2012 Tour


We are currently at our last site in France at Licque and the ferry is booked for tomorrow. The duty free is on board so we are all done for this trip really. We are meandering back through the south of England and returning home via Cowbridge near Cardiff. We are already making plans for our 2013 trip which already includes some fixed dates in Germany for the car shows and we intend to get into Holland, Austria, Belguim and Switzerland and Croatia (which we skipped this time). I’ll be posting up a fresh ‘2013 Tour’ page nearer the time ūüôā

Our day trip to Paris Рas Alison has never been and it has been twenty years since I last visited we thought a day trip would be a good idea Рand it was.


Unfortunately the top deck was closed and there were horrendous queues to go up just halfway say we stayed on the ground this time.

We spent a few days at St Sulpice near Limoge with friend who moved to France several years ago. Brian is a big VW/Porsche enthusiat like myself so there is always plenty to talk about! He recommended that we visit Oradour sur Glane just the other side of Limoge – its a memorial to the war dead and the atrocities carried out in that particular village.

My photo from a few days ago treated to B&W tint – still looks as it would over sixty years ago!

I¬†haven’t fiddled with this photo – its as it was taken – there are cars littered everywhere.

I will post up a gallery of shots on my home page. But heres an extract from my diary as to what went on.

“On June 10 1944 just four days after WW2 was declared over German troops rounded up 642 civilians ‚Äď men, women and children alike ‚Äď and murdered them. The whole village were rounded up and shot and burned alive in some cases. The village stands to remind us how awful that was. Some 354 buildings and homes were destroyed after the slaughter and now the remains sit as they did in 1944 together with a museum with artefacts found at the time ‚Äď children‚Äôs toys, watches, glasses and all manner of items of everyday life. We stood in the church where 448 women and children where left to die in a burning building ‚Äď if they tried to escape then they were shot/ The eldest in her nineties and the youngest just eight days old.”

On a cheerier note ūüėČ here is a shot from a couple of weeks ago in the area of St Gervais which is stil very ‘alp-ish’ (if there is such a word) and I guess that is because we are not that far away from Italy.


We are currently in the Alps and the scenery is fantastic. The roads up here give you many challenges like the herd of cows being convoyed along some four miles of road icluding that through the 1.5 km tunnel.  All the traffic stops for them of course and gives you a chance to take a picture or two.

A trip to Italy wouldnt be complete without a trip to the Lakes and we chose Lake Iseo (as it was near Bergamo Airport and our son popped over to see up for a week). Its lovely as I hope a couple of the pix (that our son, Chris took) will show.

And one I took…


We did spend a couple of days at Narbonne with a lovely beach just as you step out of the motorhome. We then kept the motorhome pointing at Italy and stopped at Meze and St Martin de Crau which boasts a great Chinese restaurant of all things and virtually no where to get any money, including the towns three banks (read my diary for Sept 09/10). Our final French stop for now is Les Arcs parked up in a wine processing place! Lovely historic town with great walks. Italy is only one days drive away.


We kind of thrashed it through much of Spain with our first stop at a little place called Gelves and parked up right next to the river – a very pretty spot and chance to try and sort out just why our kitchen sink kept leaking and why the engine management slight keeps coming on.

We then carried on to Santa Elena, another couple of hundred miles on, simply trying to lessen the distance between us and Italy where we are to meet up with son, Chris in a couple of weeks. It was an epic drive from Santa Elena to Estartit – some 793 miles in less than three days – 200 or so through the worlds longest contraflow system. This then left us with roughly 750 miles to Iseo in Italy. We are now of course in France again.


01/09/12 – We have headed towards Spain

After nearly four months in Portugal we have finally headed back towards Spain to go through France and Italy. We havent got far as we have stopped about 12 miles down the road from Cabanas at Villa Real for one last night at the side of the Portugeuse seaside at the Aire there.

I suppose this is why,,,

22/08/12 – Cabanas – continued…

It has been a fraught week then followed by a relaxed one – perhaps best detaled in our ‘whoops’ section but in a nutshell our alternator packed up and our motorhome wouldn’t start (with a thousand other complications) but that is now sorted so thats all that matters.

We are pitched in the middle of an olive grove and collect our water from a well – living the dream, now.

