Currently traveling

5 Year European Tour

June 2016 - May 2019
June 2016 - May 2019
  • Day1052

    Talsperre Bautzen

    May 14 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Our last night in Germany is spent in a small rural parking area close to the Bautzen Dam. It feels like another long day on the road, but we took time out to look fruitlessly in yet another motorhome shop for a new door handle.
    We then spent several hours at an out of town shopping centre in Dresden where we had a van lunch, went in search of camera equipment at Media Markt and discovered Höffner, a store we now think of as the German IKEA and which provided us with several replacement kitchen items that had been on our shopping list for some time. The quality of the roads is noticeably poorer the further east we go with patches, bumps, potholes and deep ruts made from tyre tracks on some carriageways, all of which slows our progress.

    It was too late to get the canoe down when we arrived, but we walked to the tree border to look out accross the scenic reservoir. As the fiery sun lowered in the sky Will experimented with another of Peggy the Drone's functions (hyperlapse course lock) that played with the light behind a silhouetted church spire.

    Although we tried to play it down, we were both feeling the underlying nerves of travelling to a new country tomorrow. We visited northern Poland for a few days back in 2012. We weren't so widely travelled back then and found some of the poor conditions people were living in difficult to process, especially in comparison to the opulence of the many churches we came accross. We wonder how different it will be this time round...
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  • Day1051

    Colditz, Saxony

    May 13 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Martha Motorhome is parked in a gravel car park surrounded by grass on the edge of a residential estate at Colditz. We are a little disappointed because photos in the Park4Night app suggested there would be views of the famous castle, but instead of spires and turrets we have low rise apartment blocks. Oh well.

    Today's journey has been of mixed success. We managed to fill with diesel and LPG as well as getting some food shopping but none of the four motorhome shops we visited had the replacement door handle we need.

    Passing a big 'Willkommen in Colditz' message in the late afternoon, we got settled in the car park and after a short rest, walked down the hill to explore. There has been a castle of sorts on site from 1083, surviving through refurbishments and rebuilds to serve as a workhouse, mental hospital, sanatorium and from 1933 a Nazi political prison for communists, homosexuals, jews and 'other undesirables'. During WWII its security was heightened and it became a POW camp for officers, those considered highly dangerous or a serious escape risk. It was these efforts to escape that have immortalised Colditz castle in a board game, books, a tv series and films including The Colditz Story and Escape from Colditz. In 1945 the Soviets captured the site and turned it into a prison camp for burglers and non communists. Subsequently it has been an Old People's home, a nursing home, hospital, psychiatric clinic and is now a museum and youth hostel.

    A sign directed us along a woodland footpath to the tiergarten (zoo) and castle 400m away but checking on our map it was in the wrong direction. Trusting Maps.Me we arrived at the modern looking, white rendered walls with four storeys of rectangular windows, bordered in red sandstone and topped by a red tiled roof. Entering the courtyard we found all doors closed and nothing but a small information board identifying different parts of the castle. We tried to walk round to the front, but the sheer rock face made this impossible. Deferring to our map once again we headed optimistically towards a footpath leading down the grassy hill, only to find a padlocked gate. Feeling tired and dispirited we returned to the van for tea.

    Knowing we had a long drive ahead of us the following day, we headed out once again in the evening. Our mission? To view the front Colditz Castle. Will had looked up a quiet road accessed by dropping down to the town and skirting round the grounds. This would have given us a great view if it weren't for an 8ft stone wall... Fortunately, Will had a secret weapon! Peggy the Drone was deployed to fly above the wall and trees. She executed the manoeuvre perfectly, capturing images the land based efforts could only dream of!Mission accomplished, we wandered through the open town square to the bridge, catching glimpses of the castle, but never being afforded a full view, like one of those puzzles you can only turn over two squares at a time to reveal the image that lies underneath.

    Down by the river we met two people, one of whom told us he'd been gassed by the police and asked us for money for a coffee. A number of locals we passed seemed to stand out, leading us to think there was still a mental health institution operating in the town.

    On the way back we followed the footpath signed 'tiergarten' and 'castle' for about 0.5km into a wooded area that used to be part of one the largest zoos in Europe in the 1500s, but long since repurposed into a native wildlife habitat. Our plan had been to branch off and return to the van via a route marked on our map, but this looked like it petered out, so we doubled back and took the roadway. It was ironic that a place famous for attempted escapes had so many barred routes that foiled our attempts to get where we wanted to go in the here and now!
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  • Day1049

    Bindersee, Rollsdorf

    May 11 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Wow, we thought we were lucky yesterday when we camped on the dandelion speckled green on the edge of Großalmerode, but today's spot is even better! We've parked up on the bank of Bindersee in a meadow of tall grass accessed by a tiny track. A white sign attached to a wooden telephone post reads that bathing is at your own risk - brilliant! A chance for a wild swim!

