Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Postscript

Oops, before we fully unpacked, I took the van to the weighbridge. We need to cut down on the number of knives & forks and other stuff before the next adventure.

Fun facts from the trip:

35 days and 4.5 hours away from home
3,500 kill-o-miles
Average mpg 30.1 = 529 Lt of diesel/gasola
Toll roads - don't ask

Dates
Site
Costs
Notes
12-13 Sept
DFDS ferrying
Newcastle to Amsterdam 
£280
Incl. great buffet, good crossing but last off the boat
13-16 Sept
Kompas Camping, Westende, Belgium
€19 incl tax p.n.
***
Difficult to find but good tram access to Oostende. Pitch small, elec only
16-19 Sept
Camping Prumtal
Oberweis
Close to Bitburg and Luxemburg
€19 p.n. + €2 for Wifi
*****
Best shower block we have come across. Very friendly, good bar/restaurant, pool. Grass pitch very worn.
19-20 Sept
Azur Camping
Ellwagen
West   of   Stuttgart, close to autobahn

€17 + €2 for Wifi
***
Municipal site. Good for an overnighter. Grass pitch with elec.
20-23 Sept
Camping Natterer See
Innsbruck
€24.50 incl tax + €5 for 3 nights wifi
****
Good size pitch but I paid €2 extra for delux. Elec, water & drainage. TV point an extra €3.
23-29 Sept
Europa Camping
Cavallino Treporti
Nr Venice
€22 incl tax & Wifi
*****
Small pitch but just 50m from the private beech. Elec, water & waste. Wifi just about good enough to watch TV on. Good shops, restaurants etc., waterpark. Mosquitos a plenty but it is on the coast. Showers/toilets only adequate.  Would stay again.
29 Sept – 3 Oct
Campsite Baia Verde
Manerba del Garda
€19 free wifi
****
Good location on Garda. Decent pitch with elec, water and drainage. Nice pool, decent small shop and bar/restaurant. Wifi free but weak.
3-5 Oct
Camping International Le Fonti
Agliano
Nr Asti
€17 free wifi
***
Decent pitch with elec. Water 10 m but drainage … “tip it on the car park opposite”. Café/shop closed but bread in the morning. Site manager is a laugh. Free wifi but crap.
5-7 Oct
Camping Delle Rose
Isolabona
Italian Riviera
€15 free wifi
**
Nice bread in the morning but otherwise not a lot going for it.
7-11 Oct
Cros de Mouton
Cavalaire
Cote d’Azur
Nr St Tropez
€18
*****
Best pitch of the tour, elec, water & drainage. Good pool, shop closed bar/restaurant not used. Showers OK. Good location for French Riviera however it is an expensive area.
11-12 Oct
Campsite VivaCamp La Grappe Fleurie
Beaujolais region
€17 – free wifi
****
Good pitch with elec & water but drainage was the grid. Everything closed except fresh bread in the morning.  Would like to stay here again and explore the vineyards and villages.
12=13 Oct
Camping du Vivier aux Carpes
Seraucourt-le-Grand
Near Saint-Quentin
€17 – free wifi
***
Good for an overnighter
13 Oct
P&O Ferry Calais - Dover
£198
Would have been £95 if booked 24 hours earlier
13-14 Oct
Camping & Caravan Club site
Canterbury
£13
Typical CCC site, would use again, maybe 2 nights to visit Canterbury. Grass pitch. ***** for the showers/toilets.
14-16 Oct
Camping & Caravan Club site
Hale
£12
Typical CCC site, grass pitch.

Sunday 16 October - Home time

Oh no, it bloody rained last night so packing up has taken longer as we try to avoid getting mud in the tattyvan or car. Home by 3:30pm, good to sit in my spot in front of the fir with a mug of tea and see the g-kids again, and of course Bella.

Saturday 15 October - Show Time

18 miles on the M5 and M42 across to the NEC for 6 hours of caravan and motorhome viewing. I guess we just wanted to confirm our current tattyvan still is best for our needs or should we consider a motorhome. Result - the only caravan we would both consider changing to is one of the Hymers. Motorhomes are generally too small for us unless we went for a 'big as a bus' model for £150K.

Friday 14 October - Dudley

Yeah, who can't say Dudley without putting on a brummy accent?

So its 200 miles around London and up the M40/42 to Hale (nr Dudley) for 2 nights at another CCC site (£24 for 2 nights) so we can spend Saturday at the NEC annual caravan show.

Fish & Chip supper - mmmmmm good.

Again, no hard-standing pitches as its show time.

