A Travellerspoint blog

November 2009

Story till now

Wednesday 18th November to Friday 27th November

Hymer_at_Le_Fosso.jpg

Today we headed for Lorna’s uncle’s place called Le Fosso, near the village of Gomene in Brittany. A good few years ago Michael and Hillary brought a few stone farm buildings and an old disused farm house and by themselves, with some help at times from friends, they have transformed it into a wonderful family home and accommodation buildings for disabled holiday groups. The setting is very lovely with their little bit of land and a little wooded area.

Through the week we have been helping out with odd jobs, like clearing all the leaves and putting down a floor as well as getting some small jobs done on the motorhome and finally getting some internet access

Tuesday 17th November

While on a bike ride we found a tiny chapel, inside it were some lovely woodcarvings, but outside was bizarre. Around the back of this tiny chapel was loads of old stone carved chairs, there were stone pews that pointed away from the chapel. Also there were stone picnic seats and tables, some carved and some just stone placed around, all very strange. After a few photo’s we were off biking down the track and after a wrong turn ended up walking through the forest, as we were unable to bike. We decided to use Tom to find our destination for the night and it took us to a lovely aire by a lake near Belgeard, the French like their lakes

Lake_near_Belgeard.jpg

Monday 16th November[b]

Decided we wanted a big walk in the National Parc, so headed to the Chateaux at Carrouges only to arrive in the French 2 hour lunch break! So the parc information office and the town were closed. When it opened we grabbed some free leaflets and headed for the main forest of ‘Foret domaniale des Andaines’, and parked in a woodland car park just past St Michel-des-Andaines. Headed straight out for a short walk that ended up a long walk, arriving back at the motorhome in the dark.

Chateaux_at_Carrouges.jpg

[b]Sunday 15th November

Headed off to aire in Gace to unload waste! Lovely little town, but we decided to head on back to the national park. Ended up stopping at La-Ferriere-aux-Etangs outside of town by a lake.

Saturday 14th November

Sent some post cards and decided to set off towards a national park above Le Mans. Stopped off on the way and arrived at Mortagne-au-Perche only to be fussy and decided we didn’t like the aire, so carried on to a village just outside L’Aigle.

Friday 13th November

Woke up to a lovely warm day and a note from the police in French on the front windscreen! Every other motorhome and car also had one, and we managed to work out that it was probably just asking us not to park here between certain dates.

Effiel_Tower.jpg

Off again we headed into Paris centre with lots we wanted to see and do, first port of call Eiffel Tower again. Climbed up to the first and second level and had some wonderful views of Paris. Then off we went to try and find the Tourist information office to get a street map. Now Paris doesn’t seem to want to direct anyone to the tourist office, and after spending most of the day wondering around not getting anywhere realised the day was nearing dusk, so headed to the Notre-Dame that is free to go round. The building is so huge and full of intricate carvings, a lot of work and money must have gone into building it. By nightfall and a walk to the Louvre we were exhausted, our feet and legs hurting and after a drink our wallets a lot lighter. Decided although there was still so much we wanted to see and do here, we would come back to the city another time, as it had broken us and our wallets for the moment. I found Paris very captivating and want to spend more time in the city.
On arriving back to our car park we decided to head out of the city centre and the car park while it wasn’t so crammed! We ended up driving round Paris’s ring road systems and parked up outside a campsite in the Versailles area.

Mark___Lor..l_Tower.jpg

Thursday 12th November

En route to Paris!!

We headed off to Paris, only problem being we had no idea where in Paris we were going to park up or going to do. This is due to the fantastic lack of internet access we are having! Decided to try the theory of finding a McDonalds on the way and use their wifi, we had no luck though as we couldn’t seem to pick up any wireless networks and our 3G dongle wasn’t working properly (3 seems to have no reception in France), we found later this was due to the wireless not being turned on on the laptop! The day was wearing on and we were driving closer and closer to into the centre of Paris. In the suburbs we saw a camping sign but missed the turning and ended up in a completely different part of Paris’s suburbs, with no hope of picking up the trail. Tom came to the rescue as he directed us into a huge park in Paris, around some crazy French junctions and to a large crammed car park where motorhomes were parked up. The area was by Chateau de Vincennes in Parc Floral, we found an internet café and decided we were best where we were.

Headed into Paris centre on the metro system, and straight to the Eiffel Tower, which was in the middle of its night light display. We then headed to the Bastille area to meet an old piano playing friend called James, who now lives here. Found a lovely bar called Café Hugo and had a few drinks. James then took us for a great night walk around Paris, it was our own guided tour with history. We walked around the Jewish quarter to have some food, then past the Hotel de Ville, Notre-Dame which looked fantastic lit up at night, down the Seine and past the Louvre. Paris looks great at night and saw some great buildings and sights. We then just managed to catch the last Metro back to the motorhome, and by this time our feet and legs were hurting!

