June 2017 - April 2021
Currently traveling
  • Day1

    Retirement Plan - Part 2

    June 6, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    Having spent the best 10 years of our lives travelling on our sail boat, spending time in the Mediterranean, crossing the Atlantic and then exploring some of the Caribbean, we thought it was time for a major change to our Retirement Plan.

    Having seen much of the coastal areas of Europe, we wanted to see and explore beyond this and felt that a motorhome might be a good way of doing just that. Afterall, there are many similarities between travelling on a boat and a motorhome.

    Deep Blue was sold to lovely new owners, Melvyn and Jane, who will be joining her in Antigua for more adventures. In the meantime, all our belongings were loaded onto a ship bound for Portsmouth and we boarded a plane heading for Norfolk to stay with our good friends Terry and Sue.
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  • Day26

    A new 'home'

    July 1, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    We already knew the kind of motorhome we were looking for, so during our stay with Terry and Sue, we started to home-in on a few. We soon found exactly what we were looking for in a Swift Kontiki 669 being sold by Bill and Wendy in Worcester, which we picked up on July 1st just three weeks after arriving back in the UK!

    During this time, Chris also took the opportunity to take some refresher lessons, and passed his motorbike test. So, now we had to find a motorbike too.
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  • Day65

    Short tour of the UK

    August 9, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    After spending a little time making a few changes to the motorhome to make it more suitable for extended travelling (fitting a solar panel, LPG gas tanks), we finally hit the road to see family and friends.

    Our trip took us to Surrey, Yorkshire, Preston, Norfolk, The Midlands, Buckinghamshire and back to Surrey. This gave us a great opportunity to start getting used to living on board and staying in different places which ranged from family drive-ways, pub and community centre car parks, fields and all singing and dancing dedicated motorhome sites. We loved it.

    During our time in Surrey at the beginning of our trip, Chris found his dream motorbike, a BMW tourer. Next we had to find a trailer, hence the trip to Preston!
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  • Day121

    Going foreign!

    October 4, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    With the days getting shorter and cooler, our Caribbean-thinned blood suggested that it was time to head south and find some sunshine.

    We stayed near Dover, and took the opportunity to visit Canterbury and it's famous cathedral. From here it was a short journey on the ferry to Calais, which we could see clearly from Dover port.

    Our first over-night stop was in Forges-les-Eaux, Normandy where we stayed in a municipal motorhome aire, which is a dedicated parking place just on the edge of a town, and normally with electric and water. We celebrated our arrival in France with a local cider and kir in a bar.
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  • Day122

    La Suze sur Sarthe

    October 5, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    Next day we headed for La Suze Sur Sarthe 191 miles away, just SW of Le Mans. It is an area that Chris knows well as he and his pals made numerous visits to Le Mans and the surrounding area for the famous 24 hour race there.

    The campsite aire was located right next to the river Sarthe, just a 5 minute walk over the bridge to town which was handy for getting hot pains au chocolat for breakfast the next morning.
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  • Day123

    Saumur, Loire Valley

    October 6, 2017 in France ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    We had read in the guide books that Saumur was an interesting place to visit so we headed there, staying at another aire on a island in the middle of the Loire river.

    With the sun shining, we jumped on the bike and headed a few kilometres away to visit a mushroom museum and farm located in troglodyte caves. We learnt a lot about mushrooms from all over the world and how they are produced.

    Distillery Combier, which started in 1834, is the birthplace of the original Triple Sec. We learnt about the process of distilling this delicious drink using Haitian orange skins and how Gustav Eiffel was responsible for designing the distillery interior. They have recently had the law changed and are now legally making absinthe again. After our tour, we sampled a range of their products and came away with a bottle of their famous Triple Sec which we were told to keep in the freezer.
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  • Day128

    St. Emilion, wine country

    October 11, 2017 in France ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    It is here that we really had a taster of what we were looking forward to in France - spending a few days getting to meet the locals on their own 'turf' and tasting wine!

    We couldn't have chosen a better place to stay, at Chateau Arnaud de Jacqueameau, owned by the Dupuy family who have been growing grapes and making St. Emilion Grand Cru for five generations.

    The family graciously allowed us to stay on their land, free of charge, in a designated spot in the middle of the vines, for 3 nights. This gave us time to visit the town of St. Emilion, just 1.5km away, as well as having a private tour and tasting by Mr. Dupuy senior who, at 83-years old, spent two hours showing us how he produced his wine and how best to taste it - all in Franglais!

    Whilst in St. Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site, we were able to enjoy the beauty of the village from the various viewpoints and then had a tour of the monolithic 'underground' church in the centre of the village. It is believed by many that the hermit Emilion lived in a cave, where the church now stands, for 17 years. The church, which is massive, was excavated over a period of 50 years and carved out of solid limestone. It is effectively underground, with the bell-tower the only part that stands proud for all the visiting pilgrims to see from afar. It is a wonderful area, steeped in history and one that we look forward to returning to.
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  • Day131

    Arcachon Bay - oysters and sand dunes

    October 14, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Within an hour and a half of leaving St. Emilion, we'd skirted around Bordeaux and arrived in Arés, on the northeast corner of Arcachon Bay, the 6th largest natural marine park in France.

    The bay is an inland sea between Arcachon and Cap Ferret, open to the Atlantic ocean, accessible only through a narrow channel, and is encompassed by ports and oyster villages, long, fine sandy beaches, pine forests and Europe's largest sand dune - Dune de Pilat.

    This is an area that neither of us had visited before and 'Camping La Canadienne' provided us with a great base from where we explored the whole bay, over a week of mostly sunny weather, on the motorbike.

    In Cap Ferret, at the end of a long peninsula that borders one third of the bay, we sat in the sunshine having lunch at an oyster-farmers rustic restaurant and feasted on fresh oysters, pate de campagne and a glass of chilled white wine.

    At the opposite end of the bay, is the town of Arcachon, with its beach villas that drew in the bourgeois from Bordeaux at the end of the 19th century for its long, golden-sand beaches and protected bathing.

    Just south of Arcachon is Europe's largest sand dune, Dune de Pilat, which is growing eastwards 1-5m per year, depending on the wind! The view from the top, at 115m above sea level, is magnificent. You can see the sandy shoals at the mouth of the bay, oyster-fishermans farms, a bird reserve where 6000 couples of Sandwich terns nest each year and dense pine forest as far as the eye can see.

    Looking out from the top, towards the ocean, we reminisced on our journey across the Bay of Biscay heading south, just as we were doing now but on wheels.

    NOTE
    Camping La Canadienne with large pitches separated by hedges and lots of oak trees with thousands of descending acorns in Oct! Inc. wifi and electric. Good facilities and location. 17 euros per night. Recommend.
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  • Day140

    Hossegor - surfing capital of France

    October 23, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    What we thought was going to be a 3 night stay around Arcachon turned into a week; there was so much to see! However, the weather turned chilly and we headed a little further south, to an area known as Les Landes, a vast tract of pine forests, lakes and seaside towns with seemingly endless beaches. We based ourselves at an aire at Soustons Plage for a couple of days, which was quite busy due to it being French half-term holidays. From there we jumped on the bike to celebrate Chris's birthday at nearby Hossegor, the surfing capital of France. We were in luck as our visit coincided with the French surfing championships and we found ourselves surrounded by cool dudes from all over the world, with bleached blonde hair and tanned bodies.

    Whilst the conditions were not epic, they were good enough to provide us with a taster of what all the hype is about. We enjoyed our moules frites lunch watching the action every bit as much as the surfers enjoyed their waves.
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