Joined March 2019 Message
  • Day121

    Le Porge Ocean

    July 30, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    We decide to make one last stop before our next ‘holiday’ at a place that Nic and I visited years ago for a holiday. We can’t quite decide if this is definitely the place but there is a camping aire about 1km from the beach and it’s cheap and even has electricity. As we pull in we recognise the campsite that we’d stayed at, so we have a look around, let the children scoot free for a bit and then load them into the croozer to head down to the beach.

    There is a small boardwalk of restaurants and surf hires that lead to the beach, and we arrive at high tide in high winds. The sea is a mass of white, bubbly mush. Not a day for the children to mess about in the water. We enjoy some frisbee, and Nic and I both have a ‘swim’ in the waves separately! It’s such a strong currant here, the big waves push in and wash all the children playing in the sea 30-50m up the beach, and the waves push right up to us as we play up away from the sea.

    On the walk back to the campsite, we get a bit of free entertainment as the high ropes course is right above our heads, there is a big Spider-Man jump into a cargo net, we watch as a couple approach it, the man flies into it and we wait to see the woman do the same...and we wait..and we wait. It feels like a long time to us, it must feel like eternity to her. We have been stood on the path waiting now so feel like we can’t leave until she jumps, like we’re all in it together!! Eventually she takes the leap, and we make it back to the Moho before dark!

    After 4 months on the road we finally figure out how to get hot water from the shower in our Moho so we can wash the sand off, although our shower is full of ‘stuff’ so we have to hang the shower head out of the window to actually use it!!

    We pack up and leave early in the morning so that we can get a food shop in and get to our holiday stop in good time...
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  • Day120

    Andernos-les-bains - Oysters galore!

    July 29, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    We find a camping aire at the side of the bassin in the hope of finding some good seafood...the smell as we pull in tells us we’re in the right place!

    It’s a great stopover for the night as it’s inexpensive (well actually, free, as the payment machine is broken) and right on the side of the Bassin.

    We go to explore and find a lovely sandy park and then rows of oyster farm shops.

    There are tiny little sandy beaches where the sea is warm and the sand underneath is squidgy, a new experience for the children, they have a splash to cool off, Coen is not so sure about the green slimy seaweed though!

    After finding out how they grow the oysters (which takes 2.5 years) we check out the restaurants for a fish dinner and get a good recommendation from a local farmer.

    After Coen’s nap time, we head down to the white sandy beach at the headland and Nic gets some oysters from the guys who told us how they farm them, and we sit on the beach to eat them, Amelia even tries one but isn’t convinced by the saltiness!

    We go to the restaurant that was recommended and enjoy an amazing meal, and Coen managed to stay sat in his seat for the entire meal for the first time in 4 months. The children enjoy a lovely meal finished with candy floss ice cream. Nic enjoys a lovely Monk Fish dish and I have a St Jaques risotto (scallops) which is amazing and has her biggest scallops ever. We finish with the special pudding - Cafe Gourmaund - 10 mini desserts on one plate!

    Again we leave early in the morning (well 10am is now our early) to see the tip of the headland, Cap Feret.

    We drive through little seaside traditional French towns and villages to find the only car park we can fit in. A short walk up to the head land, although you can no longer walk the whole way as much of this coast is being protected and tiny dunes are being replanted. We get beautiful views back over the dune where we were a few days ago, and out into the choppy waters at the mouth of the bassin and into the Atlantic.
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  • Day119

    Biscarosse - a busy beach!

    July 28, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    This is a well known surf spot and there is a long board competition on this weekend, so we head down to see what the beach is like. We’d been recommended an aire on the beach just along from the comp, which turns out to be huge. It is basically a big circular car park that leads round in a big circle through the trees, tons of motorhomes, it is very low priced and right on the beautiful beach. We set up and head across to the beach.

