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

 

Switzerland!!!

We made it to Switzerland!!! Yep we too are amazed that’s another country we can add to the list we aimed to cover so many more countries than we have so far on this trip, it’s hard not to feel disappointed with ourselves but with 50 stops to our trip so far in the last 10 months, it’s also been hectic enough and it’s a slow going process travelling through some of these countries on average we cover about 30 miles an hour and as we found out I think we set out an impossible task to visit so many countries this way in the first place… that is if we actually wanted any time to enjoy the places we visit and not just to pass through with a 1 night stay, which of course we could have done and so many others seem to do… but how can you enjoy and partake in different places and cultures if you just whizz through… Sometimes you just have to take time to enjoy the beauty we are surrounded by and take time to watch the wild life going about their days…

So, yes, we got to Switzerland on the 16th June, a couple who live in Switzerland we had spoken to at one of the last campsites had told us that to use the motorways we must have a vignette and that we could buy these at the border… well we passed through the border and to be honest we didn’t at first even realise it was the border, all that was there was an unused/unmanned barrier and a sign welcoming us to Switzerland, with the sat nav confirming we had indeed just crossed the border!!! oups… I think or I hope… we can purchase a Vignette for around 40 swiss francs at a petrol station nearby, we shall look further into it later…

We drove through mountains on roads with sheer drops on one side and with massive rock face on the other, both of us nearly having a heart attack when we came to a tunnel through the rockface neither of us were quite sure we would successfully fit through… not to mention the barrage of car drivers who sped along the roads towards us some almost completely on the wrong side of the road going around the corners of those mountain roads at 60+mph…

We drove through beautiful countryside and passed through long tunnels one of which went on for about 3 miles, and in a couple where we had to switch lanes inside them to avoid turn offs right at the tunnel exits!!!

We got to our first Swiss city Neuchatel where we also found bus lanes are a major thing here in Switzerland, you are forced to swerve from lane to lane to avoid the bus lanes even for just short stretches of roads that are sometimes as little as a few hundred feet long, that is after we had driven right through the first bus lane before we realised and were completely aware of our error… oups again!!!

We managed a stop at a supermarket on our way to the campsite where we parked around the corner from the store after a bit of a faff around as we couldn’t park up properly in the small supermarket car park… now we just have to get used to converting the prices in Swiss francs instead of Euro which seems to make things look much more expensive although when we worked out the price of our food shop it was pretty much standard…

We eventually arrived at our next planned campsite and our first ever one in Switzerland it’s called Des Peches and is €19 per night on the ACSI discount off season fare…  We booked in for 4 nights, the campsite is well set up for family holidays on arrival you’re each given free bus, tram and train travel tickets for the city, free passes to all the museums, a free cruise on the lake, cable car rides and lots of other tourist attractions, plus wifi all of this for free… it would be enough to easily keep everyone in the family happy and entertained for a week or more… but again unfortunately we were told the dog unless small enough to go in a handbag is not allowed on public transport… this is a bit disheartening when travelling with a larger sized dog… and makes us long for a car to get us around easier!!!

But there are lots of other things to do… lots of walks around the beautiful lake, also along the river bank which is lovely and lots of parks around nearby to explore, then we discovered a very quaint medieval town which I think was built in 1260 called Au Landeron this town square is very picturesque and within 5 minutes walking distance of camp…

 

The weather has been wonderful and mostly sunny while we have been here which has been nice… the campsite hasn’t been the quietest campsite during the early evenings for various reasons, but it is quiet at night from 10pm onwards, the only real bugbear I have with this campsite is the fact that the pitches are not very big, nor very private or even very well defined spaces so it seems some of the motorhomes, vans, caravans or awnings etc are pretty close together with much less than the recommended 3 metre space between them (which is considered a fire risk), we were told to park to the right of the pitch our number but on the left close to the next pitches number on arrival but the van on the next pitch would then have been mere inches away from the us if we had not used up some of our pitch space to create the adequate fire gap of a couple of metres between us, so it then felt that we were a little squeezed for a bit of sit out space…

Now in all fairness we try to reverse in and park up with our front wheels facing off of the pitch this makes sense for various reasons such as for ease of getting off if it rains and we get stuck on a wet pitch (in a FWD vehicle it means you can reach the tarmac quicker and get some traction under the wheels asap) and also for cases of emergency such as fires when you will need to move off pretty quickly, now our hab door is continental so on the right hand side… on the 2nd day here a couple turned up thankfully for just the one day/night also with a continental hab door but instead they drove onto the pitch and parked right next to us so their hab door was now face to face with ours… so yes that felt real cozy… made it a little uncomfortable sitting literally within a couple of foot of each other and then with Toffi barking or staring intensely at them while they ate… and they ate constantly!!!  if only they had reversed in because they had a completely empty pitch right next to them and we all would have had some privacy and they also wouldn’t have had to watch Toffi drool over their food…

 

There’s a Marina nearby next to the huge lake with lots of lovely boats and yachts moored up and a popular restaurant there too!!!