    The rain had once again been torrential, we put the new antislip mats under the front tyres, hoping there wouldn't be any problems when it came time to leave. It was wet and chilly outside so we spent the rest of the day taking in the tranquil views from inside the warmth and comfort of the van, while Will set about making pizzas for tea. A Grey Heron would occasionaly fly accross the rain rippled surface of the lake, while Great Crested Grebes did a mating dance. The two toned call of a cuckoo was our near constant companion, although we never saw it. While it was light, swallows darted after flying insects and as dusk fell, bats took over from where they left off.

    Thankfully the rain abated overnight and day two brought with it a beautiful blue sky, although still with a chill in the air so we rummaged around in the boot and found our full length wetsuits. We (unsurprisingly) had the whole lake to ourselves. While Vicky acclimatised, Will had a quick dip before donning his wetsuit and we swam out to the middle. Afterwards, we played around underneath a Weeping Willow from which someone had hung a knotted rope. To watch the video on the VnW Travels You Tube channel, click here: https://youtu.be/ngeby_XZ3F4

    It was a wonderful feeling to be in the water under the open sky but it also felt good to step back into the van, get the kettle on and turn the heating up! Will made use of the daylight hours by practicing with Peggy the Drone and trying to fly his kite, although whenever he took hold of the strings, the wind disappeared.

    We finished the day with a three course vegan meal of padrón peppers, cauliflower cheese and a Magnum. We are generally skeptical of imitation products but the cheese sauce tasted good, definitely better than sauces we've made with some german dairy cheeses!
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  • Day1048

    Großalmerode

    May 10 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    We feel privileged to be able to park on the dandelion speckled green at the edge of Großalmerode. There are trees all around, allotments to the rear and a little noise from machinery in a nearby workers' yard but this is intermittent and stops mid afternoon.

    After abandoning hope and cancelling the order for a replacement door handle, we no longer needed to hang around waiting for delivery in west Germany. It felt good to be on our way to Lithuania once again. The winding woodland roads and viaducts over forested valleys and fields of golden rape only helped to heighten our already buoyant moods.

    Taking time to rest after our journey we tried in vain to search for motorhome shops that might supply a replacement door handle but the internet connection was so poor it was impossible. The weather was mercurial, with steely grey clouds covering bright blue skies in a matter of minutes, producing an almighty downpour, before rolling on and allowing the sun to shine through once again soon afterwards.

    We took our chances and walked a kilometre into the centre of Großalmerode, past half timbered, cheerfully coloured buildings and the subtly impressive stone facia of the town hall, set between the other buildings lining the highstreet. We avoided one shower by nipping into an independent hardware shop (always a joy to find). Next was Edeka supermarket, where amongst other things, Vicky picked up vegan cheese slices for cauliflower cheese and some vegan Magnum icecreams. We've been trying to cut down on our dairy consumption due to concerns about its environmental impact and animal welfare but its not always easy to find alternatives on the road. After a peak inside a poorly stocked wool shop, we headed back to Martha Motorhome, only to be caught in a torrent of rain that didn't relent until late afternoon, when the skies went blue once again and the birds treated us to a celebratory evening chorus.
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  • Day1046

    Arnsberg

    May 8 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    For a gravel patch behind Lidl the motorhome parking at Arnsberg is surprisingly scenic. Facing grassland, we glance up every now and then to watch Fieldfares, Starlings and Blackbirds hopping around in search of worms and bugs, engaging in an occasional territorial spat. A woodland corridor runs from left to right, concealing the River Ruhr; little more than a stream at this point in its journey.

    There aren't any houses nearby so Will took advantage of the open space to play with Peggy the Drone. We've been mindful of the annoying buzz made by the blades when in flight; we don't want to make a nuisance of ourselves. It has a lot of automatic flight features such as active tracking of a subject and something called boomerang so it will take practice to unlock its potential.

    We'd seen people cycling along the riverside, so on the first morning we set out on our tandem... only to come to the end of the cycleway within a few hundred metres. We hadn't planned our route, but looking at Maps.Me we saw that the track extended a long way in the opposite direction, so decided to aim for Niedereimer, a town 7km down the valley. The route chopped and changed between streets, grassland and woodland, crisscrossing the River Ruhr. However there was a comprehensive network of signs to keep us on course.

    Nearing our destination we pulled up to discuss whether to take the pavement or road over a bridge (it isn't always clear). The person who'd been cycling behind stopped alongside and started up a conversation. They began telling us about their grandson, a student at St Andrews University who was cycling 10,000km from Cairo to Cape Town on a tandem, delivering solar powered devices that help diagnose blindness and deafness, to hospitals along the way. We spent a while chatting and discovered that this person was also planning to visit Lithuania in their campervan, a major difference being that they were actually born there back in 1943 when their town was owned by Germany, their family were forced to flee when Russian troops invaded. It was fascinating to discover this person's history and current family links, making us reflect on what stories lie behind the thousands of people we pass by as we travel.

