Thursday, 31 March 2016

Spring has truly sprung in the Perigord

We have moved northwards again and are now at the
beautiful Camping Le Bois du Coderc which is at Antonne et Trigonant in the Perigord. The site itself is green and wooded - as you might expect from its name - and, after the practically flat camping pitches, slopes down to the river L'Isle. Despite being in the ACSI book so well publicised to off-season travellers, it is very peaceful here, perhaps because it's not on the main migration routes. Yesterday we were disturbed by fighter planes looping overhead for half an hour or so, but the soundscape is mostly birdsong and nothing else! We heard our first cuckoo of the year as well as a woodpecker, and skylarks high in the perfectly blue sky.

French prices are still shockingly above long-stay Spanish prices so our €16.50 a night seems steep, but that does include free and good quality wifi across the site. The shower block is pretty good too. I love that there are hand stencilled bluebells and ivy fronds painted onto the walls. The showers have plenty of warm water, but they could be hotter! There are several bookcases in Reception which I am looking forward to browsing through. I've got Sophie's World to swap and am waiting for Dave to finish The Herring Seller's Apprentice. The restaurant-bar is closed up (and the ping pong tables folded away) even though several of the static caravans here seem to be occupied on a long-term basis. That is one thing we have noticed about French campsites in the low season - the ones that stay open throughout the year all seem to have more long-stay residents going off to work every day than they do leisure tourers like us.

Reception lent us a photocopied map of the local area from
River L'Isle past the campsite 
which we managed a two hour walk on our first evening here. Having only intended a half hour stroll, we hadn't bothered with water, hiking poles or proper boots so got our trainers a bit muddy along the riverside path, ourselves a bit thirsty climbing uphill through forest, and Dave a bit of backache after an hour. However we saw loads of yellow cowslips, some pale mauve violets and our first bluebells. There were wide fields of rapeseed flowers already in full bloom with that distinctive sweet scent. The villages seem more of strung out communities than clusters, and several of the smaller houses looked more like holiday homes. The older big stone-built houses are probably farms, or ex-farms. One was 'a vendre' and we loved its sky-blue shutters. It had five bedrooms and was somewhat out of budget though (we looked it up!). Another disappointment was arriving just one day to late to sign up for the local hunting society's steak and chips night - the posters made it look good.

We hope to visit the nearby town of Perigueux tomorrow for a spot of history and culture, and will stay on here a full week before moving on again. Hopefully we can get more walking and maybe even a bike ride.


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