24th July 2018
Spent a deliciously quiet couple of days on the beach (as per previous GPS coordinates) walking, bathing, sunning, reading, resting, etc but today it has hazed over to some extent so have moved on down the coast a little way to explore.
The terrain changes hereabouts in that there is even less access to quiet and pleasant locations. The land is either in private ownership, often a posh residence and ample acreage together with signs loudly proclaiming the fact, a bustling seaside resort, or an area of natural habitat with all motor vehicle access totally excluded - even to the extent of car parking. There is also, seemingly, a total absence of minor country roads so there are really very few places to get away from the summer press of people as us motorised folk are directed about with portable summer season 'no entry' signs as effectively as a mob of sheep are through a set of large handling pens.
Actually, I approve of the lack of motorised access to the natural areas but do feel they could provide a little bit of shaded car parking here and there on a perimeter but as far as I can tell the only significant access points start in urban areas accompanied by a lengthy and often dull and dusty walk to gain egress. Bike routes abound so perhaps that is the preferred local answer. Certainly there are many, many, many cyclists in this area both of the lurid lycra clad variety and the more sedate family types, usually on electric bikes.
'No dogs' signs also abound in the natural areas so it seems I am doubly cursed from entering them!
I am currently munching my daily way though a box of army 24 hour ration packs. There are ten packs in a box and each weighs a little over 2kg so too heavy to backpack with. Once they are finished, later this week I will have one excuse less to remain with the truck. The question in my mind is whether to get out and walk more or less at the point where they run out or grit my teeth for a bit more driving and get myself somewhere hopefully less micro controlled - such as the Pyrenees.
Anywho, we have poked our noses in vain along many bumpy tracks today looking for a stop-over place, only to find for one reason or another that they were no good. Many times we had to turn round, crawl back to the main road and try another one, but dogged determination eventually paid off and finally we have ended up at a not too bad spot:
Latitude : 50.32484 (50° 19′ 29.42″ N)
Longitude : 1.55617 (1° 33′ 22.21″ E)
accuracy of signal : 135 m
Its a river estuary area close to the sea, fairly quiet and peaceful (so far!) drivable to along a rough track and a generally reasonable looking and convivial place to spend the night. However, after a (hopefully) good long early morning river walk I think we'll press on further down the coast tomorrow and see if we can't find a bit more of the wide open beach and dune with non urban access that we favour. Although it is more overcast today than of late it is still very warm, hot even when the sun breaks through as I guess the humidity has risen, so a nice cooling breeze from the ocean would be most welcome.
Food in France is even more expensive than the last time I was here with like for like items in UK costing two or even three times as much. As in the UK, shopping has become very polarised here and one is forced to seek out supermarkets and all that that entails. Their locations are only really accessible with a car, lots of plastic packaging, and multi packs of everything - which is real problem for me where meat is concerned. For example, I can only get chicken drumsticks for Amy in packs of seven or eight and as she only needs two or three a day, without refrigeration much either goes to waste or she ends up getting over fed. I have so far got round it by buying a small roast chicken for about four euros which she eats in its entirety, lasts her three days and being cooked meat keeps much better. To date, she hasn't complained anyway!
The business of food and water is the one big issue that concerns me where abandoning the car and backpacking is concerned. Its hard enough when travelling with a bloody car and because of, as just mentioned, the fact that one is pretty much forced to shop for food at supermarkets these days the problem will become significantly bigger when we get out and walk.
Dehydrated food is a potential answer but supermarkets stock very little of it, if any at all. We might be able to get fish along the coast but, again, the days of small fishing boats with the day's landed catch being sold on the beach seem to be long gone. Generally, a problem for me to keep pondering upon!
I have to buy my water at one euro for five litres as fonts no longer exist in this part of France and I notice the supermarkets who always used to provide a tap no longer do so, presumably so people are forced to buy their expensive water off their shelves.
So, that's all from a poor traveller in very this affluent corner of Europe for now.
WW2 Fortress Battlefields of the Somme