    Time was pushing on and it was too late to cycle back to the van for lunch, our new friend offered to make us something to eat but we thought this would be imposing too much so we continued on into Niedereimer in search of a quick bite. The bakers we'd looked out on the map had closed down but the Aldi opposite offered a vegan bulgar salad for Vicky and a sarnie for Will. Coincidence showed its face again and our friend, who also happened to be shopping, recommended Karl's Hof, a nearby café that did good coffee and cake, so after our hunger was sated we parked the tandem in the cute wooden bike rack and entered the large detached building in search of a sweet treat. The business was divided into three sections, a flower shop, a bar and a characterful tea room. The latter was made up of antique wooden tables and cushioned wooden chairs, some matching, some not. Each table had a fresh bloom in a beer glass and around the room were handmade nik naks and potted plants on sale from the flower shop. It was delightful and so were the generous portions of cherry sponge and buttercream mocha cake we ordered!

    Back at the van and back to reality we called the company who were supposed to be supplying a replacement for our broken door handle. It had been over a week since we ordered it and there was still no progress. The international lines had been inexplicably closed yesterday and today it was impossible for Vicky to make herself understood to the Spanish telephonist so she ended up with an email address. The services of Google Translate came into play and later that day we were told that the handle was out of stock with no indication of when it might be back in stock. We couldn't wait indefinitely for our handle to arrive at a dropoff box in Germany so we cancelled the order.

    Vicky got into research mode and discovered via a call to UK based Nova Leisure that the manufacturer (FAP) had stopped making our handle. Oh dear! We decided to look in motorhome shops as we travelled on through Germany and if we couldn't find one that would fit, try and order a compatible model online to be delivered to Lithuania if possible or to our home address for when we return in August. The highs and lows if vanlife eh?

    Before leaving in the morning, Vicky hiked up the hill to Arnsberg old town for a little explore. The half timbered buildings on the mainstreet were interesting but what really captured her attention were the castle ruins that had been turned into a park and left open to the public. There were brilliant views of the surrounding area and staircases at the entrance arches, allowing you to climb up within the old walls. A really cool site for tourists like us!
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  • Day1045

    Landschaftspark-Duisburg-Nord, Germany

    May 7 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Age worn industrial infrastructure dominates the skyline. Rusted railway tracks lie disused infront of us, small shrubs growing between their sleepers. A utilitarian network of latticed metal transport and loading frames tower tens of metres above our chosen spot in a large gravel car park.

    We left Belgium this afternoon, made our way through The Netherlands and arrived at Landschaftspark (landscape park) in the Ruhr valley, Germany's industrial heartland. The park was created on the site of an old iron works, leaving the vast majority of machinery and buildings intact. The public has free access and the hundreds of cars here show how much it is appreciated.

    After a cuppa we began our exploration, heading first towards a viewpoint atop a mound at the northern end of the site. Older teenagers hung around in goups of 5 or 6 with their 'boy racer' cars and old black BMWs, bass beats blasting from the stereo systems. A corrugated roof covered rows of concrete walls, providing a wonderful canvas for graffiti artists. The hard sand skate and bmx track beside it meant it was a popular hangout for younger teenagers, but later a large mixed age group came with equipment to use the climbing wall here.

    Crossing back over the vast parking area we headed to the south end of the park where the main infrastructure lay. Several large warehouses here are venues for performances, art exhibitions and events (we were disappointed to miss the upcoming street food festival)! What really drew our eyes though were the enormous metal furnaces and brick towers. We hadn't researched the park before arriving so we were in awe that these structures had been left open to the public. Wandering towards a marked viewpoint, we felt a thrill of excitement when we realised there was a staircase leading up the side of Blast Furnace 5. When we began climbing we didn't realise quite how far it reached, but countless steps later we were standing 70m up on a viewing platform, surveying the other furnaces, coal bunkers and chimneys from a completely different perspective. The climb allowed you to get up close and personal with the rusted steel shell of the furnace and information boards described the purposes of various pipes and hoppers, but we didn't linger at these, preferring to look around with wonder and imagine what it must have been like when the plant was fully operational. Will used to work in a foundry, so has some idea of how hot, noisy and dangerous it would have been.

    The Landschaftspark had so much to offer, there were wild meadows, gardens inside old bunkers and each weekend sees a lightshow illuminating the loading bridges, buildings, chimneys and furnaces. There was even a motorhome service point! We'd definitely choose to stay at this unique and intriguing site again, but we'd arrived late in the afternoon and our heads felt full from taking in the scale of it all and the following day we felt the need to travel a little further towards Lithuania.
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  • Day1044

    Passantenhaven de Welvart, Neerpelt

    May 6 in Belgium ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    N.B. Those of you who read our previous blog post on Puurs will notice the overnight shot is the same as on this post. Sorry! We messed up and attached the wrong photo to Puurs 🤦‍♀️. This has now been changed and fingers crossed all the correct photos are uploaded to this post! 🤞
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    This wasn't our first choice of overnight spot, nor was it our second, but we are here, overlooking Kanaal Bocholt-Herentals and grateful to have somewhere for Martha to rest tired her tyres!

