Tuesday 23 August

(magnify) Lake Geneva

We use the camping car station at the site to empty the waste water tank and replenish the clean water. There is a very odd contrivance to collect the waste water: a corrugated plastic hose about ten centimetres in diameter sitting inside a sloping soil pipe. I deduce that I must pull it out and hold it over the van’s waste outlet. Expecting a deluge of smelly water over my feet, I gingerly open the valve. But not a drop is spilled.

We follow a road that climbs up from the valley, offering good views over Lake Geneva. Sadly though it is too hazy to see the mountains behind. We pass through a series of small skiing resorts before descending through Champagnole and crossing our outward route at Poligny. By now it is getting very hot and we stop at the Geant Casino at Dole to restock for the final three days of our trip, and to eat lunch. It is one of the biggest and best supermarkets that we have seen so far.

From Dole it is a short run to Dijon. We would like to explore the city centre, but it is far too hot to do much walking. We follow the Garmin towards the centre more in hope than expectation of finding somewhere that we can park the van. Most spaces are metered, and far too small for the van anyway. Squeezing down some narrow cobbled streets we wonder if we should even be here.

(magnify) Dijon

But just as we are coming out the other side we catch sight of a makeshift car park in the middle of works to install a new tram system. There are a couple of empty spaces and no height restriction, so I battle through the roadworks to find the entrance, and tuck the van in next to a Clio. Since we can find no indication of tariffs, or indeed any means to pay, and none of the other cars are displaying any kind of ticket, we leave the van and backtrack the short distance to the centre.

We are relieved to reach the shade of the cathedral, but it is not actually much cooler inside than outside. There are some lovely circular stained glass windows though, casting their coloured rays.

Next we stop at a café opposite the covered market for a cold drink. Our timing could have been better. No sooner than we have been served, we begin to be deafened by the garbage collection lorry and road sweepers who promptly turn up to clean up after the morning’s market opposite.

(magnify) Cooling off
(magnify) Palais des Ducs et Etats de Bourgogne

We wander a bit further and watch children jumping into the fountain to cool off outside the Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne, and I can’t resist dipping my feet in too.

(magnify) Cooling off
(magnify) Street art

Dijon has lots of lovely old buildings, many with coloured roof tiles set in geometric patterns, and we decide it would be worth another visit sometime.

After carefully extricating ourselves from the car park and the roadworks, we set course for Vitteaux, where we arrive at about half past five. There is no one manning the campsite when we arrive, but I eventually spot a sign that has fallen off the office window inviting us to find ourselves a pitch and then to expect a visit from the owner later in the evening. It is a quiet and well looked after campsite built on the site of a disused railway station.

There is an English couple who arrived at about the same time as us and seem to be setting up rows of potted geraniums outside their tiny caravan. We get talking with them and discover that it is not as strange as it seems – they are transporting the flowers down to a holiday cottage that they own.