Site sitting in Cornwall

Well it’s been a while since I last updated the blog so hopefully you’ve made yourself a cuppa and got yourself all comfy for another good ole readathon… We arrived safely to one of our favourite CS campsites… Higher Lanhainsworth…

Now we’ve been coming back here repeatedly to this very site many, many times in the last fews years, it was the first campsite we visited when we first picked up our lovely Granduca motorhome… in fact this picture was taken on this very site at the start of our adventures in that very motorhome!!!

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Autumn is such a lovely season to be out and about in and the sunsets here at this time of year are magnificent and looking at the picture of Toffi she seems to remember this place too!!!!

We’d previously also spent a week here one New Years, where we found ourselves all alone on the site in good old UK freezing winter temperatures of -6°c, the memories we have of this little place are fantastic and I would highly recommend you book a visit, as I mentioned the site is a small CS (a Camping and Caravanning Club Certified Site) the site is clean, tidy and peaceful, and reasonably priced, it consists of 6 fully serviced hardstanding pitches and approx 10 grass pitches, in the last 2 years the owners have made improvements and installed Toilets and showers onto the campsite, there’s camp wifi available at a cost, along with tv points on the hardstanding pitches, the site is within walking distance of the local town of St Columb Major, where there are many shops, a hardware store, a coop, a post office, cash machine, hairdressers, library, laundrette and many more shops it also has at least 4 pubs along the towns length…

Well the last time we were visiting the Higher Lanhainsworth site we’d chatted with the owner James and told him of our newest venture – bespoke property/site sitting you can visit our website here at      http://someonesathome.com/      and wouldn’t you know it James realised he could really use our services as his family holidays were coming up, he’d been considering shutting the site down or keeping campers to an absolute minimum, but instead booked us up and here we found ourselves helping to keep Higher Lanhainsworth ticking over, allowing campers to still have the site and facilities available to them, our main deal was just to be a point of contact and be a presence on site, but we offered to keep an eye on the shower block etc and had agreed if we get bored we may do some odd jobs for them too… mowing of the grass, treating some woodwork and helping or dealing with issues that may arise while awaiting the owners return and for them to hopefully find the site upon their return in tip top condition!!! However due to us being fond of this site we made sure we went over and above the duties we kept the shower blocks and toilets spick and span daily (after all no one likes a dirty shower block), Pete kept himself busy and was eager to keep the grass down to a manageable length he was out cutting grass in the pouring rain after ignoring my advice that it was going to pour down with rain any minute… he was adamant and carried on regardless… I found it hilarious and obviously Pete couldn’t lose face and stop midway so he carried on,  by the time the poor bloke had finished he was freezing cold and wet right through… Toffi and I remained toasty and warm inside watching from afar…

While here we took the odd day out so that cabin fever didn’t take over completely and drive us into insanity, we visited the nearby town of St Columb Major for convenience food shopping, and laundry services and where we also ate a Sunday lunch in the ring o bells pub washed down with a well earned pint, next we visited a place called Rock where we  strolled along the long beach with a view looking over the waters to Padstow, you can also get a water taxi for £4 over to Padstow from here, we also visited Truro where we shopped and treated ourselves to a few essentials, our next visit was to Wadebridge where we met a lovely old chap in the small museum there, he showed us his own mothers old shopping list/book and ration books and gave us a great quiz to complete relating to old currency… It did take us a while but we managed to solve the puzzles it was a lovely visit and the people were lovely and very friendly.

St Columb Major

Our next visit was to Newquay I actually hadn’t visited here for about 20+ years it’s good to see the place just hasn’t changed much at all, then on our last day here we visited the lovely Perranporth beach, all these places are well worth visiting if you are holidaying in the locality and although we had lived in Devon for over 30+ years many of these places we hadn’t been to in so many years, so now we were seeing them with different eyes… I have to admit my favourite visit though was Perranporth beach a superb, clean sandy beach with the sand dunes in the background to explore, what a treat!!!

Newquay 

 

Perranporth

Cornwall has always been a favourite place of ours to escape too, so we always thoroughly enjoy our time here, If you get the chance visit Cornwall it’s such a beautiful place to explore!!!

That’s all until next time, take care

Donna x

Higher Lanhainsworth Coords N50°26’33” W4°55’45”  £15 per night fully serviced hard standing pitch

“Ain’t no sunshine anymore”… Thx to Callum!!!

We visited the late Victorian country house “Lanhydrock” on Wednesday 26th September, Lanhydrock is a lovely stately home with 910 acres comprising of large gardens and even larger woodland area to adventure around, I was sent in to view the house and learn some history of the place while Pete and Toffi pottered and relaxed around out in the yard,  Truth being Toffi isn’t allowed into these places so her and Pete  have to wait for me to have a good old nose around… I mean just look at that gatehouse!!!

 

I loved the fact there were 2 National Trust employees/volunteers dressed up in suitable attire a man dressed and suited up as the Butler, and a lady walking around in a lovely floaty skirt with a long sleeved high neck blouse with whom I had a lovely chat, she looked fab I could just imagine doing her job and walking around in the dress code of the day, interacting with people and chatting along with them regarding what it would have been like living and working at the house in the past, I think it really helped bringing the house alive and helps the history become more evident, unfortunately though my photograph of the lovely woman certainly doesn’t do her or her attire any justice at all due to the lighting!!!

 

The house suffered a devastating fire in one of the wings of the house at some point in its history and was repaired and restored.   The childrens rooms felt a little creepy but to be fair it’s probably just those really creepy looking dolls sat on the furniture making it feel that way!!! further on into the house I came to a large Gallery room where the ceiling was stunningly decorated with great detailed plasterwork… I seriously considered laying down on the floor just to look up at this highly decorated ceiling without cricking my neck muscles, on the day we visited in this room and to great effect, Simon Arnold was sat playing at the piano, he was raising money for repairs to the fantastic Piano’s in the National Trust’s care and I must admit the sounds of such entertainment that day brought the whole room back to life!!!

After my stroll around inside the grand house I came out to find a rather hungry and thirsty Pete and Toffi, but crikey £14 for 2 small pasties and a drink each, although I must admit the pasties were pretty tasty but what is going on with some places and their pricing they just seem so ridiculously expensive, it’s like they are purposely over pricing themselves which in time will just lose them plentiful business…

So while we are chatting about cost I must make a point of the costs some of the campsites in this area are currently charging… and just for comparison Dolbeare a 5* campsite cost us a very reasonable £98 a week (hard standing with elec/water) and their winter charge will soon come down to a great price of just £58 per week from start of October onward until the end of February other than the Christmas and new year weeks, this is a really good winter rate and it showed as the camp was constantly busy with custom, again bare in mind this is a 5 star campsite, this camp is very well kept, has great security with card entry security barriers and cameras etc, they have great wardens & staff, the park is spotlessly clean, with spacious shower cubicles, underfloor heated shower rooms with free to use hair dryer etc…

Now compare with the camp we went to next which was called Compton Park where we were charged a huge £20.50 per night, working out to be whopping £145.00 per week… Yep you heard that correctly £145 per week even in the now off season… compare that value with others and it’s very expensive, and sadly I feel at present it’s far too expensive for what value/service it gives, the place isn’t what I would call a campsite but more an overpriced aire… Now the only reason we paid this price was because we needed to stay nearby in the area for Pete’s mums birthday as they literally live a couple of minutes drive from here and also to allow us to catch up with other people…. the pitch lengths are far too short and the caravans overhang the pitches by quite a length leaving the vans slightly vulnerable to being bumped by others while maneuvering, the layout of the site is a little strange with just one emptying/filling point of which both are too far away… there’s 18 pitch spaces, no wardens, there’s also very little security here, there were many, many comings and goings at the camp while we stayed here and sometimes these were at some very, very odd or unsociable hours which could be a little unsettling for some, at Compton Park there’s no security barrier which meant anyone could drive up, approach and come up onto and enter the campsite with no one to question them, our visitors certainly tested this theory out, we had at least 5 different sets of visitors while there, but it’s a bit unsettling watching all the cafe customers heading up onto the campsite in their cars then realising they’d taken a wrong turn so circling around the site noisily on the gravel, turning, before heading back down to the cafe car park, we were here for 2 weeks and to be honest I was glad to leave by the end… the place just gave me an overall unrelaxed feeling, and for the money we were paying I would like to have felt safe and relaxed.

For our first week here there was also heavy building work going on at the main family house with heavy machinery moving rubble and earth around to and fro, dumping all waste down the unused mineshaft that’s also on the site, so ok there was lots of noise and heavy machinery movement during the day (we weren’t pre warned about these works and this went on from Sunday until the Friday so for a good 6 days of the first week)… then on the Monday of the 2nd week I was awoken around 7am by workers I gather from the cafe filling the glass bottle recycling bin up with many, many empties, nice!!!

The walk from the campsite to the renowned Kitt hill turned out to be downright dangerous… the shortcut that used to run from the camp and over two fields then onto Kitt Hill itself has apparently been closed off and from what I have been told this was due to the farmer having issues with off lead dogs which is totally understandable, and down to irresponsible dog owners not obeying the country code, but this inconvenience now puts the campers in big danger as you now have to walk down along a rather busy country lane with fast moving traffic,  many cars were speeding while using it some of which came scarily close to striking us…

The showers were another of my gripes at that site and although the wooden shower huts looked good and were kept clean, warm and tidy enough,  once you’re in the shower cubicle the shower heads were non-adjustable, so with me being just 5 foot tall it meant the shower water jet hurls at full force directly into either the back of my head or a direct hit straight into my face & therefore directly into my eyes, there’s just no chance of getting out of the way of this water jet as you’re confined into the small square shower cubicle… Plus to add insult to injury my full bottle of shampoo and a full bottle of shower gel went missing here after I accidently left them in one of the cubicles… wow, yeah, how desperate is that right? stealing other people’s hygiene products, yep pretty low… It’s tempting on sites when this happens to “accidentally” leave behind a shampoo bottle that’s actually filled with hair removal cream, it’d be pretty easy to find the culprit on site when you see whose luscious locks suddenly disappear in clumps… I must admit it was pretty tempting!!!

