An abundance of Lakes and Forests…

We left Camping De la L’aigrette on Monday 30th Sept waving goodbye and wishing the site owner well on our way out, we’d enjoyed our time there and honestly the time went by really quickly… we decided to drive 4 hrs further South in the hopes of perhaps gradually finding a warmer climate.

We arrived at Camping Les Rives du Lac, Geraudot, at around 3pm, we are booked here for 6 days and we were given quite a large good sized hardstanding pitch and managed again to pitch up relatively hassle free thankfully, the site is pleasant the staff friendly and welcoming and the site has spotlessly clean & hot showers and toilets etc we also got 2 loads of washing cleaned and dried for a total of €10.

The site itself is situated again next to a rather impressive lake this one is massive though and Toffi was not impressed when she found it to be a nature reserve that meant she was not allowed near the lovely sandy beach that lead to the water’s edge… Luckily for her there was a 2 mile forest walk adjacent which she got to enjoy several times instead… We were musing as to why France has so many lovely lakes and after a spot of research it was found that the lakes not only look pretty and attract wildlife but they also act as flood defences and collect/store excess water which to be fair makes perfect sense over the flat terrain of mainland France…

 

 

 

We took a stroll to see what the town was like to be fair it’s a fairly lowkey, quiet & small town with a few champagne sellers and a bar/post office, Mayors office and church but we did keep bumping into a film crew who were stopping traffic etc while filming an actor driving up and down the village roads etc hopefully we can be spotted in the final  background as unpaid extras… (p.s we have no idea what film etc was being filmed)

 

The next day we decided to walk through the forest to somewhere called Lac du Temple and again ran into the same film crew holding back traffic whilst filming on the road alongside the forest, we’d failed to find the Temple du Lac on our 1st attempt but managed on our 2nd although after expecting to find a temple and lake or something similar it was a little disheartening to find it was just another massive Lake the size of a large reservoir with a 10km walk just along one part of its stretch…

 

So after researching the area it turns out we were just 15 or so kms away from the medieval city of Troyes and with parts of the city dating back to the 1500’s we decided a trip to the city was a must, the driving was a little unsettling as it is in any unfamiliar city but we were grateful to find the city gave free parking for 2 hrs at lunch (siesta) time I guess to encourage lunch time dining which is when the French eat much of their main meals in discounted restaurants where you can get an absolutely gorgeous tasting 3 course meal for just €11 each…

The city did not let us down the old buildings were amazing & the old city was clean and vibrant with diners and people going about their business or relaxing on their lunch breaks, the day had a brisk cold feel to it & we had Toffi the dog with us so unfortunately lunch was out of the question for us, but some of the lush sweet smells of lovingly prepared food emanating from the restaurants as we passed were absolute torture for my hungry belly…

 

The campsite here is really busy for passing and overnight stays with plenty of people more than a few being Brits who were travelling down and trying to chase the sun but we decided we were in no rush so stayed 6 nights and on the 6th October it was time for us to move on…

We decided to drive 160 km southwards in the hope a brief catch up with Lilly and Steve again as we pass on down through France, however little did we know how eventful this part of our journey was going to be… But I’ll talk more about that in my next post…

For now Take care,

Donna x

Camping Les Rives Du Lac      Coords N48º 18’10”  E4º20’16”    €16 Per night

 

On the Road again….

Ok so apologies… it’s been a few months since I last blogged but in my defence there’s just not been much to blog about… Did you know its been 2 yrs since we walked away from our mundane full time wage slave working lives? let me tell you 2 years goes by like a flash, a blink of the eye… The only thing I miss about those days are certain friends & close family members…

We’ve been back in the UK for the past 12 months as most of you were aware, and as lovely as they UK is, the weather is totally unpredictable, and mostly just rains even it seems, in the summer months, prices to do just about anything there are obscene too so this also forced us to obtain a seasonal camp pitch @£13 per night instead of the rip off £35-50 per night obscene summer season camp site rates.  The UK is also such a small Island that by the time you’re our age you’ve seen and been to most places worth visiting within the UK and just end up redoing things….

So we’d stayed around the North Devon area until the 15th September although our pitch was available to us until Oct 29th my feet were itching and I needed to travel because we were getting stuck in a rut & routine of doing just enough to stave off boredom in between the rainy spells, all this whilst each gaining incredible amounts of body weight and becoming duly unfit with me getting more and more irritated by people and life…

So on the next clear day we took our last walk around Wistlandpound reservoir where Toffi got to take her last walk along the top of the wall (she has this thing about walking along the top of walls lately!!!) overlooking the vast amount of water before we set off for further adventures again… Did I mention in the last month or so the water at Wistlandpound has become lovely clean, clear and safe from algae once again after the water company fitted new filter and pumping equipment to rectify the issues, it’s a lovely peaceful flat place to walk and would work for most abilities so if you are in the area its worth a visit (plus we quietly planted a tree there!!!) so that’s 3 trees planted this year… I was hoping to have planted more and still have to order one for Pete as a belated birthday gift so I guess that will be the 4th… not many but I guess it’s still more than most people have planted.

