Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Fast Forward - Provence 2014

So where next?  Summer came & went, 'head south young man', so we dutifully did.  The plan, my plan you understand [more of that later], was to head down to southern France via the 'cheap' route, ie] autoroute toll free, read also 'it will take longer' and more 'scenic'.  The route, l had discussed this with several of our visiting motorhomers - we have a CL Site - was to head through Belgium then turn right in Luxembourg city, then on down eastern France to Gap then over the mountains following the Route de Napoleon to the Gorges du Gordon.  Good plan.

As you can see, to make the job of exploring narrow & bendy roads, we decided to take my smart car, which is attached via an 'a frame', along with us.  

Our route to Europe, we live close to the Port of Hull, was via the P & O ferries overnight service to Zeebrugge.    Often when travelling this route there are various interesting sights to gawk at, this time was no exception, there was this wonderful motor parked alongside us at customs in Zeebrugge. Only a classic gull wing mercedes! 

Every year the road connections from Zeebrugge improve, thanks to ongoing upgrades, fast dual carriageways & toll-free motorway speed you on your journey.  All pretty easy driving, little traffic, except round Brussels & no tolls.  Our overnight stop was to be at a municipal site to the south of the city of Luxembourg which was easy to locate, although we did have to wait an hour or so until the warden returned from an extended lunch break.

If was at this point that we had our first inquisitive inspection of the A frame.  This came from a German motohomer who had never seen anything like this before.  Yes he'd seen cars pulled on low trailers but, as he said, 'this is so much better, l want one!'.  We duly passed on details of suppliers in the UK.  Keen to practise his English & in no hurry to return to his 'van, he also very helpfully recommended the very useful app, Camper Contact which has details of motorhome stops, including photos & reviews [often in Dutch].

Day number 2 saw us heading into France, down A31 then branching eastwards along the E23 finally coming to an overnight halt at the almost deserted  municipal camp site at Le Val-d'Ajol, a really pretty village set in a valley surrounded by the dense forests of the Vosages region.  

This gave us an opportunity to take the smart car for a quick spin, it was great fun bouncing along the heavily-forested, winding mountain lanes. You could imagine  ancient Celts launching attacks guerilla upon unsuspecting Roman legions very easily here! 

Another long drive on day 3, the roads, well they are main roads & dual carriageways, are certainly cheaper to travel along, but, a lot of rounding of roundabouts & slowing down & breaking - so could this not be such a good idea? 

Anyway, by the time we reached Gap, the driver, my husband, had had enough:  'autoroutes are much easier to get from A - B fast'.  OK, revert to Plan 2.  We stopped at a small site to the south of Gap set amongst walnut trees & fruit trees, with views up the sides of the vertical mountain side, a little claustrophobic if l am brutally honest.  The host was as mad as a hatter too, certainly what you could possible term, 'a bit of a character'!

So, what next? What is Plan 2? Is there a Plan 2?

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