Now don’t get me wrong the place also had its upsides as mentioned before on a good clear day what a view and the on site cafe is very popular with the public we ate there ourselves 3 times, the fry ups here are great, a good price and were very tasty, the roast dinner I had was good but I had to have a desert as I was still hungry after eating it, which I didn’t expect, I am usually satisfied after eating a main meal… but I also had another meal here of ham, egg and chips this time to be honest it wasn’t very pleasant at all the chips were dry and stone cold, but I can however vouch for the fudge sundaes… they are the best!!! the camp had washing lines for your use but much to my surprise… no washing machines… we then had to source a laundrette, not a problem we thought according to google there’s a laundrette just around the corner in Kelly Bray… but boy was I in for a surprise what a dump those laundry facilities there were, they were filthy, the washing machines were either broken, smelly or to be fair just not at all clean, the tumble driers had grease and oil residue on the inside of the drums from mechanics washing and drying their work gear here…. the next laundry we found in Callington was much better and much cleaner!!!

So getting back to the subject of the overall cost at Compton Park campsite due to the above, I honestly don’t deem this site good value for money, it’s a pity really as we could have been repeat business but seriously at £20.50 per night even in the off season, for this price I would expect much, much, much more from a campsite.  Before we set off to Europe we were staying at some fab campsites mostly ranging from between £8-£12 per night… no wonder motorhomers and caravanners all set off to Europe for months at a time… where they can pitch on 5* campsites with all the trimmings for €10pn (approx £8.70) along with further discounts for longer stays, plus enjoy some sunshine, on site swimming pools, entertainment etc… at this rate we shall have to go back into a brick building after all I can book nights in the Hilton hotel cheaper and even book a fortnights holiday abroad for the same price some of these UK campsites are starting to try to charge, I am seriously thinking some UK campsites are getting a little ahead of themselves and over pricing themselves out of customers it’s not like they all have great facilities like clubhouses, daytime/evening entertainment, child care, swimming pools etc, etc… to put it simply… since when was it acceptable for campsites to charge you the same as a room at a hotel??? I realise the owners need to make money but let us all be realistic at most of these sites all the camper is paying for is possibly small amount of Electric, an amount of water and sewerage use, and then to park up for the night… charge me fairly or I change my lifestyle and go to the Hilton or on long cruises/holidays instead!!!

So enough of my whinging, and of course taking advantage of all these early mornings we’d been getting, we have been really busy getting out and about, we visited Dupath Well Chapel, well we drove down some lanes expecting a really good walk to the little chapel but it was just metres from the road through a farmyard using a public right of way path, quite a quaint little place with a fabulous little story of 2 Saxons fighting for the hand of a fair maiden!!! The Chapel was built approx 1500’s… and the water from the well is said to cure whooping cough but looking at it I wouldnt say its quite fit to drink from lately!!!

 

The next visit was to Buckland Abbey where again using the National Trust membership I got to go inside and nose around Sir Francis’ past home, while Pete and Toffi enjoyed a gentle stroll in the grounds, while inside I found the display for Sir Francis Drake’s “The world Encompassed” displayed throughout the building, along with an art display of a Beautiful sparkly huge Egg shaped structure aptly named “The art of reflection” by Andrew Logan inside the Abbeys Barn, a place where the monks used to come to meditate, pray and reflect…

 

 

 

Our next outing was to Cheese Ring quarry at the village of Minions,  we walked to the Hurlers, which are actually standing stones placed in circles dating back from 1500 BC, we then walked to the cave house where a man called Daniel Gumb had lived with his family in the cave in the year 1735 when we reached this point we sat and had a picnic on a very foggy, moody looking but very beautiful Bodmin Moor at one point the fog came in pretty hard and we could barely see a few metres in front of us at a time, it’s typical of how changeable the weather can be upon Bodmin and other moorlands…

 

The day of Pete’s mum’s 80th birthday arrived and as a lovely birthday treat we asked her and her husband Malcom to join us for a traditional afternoon tea at their favourite hotel in Tavistock, the “Bedford Hotel”, we all gorged ourselves on cheese/ham/Salmon finger sandwiches, followed by cream teas… scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream… closely followed again by lemon drizzle cake, chocolate brownies and ginger cake along with several cups of tea to help wash it down… it was a wonderful afternoon enjoyed by all and I am still amazed that Val (AKA… Pete’s mum!) seriously doesn’t even look near her new age and still looks absolutely amazing!!!

We moved on again on the 7th October and we were then situated in Oakhampton for 8 nights, where we were on a great lovely looking campsite called “Appledore” Touring park, the site was once a working dairy farm, so here you are looking out at rolling green fields, there’s a lovely pond at the bottom of the campsite which means there’s a lot of nature and wildlife around, I sat and watched foxes, Rabbits, saw wild song birds and lots of Pheasants going about their days.

The campsite also has some other good facilities, apparently there’s under floor heating in the shower rooms (although every time I showered the floor was stone cold with no signs of the advertised under floor heating, so I would need to question this!!) the showers again are sensor controlled which really help with water and energy consumption, the site looks really lovely with the gardens, lawns and greenery so very well tended too etc and the site itself looks absolutely fantastic, but disappointingly the shower floors and drains in the toilet/shower block were all rather dirty, with clumps of slimy hairballs clogging in the long drain grills running along the back wall of the shower cubicles and with the shower cubicle floors also feeling really slimy and rather grubby underfoot (my advice would be to wear flip flops here at all times!!!) there seemed to be no one taking care of or cleaning the toilet/shower block here and they were not touched or cleaned for the whole 8 nights we were here, upon chatting to the campsite owner she seemed surprised the site wasn’t busier at such a lovely time of year,  it should have been busier because yes it’s a lovely looking site and should have been buzzing with campers, but to be fair I’m also really not surprised that people just aren’t willing to pay these over inflated UK prices for camping anymore and then to add insult to injury be given scruffy, dirty toileting facilities, the camp is yet another trying to charge (even with an out of season discount) £18/20 per night… it does make me chuckle, and for a proper campsite it’s certainly not an acceptable standard of hygiene within the toilet blocks, jeez we may be campers… but we do also have standards… again back to my whinging for those sort of prices I myself would rather go book myself into a clean hotel and have someone else wash my bed linen and clean up after me or book myself a plane, ferry, tunnel and go abroad for better quality, pricing, value and the bonus of mostly better winter weather, this it would seem is what most of us are now doing instead of paying these stupid prices… but on the plus side there was a hair dryer here (at 20p for 3 minutes), and also a washing machine at £3 a load but if you use the washing machine be prepared for each wash load to take nearly 3 hrs, much to Toffi’s delight though there was a large fenced in lovely dog walking/free running dog exercise area, plus the site even has a doggy shower for it’s canine guests, how cute is that!!!

We found field mushrooms growing on our pitch here, so rather than see them going to waste we picked the mature ones, doubled checked their ID and had mushroom omelette for tea, we’d also seen what looked like red currants growing around here… Pete took a taste, nope they were actually guelder rose berries… I did chuckle as Pete had rushed in to taste them before we were completely sure of their ID… with Pete spitting the berries out with vigor, it became clear they were definitely not red currants… according to Pete these berries tasted pretty nasty,  dont worry the berries he ate was not toxic in such small amounts and he is still fine, thankfully!!!

Appledore campsite is set beside what what at times is a fairly busy road so the site suffered with a certain amount of road noise and sadly no chance of walking along the road or even in the private fields surrounding the camp, the road noise on week days seemed to start at 6.30am, so again no layins for us… the start of the week we had good/fair weather so on a fine and sunny Autumn day we were looking to take Toffi for a good long hike, the campsite provided some long walk ideas along also with a map of the walks and where to go to start the walk and what routes to follow, so off we set to take on some of the Tarka trail and to do a round walk of apparently 4 miles through woodlands, following the Tarka trail alongside the river and then up across Dartmoor where we headed towards the Tors Pub obviously we just had to have a reward of a cheeky pint and something to eat each once we reached the pub, before then walking another mile back to where the car was parked…

 

The weather changed and in came storm Callum the winds were sometimes up to 70 mph gusts, at some points we felt like the caravan was going to end up being blown over and we were being buffeted around inside the caravan surrounded by the sound of a very nasty storm outside which lasted for days….  Once the storm started to subside we found ourselves suffering cabin fever and really needed to get ourselves out and about, so we attempted to visit a National Trust place called Castle Drogo, I was looking forward to visiting a castle with such a fabulous name, with a name like that it sounded like something out of the Game of thrones, but when we got there it seemed the castle was currently undergoing renovations and was surrounded by scaffolding and wrapped in tarpaulin, it would seem the castle had leaked since the very day its construction had been completed and the building was now being taken apart brick by brick to try to solve the issue,  so instead we decided to walk the hunters path towards Fingle bridge, the day was still a bit wild and still pretty windy and along the walk there were plenty of trees down after the bad weather of the previous days, but we were all glad to have just got out and about after being in the midst of a heavy storm for the last couple of days and nights… we also nearly came face to face with a wild deer along the aptly named hunters path…

 

Soon it was time to move onto Newquay where we shall be site sitting for the next few weeks at one of our favourite little CS sites…

For now I think I’ve made this blog post long enough, I just haven’t had chance to update weekly so here you have pretty much a months worth of updates all in one go… enjoy!!!

Take care for now…

Donna x

 

Devon & Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall are such beautiful, wild and wondrous parts of the UK and we have both been so lucky to have lived here abouts for the majority of our lives, this being after our families moved here from the big smoke when we were both youngsters, we are both pretty grateful for the past hard decisions that our families had made back in the day when they decided to call the South West home…

 

 

 

After a refreshing week near Newquay at Higher Lanhainsworth, St Columb Major, we were back at Dolbeare Park, Landrake, where we stayed until Sunday 23rd September.  We have been enjoying being back in such a stunning part of this country and when we could we were going out for visits to places we had forgotten existed and that were nearby and all around us.  It’s true that people tend not to appreciate the area they are from or where they live their everyday lives, there is so much out there surrounding us so we are hoping to get out and about much more locally where ever we are able to enjoy the beauty around us especially while here in the west country.