    It’s a little walk from our spot to the beach (as the place is so big) but Coen found a stick that he thought looked like an aeroplane, and amazingly he ‘flew’ it almost the entire walk to the beach saving us carrying him.

    There are a couple of surf hire/lesson shacks at the beach, we’ve never seen a beach so busy, a combination of the busy season, surf comp and a hot Sunday bringing locals in. A nice beach, big waves today; we have to make sure Coen doesn’t get washed away with one as he runs through the shallows as the tide washes out.

    We try to shower the children in the cold beach showers, but they are starting to get wise to this and wriggle as much as they can to avoid the cold!

    There is lots of space here so the children enjoy some football before bed and we head off early to get to the other side of the Bassin d’Aracachon.
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  • Day118

    The Grand Dune du Pyla - WOW!

    July 27, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 0 °C

    Luckily we find a campsite on our 2nd attempt, it’s pricey, but we’ve weighed up having to drive and park in the main car park and this site is at the foot of the dune, so decide for one night it’s worth it.

    The dune here sits next to the Basin du Aracachon and is the largest in Europe. A huge wall of sand visible behind the trees from the road, with beautiful sand banks laid out below on the ocean side.

    We get the last pitch, which has loads of space for kids to run about. We have a quick dinner and as it’s forecast to rain, we decide to just pop along to the bottom of the dune at the end of the road. When we get there though, the children are so excited to see how big it is and the thought of climbing it is just too much, off they go, Nic and I following behind. By some miracle, Coen manages to climb the whole way, with Nic just holding his hands, and doesn’t ask to be picked up once (this is the first time ever!) - the dune to him is the biggest playground. Amelia powers up using her hands to climb herself to the top.

    We get stunning views as the sun is starting to set, the huge dune in front of us, like a Saharan landscape backed by a huge pine forest. It is a breathtaking site. Nic and I had visited the dune years ago, and we found that as we had parked in the main car park, it was much busier, whereas this time we had a huge part of the dunes with the small hills at the top to roll around on. The children were in their element diving and rolling. Amelia did suffer slightly with a ‘sand in eye’ incident, but they were both in fits of laughter running back down the huge hill of sand that led us home.

    We also head out for breakfast on the dune to really make the most of it. We take Amelia’s kite up and have another amazing time; it’s so liberating feeling like you’re on top of the world and seeing how much the children appreciate it. I think they feel like birds zooming about above the world on the soft sand, running, diving, falling and tumbling as the dunes seem never-ending.

    We manage a quick dip in the pool to clean the sand off before heading out to our next stop (after a very tight squeeze out of the campsite - which we think may be shrinking back towards the main road as the dune pushes it’s way inland!).
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    Alan Bond

    Lovely photos such an amazing place.

    2/2/20Reply
     
  • Day103

    Saint Girons Plage

    July 12, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    This is a stop we’ve been looking forward to from the whole trip - arriving back at the beach where we got engaged, 8 years ago!

    We decide to stay in the aire that is attached to the campsite, which, now in high season has very few decent pitches left and is very pricey. The aire, which is like an overflow car park with motorhome sized pitches that have a little room at the side to set up table and chairs, has a small path that leads directly to the campsite and you get full use of all facilities! So for less than 15e/nt in high season, we know that we’ve lucked out and make the most of it! Many fellow tourers are spending the whole summer here in the aire, some of them in the end of row pitches have quite the set up with gazebos and awnings.

    The site has three adjoined swimming pools and a splash park area, plus sports pitches and a really great sandy park that the children love!

    There is a bakery, pizza place, organic rotiserrie, and bar, and also an activity programme with some fun stuff for the children and adults. The children are excited about the face painting session, which is comically bad, but they don’t notice. I get to try out a French Pilates style class (more of a stretch class, but much needed!).

    We have a pizza and cocktail evening which feels very luxurious at this stage in our trip, and the children have a dance while we relax...ahhh!