Thursday 13 October - Au Revoir

Yes, time to leave France and catch the ferry back to England. Its about 140 kill-o-miles from the site and again all trollway. On route we telephoned the Camping & Caravan Club (CCC) bookings to get the best deal for a ferry to find out they had all gone up about £100 from the night before - note to self, always book at least 24 hours before sailing. Anyway, got the 1:30pm P&O for £195 which gets us into Dover at 2:15pm BST. Excellent lunch on the ferry, they really do good food on these ferries at reasonable prices.

I always smile when we arrive at Dover thinking about the scene in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves when Robin (Kevin Costner) and friend (Morgan Freeman) arrive in Dover and Robin says "tonight we supper at my fathers table in York" as they set of walking. Love the way Americans write history.

Tonight's pitch is a CCC at Canterbury for £13. They only had grass however so good job its dry.

Wednesday 12 October - Bo-Ja-Lay

Another 300+ kom leg today to North of Reimes (aka 500 sheets). All Trollway so the plastic is taking a hit. However a nice drive in the sunshine.

As mentioned yesterday, this site was recommended by the guy pitched next to us last night. Turns out to be a good recommendation:
Camping du Vivier aux Carpes
Seraucourt-le-Grand
Near Saint-Quentin

Image result for Camping du Vivier aux Carpes

E17 again for a good size serviced pitch with free good wifi. A good site just a few kom from the trollway and about 140 kom from Calais.

Quick trip into Gauchy to the hypermarket to load up with vino (cardboard boxes to keep the weight down). Pop'n'ping for tea - knackered.

Tuesday 11 October - Brenda has a hissy fit

A little sad today to be leaving Cavaliere but the weather has definitely turned the corner into autumn and rain is forecast for most of the week, not that we don't like autumn and we don't mind a little rain but this was planned as a sunshine trip.

Brenda, iPad and Window Phone nav systems all say go East towards St Tropez rather than west along the coast towards Toulon and Marseilles, which seems the shortest route but who am I to argue, so its East. Brenda then picks up traffic information and re-routes us away from the main road, ok if it saves time, she then re-routes again and then again and suddenly we are on a narrow road then onto a single track lane. Luckily we didn't meet anything that couldn't move over to let us through but Brenda's dynamic routing is quickly turned off however we still have a 15 kill o mile route up and down mountains, zagging and zigging around tight bends before hitting the troll road. Not a good start to a 330 kom leg.

Anyway, we reached the stopover site north of Lyon about 6pm:
Campsite VivaCamp La Grappe Fleurie

Which is in the centre of the Beaujolais region

Image result for VivaCamp La Grappe Fleurie

A very warm welcome from the receptionist who tells me that the local wine shop will happily provide 4 or 5 wine tasters if we would like. The site also has 2 wine tasting nights in season.

Anyway, excellent fully serviced pitch with free good wifi for E17. Chatting to our neighbour, he recommends the next site for tomorrow.

(just checked Via Michelin and that gives a shorter route via

Monday, 10 October 2016

Monday 10 October - time to turnaround

Its looking like the weather is about to dip, although it's been 22c today, clouds are rolling in and the forecast says it's going to drop to 18c tomorrow- brrrrr.  So it's time to point Brenda the satnav towards the north and start the trip home.

It was 2,300 kill o miles to get here, about 300 has been days out. Brenda says it's 1,132 to Calthwaite if we pay the trolls.

About this site;
Cros de Mouton
Cavalaire
Côte d'Azur
Nice holiday town with loads of cafes and bars around the harbour, small shops in the centre and free parking opposite the beach.
Pitch Perfect with leckie, water and drainage for €18 pn incl tax. The wifi has been €10 for 3 days and good enough for catch up tv.
Most things on the site closed except for the pool and bar in the evenings.  Everything clean and in good condition.  Good view from the pitch to the sea 
apart from the crane which reception say they can't move, even for Cheryl. The higher pitches have a better panoramic.
Would definitely stay again.

So tomorrow it's up at the crack of 9am and then off to Lyon which should be about 300 kom's and includes going over the longest bridge of its type.🙈




Sunday, 9 October 2016

Sunday 9 October - Lazy day

Lazy day on the pitch catching up on Emails, blog etc. Mrs C catching a few rays.

Afternoon down on the beach and then back to the site for a swim in the lovely open air pool. Forecast not looking good, we may see some rain, oh eck.

Saturday 8 October - St Tropez

Back east 10 kom to St Tropez for a look around this famous village/town. Place is chock a block, took an hour to get parked as everyone else seems to think its a good time to visit. Lots a narrow alleys to explore
and a busy waterfront harbour with super yachts (no doubt bought by robbing the pension funds).


