Myrtle The Motorhome

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Lunch.

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The very north of the prom at
Argeles sur Mer.

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The start of the prom at the south of
Argeles sur Mer.

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The view from our private terrace at
Argeles sur Mer.

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Sat on our private terrace at Argeles sur Mer.

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Our Pitch at Argeles sur Mer.

Days 15 to 17
Sant Pere Pescador, Spain.
Argeles sur Mer, France.
La Roque-Gageac

Day 15:
Saturday 13th October
Sant Pere Pescador, Spain to Argeles Sur Mer, France
Miles: 45 miles
Site: Campsite Les Criques de Porteils
Cost: €14.00 per night. (Plus Tourism Tax)

We packed up over a steady morning, said cheerio to a couple of people and headed back to France and the resort of Argeles sur Mer.

We’d picked one site just south of Argeles Sur Mer but a site just to the north had been recommended to us and following the success of the recommendation of Hugo and Jacobien we headed for this one instead.

We arrived at Argeles sur Mer about an hour and a half later and by far the most difficult part of the journey was getting out of Sant Pere Pescador and onto the main road to the motorway. We actually circled around and through Sant Pere Pescador a couple of times. We weren’t only ones doing this either as we kept coming across the same two motorhomes travelling in the opposite direction to which ever way we were going on quite a few occasions and their gestures would suggest they were having a similar problem.

Once we actually broke free from the gravitational pull of Sant Pere Pescador we reached Argeles sur Mer in no time and soon found the recommended site Camping Le Roussillonnais which was shut, but not closed. At the entrance there was a security barrier which required a security code to raise it and just beyond this was the reception. We left Myrtle at the barrier and walked to reception which was closed yet we could see occupied motorhomes and caravans using the site. Eventually H managed to translate a very poorly displayed and handwritten sign in the reception window which gave the barrier security code and explained that reception would only be open for two hours per day and that new arrivals should select a pitch and return to reception to pay during opening hours. If only the sign had been in Italian I could have translated it myself in no time!

We drove through the barrier and tried to select a pitch. We actually spied one we liked very early on but as we approached the ‘F Platers’ in the caravan opposite dived out and occupied it with deck chairs and children and other belongings in an obvious attempt to reserve this for others. Never mind we thought and continued around the site only to become more and more frustrated by their actions with every pitch we passed that was either too small, covered in rubble or blocked by trees or over hanging branches. Eventually we found a pitch that we were able to get onto and for a moment thought we were sorted, that is until we stepped out of Myrtle. The pitch unfortunately and the adjoining three were already occupied by the most enormous ant colony. Ants were literally spewing out of the ground and heading in every direction at such a rate of knots we surely only a matter of seconds to spare before they got into Myrtle, into the food cupboard and scoffed the last of our ‘Sugar Puff’ rations. I quickly drove off the pitch and off the site snarling at the ‘F-Platers’ their ‘F-Plating’ friends setting up on the pitch we’d first ‘F’-ing spotted half an hour earlier.

We headed south to the site we’d originally selected and arrived at Campsite Les Criques de Poteils some fifteen minutes later and what a total contrast this was to Camping Le Roussillonnais. Those ignorant ‘F’ Platers had done us a favour.

For a start this site was open and fully manned and get this, rather than drive around looking for a pitch or even walking around, at this site you parked your motorhome and a gentleman drove you around in a golf buggy taking you to all the available pitches for you to choose the one you wanted.

Eventually we selected a quite secluded pitched located down a dead end, occupied by only one other motorhome. This was on the cliff edge with a view over the sea and the coast of Argeles sur Mer and it even had it’s own small grassed terraced area for a bit of comfort and a better view. I could sit, drink beer, enjoy the view and throw stones into the sea.

Boy were we glad we’d moved sites, there was a bar, a shop and a small out door swimming pool but as this was France again we were back to communal toilets, no loo seats or loo roll, ay oh you can’t have everything.

A very badly translated leaflet said that the nearby town of Collioure was only a 15 minute walk away along the coast path so at tea time we embarked upon the 15 minute walk. About an hour and a half later we eventually got to a carpark which was probably about a mile from the centre of Collioure and to get to that point had been one of the most difficult walks we’d ever done. We even passed a point on the walk where a plaque commemorated a fireman that had fallen to his death at a particularly difficult and steep part of the walk.

From the car park instead of walking into Collioure we walked back to our campsite this along the main road rather than the coastal path, it took about 20 minutes.

Once back at Myrtle we sat on our terrace drinking cheap booze we’d stocked up on in Spain until after dark. Once it got too cool to sit outside side it was into Myrtle and a choice of 263 channels courtesy of Max which I could now set up and tune-in in about 10 minutes.

Day 16:
Sunday 14th October
Argeles Sur Mer, France
Miles: None

Site: Campsite Les Criques de Porteils
Cost: €14.00 per night. (Plus Tourism Tax)

The morning began as the day was to end bathed in glorious sunshine and temperatures during the day reached 28ºC.

After breakfast Lizzie and Ada were out and we headed for the resort of Argeles sur Mer. We were there in no time but somehow managed to miss the marina we spied from our terrace yesterday and arrived on the start of the long seafront promenade.

The beach looked lovely and though there weren’t many people about there were a few bathers.
We went to the far end of the promenade and almost to the horrible campsite we’d surveyed the day before turning around and cycling back to what would appear to have been the centre of the resort.