    We are blessed with beautiful blues skies, great surf and hot sunshine for most of our time here, although as we are planning to leave we are treated to a spectacular Atlantic storm with an amazing bolt lightning show! This extends our trip a little as we don’t want to pack up and head somehow that may not have facilities with the weather turning...so we end up staying 15 nights in total (we’d planned 5-7 days!).

    We are here for Bastille day and notice the town has set up lots of fireworks, literally 100m from the aire, but oddly, we go to bed after hearing no fireworks - then at 11.30pm Nic and I wake to hear the loudest bangs ever, we open our bedroom blind to get the best view of the whole amazing display - and even though it sounds like world war 3 as the bangs reverbate around our little motorhome, neither child is woken by the noise!

    We go to the beach each day, which is a bit of a mission due to the big sand dune that seperates the site from the beach; it’s a short, hot, steep trek each day laden with two children, beach stuff, umbrella, surf biard, body board....but it is worth it when we arrive to some amazing surf each day (by standards of Europe in summer months), warm sea, and lots of sand castle making.

    We watch the lifeguards in action daily as the rips and currents catch people out, and they even how to rescue one of their beach flag poles. The surf can be really trecherous here, churning huge dumps at the beach break so the lifeguards are very strict to make sure people don’t swim near the rips or outside of the flags - this coast is notorious for casualties, and you can see why as they whizz you and down in the jeep rescuing those who have been swept out on boards, or collided with other surfers.

    The children have now become confident swimmers and Amelia happily jumps in and swims across the pool with no arm bands, Coen swims happily on his back with his arm bands on, and they confidently dive from the wall (3 foot up) above the pool each day making huge splashes and cheering for more. Coen does pick up an injury of his own though which is not helped by the constant swimming - he stubs his toe on a stone, taking a big layer off, but he just keeps stubbing it again and again, making it bleed each time.

    The highlight of our trip here and the reason we stay a little longer, is the wonderful french family, Yann, Sophie and their teenage daughter, Lili Rose who are parked up next door to us, who speak excellent English. Lili Rose loves playing with the children, they love her, she teaches Amelia how to make bracelets and gives her a turtle tattoo, paints both of their nails and shares her toys, Amelia and Coen are both smitten with her and Nic and I try (badly) to learn some french from them. They are a big surf family, and Sophie actually used to teach fitness so we all have lots in common. Nic and Yann enjoy catching waves together ‘outback’ and Lili Rose helps build sandcastles. This does, of course, make us feel a little worse at how loud our children are constantly, especially when they are enjoying their siesta! Nic and I also get our first ever (since children) surf together as the children happily play with them whilst we have a quick go. I catch my best wave in about 10 yrs so am happy if I don’t get another surf.

    Amelia also gets treated to some great children’s discos, and both children enjoy some later nights, extra park time and people watching. We wander along the big board walk that leads to the beach lined with beach shops, surf shops and chilled out cafes and restaraunts. Coen gets a treat as a big monster truck show comes to town, we don’t go to the show as it’s an evening affair but we do get up close to the trucks. We also visit the night market, although this becomes a bit stressful as we think we will enjoy some amazing take away treats for dinner, but there actually isn’t much in the way of dinner!

    We also have a bad day here, which only needs one line written about it - The day that Amelia smashed her ‘in-bed’ TV! Oops!

    Coen’s second highlight after the monster trucks is seeing the helicopter come to land, so we go to see it on the helipad, it has come to help some injured surfers, we wait and get to see it take off - Coen is besides himself with excitement as it rises up into the sky!

    After an amazing two weeks, we say a find farewell to our new friends and leave (in the rain!) for our next stop, and armed with a few recommendations too!
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  • Day101

    Capbreton Plage Oceanides

    July 10, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    After our 50th trip to Decathlon, the purchase of a new scooter and surfboard for the children to learn on, later we arrive in Capbreton just south of Hossegor, at an aire that has the beach as its back garden so are pretty happy with the very basic set up of electricity, cold beach shpwers (and we’re grateful to have an onboard toilet). One of the best things about France is how well set up it is for motorhomes, with so many safe places to camp up, at low cost, in great locations. It seems many French families spend their whole holiday in these aires with huge set ups.

