Friday, 7 April 2017
As we still had a couple of hours to drive, we got up at 07:00 and were away before 09:00. I know that sounds slow, but bear in mind we have to wait for the bath-water to heat up (well, shower water, but you know what I mean), boil kettles for tea and coffee, both of us shower, cook breakfast, eat it, wash it up, put everything away (and I do mean everything!), make the beds (even on the last morning, as otherwise you can't see properly out of the back window) and so on and so forth.
Still, it was a lovely drive as far as Valenciennes, and then motorway all the way. We stopped at the Auchan in Grande Synthe to do some last-minute shopping, and, although we were told we were on the shuttle we'd booked on, fair enough, we started off the second they called us and ended up one of the last cars on the earlier one, which was useful! Lunch during the crossing, and then an uneventful drive home, during which I fell asleep, lots of unpacking, and now gradually thinking of getting back to the home routine.
Thursday, 6 April 2017
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
We have actually said goodbye to Alsace now, and are on our way home. I am not quite sure whether we are in Lorraine or in Champagne, but it is still the "Grand Est".
This morning we both went for walks in different directions, and I wandered around the shops, but ended up at the supermarket where we were parked up. Then we set off and drove here to Colombey-les-deux-Eglises, home of General de Gaulle. There is a museum and memorial to him which we may or may not visit in the morning.
We drove via Vittel and Contrexéville, but the Swan Whisperer had said not to bother to tell the satnav to avoid tolls as it was only a little way, but the machine didn't at all take him the way he thought (and he didn't check, not me!) and we ended up going quite a long way, which will be expensive! We don't mind paying if we are really trying to get from a to b in a hurry, but not when just pottering. Plus we are sure it took us all round the houses! Oh well. And the fridge gas ignition has gone wrong - we did make it work in the end, but not sure how. At least it is the end of the holiday, not the start.
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
This morning it was peacocks and storks, this evening it is trains and traffic! Still, I highly doubt it will stop us sleeping.
We did not dawdle (much) this morning, but set off after using the services and arrived at the Cité du Train before 11:00. A wonderful museum - a bit confusing in the first hall, but the second one, which was a much more straightforward affair, was fascinating, telling the story of French railways down the centuries, from the first tentative efforts to today's TGVs and Thalys. They also told you when the various locomotives and/or carriages had been taken out of service, as well as when they entered it.
By the time we had finished it was definitely lunch time, so we went back to the motor home and ate, and then the Swan Whisperer went to the Electropolis next door, which I think he found interesting. I had a nap, instead! After which we drove up here to Thann, where the parking is free and there is an interesting street of shops to be explored in the morning! But it is a bit noisy!
Monday, 3 April 2017
UWe had rather a late breakfast this morning, as the Swan Whisperer decided he would like to go for a walk. So it was quite late when we set off for Mulhouse, stopping en route to shop at Cora, as we were out of essentials.
Found that the Cité de l'Automobile had its own car park, although it charged, but not to excess and not between 12 and 14:00. So we had lunch, and then went into the museum, which was - odd. It's based round two brothers' collection of Bugattis, with other cars thrown in, including a Citroen 2CV a DS and a Renault 4, but no Morris Minor or original Volkswagen. And very few 1950s cars at all.
It was quite interesting, but.... As it is no longer owned by the same people who own the Cité du Train, which we hope to visit tomorrow, the is some upgrading going on, and one set of loos were out of service, the tea-rooms weren't open, and so on. But we got round in the end, and then came away, first to check that the Cité du Train also has parking we could use (it does, free!), and then to see something of Mulhouse before driving back here to the Ecomusée where we are parked up again.
Sunday, 2 April 2017
Saturday, 1 April 2017
Friday, 31 March 2017
Thursday, 30 March 2017
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
I then had some bits of shopping to do, so after breakfast went over to the Carrefour and did that, and then we still had a bit of time, so we drove into Calais and said "Hello" to the Burghers, who were surrounded by a funfair.
Tuesday, 17 January 2017
We basically spent all day driving up from just south of Poitiers up to Calais. We left our friends after breakfast, and stopped off at the Auchan in Poitiers for bread and diesel. Then we stopped for lunch a couple of hours later, and a final stop for a splash of expensive motorway diesel before coming straight to Buffalo Grill for our now-traditional Last Supper.
As I didn't sleep very well last night, I slept a lot of the way, but it was a lovely day for driving, although cold. The trouble with driving days, though, is that there are few, if any, photo opportunities.
Tonight will be cold, but not as cold as in the Massif Central. All the same, bedsocks and hot water bottles, and rugs on top of the duvet.... cosy!
Monday, 16 January 2017
Sunday, 15 January 2017
Really a nothing day; it has rained the entire day. We came to this village called Clérac, driving up the motorway in the rain and stopping at a rest area to have lunch. The village is about half way between Hossegor and where our friend lives, and was supposed to have free services, but they are closed for the winter, although there is a loo. And there is a bakery, but of course it is closed on Mondays. Oh well.
We are having a chicken, leek and mushroom casserole for dinner, followed by some kind of chocolate dessert I bought in Spain. And a very nice Rioja that I wish we'd bought more than one bottle of.
Saturday, 14 January 2017
Well, I can't exactly say "To Spain" any more now that we are on the homeward leg of our journey!
We left our very nice aire of last night after using the services, and drove north towards France. We stopped, as we had on the way in, at a huge shopping centre, 95% French cars, and I went shopping. Took ages, because so many things were on offer for €1 each, things I wouldn't have thought of buying but which I would certainly use, like dried beans and chick peas and a thing of 6 small containers (perfect for mixing curry powder for a trip like this) and a cake cooling stand because I can't find mine! Also wine and stuff. What we needed was bread and milk, and I took ages to find the fresh milk, which was in a fridge beside the UHT stuff; logical, I suppose, but I had to ask... Also a bottle of Grant's whisky for €10.50, do nicely for my mother's birthday next week. Anyway, I bought masses of stuff and only spent €50 or so. Very pleasing.
Then we drove on and into France (eventually; we took a wrong turn and ended up on the motorway going the wrong way!), and are now parked up outside Hossegor, a little town on the edge of the Landes where I direct a holiday as a child, although I don't remember it very well. It was where I first learnt to like Astérix! The SW went for a walk, and then we had supper. It is cold - not freezing, but dank and wet - so we have gone to bed early to read and listen to the radio (free WiFi at this site!).
Friday, 13 January 2017
I said, when I planned our trip, that where we spent last night, on a headland overlooking the Port of Bilbao, would be lovely unless there was a storm. There was a storm! We were horrendously exposed, and I slept very badly, being quite convinced that a window would blow in, or the van would blow over, or the solar panels would blow off. However, none of those disasters occurred, and morning came at last.
We didn't hurry to get up, and when we eventually set off, we asked the machine to take us into Bilbao, which looked really rather nice once you were there, and then we drove to Donostia (San Sebastian), and again, had a quick peek at it before we headed to the parking, which turns out to be a very nice aire by the university. Not free, but not expensive (€3.25 per night), and services are provided. And it is sheltered, so although it is raining steadily, we are not buffeted as we were last night.
As this is our last night in Spain, we decided to go out to dinner (plus I hadn't been out all day) to a nearby burger bar which was well-reviewed, but of course when we got there it had closed down. So we went to another one, which was ok, but not brilliant, but perfectly edible, and delicious beer, only €2.50 for 500 ml, and then came back to the van and ate coffee-flavoured "flan" and ginger biscuits before getting into our cosy, warm and dry beds!