We can eat fresh figs from the trees and oranges are not too far at hand!



11/08/12 – Cabanas

We first came to Cabanas about six years ago and came to love the place Рwe stayed in a farmhouse converted into self contained apartments for a couple of visits, and later returned after our daughter wedding in the motorhome. We have met all sorts of wonderful people and love the unspoilt nature of the area.

We will elaborate a little more about that later but we are now on site at the ‘proper’ campsite for a couple of days to enjoy the swimming pool (as it is very very hot) and will soon move to our friends olive grove for some informal camping at the ultimate ‘mates rates’ which iclude the use of an old VW Golf for trips out.

09/08/12 – Onward and Upward!

We have now genuinely moved on Рwe have headed towards Cabanas via Moncarapacho and stayed at a very bizarre campsite indeed. It is run by an ex-circus chap by the name of Jen and with his performing dogs, camel, ostrich and other various animals you will camp amongst them and feel like part of a circus.  It may not be everyones cup of tea and with such animals come their shit byproducts and that lies where it falls Рa couple of days was enough for us. Its a wonderful place despite that.


It is just off the main road towards Tavira/Cabanas and just outside Moncarapachio (if I can find the co-ordinates then I will post them up)


A bit of an update as its been a couple of weeks Рwe are at Praia da Gale at an Aire called Parque da Gale (or Camp Idle as I have nicknamed it)  I have reviewed it in my Aires section Рits a great stopover (which has turned into 15 days so far) run by a friendly family who have set up a great facility in my opinion. Yesterday afternoon we spent the afternoon having a bit of a sing song with our Spanish neighbours and Lorraine from the big RV.

There are three or four beaches within easy reach of the site by foot or bike and if you venture to the far end you will find a nature reserve with turtles and flamingoes.


Gale itself boasts plenty of restuarants with two down on the beach offering fresh fish daily, and one we have used just a hop from the aire site called O Girrassol (sunflower) which also does excellent fresh fish at a reasonable cost (38 euro for starter/main and a bottle of rose)

Nightime view from Parque da Gale.


After a run on the aires and wild camping (and spending virtually nothing on accomodation over the last four weeks) we splashed out and had two days on the Orbitur site at Luz. It is very nice with well maintained gardens, a swimming pool and free WiFi (available from in your motor home if you park quite near the ‘telly room’. Its given us¬† a chance to clean the motorhome and spend the weekend doing very little else (a bit like a weekday really)

We bumped into Dave and Maria and ¬†(Swiss) Andre and his wife who we had met on the Aire/beach a few days before. Small world isn’t it?

We also met Tess the frisbee catching dog…

…Tess is travelling around Portugal and Spain in a Volkwagen T5 Reimo conversion and is the only dog I have ever witnessed that can catch a frisbee in mid flight.


We have spent a very pleasant couple of weeks (nearly) in Lagos staying on the new Aire outside the Football ground. We had a few days (at Praia da Luz) with our daughter and husband and then returned to that Aire after a couple of nights ‘with the hippies’ on Boca do Rio beach.


We stumbled across this herdsman and his cows who he keeps in line with his pack of dogs – they travel from field to field (and eventually the beach where we camped) feeding on the grass and bushes.


Luz                                                                          Boca do Rio

We have started to prefer the Aires and ‘wild camps’ to any campsite which at this time of year are empty and only part up and running. The usual ‘squalor’ asociated with many campsites still applies sadly. Old caravans and dirty awnings/broken BBQ’s seem to be ‘de riguer’ I am afraid. The nice thing about the busy Aires is you get a chance to meet and chat to new neighbours – and some are even barmy enough to ask you around for a drink! Ron and Pauline are two such fellow travellers from the Midlands. I’ve captured them here in a photograph so that their disbelieving family can be assured that they are still fine and well and in one piece, despite a couple of bike rides out and about. The reason they keep the bikes on a bike rack at the vehicle is because that is the safest place for them!!

So here they are –¬† having fun and sun!

We wish to rely on ‘formal’ campsites less and less really so as a result we have had a solar panel fitted so that we can be less reliant on campsites which I have to say we were only using to have a (better) shower and¬†the use of the electric. We can now charge up the leisure battery freely and reliably. I’ve covered that with a little more detail in the section about our motorhome.