We walked to the post office to obtain a vignette for the motorways to allow us to get around Switzerland it worked out approx €35 about 40 Swiss francs at least we can explore Switzerland and not worry about hitting the motorways and getting a fine!!!

We then spotted a pet shop called Boutique Pense-Bêtes of course Toffi really needed new toys and was desperate for some rawhide chews, so with Pete and Toffi waiting outside in I went armed with my awesomely poor French language abilities…

The pet shop owner was a lovely lady who it turned out spoke very good English and was most welcoming… she asked where my dog was? and why had I not brought her along to the doggy toy/sweet shop? I shamefacedly showed her Toffi and Pete waiting nearby… But when she saw Toffi she was in awe “oh my goodness” she exclaimed!!! “a true British English bully breed dog”!!!!

Well that was it Toffi was ushered in through the doors, then the doors were all closed behind us and Toffi was fussed over and treated like a queen… offered free treats, water and was allowed off lead to freely roam and enjoy all the smells in the dog toy shop, it was like watching some celebrity having a shop closed for their own personal shopping in private!!! She was in her element, foolishly I Toffi to go choose a toy and typical of her she came bouncing back around the corner with the most expensive toy in the whole shop!!!

She came away with at least 2 expensive but sturdy and strong Kong toys, plus a new rope ball toy (which she has already destroyed since), a couple of large rawhide chews and then a free bag of treats to put in her new kong for later!!! I came away £60 lighter but it was a pleasure to see Toffi so happy with her new toys, it was the first pet shop that we had come across in the last couple of months that actually sold sturdy strong pet toys suitable for Toffi’s breed… plus the store owner truly was amazing with her, even before we looked to purchase anything she was feeding Toffi treats and cooing over her so I would highly recommend taking your dog for a visit if you are nearby the owner is clearly passionate about animals!!!

We will be moving further into Switzerland Tomorrow so time to go enjoy some more of this stay before we are off again!!

Take care

Donna x

Des Peches €19 per night with ACSI discount  GPS N47°3’10” E7°4’11”

 

 

La Roche d’Ully

We drove past fields full of delicious grape vine as we left Domaine De Cromey and found ourselves at a site called La Roche d’Ully staying from the 12th June, The first 2 days here at La Roche d’Ully were a bit of a wash out… we found ourselves squelching around on the waterlogged pitches… wishing we owned some wellies!!!

Once the weather picked up we took a walk into Ornans the local town and found it to be quite a lively thriving little town… the river La Loue runs right through the town with town houses built along the edges giving an interesting look to the place, rather like a mixture of Amsterdam versus Venice, with attractive bridges to investigate, on the pedestrian bridge there is a high water measure with marks labelled alert, alarm and then one much, much higher mark with a date of 1953 so the town must have been practically submerged by particularly high flood waters that year…

We also spotted climbers from over the top of some house roofs… climbing along on one of the huge high up rock faces situated about a mile outside of town and I managed to zoom in on the camera and get a couple of shots of them navigating the rock face!!!

The town also has 2 interesting looking old churches, although we didn’t investigate these as not being religious we were much more interested at the time in getting some coffee…  We sat and drank a couple of cups of coffee at a local cafe while watching the world go by, the cafe was adjacent to the town green which was shaded from the midday sun by lovely trees… we were then entertained by a couple playing Boules there who were also being eagerly spurred on by the local school children who were out on a school treasure hunt trip…

We left La Roche d’Ully on the morning of the 16th June 2018, for our onward travel to Switzerland… we had to check our travel insurance and found it didn’t have Switzerland on it as I hadn’t thought at the time we were allowed to take Toffi there… but after checking with the Swiss Consulate and being given the ok, it appears Toffi will be welcomed with her pet passport being valid for her travel so we phoned and amended our policy with the insurance… and onwards with travel…

