In La Rochelle we went to the beautiful Central Market at bought fresh clams, fruit, cheese, yoghurt, paté, sausages and hams for our journey south. We're planning to travel along the coast and so we needed supplies. We drove up to the Ile-de-Ré and cooked clams on the beach (see how in our Recipes page).
From there we headed south once more to the take the ferry across the massive Gironde estuary to Saujac and follow the coast south. Once on the other side our van had a minor gear issue which we fixed pretty quickly, and Carlos nearly crashed when a HUGE spider crawled out of the body work above the driver seat and fell into his lap. I had no idea why he suddenly stopped the van and went crazy, stomping at something on the ground. When we inspected the hole the spider had crawled out of we saw another pair of huge spider legs protruding ominously. Some prodding with a long piece of grass only made our new travelling companion go to ground so we tentatively carried on driving with the interior light on and with poor Carlos, who has an arachnophobia I was unaware of, scratching at himself and looking at the offending spider hole above him every two seconds. Somehow we made it to camp in one piece.
Preparing dinner inside the van once I'd coaxed one very unhappy Spaniard inside again our new 'friend' decided to make an appearance. Carlos voted for the death penalty but I caught our new buddy in an enamel cup and set him free on the other side of the municipal campsite. Dinner was the goat's cheese and paté we'd bought in La Rochelle with plenty of red wine to calm some rather frayed nerves and then sleep. There were no more spidery events to report this morning and I'm writing this from a tiny café in Vendays-Montalivet, drinking a cold beer while Carlos catches his first waves of the trip. It feels like we've finally arrived now that we're at the coast. A rhythm is emerging to our day and from here on we follow the coast south to Biarritz and then West towards Spain and eventually Portugal. We follow the sun.