1970: June 2, Strasbourg – Aubiguy-le-Bac

A good night’s sleep, and all feeling cheerful, lovely day again. David and children went to get a yard of bread and after breakfast we packed up and went into Strasbourg to shop. Like Strasbourg very much, solid, prosperous looking and some fine buildings. Did our shopping in Prisunic which was fun, lots of music, bright colours and attractive merchandise. Super foods available – we bought pâté, fruit, salad, bread, wine and a toy soldier king for Andrew. Lots of nice camping stuff available. Sad to reflect on how much higher the quality of food than in a comparable GB supermarket, even the frozen food more interesting. Bought a packet of Findus chicken pancakes for our evening meal (c.f. Sainsbury’s alluring display of fish finger, beef burgers, code fillet and filleted kippers…). Anyway, drove out and through the green rolling lands of France, along variable roads and past peasant farmers and horses working in the fields. Feel much more comfortable in a country whose language at least we can mostly understand…

Bypassed most of the big centres, and had a nice lunch which included 1/2kilo of strawberries. Shot along to Reims, where we were able to visit the Caves of Pommery and Greno. Fantastic chateau right on the outskirts of the town and beneath these vast caves and tunnels, originally dug by the Romans for road material. 12,000,000 bottles there now in varying stages of maturity and in various positions to get the sediment down to the cork. Children very interested and soon made friends with our guide (who spoke English). Gareth enjoyed being a train chugging along the tunnels. Heavenly boozy smell everywhere and became mesmerise by all those bottles. Saw the sugar (i.e. very sweet champagne) being added and the bottles moving on conveyors, little trains, and even a vertical lift to the surface – we had to come down 116 steps incidentally. Some of the walls had huge carved panels representing themes like Bacchus, champagne drinking in the 18th Century etc. Afterwards we were given some cool gorgeous champagne by our guide, who was very friendly with the children by the end of our term. No one else seemed to get a free drink! Children enjoyed champagne and very pleased to get some (so were we). Signed the visitors book too.

Then drove on to the camp site at Aubiguy – not the one we were looking for, but never mind. This one very French, doubt if many British cars find it! On the banks of the canal de la Sensee, near some lakes. Sanitation very French too. Several Algerian French about and two incredible young men in formal suits and ties and tiny ridge tent and quite bit cars. Children soon got to work on the swings and climbing ropes while we put tent up and soon were fed and bedded down – Gareth very skittish. Enjoyed our chicken pancakes, very tasty. Investigated the camp shop – quite well stocked and the restaurant which is also the local café, and several locals there, some playing crap and getting very worked up about it. Some very alluring Algerian children, with long dark hair and big dark eyes. Had 2 cups of black coffee each and watched the locals with great interest. (They don’t speak any English, just as well our French is sufficient, if not fluent). Strolled along the canal, quite busy with barge traffic and then on to the neighbouring restaurant which had a very nice menu for 30/-. As we only have about £1 between us, we could only slaver. Like this site very much – plenty of atmosphere and proprietress very pleasant.

314 miles


2 responses to “1970: June 2, Strasbourg – Aubiguy-le-Bac

  1. I have very fond memories of Findus Crispy Pancakes too.

    I love the idea of children getting a sneaky drink of champers. I remember Rory being given a glass when we were in Lake Garda a few years ago; he was tiddly just at the idea of bieng included in a glass of fizz.

  2. I actually remember the visit to the caves, and the champagne. We seem to have got to try the booze on many occasions on holiday!

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