Lac de Payolle

Campervan Heaven, another must if you have a campervan or motorhome. This is a manmade lake up in the mountains. Starting from the town of Arreau, take on the twisty mountain roads, dodge the crazy Frenchies hurtling down in their banged-up Citroens, take a left at the small gathering of bars and shortly you will discover the lake. There’s a small retirement gathering of motorhomes near the road in, put your head down and drive straight on by. When it gets a little forresty, turn right and you will find a river that you can park up alongside. This is where I reached a milestone in my transition back into a caveman, and had my first river bath (Splashing about ankle deep in what could be a terrible lynx advert) I could spend some time here. Cooking dinners out under the stars and utilising your surroundings, (chilling the evenings bottle of wine in the river) we were going back to basics and learning to cope in a wilder setting. With food rations running low, we woke up to a simple breakfast of Weetabix, banana and honey, and a pot of tea of course. We were both harbouring pretty strong cravings for the fresh croissants that we had become accustomed to, but content to go without we didn’t want to leave our little oasis just yet. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. Just as we sat down to chomp through three Weetabix each, when we were rudely interrupted by a van driving past honking his horn. Upon further inspection, the van had boulangerie written down the side and seemed to be stopping. In a mountain range, parked up on a riverbank deep within the Pyrenees a heavily tanned man with a strong local accent popped up out of nowhere and answered my prayers.

 Simple life or not, I’m getting me a pain au chocolat.

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The van was almost taken over this evening by a heard of cows that suddenly descended on the van. They came from nowhere, one had a cow bell attached that gave a dull clang every step, it felt as if an army of the dead where marching through, but then you stick your head out the window and they’re just cows. Quite freaky on a misty night when you’re parked up in the middle of a forest on a mountain.

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