We are moving a little further west tomorrow for a change of scenery.


We have arrived in the Algarve today and I am in a WiFi Beachside bar

We are at the Aire at Praia de Rocha at 2.50 Euros  a night and it is great -with fantastic views too.

The next photo is Praia de Luz where we met up with our daughter and hubby and we will stay there a few days.

Not too shoddy eh?


We have been treated to a few ‘runs out’ in the car to many local places of interest. One was the ‘flea’ market in Tomar followed by a trip to an incredible aquaduct just outside the town which used to serve the nearby convent.

A couple of days later we visited the Castle (or its remains at least) at Almoral and again lots of treats for the camera Рthis particular part remains almost intact.


…however other sections haven’t been quite so lucky!

Yesterday we visited the castle plonked right in the middle of the two large rivers at Almoural* (I may have spelt this wrong and could change it later)

A majestic sight!


We are in Tomar so loads of pix later but just just a quick one to prove that Alison hasnt run off yet!


Almeida is so nice we have decided to stay a third day and here’s a few from our walk around yesterday.

Every street is just like this Рunspoilt!

Washing day – obviously!

That’s us way down there¬†– as you can see – it’s not very busy.

This is where the local ‘luthier’ lives.

A fortress town/village in a ‘star’ shape with an outlook point on every corner.

This is the view from our motor home!

Stunning views from the cemetary.

A fabulous timewarp village/town steeped in history. Simply charming – Well recommended Mal and Pat.


We are now in Portugal.

Here are three of my favourite shots so far…

They are simply two trees which I can see out of ‘my side’ of the van – taken early afternoon and then later in the evening.


It’s a fantastic Aire (which I will review in detail in my ‘Aires’ section) ¬†just outside the main gates of the fortified town (village argueably) which is seeped in history. Its a beautiful spot.


We made it back to Salamanca…

…for a proper look round!


I also visited the Museo de Historica de la Automocian – pictures from there are in my ‘Old Cars’ section!


Parada de Rubiales – The village that time forgot…

Stopped for a quick sandwich and a break, pulled off the main road and parked behind the little church.

And then I went for a wander about the village…

Number 23 – its a ‘house’

One of the better finished ones Рand next to it was one I peered into thinking it was a shed but lo and behold it had furniture and is, again, someones house.

This was the ‘other’ church (not the one we were parked behind) probably the ‘finest’ building in the village.

A shot of the main street. And finally the most colourful house in the area!

Its amazing to think that people¬†in this day and age still lead such simple lives – a truly beautiful ‘old’ village.


We are now in Valladolid – a city spoilt by the actions and desires of architects who I can only assume are on drugs – and the bad ones not the good ones.¬† I managed a few pix of really nice architecture but most of it has been ruined by the concrete wash of the sixties and later ‘follies’ of aforementioned architects.


All the above 10/10 – but below….???

Why oh why would you do this? They have even used the original arches and encased them in a metal and concrete frame…


Welcome to a new months fresh ramblings, now from Spain!

We passed thru Mendigorria and stopped for a couple of days ‘holiday’ from travelling…


We¬†were then very brave and stopped by the side of the river at Soria – one of our books says that it is¬†an Aire but we saw no real evidence of that and stayed anyway.¬† The local policia came by about three times and didnt bat an eyelid so they obviously don’t mind. It’s worth a stopover for the view across the river alone.

We are currently at the Aire at Aranda a city (I suppose) full of cathedrals and churches galore – many of them ‘not falling down’


I am sorry its been a while since an update here but the internet is this area is as rare as a rare thing (inser own personal rarity please) and even now I am huddled in the doorway of the local computer shop as it is shut until 3 o’clock and using his WiFi in a clandestine manner!

We have moved on through Gente and Pomerez to name but a few Рand ended up at Sailles de Bearn.  The Aire there is 6 Euros a night with electric and emptying/re-filling facilities

Lovely shot of 400 year old Sailles de Bearn where we spent a nice couple of days wandering around Рeach street was different to the next Рall unspoilt.  (Computer shop not shown!)

Alison nearly warm enough to take fleece off!