As we near the the Swiss border we get we can see the landscape and style of houses changing, here the houses on the outskirts of town appear more like Swiss chalets style…

The site here has clean facilities, the staff are friendly, it has a bar/restaurant and once the weather improved the pitches did start to dry out and pitch sizes were nice, the camp has a free wifi zone at reception and although phone signal says it is good the site is situated in a very deep valley with huge rocks on each side so internet has been really poor here, even our own mifi and phones have been very poor with internet incredibly bad that at times it takes 20-30 mins to load a page, but on the plus side we got our sites & paysages book stamped too, we now have 2 of the 4 stamps needed to claim a free 5 days camp at one of their sites somewhere in the next 2 years!!

Switzerland here we come!!!

Until next time take care

Donna x

Campsite La Roche d’Ully €17 per night GPS N47°6’2″  E6°9’37”

Domaine de Cromey

It was soon time for us to catch up with Lilly and Steve… the timing worked out wonderfully, just at a perfectly quiet time for them, before the main season started.  We travelled further up through France, another 80 km on the sunday, to meet them in the Burgundy region.

We had arranged to meet in the village so that they could assess our size and then guide us and the motorhome onto the very grand “Domaine de Cromey” grounds.  By virtue of my wonderful navigation skills I instead guided us to a nearby vineyard… interestingly with the sat navs’ female voice filling the air… advising us we had arrived at our destination!!!  Yes, I assure you Pete would be absolutely lost without myself and my perfect navigating skills, after all, what could be more perfect than being lost in a field full of lovingly cared for Burgundy wine grape vines stretching on for as far as the eye can see???

Perhaps the Vintner could start leaving little hidden bottles of their treasured finished products around to cheer the lost souls of us haplessly clumsy travellers and allow them the happiness of tasting the delights, perhaps if really lost even drowning their sorrows with… Just an idea folks!!! what a wonderful idea a Burgundy wine treasure hunt… perfect!!!

After correcting our course, detaching the trailer and very nearly losing the thing downwards on a sloping bank, we eventually found where we were planned to meet and true to their word Lilly and Steve soon appeared and came to our rescue!!!

We drove up in their smaller vehicle to assess the situation and to ensure we could actually manage to get our vehicle into the manor house grounds safely, which we then succeeded in doing. Once there we fell into absolute love and awe of the place… Ironically, to get there, we drove up the very road we had turned around on.

What an utterly delightful place for us to be lucky enough to be allowed to visit.  We squeezed in through the rather impressive gates and swung into the very exclusive stately Manor House courtyard.  Our hosts then treated us to a tour of the gardens and property… my words are unable to describe accurately the lovingly decorated and tastefully restored buildings, all work done with such attention to detail, with superb quality!!!

 

 

The property’s history is amazingly interesting.  The main building was used by Lords and Barons as their winery in a long distant past and is now what one would describe as a very prestigious & exclusive country Manor House.  The main building once housed all the local wine making facilities.

 

 

The huge wine press is still in situ to this day.  It is an imposing feature in the room that is now described as the wine press room, this is also a gorgeously decorated open and airy dining area.

So, while seated in the room, dining on the exquisitely prepared culinary delights, tasting, enjoying and discussing the rich complexity of flavors over a glass or two of the famously delicious rich wines on offer from the area, it also allows the guests to soak up the genuine history of the Burgundy wine making process with their very own eyes!!!

 

 

The local wine producers have been producing their top quality Burgundy for generations, so whilst at Domaine de Cromey you get to soak up the experience, within view of the magnificent, impressive structure of this huge original wine press which gives more understanding, depth and meaning to the production process of these gorgeous wines…  What an experience!!!

 

 

We had an amazing time and enjoyed every minute, Steve and Lilly really looked after us they made us some fantastic meals, with Lilly’s fantastic desserts to follow, also they allowed us to enjoy some fantastic wines they had provided.  We also got to meet the lovely Bernard whose family had lived on site for several generations we saw photographs of his parents, grand parents and siblings and we all chatted the evenings away…

We are also thankful to the owners Dennis and Ellie for allowing us to visit the fantastic “Domaine de Cromey”, we were sorry we didn’t stay on to meet them personally, but we feared the dogs may not have got on and we really didn’t want to cause any issues or be a bother, but we are deeply grateful to them all it was an experience we will not forget.

