*sigh* Squeaky is a bad blogger, and i apologise profousely for my dillettante nature.


Blaye to L’Île de Ré ~~~ Sat 18th June

you may remember (or not, since it was some time ago that i posted the last of these travelogues), that when you last saw us, we were peacefully asleep in Talulah in a large carpark on the shores of a Bordeaux river, in a pretty French town called Blaye.

the following morning, all unsuspecting, we awoke to a delightful surprise.  the carpark was absolutely heaving and, bugger me if a large market hadn’t sprung up at the end of the carpark, stretching several hundered yards through the carpark we’d initially stopped in the day before.  utterly delighted, we made a quick cuppa and bounced out of Talulah, thermal mugs in hand, to explore.  it was everything one could dream of in a French market.  fresh, local food everywhere, the smells of cooking and produce assailing us at every turn.  of course, we brought bread, cheese, apple tart, etc, etc, but the jam…?  oh!  oh, my, the jam!

there was a very nice lady in her late fifties or early sixties with a small two-foot square folding table and some cardboard boxes set up under one of the many trees that shaded the market.  she looked like your mum’s friend from the Women’s Institute.  and she was selling jam.  nothing more.  but oh, my goodness…  that jam was like heaven in a jar.  we bought a jar of plum jam and, making our way back to Talulah with all of our other purchases, and proceded to have breakfast.

the. jam. was. A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

and homemade.  and a teenyweeny bit moldy on top.  no matter.  as soon as we finished breakfast,we were back out and off to see the jam lady again, intending to buy her entire stock.  sadly, and much to our dismay, we had bought her last jar. *sob*  part of the reason for buying the jam, though, was as a present for our very good friends who were looking after the chickens whilst we were gone.  so, on nothing more than the lady’s reccommendation (“c’est extra!”), we bought a jar of her apricot jam, instead.  it was also, reportedly, absolutely delicious.

off we headed into another gorgeous, blue, and blustery day.  this time, we were heading for a place every English schhoolchild would know if they have ever opened a Tricolore French texbook.  La Rochelle.

i knew we would be passing by this way on our way home and, for the sake of nostalgia, persuaded Hubby that we really must at least visit, if only to drive through, just so i could say that i’d finally been there.  as it was, i had read that there was and island off the coast, called L’Île de Ré, which served the most amazing food.  so we decided to check it out (since, on reflection, La Rochelle was a very large town, and we wanted to avoid these if we could.  we still drove through the outskirts, though… 😉

upon reaching the main town of L’Île de Ré, St Martin, we paid for a couple of nights at the camping municipale, and headed out to the harbour to explore.  we were a little disappointed, though.  the town itself was, of course, lovely.  but we gave up hope of enjoying the local food when we saw the prices in the restaurants.  hideously expensive.  as were most of the shops around.  but no matter, Shank’s Pony is always free, isn’t it?  and so we went for a walk.  on our way, we encountered a cycle hire shop, and a plan was formed.