Saturday, 27 August 2016

Exceeding Expectations

As I said in the previous post we arrived in the Ardennes with few expectations, we simply aimed for somewhere we had not visited before, close to the channel ports which seemed to have plenty of cheap places to stay. Where we are now, at the camping municipal on the edge of Haynes is really very beautiful, peaceful and convivial.

La voie verte runs right by the site.
uncrowded August

an evening stroll by the Meuse
I could say that the area exceeded our expectations, but I am loathed to utter the phrase. It seems all manner of people are constantly trying to delight me. In a quest for so called quality improvement every organisation under the sun is plotting to exceed my expectations. I know this because I used to be part of the problem and understand all to well what an utter charade the whole PR driven customer satisfaction business has become. So it was quite good to arrive here without any expectations whatsoever and then discover the Val d' Meuse is really rather delightful. 

The camping is a simple but well managed site right by the river and adjacent tp the cycle track that follows the Meuse. At less than €11 per night with ECU it's excellent value. The village itself has a great artisan boulangerie and an attractive riverside setting. The locals are friendly and the place exudes a bonhomie that soon had me declaring 'Vive la Republique' on Facebook and posting clichéd images of the local citizenry going about their Gallic business. 

It was as hot as it looked... low 30s and forecast to go even higher...
Small village, big Mairie - Vive La Republique!

Social moments outside the boulangerie

The verdict - yummy, but the cou-cous spice overwhelmed the Coteaux de Aix en Provence, 

befriended by the local wild-life...

Watch the birdie!

Next to the camp site - a protected wetland

lots of dragonflies...
and funghi
A couple of kilometres upstream is the town of Fumay. It too is a pretty town in a nice wooded setting by the river. It boasts an Aldi and a Carrefour market, both easily reached en velo, once you get the hang of the meanders which make the riverside towns slightly tricky to navigate. We also got caught out by lunchtime closing, two hours is sacrosanct, even in Carrefour. Aldi bucks the trend and stays open. 

Haybes  was the site of a German atrocity against civilians in the early months of WW1

La Gare

La Poste has gone ebike.
We have had two really enjoyable days doing not much at all other than relax and go for bike rides up and down the voie verte Trans Ardennes. I realise our enthusiasm for where we are may be 'meteo' related. The forecast is for wall to wall blue with temperatures heading into the mid 30s. Both gastronomically and meteorologically neither of us is averse to a bit of heat. Nevertheless, living in a 7m box in a heatwave does present it's own challenges. Better to simmer than shiver. Maybe tomorrow we'll drift south and see what Revin has to offer.


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