We were very grateful to both Lilly and Steve for also taking us and showing us the other local delights in the area, we visited the nearby Rochepot Chateau which is yet another amazing building, France is so full of amazing places, we then went for a visit to the town of Beaune where we sat at a bar/cafe chatted and watched the world go by, with a further visit to the village Nolay where we also checked out the local campsites…

 

In Nolay there is a fantastic second hand shop full of interesting bits and pieces while there we found a floor lamp with a date upon it of 1820 whether accurate or not is anybody’s guess but it was an interesting item and only €12, I do hope Lilly goes back for this lamp… because  if we had the weight capacity I think I may have been tempted to have brought some things away with me too!!!  I had my eye on the old Fire Irons at only a couple of euros each I thought they would have made perfect door stops or ornaments for a kitchen fireside… I was also eyeing up the old spindle table for €10 but it would have to be checked/treated for any woodworm before bringing into a building!!!

After 2 nights at the property Domaine de Cromey we left the morning of the 12th June 2018 and decided to travel across country and head towards Switzerland, after a 4 hour drive we found ourselves at a campsite called the Roche d’Ully and not far from the Swiss border where we have booked in for the 4 nights, unluckily we have had a lot of rain in the past 24 hrs so we seem to be squelching around on a grass pitch hopefully the weather will improve soon, otherwise we may need to get ourselves some wellies!!!

Well that’s plenty enough from me for today

Take care wherever you are…

Donna x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burgers and Beaujolais!!!

We’d enjoyed our stay of 4 nights at Bel ‘Epoque Du Pilat we’d found it a great place for walking and exploring, but sadly eventually we just had to move on, we left on Thursday 7th june 2018 and travelled on up the country another 80 km to a Campsite called La Grappe Fleurie, the further we travelled the more we were finding ourselves surrounded by fields of grape vines belonging to more and more major Beaujolais wine producers…

We arrived at Campsite La Grappe Fleurie situated within the Beaujolais region mid  afternoon after a 3 hour drive and booked to stay 3 nights, surprisingly to be honest the camp had a lot of residents who seemed to return year after year, there was an English couple next to us Joy and Bill (who currently reside in Switzerland) they had been returning every year to this campsite for a few weeks at a time for the last 18 years they did admit it was mainly for the wine… Our pitch was one of the tidiest and I like when a site has mature hedges that give you some privacy…

Although the site had a pleasant and friendly enough atmosphere, it was fairly busy with many campers just passing through for the night which I now understand why… the camp was supposedly rated 4* however I would certainly struggle to give it a rating of a low 3*… the rating star system over here for campsites tend to go by what the site has available facility wise… for example a star is given for a swimming pool, eating and drinking facilities, campsite shop, entertainment room, sports facilities etc and sadly quality or cleanliness standards of the place itself doesn’t seem to be taken into consideration, so trying to find suitable sites or nice sites can sometimes be a bit haphazard, the shower/toilet blocks here for example were pretty much worn out and in desperate need of renovation and they were not exactly in the cleanest of states either, not the sort of place you want to spend any amount of time in… the site had an overall slightly scruffy appearance, but with a bit of hard work, some minor maintenance and repairs it could all be put right quite easily and some of the gardening greenery also needed to be tended too, but you could possibly overlook this part mainly due to the weather at the moment as it has been pretty wet all over France… but we decided to make the most of the 3 days we were booked in for here anyway…

While we were here we were told that wine tasting takes place on site with local producers bringing their wines along… we were pretty much looking forward to that… but we did have to chuckle… and hold back our looks of disappointment when we went to the wine tasting area and were offered just one small taster from 1 bottle of 2014 Beaujolais wine… it wasn’t superb… but it wasn’t unpleasant or awful either… It had a Raspberry twist to it… so as the saying goes, when in Rome… we thought we would help the local economy and producers a little and purchase a couple of bottles anyway for €20… and then we also purchased some fast food from the snack bar, we each had a surprisingly tasty burger from the wooden hut used as the snack bar on site for another €20… What a healthy diet, Burgers and Beaujolais!!! we had planned a nice Greek salad for that evening but when I went to prepare it I found the supposedly fresh salad we had purchased earlier that day from a supermarket was well past its best and was just slimy and black… Now the best places to buy fresh produce here is always at the markets which are marvelous to walk around but again it’s getting frustrating not having transport to get to them!!!

