Monday, 16 July 2007

Through the Savoy hills on diesel fumes

This post covers a very stressful drive through the Savoy hills and a night spent at yet another vineyard.

The next morning we sat out in the sun relaxing and finally left at 2pm, setting off into the hills for our next adventure. Shortly after leaving the village of Vognes, we realised we only had just under a quarter of a tank of diesel. We had set the GPS on a course towards a medieval town called Pérouges 55km away. Once we had already drove 10km up into the hills we thought we’d better head straight for the nearest petrol station. The GPS said it was 35km away and Ace was quickly using diesel charging up the steep hills. On and on the road went upwards, around hairpin bend after hairpin bend. We passed half a dozen cars and vans that flew round corners without any regard for oncoming traffic, very scary!
Left: Me in Perouges
Below: Perouges

Eventually we started heading downhill when I smelt something burning. We pulled over and the brakes were smoking! We had a pitstop for half an hour on a cliff edge waiting for them to cool down before continuing. We then set off, coasting down the mountain when we could in neutral for fear of being stranded miles away from a petrol station. Luckily we got to a town at the bottom of the hills, pulling in at the pump just as the petrol light came on! After putting 65 litres of diesel in Ace, we then treated ourselves to a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from the nearby supermarket in celebration!

We arrived at the town of Pérouges at 5pm with the sun still scorching. We spent an hour wandering around this medieval town which was pretty quiet apart from the odd pub or restraurant. It has been used by many French film makers for period dramas and other films.

Once again we turned to our France Passion book for a place to stay the night and selected a vineyard half an hour away in the Beaujoulais region. We drove up a huge hill and found ourselves at a cave surrounded by a vineyard. I chatted to the friendly owner in French and he showed us where we could stay for the night - a large tarmac area behind the main building overlooking the grapes and hills. We walked back to the cave and chatted to his daughter in English, she'd studied in New Zealand.

We sampled some white and rose wine, but we forgot to sample the red, even though we were in Beaujoulais country! We headed back to Ace and made dinner as the sun set, getting stuck into yet another bottle of wine. Some people have raised concerns over our drinking habits, but don't worry, it's usually only one glass a night each, if that!

Left: Sarah in Beaujoulais country

The next day we sat out in the glorious sunshine relaxing. At lunchtime, a farm worker in his 20s came to chat to us, in English, saying that he was sorry if he had woken us up this morning starting the tractor at 6am. No chance of us being woken up at that hour!


Boobylicious Mommy said...

Wow!! you guys are having a great time and it is obviously suiting you both. You both look so relaxed and happy - don't think I've seen Sarah smiling like that for a long time. Am missing you both but am sooooo enjoying your diary accounts - keep them coming. Can't wait to see all your photos when you come back - you are coming back ????? Love you loads xxxx Mom

Big sis said...

If you want to give me a coronary keep telling me of your narrow escapes on roads!! Oh my god! Be careful!!! I want you both back in one piece! If you refer to me worrying about your alcohol consumption when you have known sarah for 24 years and how poorly she tolerates alcohol and hear her p****d each time you speak or e mail yes i do worry but i know you will look after her matthew! Cant believe you even went near ostriches thats a hudson womans worst nightmare! Loving your entries miss you so much! Lots of love big sis xxxxxxxxx