We left North Wales Saturday morning with a packed car ready for 2 weeks of no rain and we were prepared to travel to find it! First stop on the way was at the Welsh track and field championships being held in Cwmbran, near Newport, south Wales. Caroline was competing in the 1500m and 3000m events. A quick 3rd place in the 1500m and 2nd in the 3000m and we were back on the road again, this time heading for Dover and our ferry to Boulogne-sur-Mer. As the ferry was first thing on Sunday morning we had two options - Normally we just crash in the car to save money but seeing as how Caroline had just ran two races we decided to fork out for a bed for the night in nearby Folkestone to get us started on the right foot for the trip. The week before going we booked a 3 star hotel and presumed we were sorted – Man were we wrong! We rocked up to the hotel eventually around 11pm after driving around Folkestone trying to find it … turns out Folkestone is a bit of a dive – I don’t really like seafront scummy nightclubs spewing out throves of drunken, loud, flabby, yobby… well yobs! Anyway the hotel was like … well picture Faulty towers only now age the set by about 30 years without any maintenance. The night porter was sound, but the room was a grim – this place got 3 stars?!! Anywho… a quick and costly 6 hours sleep and we were up and back in the car without breakfast and 15 mins later waiting to board our Speedferries boat bound for the promised land… France!
1 hr later we were driving on the wrong side of the road and doing 90 on the peage towards Paris. A nice little surprise for Caroline was pulling up in Paris and taking a trip up the Eiffel Tower. After Lunch we were back in the saddle and bound for St. Leger du Ventoux. By 8pm it was clear that we were going to have to stop for the night somewhere and after the dive we slept in the night before I though it would be worth it to try again and get a proper nights sleep somewhere. This time we went for the guaranteed option of staying in an Ibis Hotel – they only get 2 stars but are everywhere, all have the same facilities and layout and are clean and just generally brilliant! We found one in Avallon, just south of Auxerre. It was Class, big room with a lovely view out over farmland and a hot shower! The next morning we got up late and had a lovely breakfast and were back on the road – this time totally refreshed and making great progress towards out destination. It’s now Monday. We eventually turn off the A7 at Bollene and arrive at Vaison-la-Romaine. South and west of Gap and Ceuse – I just locate everywhere in relation to the best crag in the world. This place kinda turned us off straight away. At this point I should point out that this was not intended to be a climbing trip, but a holiday – we had both had a rough year with stress and pressure and we just needed to catch some rays and relax away from everything. This place didn’t seem to offer anything but the crag and a touristy town thriving on German tourists flocking to see the Roman ruins in the area. We did a quick reassessment of our options and before long we were driving almost due west towards the Gorge du Tarn and Le Rozier. I was being pulled towards Ceuse but in all honesty it is definitely more of a crag to go to if you are fit and want to prove it – we were not. Back in the same campsite that we had stayed in two years ago with Neal and the Gang, we were home. 11 nights later we packed up and left after 9 days of beautiful sunshine, this time taking a direct route via Paris to Boulogne-sur-Mer and out ferry to Dover.
Back in the UK we had to detour via Cardiff in Wales for the first BUPA great Cardiff Run, a 10km event that Caroline had been given a free entry into the Elite womens event. Job done, back on the road and arrive back, through mental traffic, in North Wales. Phew!