 

Excitedly on September 15th 2019 we started driving, we were heading towards Folkstone, the drive took an astounding 8 hrs just due to the sheer amount of traffic on the road and although there were no accidents or breakdowns, bad driving meant the traffic just randomly kept slowing down at every narrowing causing traffic and bottlenecks to build up in every road along the way, we managed to eventually park up and stay overnight at a busy and somewhat noisy “24hr service stop” service station at a grand price of £22 (just for parking), although to be fair by this time I was so tired that I slept through any noise I guess it helps that I’m such a heavy sleeper, once exhaustion slips in I can sleep almost anywhere (except in a moving vehicle)…

We managed to grab coffees each in the morning before heading to and passing through and under the Channel tunnel where we again got to set foot on French soil, so, yeah yay… we are now well and truly finally back on the road touring again, and that’s the song I had rolling around in my head “on the road again” by Willie Nelson… it so explains our lives at the moment… Once I’d booked that one way tunnel ticket the week before I was buzzing and super excited to soon be off on new adventures!!!

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As mentioned we’d stayed back in the UK since returning last year, this was mainly due to just not knowing what was happening with the whole stupid Brexit malarkey, so back in Feb we’d been forced to plan ahead, after not having been given enough correct info from the government regarding Defra blood titre tests/pet passports, driving permits, green cards etc or how much time it takes to get prepared for these processes, just so you know it took 5+ months and cost £250 to complete Toffi’s titre blood test, thankfully she passed the blood test 1st time so this was without any added complications which would have meant a repeat of the whole process and cost, we’d no choice but to temporarily quit travelling outside the UK for the time being and therefore booked an affordable seasonal pitch hence tying us to the UK until we were sure of what was going on, then March came and went again with much uncertainty still for us left on the table… Lets not go there… all I can say is that “Brexit” is not good for the UK, Europe & definitely not for us adventurers… Brexit has seemingly infected the UK like Rabies infects animals, people foaming at the mouth showing off their sheer hate, arrogance & lack of decent correct knowledge instead showing the world their blatant ignorance.

It really shouldn’t be underestimated my unending and absolute sheer anger and frustration at the whole situation, but perhaps I shall do a whole post on that subject just to make it clear what hoops we had had to jump through to be able to travel back through different countries & have the ability to get to the UK in the event a no deal Brexit happening while we are over here, have no doubt and again don’t underestimate just how complicated it becomes with no free movement for people & vehicles etc restricted traveling abilities, trading, shipping goods, science, meds etc… it is not scaremongering it’s fact… but instead for now I shall let my anger gently simmer and move on with this post…

Ok you may have noticed a lot of content in this blog has been deleted… unfortunately it’s just something that had to be done to clear room for more posts unless of course I wanted to pay an extortionate amount of money every year to wordpress to keep it all up which to be honest I don’t…

So after we crossed over to France on the 16th Sept 2019 we drove for 5 hours and finally arrived safely at our 1st stop Camping De L’Aigrette, We pitched up surprisingly for us with relative ease and settled in, the site facilities are clean, the pitches good with fantastic hedging which ensures privacy, there’s a lovely lake beside the site with ducks & geese, this is also adjacent to a river to walk along too…

We booked for a week but decided to stay 2 weeks just to enjoy the peace & quiet of the site and surrounding areas as we have both decided we will not be rushing too and from sites like the tour of 2017 and will enjoy the freedom and ease of having the car to ferry us about in, so anyway here’s what we’ve been up too so far…

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We wandered several times around the attractive river and lake in Attichy, which is where the campsite is located… 

 

We then visited the bombed out Abbey of “Ourscamp”, the Abbey is located on the Oise river at Chiry and built during the 12th century upon the foundations of an earlier structure built in 641. “Ourscamp” translated to Bears Camp it tells a story of a local Saint who used bears as heavy burden shifters. The Abbey was destroyed in the 1st WW by French resistance fighters who bombed the place to remove the resident German troops who unfortunately for them were using the place as an ammunition store.

The Abbey is used today by blokes dressed in brown coloured robe type clothing according to Pete they’re called Monks!!! Upon entry one of them took a few Euro’s as entry donation and asked us in broken English if we were on “holiday” then proceeded to give us a German tour guide brochure, Hurrah for my German language classes at School!!! The rest of the time we were there, the 3 other monks once they had escorted two older ladies to their cars just lazily lounged around on their mobile phones watching, whilst two employed gardeners cut the grass and tended to the garden… what a life!!!

