After leaving Haut Koenigsbourg castle we head down the long road away. We briefly stop at the bottom to get our bearings and decide where we will head for the night. We could stop where we are but time is a marching on and we want to get to Nancy in the Lorraine region. We decide we will head west on the highway to get through the Vosges Mountains and into Lorraine. The highway has a 6km tunnel and you pay the price to travel on it – 10euro for the privilege and Morrie does not need another hard grind over mountains it was bad enough up to the castle.
We decide to stop on the way to Nancy at Saint Die de Vosges, an ordinary town where the aire is about 5euro for the night but has free power. We now know why we pick and choose big towns as really unless there is something special they just aren’t worth the hassle. We find the way to the aire but there is a tiny bridge that is really difficult to fit over so go into the parking lot of the large swimming complex (wouldnt it be a nice swim but there are too many kids) to work out how to find another way across the river. A lady pokes her head in and asks if we are lost so we explain our situation and she tells us about a bridge up the road. Again we are blown away about the french helping tourists especially in dodgy areas as we find later when we pushbike to get supplies and go through typical immigrant settled highrises.
We head away the next day so that we are in Nancy early as the aire at the port only takes a few vans and if you are late, you miss out. It turns out there are plenty of spots and this place is expensive. You pay for your spot, electricity, a shower, water etc but they know you dont have a lot of options here. A shower is again very welcome as the heat has turned into the mid to high 30s again. It is another stinker but we reluctantly set up shop and have lunch, unsurprisingly a baguette!
We then walk into the city and make our way to the main attraction the Stanislas Square and the surrounding area. What a cool square and all in light pinky sand coloured building and huge forecourt with a statue of Stan the Man in the middle. Not surprisingly it is stifling hot and we try to find the info place to get an understanding of what to see with tbe least effort. We consider taking the local tourist train (not a real one but a snazzy fibreglass one towing carriages which we see in all the tourist towns & cities a bit like a quaint sugarcane train) that in 45 minutes takes you around the tourist highlights. We quickly decide they are not airconned and would be too hot crammed in with other tourists so decide, cleverly on Vickis part, to just follow the same route as the train which will enable us to see the main sites. The popular parts are the bars and cafes where the cold drinks are but we need to do tourist penance and see the beautiful buildings and then have a couple of coldies in a tabac bar.
We then walk through to the large park and see they are setting up for a piano concert in the rotunda. A young girl is playing and she is really good. We find out that it starts at 5pm with the main man on at 8. We tottle off to the nearest shop and grab a couple of beers and crisps and head back. The chairs quickly fill up and we are entertained by 5 young kids playing Bach, Liszt and Beethoven and they are absolutly amazing we cant believe these maybe 12 to 15 year olds can play like this. We are totally gobsmacked and the last little lad played Liszt like he should be (and probably is) playing in the Royal French Synphony. I personally walk away with tears in my eyes feeling so humble and privilaged to be a human being. It doesnt take me long to think of all the kids with talent in our world that are shitheads and wasters due to our way of life and I realise there are oasis of beautiful kids out there.
We find out there is a light show on at 10.45 that night as that is when it is dark so head back to our home and have dinner then wander back to the square. We hang around till the show starts we are in the middle of Stanislas Square and the 3D CGI show is phenomenal and three sides of the square are illuminated with the most amazing colours and images for 30 minutes. We again sit with our jaws dropped as we witness a spectacular free show that the square is perfect for. This is on all month and though the aire is not cheap we are very satisfied we made the effort to see Nancy. We head home at 11.30pm, it is still 31c and we sit outside wondering how the hell are we going to sleep.
Here I will say that Scot falls asleep quite quickly. We have our windows wide open and we are in the middle of a city – not a place I feel safe or comfortable in even though there are police surveillance and security men with dogs in the area. I don’t like to sleep when I know someone can easily climb in through our window and with the heat it is difficult to anyway. I think I must doze off about 4am as I am so tired by that time and the van is still showing 27deg without a breeze.