Wednesday, 7 August 2013

St Tropez and dirty bikers...

I'm undecided by the French autovia's and their tolls.

Yes their roads are well looked after. And yes there seems to be considerably less traffic. But take a wrong turning or not notice a 'peage' sign and you could be in to a 100 mile one way journey across country with no where to pull off, and a large toll bill at the end! Today we traveled 300 miles from Carcassonne to St Tropez and were charged a total of 35 Euros for the pleasure of using the motorways.

I think the British system of taxing vehicles annually is much better.

We were on our way to meet my Dad on one of his many sporadic, unplanned motorcycle rides across/through/around Europe.

High ratio maps - Good for getting to a town, not for a specific campsite!
Driving over the mountains that line the coast near St Tropez we received a text message:

'GPS broke in Lyon. Used map. At St Tropez but cant find campsite'

Turns out his map was a 200,000:1 ratio and the whole of St Tropez was a dot the size of a pin head!
After a bit of direction finding using local features... namely the sea, we watched Dad ride in the campsite entrance minutes after we did.

"20 hours of non-stop riding from Calais to St Tropez" (we'd never hear the end of this!)

View from our dinner table
We'd been told of a large campsite just down the road from St Tropez called Camping Prairies de la Mer in the Port of Grimaud. It turned out to be the perfect location to chill for a few days.

Kerry and I are normally rather conservative with our food, opting to eat cheaper food in favor of a good night out, seeing a particular sight etc, all within budget. Not so when Dad arrived!

It felt like we ate like kings. At lunch we'd grab a huge baguette, some salami, cheese, fresh tomatoes, crisps, cold beer ... It was awesome!

Dad treated us to a very nice meal in one of the 4 on-site restaurants along the campsite's private beach. I'd like to remember what it was I ate but I'm ashamed to say the cold beer and white wine had been flowing since lunch as we chatted and Dad got down his St Tropez (for real though girls!) base layer tan.

Setting off on our own biking tour
Dad clearly demonstrated his dependence on the daily grind the next morning, bumping in to the van and making progressively louder noises outside to 'gently' wake us up at 10am.

And I'm glad I was woken up! eggs, sausage and bacon were laid out on the table ready to be cooked up and thrown in to a crusty roll, just like the road side cafes at home!

After a few days on Camping Prairies de la Mar we thought it better to move on to a cheaper campsite. Prairies de la Mar is a very good campsite. Perfect for families and it offers little hut type accommodation that can be rented. It's also smack bang on the beach and next to the Port of Grimaud which we enjoyed on a nice stroll. But we didn't need all of that. Just a spot in a field would do us.

So we sent out the scout on his bike to find us a different campsite. Kerry and I packed up the smurf mobile and left before the imposed checkout time of 12 Noon. We only drove for a few hundred metres when we came across a near deserted golden beach just up from the campsite beach. Dad was still scouting around on the more nimble bike until he text to say he'd found one. We met up and followed him to a very small but nearly empty campsite with everything we needed.

This was our home for another 2 days. Dad went out on a mission to the shops. Essential supplies. Well he turns up nearly 2 hours later with a BMW motorcycle loaded to the max with grates of beer, sausages, burgers, buns, potato salad, wine ... and a full on podium style barbecue to cook it all up on! It looked like a modern game of buckaroo!
20 hours and the temperature changes from 16 to 29 degrees ;)

And so commenced 2 days of more sumptuous food. We listened to music, played some Boule and I made a draughts set with some cardboard and the many beer bottle tops that were now lying around our camp.

Kerry was a much better match at the game than me. I had no chance of touching Dad. I think he used to be in the 'Draughts Academy' at school or something.

We'd organised to go our separate way the next day. Kerry and I had some matters to tend to in England within a week and Dad was still undecided as to whether to go West to friends in the Dordogne, or North-east to meet some friends in (the forecast rainy) Germany. Again Dad woke us up at 7:30 with a gentle "I'm off now Adds" through the van window. A big kiss and a cuddle later and Kerry and I were waving the bearded biker out of the campsite and off in to the unknown. I know Dads trips are dictated by the weather. He will have fun seeing his biker friends in the Dordogne.

Kisses from a butterfly

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