It looks like we shall be touring the UK for the foreseeable future so we have also decided to join the “The National Trust” for the year this was pretty much decided after we visited the nearby Cotehele House and Mill which is just a few miles from our current location where we enjoyed a day out and a lovely walk on a brisk late summer’s day,  Our decision to join the charity was based on the fact that the car parks themselves cost £3 just to park in each time, we took a stroll with the dog through the woodland, we approached Cotehele Water Mill and found the entry cost to that to be approx £12 per person for non members and that members not only enter these places for free but also park for free, so that afternoon out for us would have cost us £27 just in entry fees and car park fees alone…. there are some lovely places to visit and it is Europe’s largest conservation charity, such a fab thing to support (well for this year anyway not sure if we could afford it every year though), we did kind of gulp when we heard how much membership cost… £114 per year it means this will be our main charity donation for the year but to be fair we will be gaining some great experiences from it, not to mention a lot of motorhomers take up membership just for the car parking access alone… we have made a pact that we make sure we get our money’s worth this year and visit as many National Trust places as we can, with hopefully one place visited at least each week if we can!!!

So our first outing this week was to Cotehele Water Mill as mentioned above, an actual  working & producing Water Mill, the grounds of Cotehele House is a charming place with a few lovely wooded pathways for walkers to choose from, Toffi and ourselves enjoyed a lovely walk through the wooded paths and along the stream to the working Mill, it wasn’t an overly exuberant walk being a fairly level walk, we also saw a sweet fairy door on one of the trees along the way, after a look around we walked back towards the car park and headed into the cafe where we refreshed ourselves with our first cream tea since our return to Cornwall at the cafe, this was slightly disappointing not only due to the price of £12 but due to the actual size of the measly bite sized single scone we were served each and then to make matters worse I was then even more disappointed with the fact that the cream for the cream tea was served in a plastic one use pot, yes plastic it’s still one of my pet hates, but I was stunned and speechless to have the cream tea served to us in this way by a “conservation” charities cafe it seemed awfully Ironic to say the least…

 

 

 

 

Our next outing that week was to the grounds of Anthony house a stunning 18th century Stately house, the Carew family have apparently resided on these grounds since the 15th century, (although I am not so sure this is strictly true as I used to go to school with a lad whose Surname was Carew and he resided on the same council estate as us…) well just for the thrill of it on our outing here we just had to take “afternoon Tea”… there’s a lovely cottage cafe here, (I just loved the way I’ve put “afternoon tea” it sounds so very posh when I read it back to myself using Joanna Lumley’s voice in my head, I imagined myself being one of the “Ladies of the manor” back in the day obviously dressed in suitable attire walking the grand grounds and being served afternoon tea upon my return!!!), anyway the “afternoon tea” consisted of sandwiches with a pot of tea and a huge slice of cake (Pete was very taken and entertained by the sugar cube picker as you can all see!!!) but this lunch then also set us back another £22 and all this before we’d even taken our walk through the wooded pathways…the only thing I will say is that I think it may work out much cheaper for us to start taking our own “afternoon Tea” with us in the form of packed lunches and flasks instead of paying those sort of silly lunch prices on each trip out…

 

 

On this walk the pathways were running parallel to the river Lynher, and upon the wooded walk we found the ruins of a lovely old dovecott… and also got ourselves slightly lost in the wooded area, Toffi even enjoyed a dip in the river and loved the walk too as we didn’t see another person or dog during this entire woodland walk…

 

 

 

We enjoyed a relaxing evening meal with Karen and Graham in their local the “Who’d have thought it” pub which was lovely, and then on the Friday evening that week Karen and I enjoyed an evening in, all cozy inside our new caravan where we enjoyed a curry and catch up, while the “boys” Pete and Graham escaped our company and enjoyed an evening of music together in Plymouth…

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Pete and I also enjoyed an afternoon meal at the “crooked Inn” pub this week where I got to enjoy their lovely lasagne once again, while Pete enjoyed their king prawn Linguine which was basically better quality and also cost so much less even than the lunches we had sampled at the National Trust cafes and the lunches there filled us up completely for the rest of the day… all washed down of course with a cheeky pint each…

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We’d also enjoyed many more local walks with Toffi and for the first time ever we actually walked just down the road from Dolbeare Park and into Landrake village, where there are cottages dating all the way back to 1520, disappointingly though the pub was shut no cheeky pint for us that day…

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One Sunday afternoon we also ventured back to yet another old haunt “The Lyneham Inn” pub for one of their honest and very well priced pub grub the good ole Sunday Carvery, I am now at the point where I may need to start thinking of dieting and shedding a few pounds before anymore eating out, I say this after successfully making and eating a great apple crumble for our dessert/supper for Sunday evening in our new caravan oven… I seem to be bingeing on some foods I haven’t had all year but have craved massively right now and may have to rein that habit in before I put on too much weight!!!

We’d said a sad goodbye to our lovely motorhome… and yes, it was a soul destroying process… but it’s done now and we are on our way to enjoying our next adventure!!!

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So instead we welcomed our new car and caravan, what a difference in experience… neither of us ever having owned a caravan before… so it’s going to be an ongoing learning curve, but I must admit, so far it has been so much more of a comfortable more suited living space for us and thankfully we are thoroughly enjoying the experience, we also have a much larger oven which I am sure will come in handy… although I am already missing the large decent fridge freezer!!!

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We’d stayed at Dolbeare Park campsite in Landrake until Sunday 23rd September where thankfully they graciously tolerated our transition and change in modes of transport, we’d met some very lovely people while we were there and the wardens and staff were fantastic with us and I must say they worked very hard dealing with all the different types of campsite issues.

Soon it was time for us to up sticks and move ourselves along… besides we didn’t want to outstay our welcome at Dolbeare Park, so we decided to wander just a few further miles down the road and into Callington and then onto Compton Park campsite,  here the views are breathtaking and on a clear day you can see over land for miles and miles and miles…

We wandered up the road to a place called Kit Hill country park… from the top of Kit Hill you can see as far off across country as Plymouth and then the opposite view all the way to Bude… so all in all almost both coast to coast area views all from the tip of this hill amazing the land just seems to roll on and on for miles and miles… Kit Hill is a Cornish Tin mining world heritage site where some of the mines were worked right up until the mid nineties.   The land was given over to the public in 1985, this land consisting of 400 acres of land by the Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles to mark the birth of his son Prince William.

 

 

 

Upon our walks we’ve been gathering the very, very last flush of edible blackberries that we could find to add to fruit crumbles, and it’s the season now where we are once again finding lots of mushrooms… remembering the Cep mushrooms amongst others we were finding this time last year in France, our new friends Zoe and Paul who we’d met at Dolbeare along with their lovely dog Max have also been helping us with the identification of some of the mushrooms we are currently finding and Paul has even shared some of his spoils with us in the form of lovely tasty chanterelles and hedgehog mushrooms…. cooked in butter these tasted devine!!! Here’s a small sample of the mushrooms we have spotted so far this year…

 

 

 

We’d had to go into Plymouth for an appointment early this Tuesday Morning so after we had finished we enjoyed a stroll along Plymouth Hoe stopping at the terrace cafe for a good old bacon sandwich and mug of tea each, we enjoyed seeing the place with fresh eyes and admiring all the lovely memorials and interesting things around us… along the hoe they have pillars with the names and birth dates of famous Plymouthians stretching from past to present had to take a shot of Sir Walter Raleigh’s post…

 

Upon leaving Plymouth after that fantastic walk we headed off to see Graham and again refreshed ourselves with a pint sat outside his local on such a lovely day it just had to be done… before we then headed off for home, we’d not been home 20 mins when we had a lovely surprise visit from an old workmate Gordon C. who taken a ride on his very, very  nice Ducati 785 when he realised we were just down the road so thought he’d pop in and say hello and grab a cuppa with us, what a lovely surprise it was lovely to see him and have a good chat, we certainly do miss our work family!!!

Well enough of my nattering, I’ll update you all on our next adventures when time permits…. until then here’s some more random pictures I have taken this week, take care.

Donna x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in good Ole Blighty

Well what a hectic time we’ve had since being back in the UK our feet just haven’t touched the floor, it’s been all systems go with lots of changes to organise & catching up with family and friends, typically for the UK the weather has been very wet and humid!!!

We stayed at Stonehenge Touring Park for 2 nights upon our return to the UK,  we thought it would be a fitting touch just to round it off here seeing as it was the first campsite that we stayed at, at the beginning of our Europe tour, so it seemed only fair to end it there too!!!

 

 

Once back in Plymouth we booked into our next stop Dolbeare Park which is just on the outskirts of Plymouth, well just across the water and in Saltash, Cornwall, the park here is lovely with friendly staff, the campsite is well tended to and is spotlessly clean, I have to mention the showers and washroom also which are spotless and have sensor controlled showers, with the temperature controlled by placing your hand over the sensors and again also to start the showers, how awesome is that??? the washroom also has under floor heating which will be lovely in the lower temperatures!!! The only bad thing at Dolbeare is that Toffi seems to have a major issue walking across so much harsh and sharp gravel, it really hurts her under foot perhaps more due to her having a deformed paw against the sharpness of the gravel the poor dog has been left limping across the stuff endlessly… when it’s time for walkies she’s now often refusing to walk across the stones full stop and is now practically being dragged across the stones to get outside the camp for mentioned walkies & toilet time!!!

As mentioned as soon as we landed back on UK turf we were busy… our search began for a suitable car and caravan, now I naively thought this was going to be great fun!!! boy was I in for a shock!!! leaving Pete to research roughly what type of 4×4 car we needed and what would suit our needs, Pete declared we wanted a Mazda CX5 AWD…  I had seen a white Mazda CX5 and I’d really liked the car in a white colour… but it turned out the white one wasn’t an “All wheel drive” which is what we needed, we then went on to source an AWD version of the CX5, we finally found one a 100 miles from Plymouth at a car sales garage called Carbase.

We drove up the 100 miles to view it, a gun metal grey colour, quite a nice looking car overall with a good towing ratio and with good reviews, the only thing I really hated about this car was the fact it had 2 totally different tyres on the back axle both with a different level of tread on each (one new tyre, one part worn tyre)… now I would usually replace both tyres on any axle back or front when one is needed to be replaced which is just something I was always taught to do ie helps for the cars handling etc and we’ve owned some pretty tasty fast cars in our time… so I pointed out to the showroom salesman the issue I had and asked if he could rectify this as it was literally just the tyres and I didn’t think it a good idea to have different tyres with different levels of tread across the same axles upon such a powerful 4WD car… they were not having any of it so guess we will have to get it new shoes!!!

