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travelogue 30

beaulieu-sur-dordogne 3
beaulieu-sur-dordogne 3 by Tim Caynes

its got to be here somewhere, I mean, this is a campsite. so is that. I can see the river from here, its just down there. hang on, lets go back in the town.

its a peculiarity of the towns on the river dordogne that all the best riverside spots are taken by bloody campsites. except it doesn’t necessarily tell you that, as you’re walking around with a cool box full of jambon and brie, in your map de tourisme, which is clamped in your teeth. “but look, that’s (point with nose) a bridge and there’s (point with foot) the river, but that’s (point with pelvis, to concerned looks from passers-by) another campsite. we can’t get over the bridge unless we’ve got the right canoe with us.” as it turns out, we’re slightly in the wrong place on the map, which isn’t surprising, as its not really a map, more a ‘representation’ of the geographical features, but done in thick orange lines and symbols without any explanation. “but surely that’s the abbey, there. look, there’s a cross. no, wait, maybe that’s the hospital. anyway, look, we’re here, and that’s the river. no, hang on, its the scenic walk, but its blue. BLUE.” when we realise we’ve been upside down for an hour, the cheese is ‘a bit runny’ (“I don’t care how f**king runny it is”, etc.), and the baguettes have escaped from the bits of paper wrapped around them and keep slithering off like wheaty snakes, landing in the conveniently placed plops of poodle poo, from which, you are never far, around here.

we finally find the bit by the river ‘like what we saw on the postcard in that shop daddy’ and lo, there’s even a bit of grass and a few benches. after lunch, we were entertained by a nuclear fallout ice lolly which could actually bend and was a nasty shade of of blue (‘that’ll never come off his tshirt you know. why did you buy that?’) and we just sat around for a good while, watching the campsite on the other side of the river and wondering what it would be like sharing that patch of ground with those other people in the caravans pulled up right next to you, even though they’re quite friendly and would probably offer to take your children to a play park somewhere for a few hours. we decided it would be godawful, and then headed back to the villa we’d paid about a thousand pounds for, but hey, it’s got a brick barbeque (which we never used).

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