Paris_at_night.jpg

Wednesday 11th November

Today is a bank holiday in France. Woke up and had the lovely job of emptying the loo! Then went for a 10 mile bike around the lakes, although the lakes were pretty dried up, as though it was the middle of summer.

Lake_by_Geraudot.jpg

Headed towards Paris to stop at an aire en route, parked up in Bray-Sur-Seine for the night. Along the way I decided I really like the look of French buildings and houses, the colour of the stone, very rustic looking and worn.

Tuesday 10th November

Woke up to the noise of roadworks so decided to head for Troyes. We drove through fields and fields of the different champagne growers vines, which I bet look wonderful in the summer but now rather brown. Then headed across more of France’s seemingly endless hedge less fields before getting to Troyes.

Troyes.jpg

Troyes is a beautiful town full of medieval half-timbered buildings, I wondered around in awe of this very pleasing town on the eye, virtually the whole centre is half-timbered. I could of spent a lot more time here but the parking ticket was running out and we needed to move on to our aire for the night. We headed for the national park near Troyes by a village called Geraudot next to a lake called Lac D’Orient, a lovely location right next to the lake.

Shop_in_Troyes.jpg

Clear skies tonight and the amount of stars out looks amazing. So far I like life on the road, and France is very good to motorhomes lots and lots of aires, all is good.

Monday 9th November

Today, now full of water, was defiantly shower time. First though some morning biking and running round the canal, as we had both been enjoying baguettes and €2 bottles of wine per day. We decided to stay by the canal for the day and night and take a rest from driving and actually relax, with some fresh baguette, cheese and yep you’ve guessed it €2 bottle of wine. After going into a local shop to enquire in my basic French about a phone card, I realised I needed to learn a lot more French as I didn’t understand a word of his answer! Still it’s good to talk.

Sunday 8th November

Decided to drive into the city centre to take another look at the lovely if not somewhat crazily laid out centre, and for Lorna to take some pictures. We were also finding out how hard it was to get internet access, but found a little in the centre to send some emails.

Luxembourg_0014.jpg

We then travelled back towards France and into the Champagne region. I caught my first glimpse of wild boar, although this one was dead by the side of the road with a group of French hunters surrounding their prize. It seems that Sunday is boar-hunting day! As the light was falling I managed to knock Tom’s SD card out and he froze on us, so the rest of the journey we had to rely on old school ways using a map and reading road signs. The problem was our map was not detailed enough to show most of the roads. So we relied on French road signs, after circling many roundabouts and guessing directions we found the village. Then drove around the village 4 times till we found the Aire in Mareuil–Sur-Ay by the canal and parked up there for the night, with 12 other motorhomes. There was us at the start of the journey only planning to use Tom Tom every now and then, we now realised that Tom was essential and we relied heavily on him getting us from A to B.

Hymer_at_M..-sur-Ay.jpg

Saturday 7th November

I haven’t mentioned it much before but the rain keeps falling and falling over the last few days, I suppose it’s to be expected as we are still in northern Europe.

Today we went round a fantastic photographic display in Clervaux castle called ‘The Family Of Man’. It had some great black and white photographs portraying the emotional span of life, very inspirational.

As Luxembourg is a very small country we headed straight for the capital, which is Luxembourg. We headed off again through wonderful forest roads, which would have been a pleasure to stop and walk in, if it wasn’t for the rain. On route we stopped at a garage and as we had chucked our hose yesterday! Filled our water tank one bottle at a time from a tap, not the quickest of processes. We then parked up on the outskirts of the city and decided to get the bus in. Luxembourg is a crazy city, not in the sense of the hectic ness of somewhere like London, but in the sense of the layout. It is very hard to describe this city, but we first realised how mad it was when we came to a bridge over a deep valley filled with trees and buildings below, and the bridge was also crossing from one part of the city centre to the other. Then after what we thought was a very helpful person working in the tourist information office, we accidentally discovered more of the city and how it is built on what seems many different levels with no cohesion. This came about by a 5 mile walk constantly going down through cobbled streets and then back up and then down again looking for somewhere to eat. Eventually we ended up right near where we had started, but a lot more hungry and very exhausted, Still the different levels of the city by night was lovely.

Luxembourg_by_river.jpg

The Luxembourg language also seems as mixed up as their capital city with the same name as their country. They seem to speak both German and French, which was confusing and left us never knowing which language to use.

