Motorhome Blogs by Members

Blogs written by Club Motorhome members.

More Aires Hunting - Day 3

Spain are going to have to pull their socks up!!

Another 200 km destination although there is a lovely canal-side (again!) Aire that we used a few years ago that might tempt us to stop a bit early, a beautiful spot with all services and although not free it was very cheap. This day would take us right to the bottom of the Champagne region.

Driving was fairly uneventful but I am feeling more comfortable with the van. On an Iveco base its very lorry like as opposed to our Bel-Air which was fiat based and very car like to drive. The gear-change especially has a very long throw and feels quite clonky at first. The engine doesn't feel that it wants to be revved hard through the gears and, like the lorries I remember driving years ago, works at its best when kept in the green power band on the rev-counter. Initial calculations show that we're averaging just over 25mpg which at 4 and a half tons I'm very happy with.

Arriving at Froncles, the Aire I mentioned, we were really disappointed to see the state of it. A couple of really grubby vans and an old coach looked like they had taken permanent residence with associated debris strewn about and the others were jammed in at all angles with washing lines up - it all looked more like a travellers camp!

Back to plan A then, As we went through Landres we followed the signs to a town centre Aire but on arrival we found that although the services were open the parking had been blocked off and prohibited signs put up.

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More Aires Hunting - Day 2

A very lazy and late start, must be the hour lost still! Plan today is another couple of hundred km's hoping to stopover around the vineyards of the Champagne region.

Sat nav set for an approximate destination we set off to see what turns up. With a late start we didn't bother with a lunch stop, just brief pauses to have a look at a few Aires on the way - seems to be a bit of a canal theme to our findings!

Through Picardie and into the Champagne-Ardenne we headed to an Aire that we had used a couple of times before at Mareuil sur Ay but on the way we found a fabulous stop right by the vineyards of the big label producers Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Bollinger. The Aire has 8 spaces and still plenty of room enabling us to get the end spot with a great view to just gaze at 

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More Aires Hunting - Day 1

In true motor-homing spirit we've been very casual about planning this trip south. We had to hang around a bit in the UK for the shower repair and a couple of other small things but as soon as was possible we had our channel crossing booked.

Eurotunnel prices had gone through the roof for the days we wanted so we booked a very unsociable 1.23AM! We took a bit of a chance and arrived very early, about 5pm and they very kindly rescheduled us to cross 6 hours early at no extra cost - thank you Eurotunnel! We also found out that the huge prices were because we had chosen dates leading up to the 24 hour Le Mans racing - doh!

So, arriving late evening we just popped around the corner from the Calais terminal to Cite Europe for the night. A leisurely meal, bottle of wine, some French TV and a good night's sleep followed.

Next morning after breakfast and over our traditional couple of cups of coffee we studied the map to decide on our approximate route. Although definitely heading for Spain we had not decided whether to go down through France via the coast, through the middle or via the eastern side and the Rhone-Alps. More or less tossing a coin we chose the Alps. Mostly based on the theory that at this time of year the coast will be hectic, inland hot and from previous experience the Alps offer stunning scenery in the summer without having to contend with snowy conditions at high altitude.

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Making friends with our new van

We attended the Carthago Owners Club UK gathering in York which was our first proper camping. The meet was in the grounds of a stately home, Sutton Park, and was a great few days being a very well organised event.

By chance we met the previous owners of our van which was handy to fill in some of the details of the van's history. It was also an opportunity to acquire a set of stainless wheel trims that were residing in their loft!

We discovered at the end of the meet that we had a water leak from our shower and on investigation it turned out to be a broken shower trap. Long story short, the warrantee company said it was not covered by them (no surprise there) but the supplying dealer readily agreed to sort it out. It took a little while to organise as the parts had to come from Germany so we had to make do with Duck-Tape sealing one of the two plug holes.....

Time was getting on towards our date to get back into Europe but eventually the part arrived and was fitted at the dealer's workshops - thank you GoEuropean! Another visit to our friends in Stratford upon Avon and a booking was made for the Eurotunnel.

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Poland

2014 – News No 7

 

Into Poland.

