye, dragging me along in her wake. We had had a plate of delicious brittany oysters in a bar that seemed to be popular with the fishmongers who had finished hosing down their stalls, washed down with a tasty crisp chardonnay. After cruising the plains of northern france and the low countries, we were finally on the Atlantic coast and faced a happy stretch ahead of us of sun sand surf and the odd bottle of wine.
We pushed on south that night to the big university town of Nantes (pronounced something like ‘not’) where we decided to splash out for a camping ground so we could have a shower and recharge our equipment. It was a stately town of impressive building and squares, but with a modern feel to it, and also had trams which coming from melbourne I have soft spot for. The campground had its fair share of goth and emo looking kids, in town for a nearby death-metal music concert called Hellfest. We had a beer and watched a disappointing Euro football match without sound. The next day we awoke to drizzling rain, so we decided to have an easy day of working on the Van and battling to get any signal out of the campground wifi.
I have some childhood memories of campgrounds on Victoria´s various surf beaches, but, our old vw aside, modern campers are a new beast entirely. They pull up and then use a remote control and servo-motors to position it perfectly, something my dad relied on child labour to do (though after hours in the backseat in the australian summer, anything to stretch the legs was appreciated). Most have hot and cold showers, sattelite tv with plasma screens, and everything to make sure you dont strain yourself. And europe has hordes of them lumbering around the countryside. Its enough to give me an inferioty complex, until it comes to fitting in a parking space or squeezing under the 2m height bar that france has erected in a lot of places to block the big campers from staying there. That´s when our nimble brown van comes into it´s own.