After all the months of planning and the last couple of weeks getting all the accessories fitted, we are at last on our way for our grand European Tour. We started in true thrifty style by pooh-poohing any campsite offering and we spent the night right there on the sea front in Hythe.

Nothing better than the sound of the waves to send you to sleep. Ok so there was some traffic noise from about 7am as people got up and started to go to work, but we were up already by then and excited to get on our way.

Our train wasn’t until 1am so we decided on a nice long walk along the sea front. We had set ourselves a challenge to walk 1,000 miles this year, and although in Cayman in January we had made good progress, the cold and snow in the UK in February had knocked us back with 2-3 weeks of no measured walking at all. The sun was out, it was still bloody freezing but we got the miles in that morning with a solid 4.5 completed.

And then it happened. We were just getting ready to leave for the tunnel, checking that the scooter was secure on the back on the motorhome when Deby set the phone down on the wall, not noticing it was on a curve, and the phone fell off and smashed. Not just cracked the screen, completely smashed and was broken.

So poor Nigel had to drive circles around Folkestone town center while I ran into Vodafone and got a new phone. OMG, the guy in there. I explained the urgency, I have a train to catch, but he just kept on and on about all the various upgrades and options etc. At last I got a phone and we were on our way.

Taking the Channel Tunnel was easy. They didn’t even want us to check the cat in on this end, so we just took the train, out the other end and it was all done, we were ‘abroad’. Deby took the first leg of the driving and remembered to drive on the right and didn’t take a wrong turn the whole way.

Our first night wasn’t too far from the tunnel in a tiny village called Bosc Geffroy. We parked in the church car park for the evening and enjoyed the sound of the braying donkey in the field next door.

On the road again the next day and we both took a shift for the driving. We weren’t in any hurry so no need to drive all day. A nice leisurely lunch in a beautiful motorway services and then in the evening we found a gorgeous spot for the night. In the little village of Villedomer in France, where there is a fantastic viaduct, there is a quiet little ‘aire’ set aside for motorhomes, right next to a little river and park.

We stopped up, took a nice long walk through the beautiful woods and countryside, stocked up on some groceries and wonderful local soft cheese from the grocery store and enjoyed a really good night’s sleep there next to the river. This aire is highly recommended – and again, provided completely free of charge. Facilities to empty waste and fill up with water.

On the road again in the morning, and we stopped for the evening in the charming village of Le St Romaine surrounded by fields full of grape vines. The road up to the stop was tiny and winding and it was a bit nerve wracking, but we made it to our free aire for the evening – a large parking area close to the sports center. Again free water and waste facilities.

We made a bit of a mistake while filling up with water. We left the an door completely wide open! When we noticed were we scared the cat had taken off but thankfully he was showing no interest in going outdoors and was still snuggled up in his basket. He really shows very little interest in leaving the van except at night when he does like to look out the windows and sometimes wants to look out the open door.

We took advantage of all that free water and did our first set of on the road laundry. We will write more later about how we do our laundry on the road, but here is a quick preview.

How to wash your smalls when you live in a motorhome. Get a man, a plunger and a bucket. :-)Here we're on our way down through France and into Spain. Stayed the night in a sports center carpark. We are so classy.

Posted by Deby N Nigel Coles on Sunday, February 24, 2019

That was our last night in France, because the following day we crossed over the border from France to Spain. Spanish roads weren’t in quite such good condition in the main as the French roads were, but we still made good time and our first night was spent in Pamplona – famous for the annual running of the bulls festival.

Another free official camping aire with water and waste again, with a huge space for campers. Next to a school and sports center but still very quiet. At last we seem to have found permanent sunshine. Since crossing into Spain the sun has shone without stopping and it was lovely here to park up and hang out our washing. Although we plan to come back and visit the city another time, this time we just camped for the night before moving on again.

More driving again the next day ( Ok, we’re getting a bit tired of it now) and we stopped for another overnight in the town of Segorbe. Another free aire provided with waste and water, this time on a quiet road next to the railway station.

Did we say quiet? Well it was to start with, until a local band started practicing in the house close by. It seems they had written a new song and they played this damned same song over and over and over again. Clearly they weren’t getting it because invariably they would always go wrong in the same spot and have to start again from the beginning. We don’t know why they were bothering – it was terrible anyway!

On again the next morning and we weren’t sorry to go, with that song ringing in our ears. We are now on the last leg of our trip and will make it to the Spanish coast today when we arrive in Valencia. Still the sun is shining, it’s so warm driving in the van that we’ve opened the windows and spirits are high!

We picked the Coll Vert campsite as our base for exploring Valencia. We have the ACSI discount card for staying out of season so this site costs us €14 per night including electricity and wifi. The pitch was really tight though. It took us a long time to maneuver in, reverse back, change direction, try again. Too many hedges and trees and the length of the pitch was actually a bit shorter than the length of the van. Combine it with the narrow road between pitches and it was a bit of an experience getting the van in place!

This is us and our Liberty scooter in the front right

But now we are here, tired but happy and the sun is still shining. It’s so warm we are in t-shirts and have all the doors and windows open. At last here is the sunshine we’ve been searching for since leaving Cayman. Now we plan to stay here for a week or so and explore the fascinating city of Valencia – full destination reports will follow on our city adventures soon.

Ready for adventures in Valencia
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1 Comment

  1. Best Wishes and enjoy.
    Chip and Krystal

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