Thursday, 2 October 2014

Le Teich, Ker Helen and a hot walk along Le Sentier Littoral

We've driven about four hours further south now and are just outside a small town called Le
Teich which is on the edge of the Arcachon basin. Part of our journey included driving over the Dordogne river which was amazingly wide. The next bridge over from ours had beautiful stone arches to either side, like a Victorian viaduct, but then an ugly metalwork structure actually crossing the river. I guess the middle section had been destroyed in the past, but the replacement didn't look the part at all.

Our current campsite is the pretty Ker Helen which will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary next year and is almost completely shaded by mature trees. Each of the 'streets' between the pitches has a name and, as you can see from the photo, I have my very own Allee. We're not pitched up along it though as there's no electric hook-up there. We've not yet tried out the pool but have played boules - I won again, but only just this time - and also spent a while exercising on their outdoor mini gym. I wouldn't be seen dead in an indoor gym, but I love trying out the outdoor ones! Several of the Spanish parks we saw last year had them too. We were surprised on first wander around yesterday that there didn't appear to be any table tennis. Today we discovered that we had been looking in the wrong place - there are actually two tables so we'll probably get practicing again tomorrow or Friday.

Tomorrow we intend travelling to see the famous sand dune, the Dune du Pilat, which our friends Dave and Gilly have stayed near to in previous years, raving about the area on their return. Having seen lots of their photographs is part of the reason we included the region on this year's itinerary. To potentially pass so close by and not visit seemed daft! Apparently the dune is the highest in Europe - more hot walking then! - but we might also get a nice swim at Plage Pilat nearby. The swimming within the Arcachon basin is very hit and miss due to the distance out the water goes at low tides. I was amazed by the sight of stranded boats on Ile De Re, but it's also a regular occurrence here.

Today's hot walk was along a stretch of a Sentier Littoral which begins just across the road from Ker Helen. I spotted the signpost when we arrived yesterday and took the opportunity of taking a quickish look while going for an evening jog. This was my first running attempt in months, since that bloomin' muscle went again, and I'm happy to report that all went well! Jogging about 5 minutes then walking for the same, and total duration of just over half an hour. It felt good to be getting out there again so I must keep the effort going. Anyway, as the route was so beautiful, Dave and I both set out walking it this morning. The footpath/cyclepath is about 4 miles of sandy track and goes out through marshes and along the shoreline between the sea and the outer edge of an ornithological park. We caught glimpses of various waterbirds including coots and herons that we recognised, and others that we didn't know. There were also huge dragonflies whose wings almost clattered as they flew! The route has sandy beaches, scented shrubs, lakes and pools, and towards the end we also passed by the visitors centre for the park where you can buy passes to get even closer to the birds. Dave's planning to return with his decent camera at some point to get some good photos so in the meantime, the view below is one I took on my first evening's run.

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