Well 2018 sees a new chapter in our lives. We sold (very quickly) our home in Torbay, Devon and after 3 months travelling around and sharing ourselves between family and friends we finally found a home that we both really like. While not in the area we were looking at it is amongst old friends and family. We have a place to fit the caravan and room for visitors. We now intend to really nail down the possibility of purchasing an apartment in France so we can see more of the grand children. We have several concerns many revolving around the “Brexit” word so will probably need to wait and see what the government comes up with. Again watch this space.
2017 sees us start off with a caravan – I never thought the day would come when we reverted back. The reasons are many so I will share a few with you.
First of all as we get older we were finding it more difficult to get around once we had pitched up. We didn’t want to tow a car as many folks do and using quad bikes, motorbikes or even electric bikes was becoming problematical both space and weight wise. Having sold the Flair with its massive payload and enormous garage we were running out of suitably sized campers unless we opted for another Flair or similar and we couldn’t afford another Flair nor would I want to drive a big vehicle these days.
During our continental ventures we liked to include a trip to see the family (after all we see precious little time with them and the children are growing up fast) Using a camper van in Carcassonne is becoming a tad frustrating. First of all they have closed some of the sites and vastly increased the cost of the remaining ones so much so that there is no difference between a campsite or Aire. All the Aires and campsites close in winter – again a problem for us as even with a smaller camper we would not be self sufficient and need EHU.
We also wanted to see more of the UK and we have spoken many times that really the UK doesn’t take kindly to campers and prefers caravans. In the UK however you can’t rely on the weather so a caravan awning is much more suitable to the “sun shades” found on campers. With the weather and distances between sites and tourist centres, transport becomes more of a necessity.
We have taken the plunge so whether or not its a success time will tell. Watch this space…
We have just been informed that the Aire shared with coaches near the Medieval citie has now been closed to Motorhomes and that there is a new Campervan Aire located near the Camping de la Cite site. All new purpose built and €12 per night. €2 for water.
In addition and much better located there is a “motorhome friendly” carpark on the island midway between the old city and the Bastide. Its a fixed price of €20 per night however it does not have any facilities. Barrier operated and on hard standing so ok for those of us wanting to stay a couple of days or so and can manage without facilities during that time. The Bastide is just across the river (accessed by a sort of clapper bridge) or the old city is back across the road bridge and up through the back gate. Shops and restaurants are within easy walking distance. This is certainly the best location for Carcassonne but rather expensive with little in return.
It is with some sadness we have to report that we have sold our Hymer and finished our camper van trails at least for now. We have thoroughly enjoyed our years with our camper vans but situations change and that is especially true for us.
With our family now settled in the South of France we found ourselves planning all our trips so pass through Carcassonne as we want to see our grand children as much as we can. Add in the reality that our Hymer wasn’t as “self sufficient” as our Flair in many ways resulting that we needed to make more use of camp sites than Aires and of course camp sites around Carcassonne close from the end of September until sometime in April. Add to the pot the simple fact that we are getting older and the walk to and from the campsite is proving a real chore – even with electric bikes. So that’s it for now.
We hope to buy a small caravan at some point and use it mainly in UK to visit all the places we had intended to visit in our camper vans but somehow never got around to it. For now we will just sit back and relax, maybe plan a package holiday trip or two – what this space
More to follow……
Well after some 6 months without having a camper parked in the drive we are getting itchy feet and look longingly at all the lucky people that drive past in their campers setting off or returning from holidays around Europe and UK. So we are seriously thinking of getting another camper in the next few months. We really miss traveling around and the EU referendum decision has altered our plans as we had pretty much decided to buy a second property in France and alternate between the two while letting our daughter-in-law rent out the house in France during the months we weren’t there. Another piece of good news is that there is a new Aire in Carcassonne and its much closer to the family than the old one so we won’t have the problem of closed campsites and the tedious walk up the hill back to the Aire at night.
After half-hearted thoughts about not replacing our Flair so quickly, we have seen a very tidy Hymer. One Dr owner who presented the most comprehensive service record I have ever seen. Everything was contained in a book in date order, giving a complete history of every invoice, repair, revenue statement. We hadn’t intended to replace the Flair just yet but couldn’t pass on this one. It has pretty much everything we need (except the solar panels of course but I was thinking of alternatives in any event) We are now back into planning mode in preparation for our Autumn trip
Sad day today after 8 years we have sold our Flair. She left today to her new home. We are in a quandry as we feel like we have lost a favourit pet, child left home so to speak. Our rationale was that after 8 years we felt we needed a change as with age and health marching on it would be better to part company before we were forced into it. Over the next few weeks or so we will decide if we should replace our Flair or hang up our boots so to speak. One of the hardest things to overcome will be the convenience of a camper while visiting our family in the South of France. Yes of course we could stay with them but we like moving around, having the children over for a sleepover in the camper, even meeting up with the family at new places and all camping together. Watch this space….
Our plans for 2014 will get off to an early start as we leave for France on 19th December 2013 and spend Christmas and the New Year with our family in Carcassonne. The plan is to spend some 5 or 6 weeks doodling around to South and South West of France but this may need to change as we hope to have moved house and will be looking for a new home in the South West/Devon area.
Stop Press – At last after 6 months we have finally moved in to our new house in Torquay. It has been a stressful time during which we endured the wettest winter for over 250 years and the stormiest winter for over 100 years. It has been a real test for the Flair that has survived unscathed however for the first time in over 7 years we had to resort to EHU in order to survive as there was little or no sun for two months.
We now look forward to planning our next trip to France
April Update: We have now returned from our trip to Morocco and have completed our write-up. Not everything went according to plan as you will discover. Morocco was great, not quite the weather we were expecting, certainly during the first week. We enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers and despite a few problems we all made it home safely.
Following this trip we intend to spend some time in the summer re-visiting North Western France or even re-visiting the Alsace and Rhineland interspersed with some time travelling around UK. Watch this space….
November update: Almost as planned we made our trip to Germany, and went along The Mosel, visiting places new and old. We also returned to Belgium and spent time at Brugges. This trip was however shorter than planned as the weather and the imminent arrival of our granddaughter persuaded us to return home early.
Now includes our 2012 holiday trips. We only managed 2 trips to Europe in our camper van this year however we took the car to Carcassonne and spent Christmas and New Year with our family, including our first trip into Andorra.
The objective of this web site is to maintain a log of our experiences and thoughts during our travels in whatever camper vans we have owned, own or will own and to record our memories of the trips we have made throughout Europe . We have published reviews of equipment we have used throughout and please remember these reviews are our opinions only and do not reflect other peoples experiences except where stated. Most of this equipment has been fitted to our own van.
We also want to relate some of our experiences while travelling around in our own Motorhome and to give our opinion on some of the camper van tales that abide in our community. We will include experiences our colleagues and friends have encountered where appropriate over the years. As part of this log we intend to maintain a list of all the Aires/Stellplatz/Sostas and campsites we have stayed at over the years, together with photographs where available and allow guests to add their comments.
We have deliberately omitted all the UK sites we have visited over the past 40+ years as these probably run into the hundreds and many folks will have been there anyway. This is a web site of our experiences and published for our benefit as an aide memoir during our dotage. Visiters are welcome to browse around and we hope you will find some benefit.