Thought it was funny that every 2nd car on the road was a Porche, found the St T Porche rally.


Friday 7 October - o la la

Site stuff:
Camping Delle Rose
Isolabona
€15 pn

Pitch a bit tight although as there was hardly anyone on the site it was no problem. Morning panini's were great, wifi rubbishy.

Back down the hill and west along the coast to France paying the Italian and French trolls along the way for about 100 kill o miles to just 10 miles west of St Tropez at a place called Cavalaire. 4* site and fab pitch overlooking the Med although shop, restaurant etc. now closed as its end of season.

Great wifi so doing a lot of tv catch up (sad).

Thursday 6 October - Monte-Carlo

Yeah, we made it. Quick trip down the coast road to MC. French border had a lot of military and police activity which we guess is to stop illegal immigrants getting into France but it's not 100% as we saw a quiet a few immigrants walking along the roadside.

Parked up at level -7 in a shopping arcade and then walked round the F1 course, the wrong way,
to Casino Square

where we got mugged by a waiter in Cafe Paris for a couple of tiny tiny coffees. It was good watching the people watching the people go by:



Wednesday 5 October - The Med

Site details before we move on -
Camping International Le Fonti
Agliano

€17 pn, free wifi but more ifi than wifi
Excellent fresh brown baguettes for breakfast
Would stop again for 1 or 2 nights.

Right, 50 kill o miles up and down the mountains until we reached the Med and then turned right along the Autostraza for 100 kom to our next site. Fantastic scenery all the way however along the side of the med it's tunnel, sea view, viaduct, tunnel ... repeat.

Next site is at a village called Isoalbona which is about 5 kom inland from the sea and 15 kom east of the French border.

Nice welcome but the site is almost empty.

Feet up and enjoying the sun. Ifi wifi, not good enough to blog on.

Tuesday 4 October - Asti

Drive into Asti to check out the locals, no roadside ladies offering a BOGOF so it cultural today.

Typical Italian town scene: statue, bell tower and dozens of scooters.

So, Asti, famous for its Spumante fizz however the red is non too shabby. Lovely small town, full of narrow cobbled lanes, cafes and curiosity shops. The old centre is a triangle where they have an annual horse race around. No Lidl so had to make do with Gulivers.

Monday 3 October - onwards to Asti

Time to move South, shortish hop of about 100 kill o miles to a village close (5m) to Asti. Ladies on the road offering recreational activities every 5km, better that a little chef ?

The site is Km's from anywhere, Brenda the satnav got us to the village but it was a very helpful young man who stopped and offered to escort us the final km to the site.

Site manager is a real character from Sicily, doing his very best to make us welcome. Good terraced pitch facing the afternoon sun.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sunday 2 October - V for Verona

Nice 30 kill o miles drive around to th'other side of the lake and then people watching in the centre of Verona.



Called at Sirimione on the way back but it was like Bowness on a bank holiday and couldn't get parked.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Saturday 1 October - Hedgehogs

Well we say rabbits on 1 March, why not Hedgehogs today.

urgent shopping to get a rhino spray ! and auntie hisstoome for this hay fever. Bit better but still sore eyes and bunged up nose.

Set off to visit Bardolino on the opposite side of the lake as its the annual 5 day wine festival. Got there but all the car parks are full. Anyway, instead we had a nice drive round the lake, views are magnificent, no photo will do them justice. Germany is probably closed this weekend as they are all here.

Stopped for a nice lunch snack at Malcesine which overlooks that bit of road tunneling they used in a James Bond car chase about 6 years ago.
Back at the site and time to walk the 300m to the shore for a gelatino

The wet marks on the road are where a giant prehistoric lake monster call Nessio dragged itself from the water. Too late with the camera ti catch the moment.

Friday 30 September - Lake Garda

Excellent site again, details when we leave.

Pitched overlooking the outdoor pool and 20m from Showers. Had a quick swim last night to cool off, 30c in the tattyvan, 24c in the shade. Water felt a bit cold but I guess because it was so hot out.

Drive to Desenzano (5 KOM) looking for a phone ti TV cable as site has reasonable free WiFi to watch catchup TV. Not to be found so watching on iPad. However, 200+ TV channels to flick through. Stop at Lidl to stock up on stuff.

Did you know there is no Aldi in Italy, don't panic. They are recruiting staff currently so will no doubt be open next year.
Afternoon of sunbathing for Mrs C and lazing for me.
Hay fever kicked in big time in the evening, don't understand why.


Thursday 29 September - South to Garda

Usual up at the crack of 9am and off by 10 :30.