During our time here the town also held a small carnival type get together for a few hundred people in the sports area just opposite the campsite, with free entry, starting at 6pm with a majorettes performance, then they had an alright band play for the rest of the night, a drinks bar and spit roast were also available… we had to go investigate the carnival as it would have been rude not too!!!  Although the band could hold a tune and sounded ok it went on quite loudly into the early hours of 2.30am… with an early start the next day we were both certainly feeling a tad bit tired the next day!!

We thought we had better check out the village which was pleasant enough and had some magnificent buildings… the baker was a lovely lady who allowed me to try out my terrible French and we both chuckled at trying to understand each other… we purchased what turned out to be a rock solid baguette and some lovely iced cakes, when you buy cakes over here the bakers always wrap them up nicely they are like little presents for later it’s such a nice touch… plus she was much more patient and pleasant than the bloke serving in the local tabac shop where I decided not to bother purchasing anything after an exchange where he decided… no… he didn’t have the most popular items in stock and was also unable to tell me what products were similar etc…

We left the town of Fleurie on the 10th June and headed up to meet up with Pete’s daughter Lilly and Steve and join them in the Burgundy region at “Domaine de Cromey” where they are currently helping to staff and look after the house and guests, what a stunning place we shall tell you all about that magnificent stay and catch up with them in the next post…

Oh… we seem to have found and set ourselves another fresh challenge… we hadn’t realised the deal with Sites du paysages discount existed but the reception at Bel ‘Epoque Du Pilat gave us info on it and we have our first stamp in our booklet yippee so at the relevant campsites you can pick up a booklet with a stamp area inside to get stamped… if stay at 4 of their campsites for 4 nights each or 2 sites for 8 nights each you get your card stamped once for every 4 nights and once you complete 4 stamps you can claim 5 nights at one of their sites for free… but not valid for claiming July/August period which is fair enough as high season but you can collect them and claim over a 2 year period so all good… but I am a bit gutted we have only just found this out as it would seem we actually stayed at one of these sites for a week a couple of weeks back… St Anne so we missed an opportunity for a stamp in our booklet!!!

Take care

Donna x

Camping Bel’Epoque Du Pilat €15 per night  4 nights Total Spent €62     4*                       GPS N45°24’49” E4°41’29”

Campsite La Grappe Fleurie €17 per night  3 nights total spend €55    2/3*                        GPS N46°11’16” E4°41’56”

 

 

It’s all about the tyres!!!

Let’s talk about motorhome tyres… yep yawn…. but… Tyres are a very, very important, and a somewhat expensive part of the safety factor of your motorhome/campervanning lifestyle… in fact they are one of the most important factors you will need to look at very closely and regularly check for damage for the safety in travelling and when replacing make sure they are suitable for your vehicle… for motorhomes and vehicles that can carry such extreme weights over such long periods of time you must have the correct type of tyres, ie, the tyres used for these vehicles will have structured reinforced sidewalls to them, don’t try to save yourself a few quid and think you can fit normal standard car tyres to your motorhome or campervan… after all you wouldn’t dream of fitting car tyres to a lorry would you??? the strengthened sidewalls are extremely important on the tyres as these vehicles could cover many miles with a heavy load on board and or just be simply sat in place for long periods of time, the lifespan of the these types of tyres are usually approx 5-7 yrs any older and you should seriously look at replacing them or at the very least getting them checked by professionals even if you think the tread looks good and the tyres look in good condition etc, tyres age and rubber becomes brittle over time… personally I would rather replace them every 5 yrs just to be sure, because as said no matter how good the tread looks, over time rubber degrades and cracks can appear on the outside or inside walls of your motorhome/campervan tyres and trust me no one wants to see or experience a blow out in a motorhome on a motorway or in fact a blow out anywhere… you can find the year of manufacture of your current tyres on the markings on the sidewall of your tyres (if you do not already know how to check this, it’s well worth looking for the info now and educating yourself about…).

Now we made a rather rooky mistake when we purchased new motorhome tyres for our year long trip and although the tyres we have are safe, good quality motorhome tyres and specifically designed for motorhomes, if our advice can help with your choice of tyre then we are glad to have done so, we were by no means experts on tyres and to be honest we both assumed at the time you could only get summer or winter type tyres that were suitable for motorhomes… so we had summer tyres fitted to the motorhome thinking we would be in sunny Spain and Portugal over winter hence the weather would be just fine… job done… to be fair the tyres are great on the roads… its when you pull onto wet grass pitches you notice the grip issues, although having all weather or winter tyres doesn’t guarantee you will never get bogged down on a pitch they do tend to have a slightly better grip!!!