After purchasing the car, picking it up and then having access to and reading the cars manual, I’m glad to see I was correct to pick this up and Mazda also strongly recommends in their manual that you should actually have all “4” tyres changed at the same time, due to user safety and the overall handling of the car, to ensure the cars ability to react in emergency actions which could be compromised otherwise… but hey what would I know right??…

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There were only a few of these cars for sale in the whole of the country and although my preference would have been for a white coloured one, we also didn’t fancy driving another 1000 miles in the rented Fiat 500 going all that way up and down motorways looking for another car, because although Fiat 500’s are a great fun little town car they are not the greatest to drive on long haul motorway drives and we also had the rental mileage to think about…  so yes… we now have our car…

Pick up completed and all the rest of the extras apparently worth hundreds, running into thousands that the sales team tried desperately to sell us all rejected, I got to drive the car the 100 miles back home, the car is actually very nice, and although I had agreed to follow Pete home… I got bored of following behind and waved as I passed him on the motorway…

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Now our week just seemed to get a little worse with regard to vehicles and dealing with yet more salesmen…  and my abstaining from Nicotine really didn’t seem like such a good idea at times, but I stuck to it anyway even though sometimes I feared I could have screamed with sheer feelings of annoyance and irritability, but, go me… I have managed to abstain now for over a month!!! all with the help of a book called “The easy way” by Allan Carr of which I would certainly advise anyone trying to give up this nasty habit to give this book a read…

We drove from Plymouth to Bristol then to Somerset, then somewhere else to look at more caravans but what an utter disappointment, I can honestly say it was starting to get downright depressing… the caravans we were viewing seemed really dirty and uncared for, I started to think we had really made the wrong decision to sell and swap over, we had driven hundreds of miles when Pete mentioned the towbar place in Plymouth Tamar Towing sold caravans also… so we decided to go check it out… the caravans they had up for sale were clean and were all kept under cover it was clear they only took on caravans that were in good condition too, we found a few here that tweaked our interest so thought we had better get some more info about them from their salesman…

Ok so after chatting with a salesman at Tamartowing we decided on one particular caravan they had on their shopfloor… A Sterling Eccles Sport 554 although we could have purchased it there and then we also enquired about a part exchange with the motorhome to make things easier rather than have to sell it privately… to be honest this process was to put it frankly utterly soul destroying and it certainly wasn’t helped by the salesman who was new to the job and clearly hadn’t a clue about caravans or motorhomes and hadn’t quite got the knack of any of it yet, he then made us wait in the salesroom for a whopping 6 hours… waiting for a valuation from a third party for our motorhome, all while giving me none of the info I had asked for regarding the caravan we were enquiring about… What a palava when we left their showroom that day we still hadn’t received the valuation or information on the caravan!!!

Well enough said about the rest of this process but lets just repeat the words “soul destroying” once again…  to cut a long story short the “Deal” now done we swap over and pick up our new caravan on the 6th September 2018… Also with another faff around thrown in what with changing private number plates etc…

When we got a chance we also threw in a visit to a site we’d visited when we first got the motorhome 2 years ago near Newquay it’s a small site called Higher Lanhainsworth I’m glad to say James the owner reported they had had a great summer this year and had been up until then fairly busy, although when we arrived gratefully we had the site to ourselves for the first few days, we were also pleasantly surprised by the improvements we had found and that the place now sported showers and a washing up facility which it hadn’t had before… we were totally prepared to rough it!!!

 

After a week there, which actually felt more like just a couple of days because it just passed so quickly, it was time for us to magically reappear at Dolbeare campsite we are trying to stay local for at least a matter of weeks still so family and friends may contact us and catch up if they so wish and we can transition to the caravan…

We have had some lovely catch ups with people so far, I also managed to get my haircut and just look at my new attire which the lovely Josie and Liam gifted me, obviously I shall now be strutting my stuff around the campsites and making my way to and from the shower blocks sporting these lovely new PJ’s… we had a meal with family at the Dock in Plymouth for Pete’s 60th birthday, also another lovely meal at The Weary Friar…

 

 

We are trying to plan our next few stays ahead of time, and between us we’d decided to stay for the next few stops for 2-3 weeks at a time while getting used to the caravan etc so we are trying to plan where we shall stay for Christmas, this believe it or not hasn’t been easy, I like to be organised and so I find it stressful when Pete throws in curve balls of other ideas all this after we had already agreed on things, and planned out sites to stay at for the next couple of months… typically he then has ideas about changing all our laid out plans, the problem with this is we really need to pre book somewhere for Christmas season and right now due to that curve ball we now have no idea whether to stay around the SouthWest as we’d planned for the Christmas winter season, or to grab ourselves a seasonal camp job to keep us occupied and settle for the winter or whether to just start touring the country anyway in the next few weeks, the only thing we do know for sure so far, is that we need to be in Yorkshire in February…

Perhaps we will update you all when we ourselves are more sure of our plans…. until then have fun…

Take Care

Donna x

 

Bergues and our return to UK

So we left camping La Samaritaine on Tuesday 7th August we stopped into reception to make sure we were all paid up and let them know we were headed off after a short walk for Toffi and so said our farewells… while we were on our last short walk reception had brought us down a leaving gift, a bag full of goodies, bottles of beer, wine and biscuits for us… how lovely of them… it really was a fab friendly site and I would highly recommend it especially for families with children, as the children that were holidaying there all seemed to be having a fab time, they had all made new friends it would certainly be the sort of holiday any child would remember…

 

 

But alas our time with them was up, we had been there a month and it had just flown by, we had enjoyed the food from the chippy on site and also had been ordering a whole roasted chicken every Sunday… we had really been looked after at this site, but now it was time for us to be moving on, we travelled 200 miles North to the town of Bergues, our journey took us approx 5 hours all in a blistering heat of 37°+ this made it a rather uncomfortable journey, with no air conditioning on board, the air cooling fan although on the correct cold air setting was just blowing warm air around at us… even putting a hand outside the window as we were travelling to cool down proved futile, the whole world seemed just one big bag of hot, hot air… the dogs struggles were made more bearable by the wet cooling towel that was lain across her (oh… lucky her!!!)… We had decided to take the toll roads just to make the journey quicker but this is not cheap in France and our bill for 90 miles was €45 and because of our height of 3.2m and towing a trailer we are classed as class 4… but I loved the faces on the bridges on one of the towns we passed through…

 

We arrived at our next destination very hot, tired, hungry and in need of an easy pitch up… but what we received was far from that… now we had booked the site more than a month in advance, they had plenty advance warning of the type of pitch and services we would require etc… so they knew we were coming and that we were in a larger rig… the place was packed but mostly with permanent static caravans and they must then have 20 pitches for motorhomes/caravans/tents… it would seem all the level pitches that would have been suitable to us annoyingly had either smaller VW sized vans or tents pitched up on them… which made me even more angry at the situation and more hot under the collar with the people responsible for organising the site…

Pete went to book in and told them in pigeon French that we were pre-booked, however no paperwork was filled in which is very unusual and I believe they didn’t understand a word Pete had said to them he was also told cash only when paying, smells like someone’s cooking the books,  he was then shown 2 available plots, 1 where we would have no electric (not what we had pre-booked!!) and still would have been awkward to get onto… the next was just as awkward to get into as well, due to the narrow passageway leading onto the plot and then with a large flowering plant planted smack bang in the middle of the plot entrance, the pitch also being massively sloping with soft bare mud ground underneath, but it did have electric… I had visions of us causing mass damage to ourselves just getting onto and back off the pitch… I was one unhappy bunny all I can say is it’s a good job Pete is dealing with the site managers and not me…

 

 

We managed to get onto the pitch with help from our neighbours, 1 British couple in a caravan who were also clearly not happy with their pitch and then with having a large motorhome maneuvering nearby close to their precious caravan and 1 lovely Dutch couple in a tent touring on a motorbike and who had been placed on a pitch which would have ironically been ideal for us…

Well we ended up on the pitch after a faff about but it was near on impossible for us to maneuver about on it… so we ended pitched facing downwards on the slope with our habitation door opening directly into a bush, we were parked at such a sloping level there was no chance of us getting our boiler or fridge to work on gas either… and after seeing the state of the dated and dirty toilet/shower facilities this just left me even more angry… but we are only booked here for 3 days, to allow us to get the dogs passport and worming treatment signed off by the local vets and allow her permission to travel home… so we’ll just have to deal with it…

When I suggested to the warden yesterday (Wed) that we move off this pitch tomorrow morning before the heavy rain begins, otherwise we could become stuck and would that be ok to sit ourselves on the tarmac he replied in Franglish to stay put and pointing at our tow bar “not to worry we will find someone in a 4×4 and pull you out if you get stuck”… I’m so glad he’s a problem solver but the only issue there is the small detail of how much weight our tow bar can safely bare… the fact our motorhome weighs in at 3.5 tonne/3500kgs and our tow bar can only take 1 tonne/1000kg in pulling weight, puts a slight spanner in the works of his problem solving ability, now this would probably be information that would blow his mind but how was I going to explain this in Franglish??? plus the fact we would really need to be on our way to the Channel Tunnel by 9am and not fannying around finding a 4×4 to get us out of a pitch we shouldn’t have been put in in the first place… I gave up and decided to stop wasting my time… just because there is a tow bar on a vehicle…. doesn’t mean you can safely use it to pull that vehicles weight backwards up a sloping grassy bank and out of a mud fest jam….

