50 years anniversary
Prologue – (Tuesday June 4th)
The weekend starts early this year, in fact 10 days early. [C & T] are departing the UK on Wednesday 5th of June to take the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao. Not a very direct route you might add but in fact it is if you want to spend a couple of nights in Spain then through the Pyrennees to Carcassonne for a relaxing weekend and pick me up before heading north after the 4th musketer and namely [G] lands on monday afternoon from Manchester.
On the way – (Wednesday June 5th)
[C] & [T] texted me a short while ago to say they had boarded their ferry in Portsmouth, engines were running and the bar was opened. They have a 24h crossing in front of them . I found an online tracker of Brittany Ferries so I’ll log on once in a while to check on their progress.
Getting close – (Thursday June 6th)
It looks like the ferry is on track and will arrive at Bilbao on time.
It did arrive on time and they made their way to Pamplona for the rest of the day and night.
Day 4 – (Friday June 7th)
Not much to report. The boys are under from Spain to France with a stop earlier today in Canfranc-Estación.
Day 5 – (Saturday June 8th)
Day 6 – (Sunday June 9th)
The “Le Mans” week is about to start.
We decide to take a drive to the coast with a stop in Narbonne. The weekly market is busy and we walk through to get to the cathedral and some of the old parts of town
Back in the car and 10 minutes later we are in the sea side resort of Gruissan for lunch in the local brasserie.
A few miles away and on the way home, we visit the Abbey de Fontfroide. A lot of medieval activities today.
Evening at the Cité
Day 7 – (Monday June 10th)
Relax day. Final preparations. G landing from Manchester later in the afternoon.
Day 8 – (Tuesday June 11th)
Departure direction Le Mans after the obligatory group photo.
After a couple of hours drive we stopped for lunch in Albi
Which turned out to be a very nice town. Town where Toulouse Lautrec came from.
Made it to our 1st hotel in Souillac in the Dordogne valley. Had to tank first of course.
Not only the car was thirsty.
Day 9 – (Wednesday June 12th)
Today we are driving to Poitiers via Limoges.
Weather is not brilliant but are nevertheless making progress on the B roads. Of course we need to tank up regularly.
Made it to Poitiers and our hotel for lunchtime which we had in the hotel across the street from ours followed by a well deservednap.
Being at the Futuroscope site made it obvious that we needed to spend a few hours there.
We all had a jolly good time in the 4Ds attractions in particular.
Walked back to our hotel area for apéritif and dinner in the Novotel.
Day 10 – (Thursday June 13th)
Making our way up north to Le Mans today with the obligatory cultural stop. This time it is the Fortress de Chinon in Chinon.
A pleasant 1 hour drive and we arrive in Marigné-Laillé.
There is a new, and only one, bar / restaurant / grocery in town. This where we had lunch where we met the owners, bumped into some known faces, ordered our bread for the next 4 mornings
I was told that because the other bar / restaurant in town had closed down and that the grocery shop had also failed, this concept was started and funded in part by the mairie. My friend Bruno actually prepared the file & audit to get the necessary funds and is very much involved in this venture.Then we take possession of the gîte
After lunch it is only a couple of miles drive to the gîte. Being in the middle of nowhere doors are unlocked as usual and we can make ourselves comfortable.
A Quick trip to the next town Ecommoy is next on the list to do a major shopping expedition. Exhausted, we come back for apéritif
and the obligatory BBQ
All this followed by a fairly early night for all.
Day 11 – (Friday June 14th)
The Friday before the race is always a good day to go to the track and explore what’s new.
More importantly it is the best time to get close to the cars with a walk down Pit lane.
Back at the gîte and it is time for apéritif and this one was a very special French moment with our friend Bruno.
Day 12 – (Saturday June 15th)
Quite a new routine this year. Having been disappointed in the past with the catering facilities at the track we decided to go to the town for lunch.
We leave the gîte sharp at 9:30am to drive to our designated car park at the track. No traffic jam and we get to the Expo parking via Arnage in no time.
A quick walk to Tertre Rouge through the track and we are at the tram station.
The ride to the town centre is about 20 minutes.
When we get off, we have a walk round the cathedral (bad memories) and a short wander around the old town
before settling for lunch in a restaurant that C & I patronized the previous year. Good inexpensive food and wine and we are ready to tram it back to the track.
Day 13 – (Sunday June 16th)
Final race day.
We are awake fairly sharp, probably due to the tractor which has been in action in the field next door.
Watching the race on the computer screen during breakfast.
We are all ready around 10am
First stop is Arnage corner, a favorite of mine.
We then drive to our designated car park and our tribune seats for the
Day 14 – (Monday June 17th)
Sitting outside for breakfast, the air is warm, there is a nice smell emanating from the freshly cut hay fields around us.