Our first stop in Poland was at Zakopane – a favourite ski resort for the Poles and a popular summer destination too; we had expected to stop 2 or 3 days visiting the mountains, but as we had just spent 3 days just 30 miles away in the mountains in Slovakia, we took a brief look at the town, drew some zlotys from the hole in the wall and continued on through some very distinct villages where, even now, almost all the houses are made of wood. In one such village – particularly noted in our guide book

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cadd246
wonderfull blog really enjoyable reading thank you tom
Monday, 02 June 2014 19:51
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On to Budapest

 

We left the Balaton Lake area and travelled on towards Budapest. On the way we stopped at a town called Tapolca, where there is a lake in the caves underneath the town. [This is a limestone area, like much of Hungary seems to be; are an abundance of caves and, most of all, hot springs – this really does seem to be the spa capital of Europe.] We visited the caves, where you paddle your own canoe – well, flat-bottomed metal boat, (made of metal so it doesn't fall apart when you hit the sides of the cave – as you do!).

This was a very pleasant town and a lovely way to spend an hour paddling under the town.

We also stopped off at a town with a beautiful 'altstadt' (the German word seems, uncharacteristically, much more succinct than 'historic-town-centre' in English).

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NEILMAC
Fascinating stuff! Looks like a really interesting place to visit
Thursday, 08 May 2014 09:20
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Maribor and on into Hungary

 

Maribor in Slovenia has a lovely 'old town' which is also the thriving centre of the modern town

Like many towns abroad it still has its C&A. I wonder – if they had held on in UK a little longer, would they have successfully filled the gap nowtaken by Primark and the like? It seems strange that they can trade successfully in so many other countries but couldn't succeed in the UK.

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Beside the river Drava in Slovenia

E got to Venice and spent a good 5 days 'doing the place.  I'm not putting any pictures on of Venice as you've seen all the photos and the Cannelletos, so what would my photos add.  We spent a day in Padua, then on to Trieste, this time staying opposite te yacht harbour, not under the viaduct with he rattling expansion plate as last time we went there.  We are now in Maribor, parked at a small restaurant by the river, having partaken of their excellent, and excellent value food earlier in the evening.  We have avoided the tolls, so no costs there, but when we get to Hungary I think it will be different!

This is Merano, the area of Venice where they make glass and have been doing so for hundreds of years

 

The Gorge de Verdon in Provence, France.  It's deep, long and wide - photos (mine anyway!) don't do it justice!

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NEILMAC
Looking like a great trip already!And, the gorge photo is spectacular......
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 22:52
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Our home for the next 6 months

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Recent Comments
NEILMAC
Well done, that looks very tidy!
Monday, 21 April 2014 11:43
ianoffor
Thanks Neil. We had someone look at it for us and so hopefully it is as tidy as it looks/we've been told. Then of course we have t... Read More
Monday, 21 April 2014 11:58
motorhomeliving
Your van look great. We had one as our first van we loved it and had many enjoyable trips in it. The only reason we changed was th... Read More
Monday, 21 April 2014 16:33
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All Change

Recently we spent our last night in our wonderful motorhome..... The next night we spent the first night in our wonderful motorhome!

After a long, long while of indecision we finally made our minds up and put our beloved Bel-Air up for sale, we had a replacement in mind but as always the figures to change had to work. We had a guide price to part exchange from a dealer who had what we wanted but felt we needed a bit more and placed some classifieds.

After a couple of weeks of enquiries without a serious one amongst them we visited the dealer for a serious viewing and a serious chat..... We definitely wanted to deal and with some negotiating the p/ex figure was raised and some goodies were included so we shook hands!

With some mixed and excited feelings we became the very pleased and proud owners of our new (to us) motorhome - a Carthago.

We arranged the changeover for a week later and decided to visit friends at a campsite reasonably nearby in the meantime. The week dragged by and the anticipation grew but eventually the day came and we made our way back to the dealer. After the formalities and the handover instructions we spent a couple of hours transferring our various bits of kit - hadn't realised just how much stuff we carried!

All done, I cautiously drove away glancing back at our Bel-Air in the mirrors - a strange feeling, that motorhome meant such a lot to us......

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Recent Comments
Frank60
Good luck with new van ,we are changing as well .Got a good price for mine PX ,Getting a Bessacar 530 on 23rd April.Spent hours di... Read More
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:25
NEILMAC
Thank you Frank Hope you enjoy yours too, like the old saying you only get one crack at this life so make the most of it. Looks li... Read More
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:13
cadd246
Hi Neill. congratulations to Both of you I would like to wish You many happy trips in your new mhome it looks really beautiful I... Read More
Friday, 18 April 2014 08:43
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