We went in land a couple of streets and like at Marseillan Plage over a week earlier most, at least 80%, of the establishments in the town centre were shut.

We did however find a cracking bistro for lunch and enjoyed a meal of savoury pancakes.
After lunch we set off back in the direction we had come from but this time arrived at the marina. This was very nice and most of the buildings looked like modern new builds and unlike the centre of Argeles sur Mer most of the complex surrounding the marina was open.

We parked Lizzie and Ada outside one of the many bars over looking all the posh boats and took on vital liquid refreshment.

After sufficient re-hydration we continued back towards our starting point and then continued onto Collioure and are we glad we did as this really is a unique and beautiful place.

First we reached the carpark we’d arrived at the evening before and then we pedalled down a steep hill into the beautiful centre of Collioure and unlike anywhere else we’d visited in France or Spain this place was buzzing. The street café’s were open and busy and lots of tourist shops and art galleries and a myriad of other shops were open. There was a quayside and small harbour, churches and chapels open to tourists and numerous narrow cobbled streets flanked by brightly coloured medieval houses of different shapes and sizes. We found a place to park and lock up Lizzie and Ada and spent a couple of hours just roaming around the place and at 5.30pm the temperature was still 25°C.

We returned to Lizzie and Ada wondering if their batteries would have enough power to get us back up the steep hill on the edge of Collioure and back to the campsite but before we could get on them we had to let a few passing admirers inspect them a little closer and this wasn’t for the first or was it the last time that Lizzie and Ada attracted some attention.

Well both Lizzie and Ada made it up the steep hill and H made it all the way back to Myrtle but my mount failed just short of the campsite and I had to pedal the final couple of hundred yards. It was at this point that I discovered that however easy Lizzie and Ada were to ride in motor-mode they were totally the opposite once the batteries were flat. A combination of small wheels, low gearing and a servo safety brake that drags like billyo when the battery is flat meant that the last couple of hundred, up hill, yards were a nightmare.

I shouldn’t be too harsh though as the rest of the time the bikes had been brilliant and had definitely got us to places we wouldn’t have visited and on this day we’d easily done in excess of 25 miles, much of which was up some quite steep hills.

Back at Myrtle I retired to our terrace and more cheap cold Spanish booze before retiring for the evening.

We’d told Alan and Christine we’d be in the Dordogne in 2 or 3 days when we’d spoken to them and we went to bed that night pondering whether or not to stop another day and re-visit Collioure. If we left in the morning we’d have been in the Dordogne in 2 days, if we stopped another day here we’d get there in the 3 days.

Day 17:
Monday 15th October
Argeles Sur Mer to Vezac Nr. La Roque-Gageac, In the Dordogne
Miles: 290

Site: Les Deux Vallees
Cost: €14.00 per night. (Plus Tourism Tax)

We’d gone to bed the night before at Argeles sur Mer to a cooling but still night. Later that evening however we were awoken by high winds which seemed to appear from nowhere and which rocked and whistled around Myrtle, suddenly in the middle of gale force winds our cliff side pitch didn’t seem so appealing.

After quite a restless evening swaying in the wind and with sudden gusts which seemed to crash and bang into the side of Myrtle we then awoke the next morning to a flat calm and sunny day. It was bizarre and I am guessing these were the Mistral winds, the equivalent to the Tramuntana winds of Spain we’d been told about a few days earlier.

Anyway decision made, we were going to take a big leap homeward and meet up with Alan and Christine near La Roque-Gageac in the Dordogne.

As we left Argeles sur Mer the tops of the Pyrenees which had been clear 8 days earlier when we first spotted them were now snow capped and as we drove northwards towards the Dordogne and away from the sunshine and warm it was a little depressing knowing we were heading back towards the Autumnal cold and damp, and the end leg of our hols, boo. On a plus side though it was going to be nice to meet up with new friends once again.

It was a long day driving and we eventually got the Vezac and the Les Deux Vallee campsite at about 5.00pm. Reception was shut but a lady from a house near the entrance to the site said it was her sons place and we were just to pitch up and sort out payment in the morning.

We pitched next to Alan and Christine on the edge of the site adjacent to a cornfield with views of Beynac Castle which stood above the town which was less than a mile away.

After tea we took a walk a long a footpath which started at the rear of the site around a small pond and then along various unlit paths and between various fields of maze which after only a short time brought us to the edge of Beynac. It was getting dark however and after scaring ourselves with comments about the horror film Children of the Corn Christine decided we need to be back before it got too dark and the rest of us tried to keep up with her on the brisk walk back.
 
We finished the night off with a couple of drinks under the canopy but where as at Argeles we’d have been sat out until late in shorts and tee shirt and maybe a pullover later on, here we had our coats on and it really did get quite cold and damp.

Before we’d got back to Myrtle, Christine, who spoke and read perfect French had told us about the morning bread delivery scheme the site ran, something we would have totally missed with our limited language skills. Close to reception was an order book where you wrote your morning bread order with instructions explaining that you were to leave money outside your van in the morning and your warm freshly baked bread was then delivered between 8.00 and 8.30am, brilliant.
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The Marina at Argeles sur Mer.

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Beautiful Collioure.

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Beautiful Collioure.

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Beautiful Collioure.

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Beautiful Collioure.

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At Campsite Les Criques de Porteils.

aaaaaaaaaaaaiii