Site:
Europa Camping, Cavallino Treporti
€17 pn but with Wifi and taxes =€132 for 6 nights
Pitch was fully serviced incl TV although only news channels in English.
toilets and showers good
good shop, cafe, restaurant on site although plenty within walking distance.
private beach, water park.
for the price, excellent. Only negatives, smallish pitch, too much tree cover for time of year.
dogs are only allowed in one quarter so noisy if near by.
Would stay again.

so, easy drive down the Autostraza to Lake Garda and arrival at Baia Verde camping. €15 for the trolls, but worth it for a quick and easy drive.

Wednesday 28 September

Day of rest

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Tuesday 27 September - Shopping !

If you have ever wondered where all the market stalls have gone that you would find in town on market day, wonder no more, they are all here in Italy.


In fact just across the road from the site. Hundreds of them but very much like Peter Kay's buffet of chicken legs, egg butties, quiche, repeat, except it was leather belts, undies and phone cases.

Then it was back to the beech for an afternoon of sun.




Monday, 26 September 2016

Monday 26 September - waterlogged roads

Can't come all this way without visiting Venice Island so it's a bus ride to Punta (port) Sabbioni (Sabbioni) where we got a warm welcome from Stephen


Then the ferry across the busy channels to San Marco (Saint Marks) square 

Then it's limbo dancing under the selfi-sticks



Grid lock on the cut (canal)

Those stolen horses 

If you've been to our house, you will perhaps seen this view on the dinning room wall I took 13 years ago, different cast but same buildings


Tea break at the nick (Police Station)



Sunday, 25 September 2016

Sunday 25 September

Another chill day, how many more bloody mossies need feeding. Fun factoid- it's only the female mosquito that bites.

Saturday 24 September

Chill day, Cheryl on the beech, Mart at Lidl and then feeding the mosquitos.



Friday 23 September - Goodbye Austria, hello Italy

Up at the crack of 9am and away by 11am to Italy. Fantastic drive over the Brenner Pass, views are amazing. About 120 kill o miles in total to Verona where we joined another motorway which took us to Venice. €8 for the Austria stretch and €38 for the Italian bit.

We have now done just over 1300 kill o miles since leaving Calthwaite.

Arrived at the site at 6pm - Europa which is at Cavallino on the Adriatic peninsula which is just East of Veinice island. Big site with private beech and large water park. Shops, restaurants etc on site and plenty of shower/toilet blocks. Pitch is fully serviced with cable tv but only BBC, CNN etc. news in English. Wifi is ok and just good enough to stream catchup tv.

Tattyvan all sorted just in time for an Alfresco Friday beer:

Thursday 22 September - Igle Piggle

No clouds today and temperature expected to reach 23c so it's loafing around until noon when we take a drive across the valley and up to a village/town called Igles. On route we passed through a village we stopped at 4 years ago. We also stopped off to get a view of Brenner Pass motorway bridge we will be using tomorrow.
The photo does not show you just how high the bridge is. As I don't like hights, I will be driving across it with my eyes closed tomorrow.

Another view from the same spot:
Breathtaking

Anyway, back to the site to enjoy the sun only to find its playing hind and seek behind the trees, bugger.

Considering have bbq fish for T from the man made lake on the site:



Site details:
Natter See nr Innsbruck 
Big site with excellent facilities, very clean
Good fully serviced pitch 
€19 pn but I paid an extra €2 for a lux pitch? yeah done!, tax was another €3.50pn
Wifi €5 for the 3 nights and we paid €3 pn to hire a sat decoder so we could watch German & Austrian tv?

Would stay again but standard pitch is good enough.





Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Wednesday 21 September

Ride into Innsbruck to do the touristic things.



And then Aldi/Hofer for some serious shopping - local vino €2 but a steak €39.99 so we are having bbq burgers and wine for T.

Tuesday 20 September - Tyrollean welcome

Onwards for another 240 kill o miles to Innsbruck. Again a nice journey along the A7 into Austria. Wundefull applestruddle at the border for lunch 


and then the A7 changes from a dual carriage way to a winding road up and down the mountains. Alpine views fantastic.

Arrival at Camping Natterer See which is 5 kom uphill from Insbruck. It has its own man made lake with restaurants, bars, shop etc. Sucked into paying €2 pn extra for a bigger pitch with a view but for about €22 pn we have electric, water and drainage on the pitch and a 50m (55 yards) walk to the 5* toilets, showers etc. An extra €3 for cable tv but although loads of channels, only English news channels. 




We have now done 1,070 kom on the road from Calthwaite. 

