Le Mans 2014 - Ayse's Story
Page 2 - Sunday
From Croque Madame to Pizza Marocco - More Food Stories (and the Occasional Car....)
As is always predictable whenever I'm on holiday, I woke up far too early and stayed in bed for a while before getting up at about 7.30 and heading for a shower on what was already a gloriously sunny and very warm morning. I dressed and went outside for a mooch around the hotel which included a good look at what turned out to be a very appealing menu for the hotel's restaurant, which boasted both foie gras and turbot amongst its attractions - perhaps we should try and get here a bit earlier if we come this way next year!
James and Nane surfaced and bags were packed and we set off from Argentan to Le Mans at around 9.30. Unusually for us, we stuck with the autoroute as we were keen to get to our hotel in Le Mans and dump our bags before heading into the town for scrutineering. We made very good time and got there at about 11.00, just in time to say hello to Monsieur at the hotel and leave our bags in his safe keeping while he and Madame finished preparing our rooms.
There was a fairly urgent need to do some shopping however nothing at all was open, not even any of the 3 or 4 hypermarkets that we tried. So we did the natural and obvious thing at times like these - we went for a lap of the circuit! We stopped for 10 minutes or so between Indianapolis and Arnage in the by now baking sunshine, where I'm ashamed to say that I succumbed to the temptation of a 'selfie'.....
Eventually, having pretty much given up on the notion of shopping, we spied a Carrefour Express (or something like that) which was open and managed to purchase a few essentials, including some water - it was very warm!
After this success, we headed off into the centre of the town, taking a while touring the side streets to find our favourite car park, just 5-6 minutes walk from the Place de la République where the scrutineering was again being held. Our arrival naturally coincided with the need for some lunch and after our experience last year, that could only mean one thing - croque madames all round at the Bar Galand! The food was as good as I remembered from last year, along with some sautéed potatoes, salad and the essential beer. Our first 'real' meal in France and after 2013, a tradition which I will be very happy to stick to in years to come....
Following the meal we did a tour around the Place while waiting for the first cars to get into position. It was really very hot by now. The only surprise was that we didn't bump into any of our usual Le Mans pals (although we did see Walter, Ton and his son Sergio in the distance when we first arrived in the Place).
So the due procedures were gone through, the administration of the 'collecting area' being rather better organised than it was in 2013. At the far end of that area we saw the loading of the (for me) new Porsche 919s into their transporter and towards the end of the afternoon we got a good long look at the two beautiful Toyota TS040s as they waited to go in.
Things drew to a close for us at around 6 pm and we walked back to the car park for a relatively simple journey back to the hotel, punctuated only (and almost literally) by a good test of James' brakes when a red light jumped out at him, without a 'by your leave.....'
On our return we now had access to our rooms and I was in the same one as last year (my third year out of five in that room) overlooking the back of the hotel (much quieter...). Unpacking was quickly done - a place for everything and everything in its place. Then it was time for a shower after a hot old day before going out to dinner at Del Arte with our friends Walter, Ton and Sergio. We joined them at the restaurant at around 8.00 and neither James or I needed to look at the menu as, rather like at Galand earlier in the day, the choice was automatic - the famous pizza Marocco! You can read all about this in my last two year's stories but suffice to say, it is magnificent!
It was a splendid way to spend our first evening at Le Mans. Walter, Ton and Sergio were excellent company and it was really a pleasure to spend the time with them. We were back to the hotel by 10.00 although I spent a while checking the posts on Ten Tenths before I turned in, keen to start storing up some good rest before the 'rigours' which would come later in the week....
And now the first of my Le Mans 2014 videos -