We headed a few hours North to the Jura department and had an exhausting and frustrating time trying to a) find somewhere suitable to park up and b) find somewhere that had an adequate 3G signal. We ended up on the edge of the National Park just NE of Lons-le-Saunier, in the midst of the Jura vineyards! I can think of worse places to stop. We spent one night in a quiet little carpark on the edge of the village of Voiteur, where I
stocked up on Macvin, a delicious Jura aperitif and also a few bottles of local wine. The renowned hilltop village of Chateau-Chalons which produces the 'Vin Jaune' of the Jura was just up the road.
After the mountain bike outing, we stayed in the Jura department but booked into a small campsite in Baume-les-Messieurs for 2 nights from where we did a 12km/475m+ walk which took us around the renowned 'réculées de Baume', which is a specific geological feature of the Jura area involving limestone erosion and collapse which results in deep gorges of up to 200m high - stunning!
'Chemin des dames' ridge which saw much action during the First World War
The fishing lake adjoined a much larger lake around which, thanks to the internet, I managed to find a good 10km running circuit which we knocked off in just over an hour.
From there, up to Calais and the ferry back to the UK which is where the fun and games as 'camper-vanners' really starts. Having spent 2 weeks travelling up through France, it is interesting to make comparisons between France and the UK. France is wonderfully geared up and organised for people travelling in motorhomes and campervans. Not only do motorways have 'service stations' (aires) with dedicated campervan overnighting spots, set well back from the autoroute, plus facilities for emptying your toilet cassette and waste water and for filling up with water, but throughout France, many towns and villages have 'vidange' facilities for servicing your campervan which are either totally free or cost a maximum of 3 euros. Not only that, but, in France, there are generally very few restrictions on where you can park overnight. Contrast this now with the UK. There are no facilities for camper-van/motorhome owners to service their vehicle other than at campsites where you are either required to pay over £5.00 for the privilege or are made to feel like a right cheeky bugger for even daring to ask! Clearly, UK towns and villages do not want such people to stay locally, spending their money in shops and restaurants, bringing much needed revenue to the area. It baffles me, to be honest.
Anyway, rant over. We spent 4 nights at mum's in Dorset where I got to spend some valuable time both with mum and with Jamie catching up with his latest plans and projects. I shall do a separate post on our UK adventures as I think this one has gone on for quite long enough!