Sedan – The Town, Not the Chair

by Feb 27, 2019Castles, France, Winter Tour 2017-2018

It’s our third day in continental Europe and Iggy has a fort on his nose.  Okay it’s not quite on his nose.  But it’s not far off either at the rather fabulous free parking at the Fort de Sedan in France. (N49.7015, E4.951)

Our chicken munching early night in Namur yesterday seemingly had a very strange effect on our Jay.  Not renowned for being a morning person, imagine my surprise when he woke me at four o’clock in the morning suggesting we get on our way.  I mean I’m all for early starts…but…4 am?!

Who was this smiling Doppelganger? And what had he done with the real Jay?

Once the initial shock wore off though I figured “What the heck?  May as well!” and jumped out of bed to make coffee. 04:00 is far too early for  proper breakfast. But definitely early enough for coffee!

Forty five minutes later and Iggy was ready to roll. And his engine seemed for all the world to barely purr as we slid, ghostlike, through the silent pre dawn streets of Namur. 

Lovely as it would be to spend more time in Belgium we wanted to make some speed southwards to warmer climes. Today would begin a few days drive down through France to the Mediterranean coast and on, into Italy. 

The peacefulness of our dreamlike, gliding departure was to be shortlived however.  The first close shave of the trip came as Satnav directed us on a pleasant riverside shortcut on our way out of town. 

The road curved gently towards the slow moving waters. Jay and I joked and laughed. Having the time of our lives on our morning adventure. Two kids full of the joys of life.

“Watch out! Turn!”

Just in time I spotted the sign for the 2.4 metres low bridge that was innocently waiting ahead to rip poor Iggy’s head off!  And quite possibly ours with it. This was not a good start to the day.

That was it! One close shave with a low bridge too far for me. It was time to take some serious action.

Afterwards. These things were always so much fun… afterwards! But this was, most definitely, the time for all that wonderful adventure to draw to a close. 40 Euros later and Co-Pilot was happily ensconced on my phone. Complete with full maps of Europe and lifetime updates.

Now all I had to do was figure out how to work it all!

Inside the fort at Sedan

The rest of the drive was blissfully uneventful on the almost empty, morning roads. Our destination in Sedan was just a parking spot, no services for toilet emptying or water. So I’d  found us  a free aire with services in Bouillon to empty our waste and top up with water.

It seemed like a pretty spot, near a river with an interesting turn over an old, narrow bridge. But we couldn’t see much in the pitch black of pre-dawn.

There were quite a few sleeping motorhomes there as we crept in for water in the darkness.  It’s really hard to be stealthy in a 3.5 tonne van, emptying toilet waste and tripping each other up in the dark.  Especially when it’s minus two degrees Celcius and you’re almost certain the cold water has given you frostbite in your fingers.

But nobody shouted or turned lights on, so I think we got away with it.  Or maybe not!  Sorry sleeping people!  But it was 7am by this point so technically morning as we scarpered quick style  onwards to Sedan.

It was only a few more minutes drive and we arrived with the early morning light at our incredible parking spot for the day. I’m a sucker for stopovers by the walls of a good old castle or fort and the picture of this one on the park4night app had made Sedan an obvious stopping point.  How much closer can you get?!

The Fort was enormous and truly an impressive building, The tiny historical town centre attractive with a Wednesday market in full swing.  So I don’t know what it was but we didn’t really take to poor old Sedan. 

Maybe it was the 4am start?  The unremittingly grey sky?  The sub zero temperatures?  The growing, gnawing worry that we’re using a lot of gas and wondering if we’d find a place to fill up okay?  Or just the slight dissonance caused by easing back in to a travelling life?  Day 3 on the road and feeling a bit…bleurgh! 

I don’t know, but I think it was probably a combination of all of the above and after a few hours forcing ourselves to wander around town we headed back to Iggy for some down time.

I managed to get some photos organised and after dinner we got the guitar and saxophone out and played a few tunes..  Yay for music time!  Then, with soft flakes of snow drifting through the air all around us, it was off to bed looking forward to the drive to Troyes in the morning.

I’m eternally grateful that we get to live right next to things like this for a night.

Fi. x

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