Day 14 ? Friday, July 14
LOGISTICALLY, this trip is a series of irritating obstacles to overcome and already we have made a wish-list of things we need should we ever do it this way again.
Another driver, wi-fi access in the Broomwagon, a television that works and a better spec vehicle.
We seem to spend a lot of time looking for hotels with wi-fi so we can send in our work. The rest of the time we are driving, looking for a parking space big enough for our monster truck, scouring town for a restaurant still willing to serve dinner at 10pm or searching for our campsite. The green camping bible contains directions so vague they wouldn?t be out of place as clues on 1980s quiz show 3-2-1.
Once at the campsite we have to check which type of power cable they use and make sure we hire an adapter if they have the ?French? style plug rather than the more modern ?European? three-pin thingy we have got. It was so nice of Eddy at the camper van hire place to explain there are two systems and that we are set up for the one most of France doesn?t use.
Then there?s the strict rotation of use on the single plug socket in the camper van. I usually start the bidding with: ?My mobile is down to one bar of battery now? but with four of us ? Dan and Ed arrived today – all with phones and laptops to charge it is a constant struggle.
There?s the daily logistics discussion, held over a strong cup of coffee and a croissant or two when we decide whether to go to the start, the finish, or somewhere along the route. We gave up setting ambitious schedules days ago. If we try to over-stretch ourselves we end up doing and seeing very little.
So, we arrived in Beziers this evening and got to our campsite with about ten minutes to spare before we had to think about getting a taxi back into town.
Over a beer I mentioned last night?s casoulet, which convinced Ed that he would like a bowl of the rich, filling bean and meat stew. He asked our taxi driver, Francine, if she could recommend a good casoulet restaurant in Beziers. She told us that casoulet was a dish from Toulouse and that we would do well to find it in Beziers but, undeterred we looked at menus across town until we found a place serving the stuff.
Four men full of bean stew and red wine on a hot night in a confined space. Nice. Someone suggested we do the Vuelta in a camper van. They?re having a bubble.*
* bubble ? Cockney rhyming slang. Bubble bath = laugh