|Hello from Europe|
You may wonder what we are up to now. Good question. Having got ourselves a motorhome in England we now decided it was time to head south into France. Why stop at France, so our trip this time will take us through France to Italy and then back up through Germany back to France and then England.
This will be a new experience in many ways not only the need to speak at least 3 different languages but the motorhome is so different. Firstly it is smaller than Eileen and in fact Maggie has likened it to a dolls house. Then of course we are used to driving a right hand drive on the left hand side of the road, a left hand drive on the right side of the road and now we have a right hand drive on the right hand side. Got it!? Then of course there’s the electric and if you are lucky 12 amps or maybe even as low as 3 amps. Yes that does take a bit of juggling. Where’s the sewer? Actually, there isn’t one, it’s a cassette. (Guess who gets to empty that!!)
Then there’s the bed, an over cab one is one option. Have you ever tried to get into one of those in an elegant fashion! When you do get up there you find your feet are in the wrong place so you have to turn round in 18 inches of space and finally lie down. As for a cup of tea in bed......forget it! Then having got into bed you find you need the toilet, normally in the middle of the night, in the dark. First find the ladder, the wrung and then find a position which allows you to go in the right direction. So yes its backwards to leave the bedroom! Who ever invented this idea!!!! There is of course the main bed which takes up the centre of the vehicle, not a bad option but it has to be made up daily and you soon get fed up with that or you can have 2 single couch beds.
All that said we decided we were up for the challenge, we set off in good spirits on the 15th May and made our way to Dover UK for the ferry to France. Our first night was on Dover sea front parking in the road. As we sat and had our first meal at the beginning of our 2 month trip I had the surprise of finding one of my gold crowns circulating in my mouth with my tea! Oh no what perfect timing!
We decided to carry on and the following day after a short ferry ride we were in Calais France. From there we headed for our first French destination in Rouen. Rouen is well known as the place the British put Joan of Arc to death at the stake. It is an old city and very interesting, steeped in history for our first insight into French history. The campground is a municipal one run by the town and had all the services and of course located well for accessing the town. Our guidebook for our trip this time is Mike and Terri Church’s European Camping book. So most of the sites we use are on their recommendation, and very good it is too.
Despite the rain we packed up and moved on. Our road was to take us through Le Mans where us and 6 million motorcycles (well it seemed like that number) who were leaving Le Mans after an event of some sort headed out of town and for us, a drive down to the Loire Valley and a place called Chinnon. We found the campground easily and it is so well located just over the river Vienne from the Chateau. We were tired having driven 244 miles but looked forward to the following day’s walk into town. Our first Chateau picnic lunch and with stunning views of the valley, perfect. The following day we went off cycling along the Vienne River valley to the Loire River. The whole area is fairly flat and reminds us so much of England. We settled down that evening with a dinner of Chicken and Veg followed by a large helping of French tart! Delicious.
Our next stop in the Loire region was Amboise and here we went to a very interesting house once lived in by Leonardo Da Vinci. Apart from the living quarters you could see several reconstructions of his inventions which are depicted on his manuscripts. The amazing thing is that they all worked and his calculations were correct. What a man, a genius. We finished the Loire valley with a visit to Bracieux. At the campground there we met a French couple who luckily spoke adequate English. They were so fascinating, we were drawn to them by the world map stuck on the side of their vehicle. It turned out to be a record of their travels in their motorhome. They had been to South America all around the coast, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, all over Europe, Australia and New Zealand. To top it off their next trip is through Mongolia to China. Quite a drive from the west coast of France where they live! Such an inspiration! (Mags seems less inspired!!)
The weather has turned to rain and somewhat reduced our excursions. So now we head for the Dordogne region of France. What a drive that turned out to be. Rain and so much of it as we climbed into the hills the river ran wild and the road became rivers. Water water everywhere. We ploughed through floods and over the road which was bringing to get washed away. No time for a faint heart! To top it all our water contain fell over and spilt all over the floor, so water inside and water outside.
Our vehicle was a match for it and we arrived wet but safe in Les Eyziers-des Tayac. A small town along the river. The campground we went to was wet but also located next to the river on its floodplain! Using better judgement we went the Aire de Camp, a town run camping area with no facilities nearer town. By morning the river was very high and extremely fast. The town though had a slower pace and was very quaint with its museum and its troglodytes – people who live in house half in the cliff face. Our first taste of the Dordogne has been interesting picturesque and well worth it. Now we are off to spend a few days with my cousin in Toulouse and then off to the South of France. (Hopefully with more sun)
Till then, au revoir
Di & Maggie
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