Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The beginning of our tour of Europe

We have finally started trucking around Europe!

Driving out of Horsham was a bit weird. It was like hitchhiking for the first time again. Anxiety, fear, excitement, wanting, not-wanting, all with a little touch of panic.

Waiting at the ferry port
We aren't put in these situations very often. And Ive always found it weirdly addictive. Having a total unknown ahead of you. Its addictive because its scary I think. Kerry on the other hand is just dandy with it all!

Having made good time to the ferry port we were put on an earlier crossing (which was meant to be £32 more!) and drove in to Calais at 6pm French time. We knew we couldn't stay in Calais for long as its pretty dodgy. And as soon as we drove through the town we were shown why. There was a group of about 100 asylum seekers of different ethnicities at the side of the road, scaling a 10 foot high fence. God knows where they were going but I wasn't going to hang around to find out.

We drove South along the coast road, over rolling green fields and between the sand dunes at one point! France isn't like England. This puzzles me as you'd have thought they were connected at some point and may be a little alike? … maybe

Aire on the riverside near Limoges
After a few hours driving we grabbed our copy of 'All the Aires - France' and knuckled down to finding a suitable Aire. An aire in France is a designated Area for motorhomers or 'Camping-Carz' to pull up for the night, replenish any fresh water, dump any grey water as well as plug in to recharge batteries and watch tv etc.

Well this is all geared for BIG motorhomes. The Aire we arrived at in Ault was full of these. Mahoosive ones, all up on all kinds of leveling ramps with full sized satellite dishes on top. It was nuts. We pulled up in the blue smartie van and seemed a little dwarfed. We dont have leveling ramps so no sooner had we reversed up then we were down to the beach front to watch the sun setting. I wasn't scared anymore.

The next few days were full of driving. We wanted to get South and consequently heat! On the way through the Dordogne we stopped at a small, quaint town called Martel. The municipal camp site was a nice little green with showers and proper toilets. All for EURO 6.44.

Rocamadour from a distance
We had seen a few brown tourist signs for Rocamadour and I remembered my Dad saying he'd been there when touring on his motorbike. We drove along a windy road which opened out to a gorge where Rocamadour sits, clinging to the edge. The town was nice and we climbed the 200 odd steps up to numerous chapels and sanctuaries devoted to various religious icons.

The scenery started to change from big open, rolling fields to the gorges and canyons of the Pyrenees and then opened up to big blue skies and lots of heat!

We fought our way through Montpellier and out to a tiny spit of sand where we found loads of other camping cars all parked up metres from the beach. We used this to our advantage and spent a day lounging on the beach before heading in to Montpellier for a spot of sight seeing.

On the way we used McDonalds' wifi and stumbled across 5 chaps on tricked out 600cc motorbikes pulling stunts and ricks worthy of their own show. All in the car park which seemed to be well tolerated and made for some good pictures.

Beach just South of Montpellier
As we parked up on the outskirts of Montpellier we could hear a huge booming voice flooding over the city. Walking in, the sound got louder and louder until we found a great big skate and BMX comp was underway.

The next day we walked around Montpellier until we were tired and then retired back to the beach.

6am the next morning and I'm jolted awake by someone hollering outside the van. It's a French guy jabbering something I can't decipher. I explain in my best French that I cannot understand him. But he continues with his jabbers until I poke my head out of the window and see his car a little futher down the beach road, stuck in the sandy ditch next to it.

Myself and a passing motorist helped him for 30 minutes and eventually got the car out using branches and the van that had stopped to tow him. I don't know how he'd done it because the road is dead straight and in no way dangerous. I wonder whether the guy was on drugs, and nearly asked. Then thinking it'd be better to leave it.


  1. liking the pics and the tricks. If you return to Rocamadour you can drive to the top.

  2. Pleased that you are enjoying France. We are over there on Wednesday. Hoping for some sun! Luv G & G