I just wanted to write a short bit about how adventure doesn’t always have to go hand in hand with travel. For example in South Wales this weekend just gone we have had so much snow. We even had a red weather warning at one point, there’s been between 20-50cm of snow fallen in places and drifts in some places taller than me.
Day one was a bit of quality time with our dog Teulu (Welsh word for family) only a few hundred yards from our home to the local dog walking fields but gusts up to 40mph and driving snow meant we had the place to ourselves. He’s a Cocker Spaniel and so active, I’ve owned many dogs but he truly is Ever Ready, his stamina is boundless. Even when the snow was driving into him horizontally he kept running, tail wagging high. He’s happiest when he’s free.
Day two was the morning after the night before when most of our snow fell. This was fun day, more dog walking time but also snow angel time. Our Alys is probably the first 4 month old baby I’ve ever witnessed making the most perfect snow angel.
Day 3 was my good deed throughout the bad weather, I had a call from the team leader of my old Mountain Rescue team, could I collect a crew and get them to base in my Land Rover Discovery 3, better known as Daisy 🙂 I was only too happy to help. That team holds a special place in my heart, there was a time not so long ago when the standing joke was that if they snapped me open I’d have Mountain Rescue written right through me like a stick of rock. As is normal when I see any of my old teammates I got the “please, please come back’ requests. Who knows what the future holds, eh. One day, maybe, one day.
Finally, today, a perfect end to the weekend saw us head to a local park that we often visit but never before have we seen it dressed in white as far as the eye could see. It just goes to show that we often travel to find beautiful places when if you look hard enough you’ll often find beautiful places right on your doorstep.
Our time at camping Bonanza was coming to a close and our chances of travelling any further getting less and less likely due to time constraints. But not before we made a trip down to the promenade in Blankenburg and spotted the most amazing parade along the harbour. Even managed to spot a very nice coastguard Land Rover. As I said in Part 1, our 5 day schedule was tight and it proved to be such that we couldn’t manage more than 2 countries on this visit. We did however make it into Brugge before heading aback across the coast road past Dunkirk and some of the other battlefields of the great wars.
We were soon back on the road and on our way back to the ferry port at Calais. This time we had a good chance to look at the huge security measures that have been taken to stop people entering Britain illegally. The Calais port looks positively like a high security prison with massive high fences and razor wire as far as the eye can see. We were soon in and through border control though and onto the ferry for the homeward journey.
On the return journey we again opted for the VIP Lounge with complimentary drinks. Worth every penny of the £20 we paid for the privilege and will definitely pay it again. Everyone outside on the main decks cafes, restaurants and seating areas looks so uncomfortable and cramped.
On our return to the UK our intention had been to head towards Severn Sisters and Hop Farm which boasts the biggest collection of Victorian Oast Houses in the UK.
At this point we were feeling sad. Tomorrow was home time.
However, as per our unpredictable travelling nature. Turns out tomorrow wasn’t home time but another unplanned night with the in-laws at a sight just outside Tewksbury with the great Tewksbury Abbey on our doorstep. And the gin, wine and cider was quick to rear it’s head………happy camping 🙂
We’d spent the previous winter putting together the parts we’d begged, borrowed and stolen to build our DIY Overland trailer conversion (previous post). We were really happy with the outcome and had soon booked our first long trip away in it. We were off to France……and Belgium…..at least. The ferry was booked on its outward journey on the Monday and we had 5 days of European travel before our return to Dover from Calais on the Friday. Our rough plan had been to head towards Parsis for a day or two and then head over the border to Belgium for another two days with a day trip into Germany or Austria depending on where the feeling took us.
The weather was on our side, we arrived in Calais to blazing sunshine and we were on our way……viva la Francais! With my little sticker in Ruby’s windscreen reminding me that I must drive on opposite side of the road we were off. After a few pit stops in various services for cool drinks and ice lollies and our good deed for the day, checking the brakes on a car load of travelling English ladies as the one wheel was getting hot, and we had arrived at a camp site. We were just a short train ride outside of Paris on a site called Camping International de Jablines. They gave us a beaut of a pitch on a site that was tree lined and quiet. We were soon setup and on foot taking in the French customers and atmosphere. The following day saw a trip into Paris and a visit to Notre Dame and of course what trip to Paris isn’t complete without a walk along the Seinene and a trek up the Eiffel Tower. Though we were only able to go up to the first level and not all the way to the top. Lis doesn’t do well with heights and by the time we were half way up she was as white as a sheet but she made it and I’m proud of her for that.
It was soon time to pack up and we were on our way to Belgium. Point to note, 5 days to cover 2 countries is no way long enough. Next year will be a 2 week journey. We arrived in Belgium 5 hours later at a site near Brugge called Camping Bonanza, Blankenburg. An interesting place that certainly could have been described as cosy at best. Though a very nice English gent who worked (owned?) the place was very helpful and helped us manhandle the trailer into its pitch save so that our awning opened the same way as all the Europeans. All our neighbours were nice enough though in their traditional tents and caravans. As per usual ours turned heads and a few came to ask us about it. We also learned that we had happen to arrive the day before a Belgium bank holiday.
Of course this whole trip is just a precursor and a testing opportunity for our trailer to our big Morocco and Portugal trip we have planned.
TO BE CONTINUED…….