So yeah what we didn’t factor into when purchasing new tyres or rather we didn’t know about at the time… was the different off road grip factors… and the fact that in most of Europe unlike the UK where level hard standings are readily available the pitches here tend to be grass pitches or bare barren dry mud as in much of Portugal and Spain due to climate… but for example most of the French campsites were shut over winter due mainly to flood risk and weather regulations so on our return to France we have found the pitches now to be freshly recovered grass pitches, which is fine and looks lovely if the pitch remains dry, but if it rains the wet grass is an absolute pain in the backside to get off of, and after chatting to more experienced motorhomers we have since learned that we should maybe have tried all weather tyres… these would perhaps have given us a better grip on this type of terrain, while still providing the strength and quality needed… We also could have perhaps then adventured more and visited many more countries with stipulations and regulations regarding winter tyres/all weather tyres over the winter period without the extra cost of changing tyres… but don’t quote me on that as I haven’t bothered looking fully into it…

Now when Pete and I started discussing tyres, Pete utterly assured me our churning up pitches wasn’t down to our choice of summer tyres… but more down to the terrain that was causing us issues on pull offs, and to be fair maybe it is the case… but me being the non believer and the questioning type of person that I am (you know the awkward type of person that never just takes someone else’s word for it!!!) well curiosity took over and I soon started looking into the issue, and I have since perhaps proven Pete a little wrong and aided now with some of the relevant information on seasonal tyres and the differences in tread patterns (also I was getting frustrated watching other motorhomes of the same or similar size and design having minimal issues when pulling off of wet grass pitches even uphill) compared to us has helped prove the point in my eyes rather well (well… definitely to me anyway!!!), (we watched a motorhome just this morning the same size, similar dimensions, same cab make and engine size pull off of a wet grass pitch uphill with ease…) while we specifically hadn’t chosen said pitch because of the uphill pull off start it would have required, plus it rained heavily last night so the pitch was wet, with slippery and soft grass, yet this motorhome pulled off with no problems and with no churn up…

Now to be fair the suppliers/fitters of the tyres should really start to get on the ball with this… after all they are supposedly the experts on what tyres are for what circumstances and vehicles they will be used on and I wish they had questioned us before purchase and fitting to ensure they’d supplied and we’d purchased/been fitted with the most suitable tyres for our needs at the time, but perhaps we should also have questioned them more and asked more questions at the time… but we were new to what type of tyres did what… so that said we live and learn perhaps next time we shall go for all weather tyres… at the time we just replaced like for like with good quality safe motorhome tyres and obviously over time different specs are introduced for more suitable or different uses…

So from what I can make out it comes down really to how you will use your vehicle and what tyres there are available on the market that are suitable for the vehicle and job required of them… so in our experience depending on what tyres you currently have fitted, its finding the most suitable pitches you can that will suit your usage and vehicle handling, (we have literally slipped sideways before on grass trying to get off) therefore at present we tend to stick to trying to find and especially during rainy periods… pitches that have a slight decline going out of them and then use levellers to level ourselves up as well as we possibly can, these vehicles as ours is are mostly FWD which really doesn’t help if you get bogged down in the middle of a grass pitch so we reverse onto the pitches where possible leaving our front wheels nearer to the road and then we can then roll off of the pitch without much agro and causing minimal damage to the sites when it’s time for us to depart…

According to the first picture our current tyres were manufactured in December 2016… so when we had our brand new tyres fitted it was August 2017 those apparently “brand new” tyres by then were already 8 months old and had been sitting on a shelf waiting to be sold!!! Now I don’t know if this is standard practice to sell “brand new” tyres that are actually 8 months old… but I will certainly be looking at and questioning even asking for discount if the next brand new tyres I purchase are that old already… after all that’s nearly a year after date of manufacture and perhaps even a nearly a years travelling ability before needing to purchase new tyres again…

(please note the info in this blog post is purely my own personal opinion and by no means official or even proven fact… I am not a tyre expert…) so please do your own research and question suppliers if you must, when buying ask for suitable new tyres and seek advice from the experts at time of purchase if need be then tell them your travel plans so they can advise for specific tyres that best suit your individual needs… We have learnt the hard way and far too late into our 12 month journey now to do anything much about it and to be fair they are suitable and safe tyres, but I personally will be looking and seeking advice about all weather tyres when purchasing next time but hopefully this can be of some help and make you think about researching tyre needs for your vehicles too… if not then I have just wasted an hour gabbing on and on about tyre types for absolutely nothing!!!!

have yourselves a fab day

Donna x

 

 

 

 

Blisters and Bunions!!!