On the way to Pomerez we found this strange building with no windows – lived in and furnished like any house – but no glass in the frames!

Pomerex boasts an Aire just outside the Bullring – its a good stopover and once again the Aire is free with electric and a WC. All good

An ‘On the Road’ shot – anywhere in France!


Gente sits in the middle of no-where with just a bar cum bread shop and the ‘usual’ splendid church. We travelled to nearby Segonzac for a nosy too as the weather was pleasant enough for a slightly longer bike ride. You’ll have to read my ‘Ooooops’ section to see why Alison did 12 miles and I did 22.


The Loire Valley is so beautiful that we are still here! We moved from Durtal onto Bauge and then further along the river to Gennes, Cunault, Turquant and now have pitched up at Montreuil-Bellay.

After three night on¬†Aires with ‘limited’ facilities we have checked into a¬†campsite¬†near Montreuil-Balley with WiFi/Electric/SHOWERS! for a reasonable 12 Euros a night. It’s very quiet as you can see.

We rode into the town alongside the river – and as usual every turn reveals even more lovely photogenic spots.


We have now travelled to Durtal at the topmost/middle of the Loire Valley region where we intend to ‘slow down’ on the travelling and take in some of the scenery about here. Our next stop will be Saumur. We have stopped at a ‘proper’ campsite as its such a nice spot and the weather looked like being kind.


We took in a bit of a bike ride (Wednesday) – only to the shops and beyond but the village is a lovely unspoilt one with the river running through it.


We managed our first BBQ of the¬†season/trip¬†¬†– I am pictured here distracted from the matter ofactually lighting the BBQ…

I got there in the end!


It’s actually rained today! So we headed for the Le Mans Circuit and Museum (that’s my excuse anyway)

We very nearly missed it as the SatNav took us to some old entrance (which appears now to only be used by animals) and only found the correct entrance and the museum by chance. Good job we did as I would have felt robbed if we had left without seeing it. It was really quiet and a good chance to have a proper look at the cars and get some great photo’s – un-interupted by any one else!. I took many but I will jusy post a few here.


We have headed to LeMans and have parked up on the Aire at the side of the river right near the city centre. It’s all a bit quiet but I suspect that may work in our favour as ‘city centre’ Aires could never promise to be peaceful.


I’ll post more pix tomorrow as today the place is virtually shut as it is easter Monday. So more later!


We liked the look of Forges les Eaux so much we stayed another 2 days and took a trip on the bikes to the lake cum bird santuary where we even caught sight of a black swan sat on a nest.

The Spa town is very pretty and easy to negotiate by bicycle!

It  seemed only correct to partake in a typical local style lunch afterwards РI have written a bit about the Aire here as its a very usefull stopover for any motorhomer.

Au Revoir…!


We stayed last night at Berck having travelled via Eurotunnel to Calais. It was our first stop at an Aire and a bit daunting at first but once we weighed up the ‘protocol’ we were fine. The cost was 6.50 euros and we were crammed in like sardines! It served a purpose and allowed us to familiarise ourselves with what we needed to do.

We took a stroll down to the beach last night.

We have travelled on to an Aire at Forges les Eaux Рsimilar price for the night but includes unlimited electric so the hot water boiler is on to allow us a good shower tonight! Nothing like as crowded and a good bit more picturesque than Berck. We are currently in the tourist information centre taking advantage of their spendid free WiFi too.

So until our next internet connection…



6 Responses to 2012 Tour

  1. Gillian says:

    ……..never realised you had to pay to stay at an Aire! Never paid yet and we have been caravanning in France for 18 years! Don’t forget to fill up with fuel at the hypermarkets it’s much cheaper. Just got back 3 hrs ago, missing France already. Have a great time! Gillian.

  2. Bev says:

    Your’e certainly seeing some beautiful places those little villages look like they could be paintings.

  3. Giles Parker says:

    Found the pictures then!!

  4. Jo says:

    Tess still frisbeeing happily! Did you get to Monchique? We are still at the campsite ūüôā

    • Hi
      Yes we went to the top where it is very cold!!! Caldas Monchique very pretty, we didnt stay up there though, we came back to Praia de Rocha, and we are still here waiting for the gas to run out!!! It is nice being close to the beach ūüôā

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