    Like most of this coast, the beach is a beautiful long stretch of golden sand and pretty consistent, good surf. The sea is still warm so we all get to try out Amelia’s new board - Nic and I both getting one of our first surfs of the trip. The children love playing in the surf on the bodyboard and surfboard, and building castles; we’re enjoying the sunny weather, it feels more holiday like here, with a big surfers vibe, live music in the tiny beach bar. The children are becoming much more aware of the big waves along this coast too, so neither of them run straightout to sea thankfully now.

    We don’t venture out of the car park here, we came for the beach, and it’s so close, we don’t want to spend any hot days in towns right now - the coast here is all about big beaches and surf!

    We attempt to get the children totally clean in the beach showers, however, they’re a little cold and so neither of them are keen to stay in long, and poor Coen has no choice as Nic picks him up and showers him down to his whimpers of ‘dold, doldy!’ (can’t quite say the C yet!).

    The basic/lack of facilities (cold beach showers) mean we don’t stay long here - as our shower is basically just wardrobe storage full of wetsuits and who knows what, Nic ends up having an interesting conversation with the security guard on the campsite next door as he attempts to sneak in for a shower (the two french girls next door have been doing it, but I suspect their eye lashes flutter a little more than Nic’s) and he is busted - but being the sweet talker he is, after a conversation via google translate, the guard lets him shower, bait we plan to head up the coast to some of our favourite spots to spend a little longer.
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  • Day99

    Rainy Biarritz

    July 8, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    We’ve sussed out a few spots to stay to allow us to be close to the surfers town, but as we pull up at the first aire, the ticket machine says the parking is full, even though we can see tons of spaces. Luckily between some ‘locals’ and an English chap we figure out what’s going on and manage to somehow get the barrier to open so that we can stay at our first choice - aires like these in the towns are really just secure car parks with spaces big enough for motorhomes, and varied services; this one is pretty basic with electric hook up, clean water and waste emptying. But the location is great!

    We have a quick lunch and head to beach which is just is just across the underpass. It is a beautiful beach, reminds us of Cornish bays. Before we can get to the actual beach we pass a gigantic sandy park, the children have a brilliant time roaming freely through swing ropes, spiders webs, and climbing frames and we can relax knowing they have a soft landing for once.

    We manage to convince them it’s beach time and take them straight out into the little waves with their inflatable body boards. They have a whale of a time;
    Coen loves catching the waves and says ‘more, more’ each time, until he tumbled over his board gets a dunk - then he’s not so keen so we go and snuggle up on the beach and watch.

    Amelia is also loving it and catching amazing waves without any fear! She also gets a dunk though which ends sea play for the day. The kids play in the sand, and we watch the surf lessons while Nic goes to see what’s passed the big rock stacks at each end of the beach. He comes to tell us he’s found crabs, so off we go, lots of great sea pools, and interesting rocks although the big crabs have now disappeared.

    We aren’t sure whether to stay another day here as we head out to find dinner, we quickly realise we are based in an area with no eateries so decide to walk into town, which isn’t far. There is a huge selection of tourist friendly restaurants and bars -‘d we choose a quirky looking burger and taco place with giant tv screens showing surf movies that the children love. Whilst we are eating, the heavens open and we have a VERY wet walk back to the aire. Luckily we picked up an umbrella but we still get a soaking.

    We decide to stay another night so that we can take the children to the brilliant aquarium, after taking the scenic coastal route back into town, including the Rocher de la Vierge viewpoint with views back over the coast north and south - the viewpoint is made up of rock stacks, narrow walkways onto the jutted rocky outcrop and a little rocky tunnel to walk through as well.