The leveling blocks have done very little for leveling out the motorhome and to be honest even before any rain has started the blocks are already sinking into the muddy pitch under our weight, not only that each time we move around inside it feels like we are drunk and are seemingly drunk stumbling from one end of the motorhome to the other,  to top it off we are due some prolonged rain the pitch is mostly dry mud at present which is going to be delightful when it gets wet… after 2 nights like this I was in despair… there is now a pitch free I have spotted that is suitable so with rain due to start in an hour I’ve talked Pete into getting us onto this other pitch and fast… we managed to move… all is good in the world again…

The permanent residents here amused me by being really nosy, and although they seemed friendly enough they all claimed to not speak English but seem to want to talk with you anyway and cleverly they seem to be able to understand what you are saying to them (even though you are speaking in English)… they come out in droves to watch you when you first pitch up or if you attempt to move again… I can imagine them all on their telephones curtains twitching while reporting back to reception, whom may I also add claim not to speak any English either and given my utter dangerous mood is probably for the best anyway… it’s almost like you must gain the permanent residents permission to do anything here… I do hope they have told reception that we have moved now, because by this time I couldn’t be bothered to try to explain myself again to them as well…

Now we did have somewhat of a surprise with Toffi and the vets appointment, we were dreading taking her in for her worming treatment, she is not a dog that is treat based and rarely takes anything offered to her outside of her home environment… especially something offered to her in a stressful vets surrounding, but I had picked up some different tasty morsels at a shop on our walk there and it seemed I picked those morsels well… Toffi was put on the scales and it would also seem she has not been sticking to her diet… her own Vet will be very disappointed by this fact upon her return but we will deal with that later, after all we have prove she’s even scaled a mountain or two on her travels this year…

The Vet offered toffi the all important worming tablet… ha… like it was ever going to be that easy!!!… nope Toffi just turned her back to her and stood waiting, looking for the doorway to be opened ready for her escape… this is where Chocolate eclairs come into their own, forget ham/cheese/meats we tried these… just go straight for chocolate eclairs… after the vet placed the tablet inside the cream of the eclair then passed it to me to offer to Toffi… a couple of rubs on her nose gave her the taste of sweet treat and I managed to get her to scoff the tasty thing right down her throat in one go…  yep even the vet was impressed… and probably quite relieved too!!! treatment done, Passport signed stamped and dated… Toffi just has to wait 24 hours then she can travel…

 

There is an upside from being at this campsite Vauban and it would seem to be that the town of Bergues right on the doorstep which is very nice, it’s a walled town originally built in or around the 10th century with parts of it that have been destroyed in various calamity’s over time such as wars, fires, floods, bombs etc and with much of it restored or rebuilt over time and ever since mostly remaining in sympathy with the old original style and old remaining parts, in all fairness it is a nice thriving town with old parts and ruins to explore along with its many canals, with gaggles of Geese and walks which suited Toffi…

 

While exploring we also came across what is known locally as the haunted house the Maison du Fort Lapin in Hoymille… now sorry guys but I don’t do the whole believing in ghosts thing… I just don’t believe in stuff like that now I don’t like to offend those who do but I just don’t believe in life after death/ghosts/spirits etc, so yes of course we had to explore the building and no we weren’t scared!!! apparently a young girl died here, drowned in the basement during a flood and then people have since tried to renovate the building and 2 workers were killed while working on the building so naturally many people are now scared of the place and refuse to go near it, and then those believers in dark happenings and ghosts etc have now given it the reputation of being a haunted house… I’m sure others would have made something creepy of the fact that a huge murder of crows were in flight that day over head, there must have been over 100 birds in this flock!!!

 

Soon the day arrived that we were to travel back to the UK, the morning of 10th August 2018… we set off early for our drive to Calais and to the Channel Tunnel, with not one migrant in view along the route, we arrived at the Channel Tunnel about 10am and went through all the customs checks etc p.s. customs absolutely love seeing a dog with a photo in their passport… I have to admit Toffi has got a very cute picture for her passport photo and they loved her calling her by her full name and making a fuss and blowing kisses to her through the window…

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the train we were booked on was due to leave at 11:50am but if they have the space the lovely staff will always try to get you on earlier trains if they can so we were on board a train by 10:40am and on our way for the 35 minutes journey through the tunnel back into the UK… and because the UK is 1 hr behind we were back on UK turf by 10.15am where we continued our 6hr Journey towards Stonehenge Touring park where we will stay for 2 nights before travelling further back down towards Plymouth, Stonehenge Touring park is the first campsite we visited after leaving Plymouth at the beginning of the tour just before we left the UK last year for the tour, so seemed fitting to stop over here to complete our circle of the Europe tour this year.

P.s please note the language of wood pigeons seems pretty much universal…

Take Care

Donna x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything Changes…

We have been at this campsite for 3 weeks now and wow I have just got to mention the extremely hot weather… the whole of Europe has it seems had a massive heatwave this year, the temperatures here in the last few days reaching up to 40°c converted this becomes a staggering 104°f  now those of you who reside permanently in hotter countries will probably just chuckle and shrug this off as pretty average… but for the likes of people like me acclimatised to cooler climates, this is a very unsuitable and uncomfortable temperature… did I mention us Brits are pretty much used to rain, damp and the cold, to us 18°/25°c are pretty good summer temperatures, the country becomes a pretty humid hot pot if we hit good weather summer months…. We mostly just don’t do well with extreme temperatures in fact I myself am pretty lousy with extreme temperatures either way hot or cold I suffer with super low blood pressure and extreme temps can lower that even more so I struggle, sweat or shiver with just normal minor temp changes….

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Well after struggling with the higher temperatures for several weeks now in the back of my mind I have been begging for the standard normal cooler UK weather… yes I hear you all thinking I must clearly be some sort of lunatic!!! but in the height of this heat I was actually resorting to sharing the dogs wet cooling towels with her and hugging a frozen hot water bottle!!! yep I actually got my hot water bottle out half filled it with water and I froze that bad boy!!!  You will never know quite how much I appreciated having a freezer in the motorhome at this point…. Although I did notice I was receiving some pretty strange looks from people who must have thought I was crazy to be carrying what appeared to be a hot water bottle around with me in this heat… I am thinking of looking up how to do a rain dance for extra relief…

The fire risk in Europe is very high at the moment and sitting in a crowded campsite with so many people having barbeques or burning citronella candles is also making me slightly nervous, I am surprised the site hasn’t told people not to use their barbeques right now, the family opposite us had their barbeque right up close to the separation hedge yesterday freshly lit with flames leaping from it and with someones caravan just a couple of foot away on the other side of the hedge… Amazing how people can be so complacent and lax about it right now especially after witnessing videos and pictures of the sad disaster of raging fires that took place in Greece just this week, there are fires breaking out it would seem everywhere as countries battle the intense heatwave and these fires are spreading so quickly with the dryness of the trees, shrubbery and land as a whole…  just today we heard that somewhere we had visited during our tour “Tarifa” is sadly burning badly right now as I type…

With all this talk of high temperatures within this blog post it leads me nicely onto info regarding your motorhome fridge/freezers the last few days I have seen several social media posts from people asking for advise as their motorhomes/caravans fridges/fridge freezers are struggling in this heat, now further conversations reveal these people tend to turn up their fridge thermostats to full in the hopes that this will compensate and help with the fridges performance, this in fact doesn’t help as it just makes the fridges work harder increasing the workload and forcing the fridge to work overtime… turn those thermostats down people ours is a dometic 3 way fridge freezer and currently roughly on the halfway point and our freezer is freezing my water bottles no problems… if you have a freezer make sure you fill it with frozen goods/pre frozen freezer blocks if you are only just starting the fridge up or just to help it maintain temperature and while on you want the freezer compartment to be almost full as it helps maintain the temperature a half empty compartment won’t be as efficient if you haven’t much food in it try filling it with something like a loaf of bread, a bag ice cubes or freezer blocks the rest of the way… it will help with the freezer temperature in the long run and also be much more economical…

Now at the risk of sounding like a meany or some miserable old person… let me be the first to admit I am not always the most maternal of women, it’s obviously the school holiday time… but I have noticed the clientele of campsites are much, much different during these busy times compared to the off season or year long, all weather clientele and than those we have grown used too over the last year, I have started humorously calling these people in my head “fair weather or part time campers”… The parents are clearly so much more stressed out during this time, which is of course unsurprising, but this also means so many of the stressed out people are far less friendly…  We’ve only had 2 families even say hello or have a chat in the last 3 weeks we have been here, but both of these families were may I add lovely with really pleasant children, one little girl with her little brother in tow came to ask if she could pet Toffi, with her Mother and father closely following also asking to make sure this was ok with us and in conversation telling us they had had a staffie as a family pet, of course Toffi was in her element and both children were very cute and aware of how to handle a dog correctly…

 

Toffi hasn’t really wanted walkies in this heat and to be fair it wouldn’t be right to walk a dog in this heat for the good of their own health, so apart from a the quick bathroom break walks during the day of no more than a few minutes she is walked when she wakes early before the sun fully heats the day and then in the evening when the heat from the sun is starting to ease we take a stroll and she gets to stretch her legs… the rest of the day she spends lounging in front of the fan (that in all fairness in this heat is just moving around hot air) with a cooling towel placed upon her belly in fact below is a rather fetching and sophisticated photo of her sporting and modeling said cooling towel…

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Luckily where we are at present there are small streams running alongside a tree shaded lane and the big lake has been more than handy as she’s been dipping in and out of these on her walks and gaining some relief from the heat… although she gave herself and us a scare the other day when she lost her footing at the edge of the lake and fell right in, Toffi is most definitely not a elegant water dog in fact her swimming ability is completely inept and lacking in any type of style, she definitely has absolutely no finesse while in water, at one point even her little head went under and she had the look of sheer panic in her eyes… yep we have to be constantly ready to jump right in and rescue her due to her inability to float…

Whilst on the campsite we can hear the sound of a local church whose bells ring out parts of the tune Frére Jacques a french nursery rhyme but we couldn’t work out entirely where the church was that was playing the tune, until one evening we took a walk down to the next tiny hamlet here of Bar de la Buzancy, a lovely quaint little hamlet the locals waved a hello to us as we passed by with us also disturbing some of the local dogs along our way through, taking a couple of little photos the time was 8.45pm and just as we were walking past the church there its bells rang out the very tune we had been hearing, surprisingly they were pretty loud, well loud enough to startle me as I really wasn’t expecting it to be from this church…

 

 

Brother John rhyme lyrics in French and English below:

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques
Dormez-vous, dormez-vous?
Sonnez le matines, sonnez le matines
Ding ding dong, ding ding dong

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Brother John, Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding ding dong, ding ding dong

 

After strolling through the hamlet it was time to find our way back and head back towards the direction of the campsite, as we were walking along the pathway 3 French Gitan/Gypsy families in their vans towing their caravans drove past us they all beeped their horns and waved at us and of course we waved back at each in turn, the French Gitan are so much more accepted and seem quite friendly, its really lovely and of course I was quickly full of humour, telling Pete I had now come to the conclusion that we were obviously fully accepted into the full time gypsy travelling lifestyle and community, Pete however said they were more likely only waving and beeping due to the fact we had Toffi with us, because of the breed of dog she is… after all she always seems to get lots of attention from everyone wherever we go and it seems to make it just so obvious that we are British travellers all this just from our choice of dog breed!!!