We left the Charming Charmilles at 11am on the 3rd of June 2018 and started making our way towards our next destination another 80km heading towards the Lyon direction, for the first hour of the journey we were coming down the mountain again on single track roads, luckily and thankfully these roads don’t seem to have much traffic and it was only when we got to the wider roads that a couple of cars passed by, we passed an old gent while travelling the single track roads who stood there scratching his head (I like to think in awe of us) as he watched us go by… but luckily we found more pleasant and suitable roads followed that for the next couple of hours drive…

we passed by some magnificent towns and villages one named Charmes, Champagne and one oddly enough called St Pierre de boeuf which roughly translated means St Peter of beef… No wonder I had been getting so many steak dinners lately… Pete never told me he was the saint of beef!!!

In one of the towns we passed through it had the remains of an old building still just barely standing… I managed to get a quick snap of it as we were passing…

We again had our wing mirror knocked by a car who was towing a rather large rubber dingy type boat behind him on a trailer it was the end of the boat that knocked us as he overtook us on a double lane and carved back in before he should have!!! but no damage done, we just had to pull over and adjust the wing mirror back into position again!!!

We arrived at our next destination at about 2.45pm again reception were closed till 3pm but we managed to park in a arrivals bay and went to walk the site to look for suitable pitches by the time we got back reception had reopened and were ready to check us in…

It’s a lovely quiet campsite called Camping Bel ‘Epoque Du Pilat it has great large grassy pitches that have matured hedges around them for privacy, a very welcoming looking swimming pool, a snack/bar area, the reception staff were very polite, friendly and helpful on arrival and have continued to be so during our stay, giving us lots of walking advice and good info of the local areas and of places to go locally, when they realised we had Toffi with us one of the staff even showed us in the direction of an ideal dog walk for her to enjoy which is a just few hundred metres from the campsite and at the start of the local river so that Toffi could have a paddle and a good cool down on her walk… it’s so hot during the day for her… we also made friends with the local horse there’s a stable also just down the road…

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The next day we set off to explore the area and to cross the viaducts and head into the town… The site staff had told us of a shortcut way through the woods instead of us having to walk along the roads and it would bring us straight out to the viaducts… on our drive here we had seen a group of daring people bungee jumping from them… so I hoped they would be there today so I could watch, but sadly they weren’t…

After the viaducts you enter the medieval town of Pélussin, we walked the whole town on our quest and what a lovely town it was we found the small square in the afternoon and the bar owner was just closing up but allowed us to purchase a drink before he closed up for the day…

We then walked up into the oldest part of town to find the Château de Virieu, we headed in the general direction of the steeple we could just see in the skyline and walked through and small type of Portcullis and found what we were looking for…

We walked for what felt like a 100 miles today… and poor Toffi was being offered water at almost every corner and kept as cool as we could by soaking her fur in water too… but I have to say everytime Pete saw a seat he was sat down before I even knew what was happening… nevermind it’s actually Pete who insists we go on these massive long hikes… and on days like today where we are walking around in 26-29° heat and at midday of all times… and then he chooses to sit around on every seat he comes across!!! Photos as proof… He was blaming a blister and a bunion on his foot!!!

But seriously the town is rather a nice place to spend a sunny afternoon, it’s well worth a visit and a walk around, one half of the Chateau seems to be in a state of disrepair while the other side is currently lived in and in a very good state of repair… but what a beautiful building the Chateau is… it has been in existence since 1173 so it is also doused in history…

Well it was soon time for us to make our way back to camp already exhausted we still had a couple of miles walk back and then we ended up getting a little lost in the woods thinking we might have seen a shortcut so we probably added an extra mile onto our walk home… but we got there in the end besides we would have been fine as we found a den someone had built in the woods so if all else failed I guess we could have camped out there until we were missed and a rescue party was sent out to find us!!!