 

 

We then visited the town of Pierrefonds and admired the Beautiful Chateau that towers well above the small town…

 

Our next stop was to “Armistice Glade” within the Forest of Compiegne the place is very important to the history of World War 1 where papers of surrender and mark the end of war declaring peace were signed in 1918 and the place is also famous for Hitler then using it probably out of sheer irony for the signing of the French surrender papers after the Germans then won the battle of France in June 1940… It’s now a place for quiet contemplation, it’s history should stand as a reminder to us all that peace between all our nations can be a fragile thing and that peace & war is not something that should ever be mocked, taken lightly or even for granted!!! I absolutely loved the monument with the writing of the simple word “Peace” written in multiple languages…

 

After our visit here it was only right that we treated Toffi to a walk where she enjoyed some off lead romping around time through the forest of Compiegne!!

We will move on soon further down into France for further adventures or if you care to keep in the loop of this next travel blog please feel free to register yourself to follow the blog through wordpress link somewhere upon the page this means you will to get any further blog posts via email.

Au revior mon amie… Until next time my friends,

Donna x

Camping De L’Aigrette, Attichy, France,  €12 per night with ACSI discount card but also 7 nights stay for the price of 6… total paid per week €72         GPS N49º24’24” E3º3’11”

 

New Beginnings

15823668_10210420270037053_7884046444589769936_nHow to start a blog? Well, best get the introductions out of the way.  For those of you who do not know us there’s hubby, our dog and myself.  My name is Donna, my husband’s name is Pete and our mad dog is Toffi… (names/descriptions may change dependant upon mood).

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Our travel story started approx 3 yrs ago when “hubster” had a great idea about buying a campervan so we could up and go when we liked.  Ok, I thought, me having had a VW campervan in the past, I was aware of the advantages and was quite open to the idea of going off on little travels… We had limited funds as the idea was new to us, we hadn’t really planned on buying anything of the sorts until now.  So, off Pete set, making it his all encumbering job to find the perfect campervan to suit our needs and budget… “Oh boy was I in for a suprise!”

Now this is where the fun begins.  He’d found what I can only call a “right ole banger” of a campervan. I actually named it “The Beast”.  I’ve gotta admit every time I think of this van I still shudder… Pete being Pete talked me round to viewing the van…

The day came to view the camper, I gotta tell you I was less than impressed.  Pete however thought it was the dogs whatsits and even though I nagged him to go home and think about it he purchased it right there and then. Sighing I resigned myself to the idea of living for weekends in the smelly ole van.

I am informed it was a Talbot Express. We had never even heard of them before, but it turns out they are pretty popular.  We spruced it up as best we could, made it all comfy (or as comfy as a Talbot express could get) and off we set.

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It turned out we kept “the Beast” for about a year, tidied it up inside and out and had in all fairness, some amazing short trips in it, locally and around Devon and Cornwall.

The Talbot did us well, but soon became annoying, having to make up the multicushioned seats into a bed every day. Struggling while driving to go up hill at more than 10 mph also became tedious and to top it all the thing leaked like a sieve everytime it rained.  Going down the steep hill at Lynmouth with failing brakes was pretty entertaining too! In spite of all this we had now caught the travelling bug and soon we were thinking about selling the Talbot (that is after we had had the brakes repaired) and were then thinking of getting something a little more comfortable.

Our next Van was a converted LWB Iveco Daily (with a fixed bed).  How amazing after long walks and a few cheeky ones to be able to just fall into bed without having to mess around for 30 mins making it up.

The importance of van layout became apparent after a little experience, its amazing how much of a difference this makes to life and this now obviously also gained Pete bonus points on keeping the wife happy too.

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Many a happy trip was taken in this converted van.  We nicknamed her “Scampervan”. We travelled locally of course in Devon and Cornwall, on shorter trips and went further when time permitted, touring Dorset & Somerset, Wales, Yorkshire and the Lake district,
again having some fab trips and holidays away.

We then started getting ideas of travelling further away for longer periods and dreamed of travelling to other countries.  It’s been years since I had been abroad on holiday and the more we thought and discussed things the more ideas we came up with.

Pete was considering if he could perhaps think about retiring earlier.  All this thinking started giving us ideas and before we knew it we had practically settled on doing something along the lines of buying a suitable Motorhome and travelling Europe.

We started on working out our finances.  We had 2 properties between us, so we sold one and purchased our next home on wheels, a Rollerteam 265 Granduca.  We’ve now had our RT Granduca for about 6 months.  We’ve had Solar panels fitted and a Gaslow system installed so that we can use LPG instead of having to swap gas bottles.  When the gas runs out now we can now just top up at any LPG petrol station, amazing!

Pete is to take early retirement in August and I applied for a sabatical from work of which, surprisingly, they agreed to, starting beginning of Sept 2017 for 12 months.  The house will be rented out and we will begin our travels on 31st August 2017…

Donna