We then wandered down the road and came across the local graveyard by this time Toffi needed some water and there’s always water available in graveyard so in we wandered, while there looked around… well I never knew that that once you buy your plot your grave can be pre fitted and be ready & waiting for you to pass away and be put into it… maybe it’s normal but it seemed pretty bizarre to me and just a little creepy!!!

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This past week or so has been a little bit of an emotional rollercoaster for myself, I had to make the painful decision to hand my notice into my employer of nearly 2 decades, and to be fair it took a shockingly heavy toll on me… while working there I had made such good friends, which if I am honest, some of these people had become more like family to me than work colleagues over those many years…  I had already missed being in the company of many of them terribly over the past year of my sabbatical… and now had to face the reality of never working with them or perhaps not even seeing some of them again…

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Both Pete and I had worked for the same very well known International Corporation in well paid positions for the better part of our entire working lives… together we had racked up 45 yrs of working for this very company, so although we’ve survived well for the last year with me being on an unpaid sabbatical and without these wages coming in… it’s still a very scary thing giving up your employment entirely and moving on, especially when you have never known not being employed, we have certain incomes to live on and so far we have budgeted and managed well whilst living on the road… but we have thought of other ways we could perhaps earn extra income if we needed to, perhaps we shall look into these things further if need be or we shall just carry on living the dream and travelling as we have been this year…

I’d had a message from my brother telling me my mother had taken a rather bad fall and has broken her fema bone and is now laid up in hospital… I have spoken with her and she seems to be in good spirits, well as good as can be given the situation anyway!!! The doctors will know more on Monday of how they can proceed with treatment… I am really hoping for her that the bone can somehow manage to heal itself in a splint rather than have to be operated on as this very same leg that was severely injured in a motorcycle accident she was involved in many, many years ago… back when I was still a teenager… My mum has had so many operations on this leg in the past, that many that I have lost count of the exact number… so it would be awful for her if she had to have yet another… so I am keeping my fingers crossed for Mondays news!!!

We return to the UK in just over 2 weeks from now, where we will be catching up with family and friends and then looking into buying a suitable 4×4 vehicle for towing a caravan instead if successful maybe next year our travels will be with a car and caravan instead of a motorhome…

Enough of my miserable old person ramblings for today, we’ll see what tomorrow brings!!!

Take care

Donna x

 

The village of Buzancy in Ardenne!!

We arrived next at Campsite De La Chaume, a quaint nice little campsite that had a relaxed atmosphere and very friendly, helpful owners, the camp is placed beside a small stream amongst a small patch of woodland and nearby to the small town of Corcieux…..

 

 

We stayed here for 8 nights from the 30th June to the morning of the 8th July and to be fair we did very little exploring during this stay as the temperatures where a high 30°+ and our poor little Toffi was battling with the heat and pretty much unwilling to move far from the Endless breeze fan that seemed to be on constantly for her, with an added device of a wet dog cooling towel wrapped around her belly, although I have to admit I was pretty much enjoying sitting close to the fan with some cuddles thrown in too!!!…

It’s not wise to walk a dog in extreme heat and I certainly didn’t want her feeling unwell so chill time took over and we relaxed and allowed Toffi to determine when was and wasn’t a good time for walkies!!! We had purchased Toffi one of those gel filled cooling pads for her to lounge upon on sunny warm days but after her only using it a couple of times her claws had torn the outer material and the gel started seeping out from the inside… so I was glad that at the same time I had purchased the dog cooling towel which is much more hardy… I have no idea how these work but once wet down they remain cold to the touch and you either lay it across their belly or around their necks and I must admit it actually works a treat… she thoroughly loved it and happily laid with it over her belly keeping her nice and cool back at the motorhome!!!

 

We literally only managed to walk the short distance to the village on a couple of occasions during our stay, even then Toffi struggled on one of those trips… so we didn’t get many photo’s of the place as we were more concerned with keeping the dog cool in the streams along the way than we were with taking photos…

There were some other Brits on site who we chatted and made friends with, one chap called Richard who funny enough originated from Saltash, and is friends with the owners of a camp we shall be visiting in a few weeks time, hopefully we can get together at some point when back in the UK and chat about all of our adventures and equipment over a few glasses of wine…

As mentioned we left Camp Chaume on the morning of the 8th July 2018 at 9.30am we had for us anyway a long 200km journey to our next camp, we also had to get grocery shopping, so we made that our 1st stop… shopping done by 10.30am and us €190 lighter, then with diesel purchased and another €70 lighter off we set, food shop costs in France seem obscenely expensive and to be honest in some supermarkets the fresh food doesn’t seem to keep very long, unless you are fortunate enough to buy it from local farmers markets where the fruit and veg available are much fresher…  so we tend to do fortnightly big shops we fill the freezer and fridge with enough to keep us going for a couple of weeks!!! If we come across a local market that is always a bonus!!!

I hadn’t adjusted the satnav since Switzerland and it was still set to Toll roads etc we decided to keep it on for the tolls mainly because we were already expecting it to take us approx 6+ hours and so we didn’t mind if we hit the toll motorways in the hope that it may have sped up the travelling time, but to be fair although we hit the motorways we didn’t hit any toll motorways and as expected we managed to roll into the next camp at 4.30pm after… yep 6 hours driving…

We stopped for a couple of short 10 minute breaks along our way for Toffi to relieve herself, stretch her legs and for us to snatch a quick sip of coffee from a flask and a snack for ourselves, luckily in France no Lorries are allowed to drive on the roads over the weekends unless carrying essential perishable food based products, being used for essential food based production or if they are carrying livestock… this means the roads are much lighter on heavy goods vehicle traffic but the laybys and truck stops are full with lorries waiting for Monday so they may start to move on, this meant that on a couple of our attempted rest stops we were unable to park and were forced to move onto find the next chance of stopping…

 

 

France is such a slow country to drive through, but to be honest it’s also a great country to drive through its so scenic and tranquil but no matter how hard I try the speed and mileage just don’t seem to add up for me… for example it seems to take us on average 1 whole hour to drive just 30 kms/18.5 miles according to the satnav, no matter what type roads we take, partly this is due to us being in a large vehicle with dimensions of 3.2m in height 7.2m in length and on top of that towing a trailer, so we are further restricted by laws here to HGV speed of just 55 mph on motorways/dual carriageways, sometimes up to 50 mph on single carriageways, 30 mph down to 18 or less mph through some towns or built up areas…  so yep its slow and steady all the way through France… should be fun on our next journey as its approx 280 kms distance from here so should be a good 8+ hrs driving… we will see!!!

We had pre-booked and paid for a comfort part grass and part hardstanding pitch for a whopping 30 nights at our next stop La Samaritaine, we figured the school holidays are starting and the sites are starting to get busy so the same as we handled the Christmas period we thought it was better to find somewhere settle in and sit the family holiday season out…  the site knew our dimensions and needs before we arrived so we also knew we would get pitched up without trouble…

True to their word once we did finally arrive tired and beaten from the long journey we were given a choice of 4 different suitable pitches, there was one pitch that Pete really liked the look of it was really long but I decided it would be awkward to keep the dog under control leash wise and to play fair so that if a longer rig turns up they might well need that space, so we chose pitch 83 instead it’s still plenty big enough for us, we eagerly got ourselves set up even getting the bikes out of the trailer straight away so that we would make sure we made use of them during our stay here!!!

The site is nice with large pitches we have a fully serviced pitch which means we have our own water/drain/electric on pitch this saves us from the worry of having to fill the water tank manually over that time period or even moving the motorhome to a water point to fill it when needed once set up which is always nice…

We have been here for 11 nights already… and much to my shame I haven’t even updated this blog in weeks… The site we are on is called La Samaritaine and run by a Dutch family it’s part of a group called Flower camping, it is clean tidy and very well maintained with a great, friendly, helpful reception team who all seem multilingual, I spoke with a lovely young lad briefly who must have been in his teens helping with the family business behind reception he stepped in when others were busy and spoke perfect English with me, was so gentlemanly and well mannered his parents have a lot to be proud of, there is a great takeaway cafe bar on site which also do good honest food and their chips are amazing… we’ve used it a few times already and we were very grateful it was there the evening we arrived being just too tired to cook something ourselves, you can even order a whole cooked chicken on a Sunday for €7 which was also lovely, if possible we plan to do this again on Sunday and make ourselves a lazy roast dinner with some roast potatoes, veg and gravy!!!

There is a large bone shaped pond on the outskirts of the camp where people can swim, although I admit I haven’t been brave enough to swim in yet as swimming in ponds isn’t really my thing… but there is a also a seperate beach part to it which is great for families and they are all having a great time there!!! The pond is also great for a relaxing picnic and walking the dog around in the cool hours of the day there are so many interesting types of insects here and the wildlife is abundant, so the pond has a great impact and seems to be an important part of the biodiversity here… we also had a small frog visit our camp pitch I very almost stood on the poor mite but I can assure you I made sure he was safe and well…

 

 

 

Just past the large pond is a small walk into the town, where horses graze in the fields on one side and cows in fields on the other side there are 2 interesting semi circular buildings along this route, one which is sadly almost derelict belonging to the bovine area part of the structure the other renovated into stables and clearly for the Equine half of the structure but both great magnificent buildings now and in their past nonetheless…

 

 

It was the important French day of Bastille on the 14th July here and the French get to celebrate the French revolution and from what I can gather the storming of Bastille prison to release the political prisoners… obviously we couldn’t let it pass without buying a few bottles of wine for reception to share out between their diners on site so they could raise a glass between themselves for their special day of celebrations!!!

We strolled into the nearby town where we found the ATM upstairs in a locked building a local man allowed me to follow him in to gain access to the cash machine and I promptly broke the bank door on the way out much to an older couples horror… it was one of those situations where you wish the ground to open up and swallow you whole… I apologised and quickly made for my escape!!!

The rest of the walk in the town was pleasant enough we took photos, relaxed on a local bench surrounded by pretty flower beds and took interest into the history of the buildings and statues in the town…

 

The weather has been so very hot 30°+ with mostly full on sunshine and blue skies since we have been here with just a couple of cooler days, on those days we had managed to venture out, the rest of the time Toffi and I can be found sheltering and trying our hardest to keep cool inside, shaded away from the hot sun… whilst Pete can be found sat outside on a lounger enjoying the sun and heat, topping up his tan!!!