Monday 19 September- Moving on

So we leave the fab site at Bitsburg to head 230 kill o miles south to Ellwagen for a stop over. Before we hit the Autobahn, road works diverted us 10 miles north adding an extra 20 kill o miles. Mostly a good journey on the auto-bah, nice to see loads of roadworks keeping the route to the south smooth except the one which took 1 hour to make 1 kom.

Anyway, arrived at Azur camping, Ellwagen at 5:30pm, nice lady on reception and a good overnite pitch which we didn't even need to unhitch for. Nice and cheap restaurant on site, veinerschnitzel 6 ways! Light rain but nuthin to worry about.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sunday 18 September - day of rest

Bit of rain overnight but site soon dried out, bit of washing and time to update the blog before watching the Grand Prix. Nice piece of beef for the bbq tonight.


Site details:
Camping Prumtal, Oberweis
€19 per night for hookup, water, drainage and wifi
Restaurant, bar, shop, bakers, heated swimming pool all year round
Located in a valley with a fishing river running through
Grass pitch but very worn (end of season)
Good access from autobahn
Cleggers 5* award for friendliness, facilities and cleanliness

Saturday 17 September - Luxembourg

20 kill o miles scenic journey to Ettlebruck in Luxembourg

There's always a church you have to photograph 

Plenty of pavement cafés and restaurants but unfortunately most of the shops closed 👍.

Back to the site for a couple of Bitburg lagers by the side of the pool, 25 degrees, just as the heavens opened. Ah well, must have another until it stops.


Catch up on Coronation Street via the wifi. 


Friday 16 September - heading south

About 240 kill o miles to Bitburg via Brussels. Belgium roads busy but Brenda the satnav got us through. She didn't however spot the 1 hour tailback for roadworks near the German border.

Today's site is at Oberweis, 5 kill o miles outside Bitburg and 10 from the Luxembourg border. Very friendly reception, perhaps because we didn't block, and brill pitch with water, drainage and good free wifi. The shower block is amazing

The picture does not do it justice, water feature in the entrance which is touch less card operated. Spotlessly clean and with better facilities than I've seen in many 4* hotels. 



Thursday 15 Sept - quiet day

The thing about Belgium beer is it gets you in the legs first🤓

Still scorching hot so stopping another night but had to move the tattyvan to another pitch as the site is full. Nice receptionist tells me it's the first year they have been full in September.

So quiet day sitting out by the van while I feed the mosquitos.

Site details:
Kompas Camping, Westende.
€17 per night plus taxes = €19 for hookup pitch.
Bar, cafe and shop closed in September, need to drive to shops but only 10 min walk to tram.

Wednesday 14 Sept - Ostende delights

Tram ride €3 into Ostende, scorching hot so a walk along the promenade to find a beer or 2 at a beech bar

Lady next to us practicing for the gurneying contest.

Then took us back to the Rood bar which we frequented 4 years ago when we stayed in Ostende, different waiter but same excellent Belgium beers.

Cheryl amazed I found the place, me forget where a bar is, I don't think so.

Tuesday 13 Sept Westende at Ostende

Crossing was good, excellent buffet dinner, the only but was we we last off the ferry so hit the road at 11am.

Weather too good on the coast (30+) to head up the Rhine so first detour from the route to Westende which is about 5 kill o miles along the coast from Ostende.

Plenty of entertainment getting to the site as there are loads of roadworks and detour signs are not in Cumbrian.  Got to within 200m of the site and had to unhitch and turnaround. A very helpful van driver pointed out the I was blocking the road and he couldn't wait, well guess what, he had to. Then got to a 5 lanes end junction and had to reverse to get the right one, again a very helpful driver stopped and pointed out to Cheryl that this was not a good place to park a caravan. Eventually arrived  at the site but as we came in from the wrong end, we missed reception. I stopped at the barrier to look for reception when again a very helpful lady explained to Cheryl that the caravan was blocking, and you can't block. This lady turned out to be the night receptionist who was later again very helpful in giving us wrong directions for the local shop.

Anyway, site brilliant and everyone else very friendly. 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Monday 12 Sept and it's go, go, go

Apologies for nicking Murray's catch phrase but it is a go for Monte-Carlo. Easy route today to start us off:

Sailing on the 5pm ferry to Amsterdam, clogs at the ready.



Sunday, 11 September 2016

just another 2,600 kill o miles to go

This Autum our goal is to tow the tatty-van to Monte-Carlo by way of Germany and Italy in the hope that we can enjoy some late sun and soak up some post Brexit vote European culture.

The route is very sketchy and will depend on the weather and how the mood takes us but so the co-pilot/navigator has a clue where to point me, the below is a first stab as to how we will get there:


Unfortunately Bella only barks in English so she has decided to stay at home and I will be ghosting the blog for her.  
Mart