Friday 6th November

Got up with the revelation that as we now had gas we could have a shower. So the boiler was put on while we sorted out the task of organising the bags of clothes we had just chucked in various places. After we had finished it was time for hot showers, but when we turned the tap on, we seemed to have no water! Very strange, I looked outside and saw a huge wet patch going down the hill in the car park originating from our motorhome. I then realised we must of caught the drain tap and emptied our whole tank of water over the car park, not good. The water at the stellplatz was €5 and we had already paid that to park the night, and now we only had €2 change. We decided to head for another motorhome stop for water that we could afford. After a wrong turn we arrived at the next Stellplatz for the lovely job of emptying our waste tanks and to fill our water tank for €1, a much better price. We put our €1 in the machine and then tried to connect our hose, after a few tries we resigned to the fact the hose didn’t fit and water was pouring out the tap. We grabbed some water bottles but it was too late, the water was on a timer and our time had run out and we didn’t have another actual €1 coin. After a good start in Germany all was not going to plan, it also probably didn’t help that so far we hadn’t had a cup of tea or any breakfast and it was getting past 2pm! At this point I think we both decided to head out of Germany to Luxembourg, and cheap fuel. So we decided on Clervaux in Luxembourg and off we headed, through some wonderful forest roads. By 4pm and a fuel and supermarche stop later we arrived in the picturesque small town of Clervaux, parked up and had a wonder round.

Hymer_in_Clervaux.jpg

Thursday 5th November

Mission Germany
Up and off early on our 190 mile trip. The destination of Gas providers, we found off the internet yesterday. We decided for once to use the boring motorways, and ended up travelling from France through Belgium and Holland before entering Germany. Belgium seemed very flat and industrial, although this may have been the fact that we were on the motorway. By early afternoon Tom Tom was directing us to the road outside the shop, in Viersen, near Dusseldorf. After writing down all I needed to ask in German, ready to try, the man at Wynn-Gas realised I was English after my first words so spoke to me in very good English, putting my German to shame! Twenty minutes and €30 later we had our connection and also some adaptors for different gas bottles in different countries, which is just what we needed. So now we were set to actually start our adventure fully kitted out.

We decided to head to Zulpich and a national park to stop the night. I ended up driving some very bendy mountain roads in the dark before we found a stellplatz (German motorhome stop), at that point we decided from now on we would find our stopping place before dark.

Wednesday 4th November[i]

Got chatting to a lovely Scottish couple parked up in a motorhome next to us in the morning. Then headed into the town of Gravelines to buy breakfast, fresh croissants and bread from the local boulangerie. Luckly we had a camping stove so hot tea with the croissants was had. Tried our Internet Dongle and managed to get no signal to establish the whereabouts of more motorhome shops. So decided to head for the larger town of Lille and hopefully pass something en route. We found another shop and got the same answer of “you need to go to Germany” although this was in French.

Arrived in Lille and parked up near the football stadium by the canal, and walked into the city centre with laptop to find an Internet café with Wifi. A few glasses of wine and some lovely French bars later we established that yes we would need to go to Germany to sort our gas problem out.

The rain kept coming down all night and the road was very busy, so not the best nights sleep.

Posted by marklorna 10:23 Comments (1)

The start of our Journey

Tuesday 3rd November[i]

Well the day was finally upon us. We had decided, no doubt over a few drinks, a couple of years ago to get a motorhome and drive around Europe. Now after an absolutely crazy week sorting all the last minute things out, as we had both given up work, here we were heading for Dover. Last night we stayed in a lay-by outside of Dover and now we were sitting in the queue waiting for the ferry. An hour and a half later we were dealing with Calais roads and remembering to drive on the right!

Hymer_wait..n_Dover.jpg

Now before we could actually properly start our journey we had to deal with one major issue that arose when I went to get the Gas bottle changed the day before we set off. After buying a refill bottle a leak was found in the connection, this was coming from the gas regulator. I was informed that the UK didn’t have the type we required for our older German motorhome and that we would be able to pick one up in Europe, so until we got a replacement one we would have no gas for cooking, heating or hot water!

So now we were in France, we drove around and out of Calais in search of a motorhome shop. After a while we came across one and using very poor French with a lot of English words and pointing I managed to establish, in France they only did 30mbr regulators and we required a 50mbr regulator and would have to go to Germany! We decided that we would try somewhere else along route and started heading towards our first stop of Dunkirk. By now it was starting to go dark we decided to try our first Aire (French Motorhome stop) in a small town called Gravelines by the canal, plus it was free which is always a good bonus.

Hymer_by_C..velines.jpg

Posted by marklorna 13:57 Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]