I have a pet theory, which is that if you have to live inland, away from the sea, the only place a sailor can feel comfortable is in the mountains. And so it was that Erica persuaded me for the first time in memory to take a holiday away from the coast.
We have driven through the region many times on our way south and have always admired the scenery but that apart, the area of France called the Auvergne was completely unknown to us and what a surprise.
Part of the massif central, the central plateau in France which rises to around 600 meters, the area is part of the “Chaine de Puy’s”, around 100 or so volcanic peaks, long extinct which pepper the region and rise in some cases to 1500 meters, like the most famous Puy de Dome from where this shot was taken.
We stayed in a small town called Vic Le Comte and like so many towns and villages in the region it is characterised by stones walls, fortifications and tiny back streets harking back to medieval times.
Indeed it seemed at times that almost every peak had some castle or fortified structure at the top, we didn't have much opportunity to look into the history, but you have to think it must have been a rough old place back then.
One thing which was really apparent, the almost total absence of Brits, given that the Dordogne (AKA Rural Chiswick) starts just at the other end of the chain it was a very pleasant surprise and a great opportunity to practice our French.
5 hours ago