    The aquarium is huge by all accounts (Nic is convinced it will be about the same size as Bournemouth’s) and does not disappoint. We see every type of sea life, in huge and varied tanks, as well as museum style show rooms, large screens with films of ocean life and interactive features.

    As we reach the roof top, we reach our highlight - nap time for the enormous sea lions in their huge pool - they are snoring so loud it makes us all chuckle watching them, the kids think it’s hilarious!

    We finish the tour having seen every sea creature you could imagine, and head back through town, taking in some more sights and the trendy shops, and get back to plan our next stop up the lovely surfers coast!
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  • Day97

    Erromandie - avoiding peak season!

    July 6, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    Although Saint Jean de Luz is a popular spot, we had been told that it would be quite busy and expensive to find a camp spot here now that we’re in peak season, so we head north to the next bay. Getting here is a bit of a mission, as we put the spot we think we want to head in the sat nav and it tries to take us under a tiny 2m height restriction bride, we turn around and head to the next part of the road, surely we will be able to reach the campsite from there. When we get there, we find that there is a big 5 star campsite that we are keen to avoid (suddenly prices have hiked up and 5 star equates to a normal hotel stay!) but the only other access is a service road which there is no way we can fit the Moho thru. So back to that tiny 2m bridge, and we figure that we can go the long way past it and come back on ourselves to find a little municipal site in a grassy spot above the beach. Immediately a hit with the children of course (park - tick) and we find a lovel grassy spot with plenty of space for them to run free.

    We venture down to the rocky beach and enjoy some time there, collect a bit more plastic and some drift wood to make a fire for the bbq.

    We have a lovely bbq (after getting totally smoked out trying to light it), our first proper bbq for a while and overlooking the bay too, with some kind of folk singing going on down at the beach bar. The big stone bbqs are right next to the play park, so everyone’s happy. I enjoy making fire (Nic rolls his eyes!) and we get the children to bed in time for Nic to have a night swim in the sea and for me to watch the sunset.

    Next day we walk along to the little ‘town’ - more of a tourist centre for the campsites, and then walk along to the neighbouring bay to see the little market and find the amazing burger van we’d been told about. As we get there though, Nic and Amelia decide they want mussels. So Coen and I are overruled and we share a pizza while Amelia and Nic luck out with some huge bowls of mussels. Ice creams all round and we head back, the children scooting (we realised Amelia has scooted a hole in the sole of her best sandals) and we decide to move north the following day.
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  • Day90

    Coulliere - our hidden gem

    June 29, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    We find out that our friend is on holiday very close by, so we hop down the coast to a small campsite set on top of some cliffs above beautiful little coves on the French Spanish southern border. Another one of those unplanned stops, that makes us grateful not to have an agenda.

    The sea is crystal clear, the bays are rocky, shingly and some sandy. It’s still pretty hot so we get out into the sea with our goggles to see the beautiful marine life. Tons of colourful fish, crabs, anenemy, tiny sea urchin - but much to Nic and Amelia’s disappointment - no mussels! I name a new creature, sea tomato (must find the real name but they are so red they look like tomatoes sat on the underwater rocks).

    The campsite is set on top of a high cliff side, so although to get to the beach we have to walk up and down quite a few cobbly steps, it’s worth it for the beautiful views we get from the pitches and the perimeter of the site. We get a crazy, hazy sunset over the mountains and the sunrises directly over the sea in front of us.

    After some snorkelling and crab hunting, we check out the pool, Amelia does her first solo swim of a width of the pool, her confidence is building after all these daily swims, she also gets told off for going down the flumes head first (!) and we cool off from the southern heat.

    The next morning, our friend Jon and his lovely American girlfriend, Ashleigh, who have stayed just a short drive away come to visit at the campsite and we have another swim/snorkel on the other side of the bay and through some rocky patches, the children braving it for the deep water swimming armbands on.

    before heading down to our Barcalona stop.
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