After another day of exploring seemingly deserted villages we concluded that the Charente, beautiful though it is, was not the region for us. We decided to use the rest of our time there as a holiday.
We spent a day in Cognac and found the town was buzzing with activity in preparation of its annual music festival. We knew nothing of this but certainly enjoyed the pre festival delights. Amongst many floral displays to music being built, a saxophonist made of flowers on a roundabout was a real eye catcher…… his saxophone, hair and bowler hat were made all of flowers. Stages were being built all over the place and we did have to duck and dive occasionally but thoroughly enjoyed the jazz, blues and soul music that seemed to come from everywhere. This year the festival runs from the 5th of July until the 9th and the Cranberries (for those in the know) are one of the headline acts. Click on the picture below if you would like more information on the acts taking part.
Not being spirit lovers we didn’t bother with any of the readily available tours where one can enjoy a tipple or two after which the town is named but instead enjoyed a cool beer by the river.
Angouleme was another town to stick in the mind. Fantastic views, great cafes and a lovely place to just sit and people watch. Something we did quite a bit of as there was no need to hunt out immobiliers. If you are a Bugatti fan, it’s a place to be in September when they have their annual race round the ramparts. Click on the picture if you would like more information.
One of funniest moments in the Charente was when we came to leave from Poitiers Airport. As we had to return our hire car we thought we set off early to allow for mishaps, drop the car off and have something to eat at the airport. A simple plan but, as we all know, the best made plans of mice and men are apt to go pear shaped.
We didn’t get lost on the way to the airport as many of you are no doubt guessing, nor did we break down. We got to the airport in good time only to find it shut! How can an international airport be shut? We checked our tickets and we were meant to be flying that day. We looked through the windows and could see where we needed to drop our car keys. We could also see the stairs to the restaurant but even though we tried many doors – could not find a way in. The place was deserted.
Not having anything better to do we sat on some outside steps to think things through. Others began to arrive and discover the same problem. Glad we weren’t the only ones flummoxed at the situation. It became quite an entertainment to watch and guess peoples nationality as they approached the terminal. Many did not seem to notice the ever growing crowd outside the doors. The game soon lost its appeal as it became apparent that most travellers were British. Only the British would knock on an airport terminal door. Only a Brit would call ‘Hello – anyone there?’ through a letterbox of an empty French Airport terminal. Only a Brit would queue by a locked door of a seemingly empty building. We stayed sitting on the steps. Our thought being if the place ever opened the plane wouldn’t go without us. After quite some while of just waiting to see what would happen, word went round from a traveller used to the airport, that they would be opening soon as there was a flight due.
As check in time approached it was all action. Speeding cars and screeching brakes as everyone needed to get an airport moving seemingly arrived at the same time. There was an air of tension and confusion for a few moments and then, it was like it had been open all the time. The only thing there wasn’t time to do was have something to eat. Typical, no food when we arrived and no time for any as we left. Charente was definitely not the place for us but where to look now?
Originally from London, I moved with Inmate 1, to France in 2007. Home is now on the outskirts of the Medieval village of Plazac in the Perigord Noir region of the Dordogne.