5th June 2009

We decided to leave today, it isn't near anything we can visit, there's workman driving dumper trucks around and making lots of noise so we're going to another site further up the west coast towards Brittany, near Royan.  We wanted to avoid going through Bordeaux and any Autoroutes where there would be tolls to pay, so Paul set the SatNav to avoid all toll roads. We found ourselves travelling through the famous Bordeaux wine regions, seeing the famous chateaux of Medoc, Pauillac, St Estephe and many others.  We were so tempted to stop but even buying these wines direct from the vineyard is still more than we can afford!
We finally arrived at Le Verdon, where according to the map, there should be a ferry or a bridge across the peninsula to Royan.  Yep, there was a ferry, a bloody big one seeing as we're only crossing the Gironde estuary.  Anyway, Paul thought it would probably cost about €10 but then we arrived at the ferry terminal entrance and saw the prices of the crossing, €45!   Christ, it's nearly as much as crossing the Channel.  Maybe we were at the wrong boat or something. We explained to the guy at the toll booth that we only wanted to go to Royan, yes he said, that's the only place the boat goes to and it’s €45 one way.
Ferry at Royan
We were absolutely stunned and said we didn't want to go across and could he please let us turn around.  After a lot of huffing and puffing, the man at the booth raised the barrier, and let us turn the van round so we could go back the way we came. What a waste of bloody time that was! So off we went all the way back round the outskirts of Bordeaux and back up the D137.  We probably used about €30 of fuel and it took four hours.  Lesson learned. If you say to the SatNav ‘no tolls’, also say ‘no ferries’ or have a good look at the map first.  Oops!
We arrived at the new campsite about 7.00 pm.  It's a pleasant site just on the outskirts of Royan.  We had a bit of trouble finding it as it wasn't signposted very well, but tired and a bit grumpy; we found a suitable pitch and set the van up.  Paul went off to a wine tasting which up near the camp reception whilst I did the dishes at the camp washroom.  We had tortilla for dinner, watched TV (at last a decent signal), played AC and went to bed early-ish.

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