Gotta go now to soak some bunions and put some plasters on Pete’s poor little blisters for him…

Take care for now

Donna x

Camping Bel ‘Epoque Du Pilat €15 per night GPS N45°24’49” E4°41’29”

Camping Les Charmilles €17 per night GPS N44°38’0″  E4°30’30”   total spend €55 free wifi

Charming Charmilles

We left L’Ile Des Papes on Thursday 31st May and aimed at travelling 70 km to the next planned stop, it again had been raining heavily since the day after we’d toured Avignon… so we left in the rain headed for a campsite called Les Arches we arrived a few hours later booked into reception and drove off to find ourselves a pitch following the campsite map which was wrongly printed and again took us into what was now turned into a dead end!!! after carefully maneuvering back out of that sticky situation… we drove to the top of the site where we were advised by reception that there were dry pitches in full sun…  Only to find waterlogged and by now very soft ground of full on grass pitches… after finding the least wet pitch that the motorhome could possibly get onto upon maneuvering into it we found ourselves already getting slightly bogged down and with our wheels just spinning and full of mud so after 10 minutes of trying to pitch we had to leave the by now already slightly churned up and muddy pitch… Pete walked the site to try to find any other suitable place for us and returned unsuccessfully 15 minutes later… the site itself was lovely and immaculate but we just couldn’t find anywhere that we wouldn’t struggle on or churn up in a desperate bid to free ourselves from when pitching and when the time came to leave… so with heavy hearts we had to leave the site behind us and head off onto our next backup destination…

15 minutes later and we’d pulled up into Camping Les Charmilles another very popular site with good reviews on ACSI apps but again to our disappointment the pitches were all grass and still so very waterlogged due to the amount of rain in the last week… But by now we were full out of ideas and options as I hadn’t taken note of any more back up campsites nearby, thinking we would have been pitched and well settled by now, so Pete took a short walk around the latest camp and we have ended up pitched on what must be the worst pitch available with no real option of sitting outside on the muddy ground and in constant shade (actually I’m not even sure if it is a pitch to be fair!!)… but we are pitched here for several sensible reasons… we’ve walked the site to see if there was any alternative options for us and its fairly busy with the bigger more suitable and flatter pitches already taken… but to be honest with a motorhome of our size, dimensions and handling ability (after all we are not exactly a 4×4 are we?!!!) the other available nicer looking pitches just weren’t going to be viable due to the road layouts inside the campsite leading to them which were either on a hill, down around badly damaged camp road or had low hanging trees of about 2.5m high (we’d have never fitted through without taking a few of the trees with us, and the other option would have meant a hill start with a 3.5 tonne truck with an added tonne weight of a trailer along a broken up roadway and a hill start off of a soft grass ground when we leave, this would have given absolutely no grip or traction the road off the pitches were also slightly raised giving the pitches a slight kurb coming off of them and onto the small roadway… this would have equaled in a massive churning of the sites grass pitches by us and other possible mishaps) So we will put up with this pitch for 3 nights and give ourselves chance to explore the area…

The camp is set into a hillside and does have amazing panoramic views of the valleys below and mountains ranges far in the distance, if I was able to be pitched on a more suitable and pleasant pitch, I would come again… the site staff here are all pleasant, polite and helpful and most seem to be multilingual too, the site itself has a very friendly and relaxed feel to it, facilities are clean and adequate, we dined out in the restaurant on our second evening here which was pleasant enough and you are treated again to the lovely views of the valley from the restaurant area… again I had steak and peppercorn sauce, never one to miss the opportunity of feeding my face with my favourite meal…

The next day was pleasant and the sun came out to play so we took the chance to walk down into the nearby and very quiet Village of Darbres, it took us about 30 mins to walk down the fairly quiet lane to reach it, while walking around we spotted a young fledgling who had just left the nest but he had situated himself unsafely in the road, Pete then carefully picked it up and placed on the pavement nearby so that the poor thing at least had a chance of life without being flattened by the next vehicle that went past (and one went past not shortly afterwards!!!), its parents were flying overhead nearby and keeping an eye out on it!!! so hopefully it’s flight feathers complete fast and was able to take off asap…) the village was pleasant enough but very, very quiet with lots of for sale signs… The heat started to get to Toffi on our way back to camp so we had to stop several times under the shade of trees we passed and while Toffi and Pete made friends with the local bovine population…

Well we will be off again on our travels in the morning, 3rd of June and will be heading further North, we will update more of our adventures as they happen but for now time for food and to relax and chill…

Take care

Donna x

Camping Les Charmilles €17 per night GPS N44°38’0″  E4°30’30”   free wifi