Showing posts with label cite europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cite europe. Show all posts

Sunday 14 July 2019

Cité Europe - homeward bound

Saturday 13 July 2019
Nido’s parked up with many other motorhomes on a busy Cité Europe car park.  We’ve only spoken to three other Brits in our 4.5 weeks away, including one last night and, come to think of it, we’ve hardly seen any British vans at all apart from the last couple of days.  We’ve done our shopping at Carrefour, eaten our supper and will have a final brew before prepping the van for the off at 0430 tomorrow morning.

We’ve enjoyed our few weeks away, seeing and doing some great things. If we had to pick one highlight each, for me it would driving up and wild camping on the summits of some of the iconic Tour de France mountains and Cols, with snow still on the tops and lovely, clean, fresh air.  For Cathy (and me too), I know she loved kayaking in the Verdon Gorge - perhaps this is something we’ll do more of in the future.  The heatwave in Provence and around the Camargue wasn’t fun and we had no choice but to cut our time short there and head north to cooler air.  But it’s the coast we’ve enjoyed too, particularly the Pink Granite Coast of north Brittany - truly spectacular.  When we return to France, we think we’ll spend a lot of time just in Normandy and Brittany and only venture a little further south if the weather’s not great.

We’re really looking forward to getting home and have lots to do, especially as we’ll be spending September in the USA, visiting our daughter and son-in-law; we’re really looking forward to that, in particular the week we’ve booked in a beautiful water-side house in Charleston.  After that, we’ll be UK bound for quite a while I think.  We’re planning lots of small trips to different parts of the country, focusing on country walking.  Maybe our next trip to continental Europe (depending on how the Brexit madness pans out), may see us turning left at Calais and heading for the Netherlands and Denmark.

Until then, thanks for reading my ramblings and happy travelling one and all! 

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Homeward Bounders!

Wednesday 23 May 2018 - Day 80

Change of plan!  We’re parked up at Cite Europe in Calais, just a few minutes from the Eurotunnel terminal.  We’ve moved our crossing forward to 0650 tomorrow morning.  

We woke to a grey, windy day, cool at 10’C, although the forecast over the coming days was improving and warming up.  We drove about an hour up the coast to an aire we’d stayed at before, but on arrival it looked a bit bleak and uninviting, so we decided to drive on.  To make it worse the van grounded on the way out - a horrible crunching sound.  Reversing off I checked underneath and the securing bolts on the electric step had caught the top of the steep exit.  It sounded bad, but luckily the damage was minimal and the step’s still working. So we drove to the other end and exited via the one way entry sign!  Instead we moved on the aire at St Valery en Caux.  Again, we’ve stayed on this one before.  It’s right next to the harbour entrance, by a stony beach and under a high chalk cliff.  The weather wasn’t great and although we ventured out for a walk, we were soon back in the warm of the van!

The afternoon was spent snoozing and reading and I had a thought that we were just marking time, making our way up the coast to cross over next Wednesday.  We’d seen the forecast of great weather back home, so we made a decision to amend the booking.  This only took a few minutes and didn’t cost a great deal more and we were soon packed up and back on the road for the three hour drive to Calais.  The alarm’s set for 0500 tomorrow and we’ll make a flask of tea before switching off the gas, so we can have a hot drink on the train.

So our three month journey has ended one week early, but we're really happy with the decision and really looking forward to getting home tomorrow.  I’ll post a retrospective on our trip another time, with some costings for those that are interested in the numbers.  Until then, Anglesey here we come!

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Run to the Sun Day One

Tuesday 6 March 2018 - Day 1 & 2

This is the first full day of our longest ever trip, following our retirement last year. We're planning to drive down the west coast of France, into Spain at San Sebastian, then decide our route depending on the weather - 'run for the sun'!  We've three months to enjoy our time away, so plan to visit different parts of Spain and Portugal, plus some new areas of France. We're SO looking forward to it.

Nido's parked at an aire in Forges Les Eaux.  I hadn't realised until we were close, but we've stayed here before, on our way back from a holiday trip.  It's a quiet spot and fine for a night stopover, as we're aiming to drive south until we reach the better weather.

We left home early yesterday, heading for the aire at the Canterbury park and ride.  On the way down we stopped at A&E Leisure (who converted our campervan) to get a small leak fixed on one of the water push-fit connectors; I'd noticed it the day before when filling up the fresh water and priming the Truma boiler.  The boss - Roger - was manning the service desk and he came out and quickly fixed the problem with a new o-ring and trimming the plastic water pipe.  No charge and free water top-up too!  They really are a great company if you're looking for caravan or motorhome maintenance and repairs in the North West of England. They also have a large accessories shop.

We continued our journey to meet our daughter - Nicola, and her husband - Chris, at the Milton Keynes stadium 'mall'.  They're moving to Washington DC next month (Chris has a job at the British Embassy) and had just returned from a week's visit to check out the area and look at potential houses to rent - they were very excited.  We enjoyed lunch and a chat before saying our goodbyes - see you next year hopefully!

Next stop was the 'aire' at the Canterbury park and ride.  This is an excellent facility - parking for about 30 vans with water and waste dump, all for £4 per night including a free bus into the city.  It was dark when we arrived and we were tired from our journey, so a quick cup of tea and an early night.

This morning we left and arrived at the Channel Tunnel a couple of hours before our booked departure time. We were able to get an earlier train free of charge, so were soon on the other side and pulling into the motorhome parking at Cite Europe in Calais.  Euros extracted from the ATM and a quick zip around Carrefour for some groceries, we had an early lunch before driving off.  We're heading towards La Rochelle/Niort as our first major stopping point, so for now just finding places to stop over once we (meaning me!) are fed up with driving.  Tonight's dinner was prepped at home so it just needs warming up, then I think we'll crash out early again once it's dark, ready to head south in the morning.