Well hopefully we shall have more to tell you regarding the lovely area before our time here is up until then take care…

Donna x

Campsite De La Chaume 8 nights total cost €105/€13.1pn also collected 1 stamp for our sites & paysages free stay and another stamp into the next claim booklet (as they are only allowed one stamp per booklet to gain us 5 nights free stay per completed booklet)            GPS N48°10’5″ E6°53’23”

Campground La Samaritaine €657 for 30 nights which works out to still be a reasonable €21.90 per night at peak holiday season for a fully serviced hard standing and grass pitch                 GPS N49°25’34” E4°56’24”

 

Tiny Town of Sulzburg, Germany

We left Switzerland and the wonderful mountain view at 11am on the 27th June 2018 and decided we would head to Germany… So I quickly scrolled through the ACSI campsite app and basically picked the nearest decently reviewed one to accompany our route back up to Calais… We had been given advice from a couple of German friends of great places to head for and to visit etc… but I searched nearby venues and campsites to these areas… there seemed to be none very nearby considering we have to take into account our size dimensions of the vehicle and how far we can safely walk with the dog in this sweltering hot weather, the places looked stunning and we would have loved visiting them but they were just not feasible at this present time… but we have them listed down for when we perhaps get to another chance and maybe a change of transport!!!

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So onwards we headed with our journey out of Switzerland and into Germany… we travelled mainly by motorway just for ease and speed… approaching the German border was a little confusing and Pete nearly went into the import taxing truck lane with us thinking their may have been some sort of height barrier ahead and not entirely realising it was in fact the German border ahead!!! So it was quite amusing having the German border patrol waving us to go into the other lane and carry on through as we didn’t need to pay them any taxes… oups!!!

Once we drove on through the Border we found ourselves now on the German motorways (Lorries and larger vehicles drive very sensibly due to regulations here… but the car drivers are completely insane on German motorways!!!)… We arrived a few hours after leaving Switzerland at our next stop Camping Sulzbachtal in the small town of Sulzburg  (Black Forest Country!!!)

The weather has been a sweltering 30°+ since we got here and is I think due to continue but I hear it is the same over most of the NW Europe with heat waves reported far and wide… The heat has made it so hard to sleep and fully rest at night even with as many windows as possible open I still feel like I am melting… Pete seems to have been suffering from a repeated head/neck ache so to be fair other than a couple of walks into the small town we have mainly just chilled out while being here… the campsite is fine with nice big pitches, clean good facilities, friendly reception, bread available to order, purchased camp wifi good but cost €6.50 for timed 6 hrs usage… I haven’t seen any other Brits here apart from ourselves it seems mainly Dutch, Belgium and German travellers on site who have may I add have all been friendly…

 

We took ourselves on a walk to the small town where I took pictures, ummed and ahhed at all the different buildings, we then sat at the only open cafe in the town and had lunch where the lady serving patiently allowed me to try out my poor German language skills on her and where we also allowed her to try her English language skills on us, both asking if we were correct or how to ask for this and that… it was a really nice conversation and we were both encouraging each other as it was both down to our lack of confidence holding us all back!!!

 

We had a really good chat amongst ourselves, we asked if many British visited here and she told us not too many, mainly Dutch and how she had previously visited England… She didn’t enjoy her stay there… she had been shocked by English culture and the society she had been faced with, the heavy drinking and somewhat out of control aggressive attitudes she had received when she was there… and I can guess the rest!!!  To be honest we have travelled for 10+ months through Europe and very rarely met anyone who wasn’t pleasant or welcoming to us… maybe the odd grump having a bad day but we all get them…

Perhaps this is a lesson us Brits can learn from, as I also think society and attitudes in Britain have changed seemingly much for the worse lately, this is especially evident on social network websites such as facebook where some of the posts literally make me either angry or cringe with their downright fascist, racist nastiness, untrue fact memes with their clear false accusations, which has been even more prevalent since the Brexit debacle started!!! Any Brit that truly thinks EU had total control over us as was being spread via social media etc etc is deluded… why? because our government has always, always had the right to stop any rulings going through exactly the same as the other 27 countries involved, we always had control of our borders it’s just we ourselves didn’t do our duties and our government didn’t discuss their general public’s fear or feelings with other countries openly enough when we felt overwhelmed, we just have ourselves and our governments to blame, not other countries…  remember also we are teaching the next generation… teach them badly and this can come back to bite… perhaps try to teach friendship, tolerance, conversational skills & compassion, instead of hate, bitterness, sourness and lies…

Well anyway we had a lovely lunch Pete started with a coffee, then a beer along with a refreshing local dish which consisted of a thin Pizza base, Sour cream, cream cheese, spring onions and bacon bits (Lardons), I had a couple of cups of coffee and chips as a snack as I wasn’t too hungry or should I say… Pomme Frites und zwei tassen von Kaffee mit milch und sucra… all at a very reasonable price… We said our Thanks and goodbyes to the cafe’s staff and wished each other well before we parted ways…

 

Whilst walking the streets here the history is evident and as far as we have witnessed lessons learned from it…  with a hope not to allow history to repeat itself in any way, shape or form, this is a fair fear amongst our EU friends, so we should all remain humble and remember the suffering that is caused by people being easily manipulated, swallowing/spreading lies without researching truth and turned against each other, however the means and whether this be consciously or otherwise, stay wise people don’t be easily led like sheep into disarray and hatred!!!

It’s so easy for just one person to rock the boat and change normally reasonable peoples views into something much more sinister which is far from reasonably normal and then before we know it dreadful, unimaginable things can occur… as has clearly happened in the past between countries!!! Here’s proof and a reminder these things do happen, however much to other peoples surprise and sometimes disgust we have stayed away from all war sites upon our travels deliberately, not due to any disrespect but so as not to be overwhelmed by the sadness of such things ever happening!!!

 

Anyway we left the lovely campsite Sulzbachtal at 11am on the 30th June 2018 and planned to cross briefly back into France for an opportunity to get our sites & paysages book stamped again… we stopped at a German supermarket on the way which had some amazing fresh veg and fruit on display, once topped up with enough to keep us going for another week we travelled 80 kms to our next stop Campsite De La Chaume where we have booked in for 8 nights to allow rest and to recoup, the heat has been stifling and driving in it today was a pretty bad experience for Toffi who was overheating and panting for the whole journey even though we’d stopped a few times along the journey, we even stopped for KFC, its first time we have had anything from a fast food chain for nearly 12 months, was massively disappointed when we waited 20 minutes for chicken and found we only had drumsticks in the bargain bucket!!!

Well off to go sit and enjoy the shelter and shade of the tree on our pitch will have more exciting stuff to update next time perhaps!!!

Take care

Donna x

Camping Sulzbachtal 3 nights on ACSI rate €19 Per night total bill + taxes/electric €75.30 GPS N47°50’52” E7°41’53”

 

 

 

 

Majestic Mountains & Crazy Cable Cars!!!

On Friday morning the mountains were looking far too moody to even be approached, they were enveloped within a thick fog, so we decided to check out the small town of Engleberg instead, we took a 30 minute woodland stroll to get there, you could certainly feel the chill when in the shade of the trees, but we soon found the small town nestled in amongst all the other surrounding mountains, on the outskirts of town is a huge ski jump slope along with what in the winter would obviously be ski slopes nestled in amongst the hills and mountainsides, the actual town consists of a huge Monastery, a hospital, a few bars, restaurants, some small shops, cafes and hotels which are dotted along its attractive clean streets… We were thinking of stopping at a cafe for coffee until Toffi decided she didn’t like the look of a dog sat at a nearby table and wanted to pick an argument, so on we stumbled hastily and embarrassingly dragging the troublesome Toffi away with us…

 

 

The fog had lifted by the time we made it back to camp and the day had turned into a warm sunny and pleasant afternoon… On the Saturday morning we awoke to full sunshine with only one or two small fluffy clouds in the sky… It was the day I had been dreading… the day of the mountain cable car ride and to face my fears… and it would seem I just couldn’t put it off or find any excuse to get out of this today!!!

We walked the 30 minute hike to the cable car ride and purchased our return ride tickets… before I knew it the next cable car was arriving and we were boarding along with 4 other passengers… we boarded and I was scared… I have got to acknowledge I was not a great passenger to be onboard with… I was nervous the whole way, I managed to take a couple of pictures right up until the opposite cable car whizzed past us and I then realised we were just half way up!!! from then on I was sat starring anywhere but out of the windows… chattering away to myself literally like some mad woman possessed with regard to what the hell did I think I was doing and just what was I thinking getting on one of these things???!!!  I was genuinely scared out of my wits and just couldn’t wait to get solid ground under my feet!!! Toffi however behaved impeccably and even laid down when she was told too, I think she could sense my fear, I was petrified she would get over excited when one of the other passengers started to pet and fuss her and in turn cause this thing to start rocking around like crazy and freak me out even more!!!

 

 

Once at the top and again on solid ground I gave myself a few minutes to get my act together stop myself shaking and become acclimatized to the surroundings, while Toffi and Pete went on a bit of a wander… My fear of heights is really not as bad so long as my feet are on solid high ground, but even if I am on a bridge, I become nervous… in a vehicle going over a bridge a little more nervous… but in that cable car I was well and truly freaked!!! I think it has something to do with the lack of control and trust in the structures more than the height itself!!! But well I made it up, whether I could make it back down in the same fashion was a different matter altogether!!!

With myself calmed and sorted, feeling good that my feet were now back on solid ground it was time for a drink and some food, we had a fabulous lunch at the restaurant on the mountainside which has some fantastic panoramic views…

 

 

With lunch over and us refueled it was now time to explore, take in the beauty of the mountains and enjoy the views from up so high, also to decide just how we were getting down!!! After a brief discussion it was concluded there was just no way on earth I was willing to take one step back onto that cable car, I really didn’t mind walking down off this mountain alone either, we had each come prepared for a long hike back down anyway… I gave Pete the cable car tickets and the option to take the ride back down if he wanted too… but he was told me he was also fine with the hike down the mountain on foot and that the motion of the cable car wasn’t a pleasant feeling for himself either and he had started to feel a little motion sick on the way up (besides he knows my sense of direction is also pretty lousy and that I would most likely get lost on the way back down my own anyway!!!) so after a brief stint on the mountain, admiring the magical views and then watching closely as the clouds started to roll back in, off we set for a marathon hike down off the side of a mountain…

 

 

here’s the video taken at the top of the mountain which is linked via my facebook account… so here goes let me know if it works…. Enjoy…

The hike down wasn’t easy going on the feet, knees or legs, although it wasn’t overly hard either for the average fit and able bodied person as there were no direct rock faces to be climbed down etc, it’s classed as a medium hardness hike as no ropes are needed no hard direct climbing involved… so to be fair it was pretty much like hiking down through a steep stoney wooded area, we didn’t rush ourselves, but it took us a good 3 hours to hike back down just to the reach the bottom of the mountain, the loose shingle underfoot on the pathways was the main bugbear as it made the footing surface unstable and slippery even in sturdy walking shoes, it was also sometimes a steep descent which meant it would be easy to lose your footing on the surface if you weren’t careful, and looking over the edge it might have been just a bit of a fall in some places!!!

