Despite it being October the drive was hot, not just hot but very hot, 25 degrees hot. That’s needing to stop for a medicinal ice lolly hot. It also meant we got the hang of our cars air con something rarely used in central Scotland. The long drive was otherwise fine as we became more accustomed to a road network and infrastructure that works, is thought through and properly funded – if only the UK tried say any one of those things.
On the way well accustomed to the roads and driving on the other side tho we were, Mlle Sat Nav still caused cries of alarm when she bluntly blurted out instructions. Arriving at an Ibis Style – I can fake stylish for but a night – we did out two trips in and wondered at the room being hot. The air conditioning did nothing – it transpired that unsurprisingly the dual function units had switched to heating not AC the week before. Which is very reasonable considering it was mid October but I fear not factoring in what we’ve sadly done to our planet.
Off we toddled again having looked via Google Maps towards the tram line to head for the Ile de Machines. The stops ticket machine was not working so we set off on foot which was good after a long drive. Foiled in our initial route we wandered towards where S’s phone said our destination was marvelling at heading for a hundred moped drivers wearing pink capes and honking their high pitched horns as they noisily if not to rapidly went by. It was a charity event of some kind and they lapped us as we went what turned out to be the longer route to where we were going. It being a Saturday night the bars lined along the edge of the old dock buildings were busy not just with Nantes young and vigorous but families and older folk too.
Heading back on ourselves we found details of the famous mechanical Elephant which can carry up to fifty people on it’s back. I tried to get S’s attention as she looked at the information board and at the third attempt got her to take a couple of steps to the side where she could see the real thing!
It being late in the day the massive machine was parking up for the night but we saw it reverse into it’s resting place. It is quite a thing and difficult to describe or grasp in either written form or by photograph.
They have a number of other mechanical creatures that look like a cross between Dr Who and Star Wars characters. The ingenuity of them all is quite something as must be the skills of those who create the beasts/creatures/robots…
Into the city centre we wandered in search of nosh. I had – wait for it – a duck salad which was rather lovely while S had a salad without duck… Heading back a lovely little kid was hanging about beside the ticket machine to his well turned out head scarf wearing mother’s annoyance… Having got us our tickets, the wee lad scored 20 cents, as did his brother – fair’s fair. A hoodlum may have just been created but we doubt it very much. We got the tram back to the hotel and retired to our warm room but slept fine with the window open. We liked Nantes from the brief time we spent there.
Between Nantes and out curtailed time in La Rochelle we enjoyed more October like weather – or nice August Scottish weather. Near Cognac we saw this, which for me took the edge of the finesse and romance of the product…