Saturday, 28 July 2007

Groundhog days

This post covers our adventures in Vichy, Riom, Chatelguyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Lake Aydat… for the second and maybe even third times.

We set off from Varennes on Monday 23 July, the weather had turned cool and rainy. We headed to the nearby town of Saint Pourcain but everything was closed being a Monday. I had even missed seeing a photography exhibition by one day! We bought a baguette from a boulanger but when we realised you needed a chainsaw to cut through it, I took it back and asked for an exchange. I like buying bread from boulangers but at Carrefour at least you can squeeze your baguettes, not to mention they’re half the price!

From here we headed to Vichy where surprise, surprise, the internet café was closed being a Monday. We sat outside the hotel we went to on Friday and quickly read our emails. After Vichy we filled up with water, took some photos and headed back again to Carrefour in Riom. We checked out the aire de service in Riom but it was on a busy roundabout so we headed back to Chatelguyon where we had spent Friday night. We were now getting sick of seeing the same towns twice and three times!

Above: Sorry, only one photo on this blog for now, the photographer is demanding more money! Cathedral in Clermont-Ferrand

Tuesday morning we headed back yet again for the third time to Carrefour in Riom where Sarah had some secret birthday business to attend to. As we left Chatelguyon, the same old lady with the same long bleach blonde hair with the same small dog was crossing the road in the same place as we’d seen her on Saturday morning! This really was turning into Groundhog Day…

After lunch we drove into Clermont-Ferrand and parked up. I had everything crossed that my 2 packages would be at the post office, otherwise Sarah would be the biggest moody Trudy on earth… I’m pleased to announce they were there! WOOHOOO! Kev’s package of magazines and DVDs had arrived on Saturday and Mum’s had arrived about 2 hours before we got there! A huge thanks to Kev for sending us the package, the cheque is in the post mate! Sarah has hidden Mum’s package as I suspect it is for my birthday.

We set off in search of an internet café listed in our guide book, but surprise, surprise, it was closed for 2 weeks for summer holidays! We had a nice walk into the centre of Clermont-Ferrand. There is a huge cathedral built from dark volcanic stone and the streets around the cathedral are great for having a mosey around. This being the home of Michelin tyres, there is even a Michelin shop where you can buy tshirts of Bib, the Michelin Man!

From Clermont-Ferrand we headed west to Vulcania, the European Centre for Vulcanology. This attraction tells you everything there is to know about volcanoes. We were a bit disappointed, it wasn’t quite as good as we thought it would be and even late in the day the queues were quite large. We watched a couple of 3D films about volcanoes, one was similar to the Honey I shrunk the audience 3d show at Disney. We left at 7pm and looking at our maps there was no obvious place to go for the night. The nearest place was… Lake Aydat! The lake looked more attractive this time was we approached it from a different angle. The new payment machine was fitted but still not operational. We watched Catch me if you can while taking advantage of the plentiful electricity supply to charge everything. We have awoke to mostly sunny weather and will set off this afternoon for the Dordogne, never to see Lake Aydat again!

(Oops! Part of our next posting appeared here by accident! Watch this space, it will appear soon!)

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