 

 

But by midway down both our legs felt like jelly caused mainly from the continued steep descent angles we were walking at and we still had half the journey to complete, we could see the tiny town we needed to get back too far down in the distance below us, it took on the appearance of a toy town with the buildings looking so small and tiny…

The next day were we both paying for it… my lower back refused to bend, with my knees and upper legs pretty stiff along with many sore tender muscles that just hadn’t worked that hard in months… It was funny on our way down Pete seemed to be suffering the worst and I would photograph him, when he realised I was onto him starting to flag, we would laugh and joke, and I would be offering him a helping hand along with some sweet sugary coffee from the flask… even the dog flagged badly at one point and it seemed I was the last one standing and still raring to go…. but the next day it would seem Pete and the dog had the last laugh… watching as I was now the one hobbling around like some mad demented looking old woman who just wasn’t able to even stand upright, no wonder they have trained physios and masseuses available here at camp, I was pretty tempted to book us all in!!!…

 

 

So, would we do it again??? oh boy, yes of course in a blink of an eye… the mountains are such amazingly addictive places to take adventures and explore on, both idyllic and at the same time wonderfully scary places with ever changing weather systems but on those clear days the views from the tops of them are just breathtaking (even if the cable car did seem like a ride into some sort of hell, well for me personally anyway!!!)

There are a lot of wayside shrines scattered around on the mountains and at the base of the mountains with protective Saintly religious figures inside… I guess to help protect the wayward, weary or lost traveller along on their journeys…

 

 

Now I must admit I really like this campsite, it’s amazing with great views, spotlessly clean, attractive, plenty to do in the area, good wifi, shop, restaurant, great showers (although you have to pay 1 franc for 4 minutes hot water and pay extra for use of the swimming pool and saunas etc) plus all the other other great facilities nearby…

 

 

But last week I had allowed Pete to search for our next stop (which was this site) as it’s usually me doing the search for the next stops and to be fair I wasn’t sure how far into Switzerland we wanted to go… plus as in Pete’s words “we don’t always have to stick with ACSI sites for discounts, other campsites have great offers and the prices aren’t all that different”, (I often use the ACSI app when choosing stops as it is pretty clear exactly what you will be paying and you can also check out reviews etc from other previous campers, Pete doesn’t he just searches on the internet for campsites, and I didn’t double check it for its ACSI membership just in case… also the campsite didn’t mention ACSI membership on its website either, but I now really regret not checking!!!)

It wasn’t until we were chatting to another British couple on site yesterday who mentioned this was actually an ACSI member site at €19 a night, so fair enough I went to check that out on the app and yes, it sure is… but Pete had failed to show, ask or even mention the ACSI card when booking or on arrival… so I went up today to pre-pay and hopefully get it at the discounted ACSI price…

Nope disappointingly we were billed at full price and it has made it very costly… I mean really costly… when travelling full time on a budget!!!  but they did mention they had charged us on their own deal of 7 for the price of 6 nights… take my advice if you plan to come to this site outside of the peak season of July/August make sure you use and mention upon booking or at arrival that you are booking via an ACSI card as there are only 26 pitches available on site at that discounted rate looking at it, so if you pitch on an undiscounted pitch it doubles the final price you will pay… even though the actual price difference for pitches is 2 francs!!!

What’s more the pitches are all practically the same, I seriously do not see the differences in many of them… they have a 5 class pitch method Standard CHF12/Superior CHF14/Comfort CHF16/Prestige CHF16/Caravan pitches CHF20 the only ones that are really different that I can see are the Comfort and prestige pitches where you have your own water pipe/waste outlet on pitch… so it makes you wonder why exactly are you paying different prices for standard and superior… we are on what they class a Superior pitch corner plot (there is no on pitch water/drainage access here etc) we like others have a great view of the mountains but the pitch beside us looks just like a standard pitch also and again nothing ultra special but is also classed as superior and it cant be for the view as they are looking the side of our motorhome so the price difference should have been CHF14… it’s strange… at a guess it’s just a good money earner for the campsite!!!

But here’s the shocker… with regard to actual pricing differences… had we used our ACSI upon arrival the total cost would have been just €19 a night for the 7 nights…

With ACSI card            total           €133 / CHF153.38 = £116.96

Without ACSI card      total           €248/CHF286.60    = £218.09

total price difference we paid was £101.13 instead of having us pay the extra CHF14 francs which has left me a little upset…

To put it into context that’s almost a weeks camp fees for us full time travellers that we are now paying extra!!! Now we don’t leave Camping Eienwaldi until the morning of 27th so I guess if the campsites owners were decent about it and did care about us showing our feelings of being a little ripped off in reviews… they could always approach us we are on pitch 38 and offer us a further discount as a good will gesture or even give us a free pint, burger and chips each in the restaurant… that would help take the sour taste from of my mouth, plus we are actually starving right now and skint!!! I am trying my hardest to remain unbiased in my opinion on the campsite overall as it is really awesome and I really don’t want to have to give it a bad review for this mishap, plus Pete is currently getting an ear ache after my nagging to him of the importance of the constant showing of the ACSI/ADAC/CCC cards on arrival which I didn’t realise at the time he hadn’t done in this case!!!

I have contacted ASCI today, reported the issue spoken to them on the telephone and hope they can clarify what happens in situations as such, I guess the camp have 2 days now where they could at least approach me and make it right!!! after all I have spent the last 10 months travelling campsites and reviewing each campsite for the travelling public, I don’t mind paying the extra 2 francs per night for the cost difference of the pitches but that certainly doesn’t come close to the £100 we have currently been in my view overcharged by… Never in that 10 months have we been charged full price upon showing the ACSI card at payment!!! so while the football season is ongoing I am currently stewing over this matter and showing the red card of foul play here!!!

Well I will be sure to update you all in the next blog post… perhaps as an episode of the Tintenttravellers tales of woe, expensive mistakes & misfortunes!!! but for now we must rest our aching limbs and refuel our bodies with food before any more adventures!!!

Take care… and have fun on your adventures!!!

Donna x

Camping Eienwaldi  N46°48’36” E8°25’21”  ACSI rate €19 per night, without ACSI our final bill came to £218.09     £36.34 = €41,29 per night (ouchies for our budget, make sure you use your discount cards people… don’t be left feeling ripped off!!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Moods…

We arrived with lovely blue skies over head at Camping Einewäldi at 2.15pm on the 20th June 2018 and what more could we ask for just look at that view!!! the facilities are spotless, free decent wifi and the campsite is pristine!!! This is more like the Switzerland I was hoping to find…

We set up then took a short hours ramble, to take in the breathtaking scenery that was before our very eyes… Toffi also enjoyed a dip in the ice cold mountain stream and loved the walk too!!!

We took Toffi back to the motorhome after our walk for her to take a snooze while we checked out the place… we found the washing machines, the dog shower and human washrooms etc then went to the hotel shop bought some bits and had a quick drink at the hotel bar before heading back to Snoffles AKA Toffi…

Pete had been looking at things to do while in the area and found that the longest pedestrian suspension bridge is around here up in the mountains, somewhere, and he’s wondering if I am up for that??… he then went on to tell me there’s another bridge that’s also the highest in the area… I am pretty much not up for heights of any kind… I would probably freeze in fear or have to get across and back on my hands and knees… feel free to check out National Geographic’s youtube video about the longest one… but hey… it might be worth looking into just for an adventure while we are here…

So the day after we arrived,  refreshed and ready to explore off we headed towards the waterfall walk and to find where the cable cars and other transport left from… We were pretty disappointed by the bottom of the waterfall to be honest, I had this massive waterfall pictured in mind, perhaps it’s bigger and much more magnificent in snow melt season… we then headed just down the road to check out the cable cars not being one for heights I was pretty horrified people actually voluntarally get into these!!! but watch this space… I have a feeling I am going to have to put my big girl pants on in the next few days and face up to at least getting near to the top of this mountain via cable car!!! the cable car ride is 18.50 Swiss francs 16.50 with a tourist card discount for the return journey… apparently this cable car takes us 1,850 metres up… and the mountain peak is approx 2,500 metres… boy… yeah… am I looking forward to this!!! perhaps I shall beat my fear of heights or perhaps I shall need a rescue team to help get me back down!!!

Pete was wanting to do the mountain trip today but to be fair I talked him out of it as the mountains were looking a little Moody with lots of cloud cover, once up there I would at least like to take some photographs to prove I actually did go up, wouldn’t exactly be views for miles with lots of cloud cover would there??… plus we were only wearing shorts/T-shirts and didn’t have any backpacks or any better and more appropriate clothing with us… I think he thought I was bottling out already but trust me I am really trying not to… it was 22° down at the base of the mountain, but get to the top and it can be -3° in the summer plus wind chill… I can’t believe I had to remind him it would perhaps be a little chilly in shorts and a vest top at the top of a mountain so we should at least take a jacket perhaps???…

Instead we took a 5 hour hike along the base of the mountains, on our way back we watched some rock climbers doing their thing… Toffi had a great walk and was exhausted by the time we got home, but of course she made friends with the local bovine again….

We managed to return just 30 minutes before the storm set in… although beautiful all mountain areas are moody and unpredictable weather wise as the pictures here reflect… but our timing was marvelous!!!

Enough for now… until next time where I shall update you all as to whether I successfully conquered my fear of heights or indeed if I had to be rescued from any of our adventures…

Take care

Donna x

Camping Eienwaldi  N46°48’36” E8°25’21”  approx 44 Swiss francs per night but will confirm exact amount when we get billed