On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Toad Rock, Tunbridge Wells

Days 10 to 13 – moving on and exploring near Annecy and then Troyes

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Day 10 – travelling 9th July

Very sad to leave this amazing site and our beautiful pitch but let’s see what our next site brings. Our route took us through Bern, Neuchatel, Lausanne and Geneva and we arrived back in France at around midday.  We are in the Haut Savoie region, the capital of which is Annecy, which is just where we are bound. It is a lovely sunny day and people are making for the lake – as are we. The traffic through Annecy is the worst we have encountered so far, but we finally arrived at our pitch at the amazing Camping du LacBleu at about 2 pm. And what a pitch! I can hardly believe our luck! I chose this pitch, from a plan of the site,  back in January and it could not have been more perfect – right on the lake shore again, with beautiful views, again. SO happy!

Pitch Perfect!

Pitch Perfect!

We set up and put up the sun shade, thus marking out our territory. Not that it made a lot of difference! Clearly our pitch is a shortcut to the boat hire place next door and we had a steady stream of people through the pitch! One family even came and lay down and sunbathed at the front of our pitch for a couple of hours! People eventually got the message, though and no harm done really – it’s just the principle!

We had a little rest and then popped out about 4 pm to get some provisions. . It was hot and I MAY have bought rather too much. It was fun doing that “I’ll get this in to the fridge or bust” thing. I am an expert at it from our narrow-boating days.What I can’t fit in will have to be eaten!

So – we are fully provisioned but nonetheless we decided to eat at the onsite restaurant! Glad we did. It was delicious and no washing up! Dog friendly too. The food was good so we will definitely be back.

It was a beautiful evening and it was so pretty to see the lights of the restaurant further along the shore reflected in the water before we retired.

Pretty lights

Pretty lights

Day 11 – resting 10th July

It was a lovely sunny day and we  always like to relax after a day of travelling and so we blew the boat up and went for a little pootle on the lake. Followed by a swim. This lake is warmer than the one in Switzerland and it was a delightful experience. This place, much like the last, is very popular with parascenders and the skies are often full of what looks like an array of coloured eyebrows. Paul quite fancies having a go – they do tandem jumps locally. We shall make enquiries! I am probably not built for it, although if I were I might give it ago. It doesn’t frighten me.

There is a lot of watersport activity at the base next door. Stand up paddle boarding seems to be very popular and it’s quite entertaining watching newbies getting to grips with it. Some take to it like a duck to water – others not so much!


Tandem descent



The tooth


Lake view

The day passed with more swimming and boating.  An English couple arrived on the pitch behind us. They were very nice but were obviously a little bit miffed. They were quick to tell us that we were in their usual pitch. Oops! Never mind. Better luck next year. Thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow. Probably because it has been so hot. The wind had got up and the management came round to everyone to suggest that we might want to batten down the hatches. We therefore put the sun canopy away. This might be interesting!

Day 12 – stormy weather  12th July

Well! Interesting? That’s one adjective, I guess! It was pretty intense. we both love a good storm but poor Archie is not so keen. In fact he was terrified. We lost him at one point in the night and found him cowering in the shower cubicle. A little later, after one particularly LOUD crack. He launched himself onto the bed and ended up between our heads, panting and quivering, poor boy. He does not have the sweetest of breath and it was a very disturbed night, all in all.

Stormy weather

Stormy weather

We had planned to drive to Annecy itself and explore on our bikes, but that was not to be. It rained – quite a lot. One area was a bit flooded (only mildly) and they were soon at work, digging a temporary channel into the lake. It worked well. The rain meant that our plans were a bit scuppered, so we took the opportunity to read and catch up on some missed sleep! Towards the late afternoon, it cleared up and we set off for a drive into the mountains between Doussard (which is where the campsite is) and Albertville – base for the 1992 Winter Olympics. This is the area known as the Parc Naturel Régional du Massif des Bauges. The sun had come out in force by then and we had a lovely afternoon and saw many birds of prey.


Kay on a bridge




Daredevil Archie


Bird of Prey on the wing


Bird of prey on a post

We got home and deflated the boat prior to our departure tomorrow for Troyes, spruced ourselves up and then went out for dinner. We had noticed a restaurant nearby called the Spinnaker. Well – it had to be done! And what a lovely meal . I had snails followed by steak frites. Perfect.

Kay outside the Spinnaker.

Kay outside the Spinnaker.

We returned home, full, to do some packing ready for an early start tomorrow. This is a lovely area, and as we still have plenty to explore I would not mind a return visit. Unusual for me.

Day 13 – moving on again

This will be a particularity painful departure as it is, really,  the the start of our journey back to Calais and home. We set off on the dot of 9 – not early, but early enough. We have a roughly 300 mile journey to our overnight stop near Troyes. We have become accustomed to breakfasting on the move and today was no exception. We had ordered some pain au chocolate and a baguette for lunch and we enjoyed the pain au chocolate with a travel mug of coffee.

Our journey took us through some beautiful countryside and one of the most interesting place we saw was at the Lac de Sylans, near Nantua. We saw a ruined building and wondered what on earth it was. Research told us that it was the remains of a huge Victorian (French equivalent)  ice-harvesting factory. I’d never heard of such a thing. The story is that a local cafe-owner had been harvesting the ice each winter as it was very pure and could be served safely in his cafe. He built a couple of ice houses and eventually sold it all off to the Société des Glacières de Paris! Soon, rail arrived in the area and  20 to 30 wagons loaded with 10 tonnes each departed every day of the summer for Paris and other large towns. These loads were covered with a jute mat, straw and a tarpaulin for insulation. Losses were reasonable, as for 10 tonnes shipped, about 8 arrived in Paris. Fascinating! Sadly it didn’t last too long as machines that could produce ice were invented early in the 20th century.

Ice Factory ruins

Ice Factory ruins

We took our time, stopping regularly for pit-stops/comfort breaks, but eventually arrived at the campsite – Camping Les Terres Rouges on the outskirts of Troyes. I regret to say that our photographer seems to have taken some time out and I have the only picture of this site! It’s located in an old gravel-pit and is also a water-park. It was very quiet (until the evening – see below) and also quite basic but as it was only overnight we didn’t mind and we’d certainly not hesitate to use it again.

Comfort break

Comfort break

Les Terres Rouges - the waterpark

Les Terres Rouges – the waterpark

Once set up, we decided to pop out for a quick scoot round Troyes,  as it was reputed to be an attractive town. Interestingly Troyes is twinned with Chesterfield and is the place where troy wieghts (for weighing gold) were invented. We are in the Champagne region now, by the way. Well, Troyes certainly lived up to it’s reputation. The town centre has many fine 16th century half-timbered houses. Much of the town was destroyed by fire in 1524 and had to be rebuilt. We thought it was beautiful. One snag though – as it was the eve of Bastille Day, there was a big military display and access to the town centre was severely hampered by this. We managed to get a good flavour of it, though. Worth another look we feel.

DSC_0120 DSC_0122 DSC_0123

 We returned to van, ate and retired. Poor Archie. Having already been terrorised by thunder a couple of nights ago, tonight it was (we presume) pre-Bastille Day fireworks. His bete-noire!  Went on until about midnight, too. Grr!

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