    We'd only planned to drive 80km from our leisure centre stopover in Puurs, so we nipped into town to pick up a few groceries from DelHaize supermarket, delaying our set off. Although we encountered no traffic congestion, the Belgian's preference for prefab roads, narrow lanes and sharp turns rattled our nerves as well as the crockery in our cupboards.

    Our sat nav tried to take us to the first place programmed in via a cycle track alongside a high security enclosure surrounded by a razor wire topped fence. Vicky found an alternate route on Maps.Me but we soon encountered a 'no entry to unauthorised persons' sign and decided to cut our losses.

    The second place sounded perfect; a car park beside a pancake boat, with access to the canal for canoeing and towpath for cycling. Much to our disappointment barriers blocked our entry. Feeling dispirited, we searched Park4Night once again and found this official site for €6 a night. With around 10 side by side bays looking out over the canal, Passantenhaven (Passerby Harbour) was well away from roads and close to a small mooring area for visiting boats. The ticket we bought from the machine included electric hookup but the end bay we had chosen was too far away from the socket for our lead. We were tired and made the decision to stay where we were, with a view of the towpath out of our side window instead of squeezing in between two other vans. We felt grateful that the solar panel we fitted has been doing such a good job keeping our batteries charged!

    A few fishers stood on the bank but now we have crossed into Belgium, Will isn't licenced. Instead he got out his new toy; a camera drone. The fishers' eyes lit up and he was soon chatting away to them, answering their questions about it. One thing he didn't tell them was that we've named it Peggy (short for Pegasus). We hope it will really enhance our ability to capture the essence of places we visit. Talking of licences, Peggy needs liability insurance to fly in many EU countries, including Germany and Lithuania, so that was a job Will set about that afternoon, taking the mandatory and rigorous online test to prove he knew the regulations, in order to aquire said insurance.

    After tea we took a stroll along the towpath, meeting other walkers, cyclists, ducks, geese and goslings along the way. The route is part of a long distance cycle track. This 45km North Limburg section connects with others to form 270km of mountain bike trails. It inspired Vicky to an 11km morning tandem ride. Away from the groups of pupils cycling to school it was really quite peaceful in the dappled light cast by lines of tall trees. She even spotted a woodpecker.

    One of the things we liked about the Passantenhaven site was the recycling facilities it provided. We always find the Belgian system problematic, so our bins were overflowing when we arrived. It was therefore disappointing to see the refuse collector emptying the compost, paper and packaging bins into one black bag before tossing it in their van with the rest of the rubbish.

    For lunch we walked into Neerpelt in search of Belgian frites. It didn't take long to find a frituur and we decided to eat in, so as to try and avoid waste packaging. Unfortunately our shared portion came in a plastic tray, but they tasted good! We spent a little time window shopping, but even more time in the large cookery store. There is a long list of cooking related items we are looking for but despite their wide range, nothing but a digital thermometer quite fitted the bill.

    We'd planned to go canoeing in the afternoon but it was chilly and began to rain as we made our way back. We half decided to drive on and upon inspecting the motorhome facilities at our site we confirmed this decision. We found that the large bin required tokens to unlock it, available from the tourist information office or boulangerie when you presented the tear off portion of your parking ticket. There was also a sign next to the water tap indicating it wasn't suitable for drinking. We stingily didn't want to pay a further €6 when we knew we could get a free site with free services elsewhere, so we hit the road towards Germany.
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  • Day1042

    Puurs, Belgium

    May 4 in Belgium ⋅ 🌬 8 °C

    The Belgian town of Puurs very kindly provides a free, 5 place aire in the car park of their leisure centre. The bays are large, paved in grey brick and there is a free tap with waste water and toilet emptying facilities. A few people come and go but it is quiet on the whole, so we intend to stay for a couple of days, being careful not to exceed the 48 hour limit.

    We travelled just over 100km north east towards Antwerp to get here. Belgium's second city and our old nemesis reinforced its reputation as one of the worst places for traffic, with one jam (caused by a collision) holding us up by 30 minutes. We hope the people involved aren't badly hurt. We're keeping our pace of travel slow, hoping we won't need to wait too much longer before our replacement door handle arrives at its Relais drop off point in Kassel, Germany. The weather has thrown a mix of brilliant sunshine, steely grey skies and sleet storms at us, with gusty winds causing a rapid oscillation between the conditions.

    Soon after arriving we stepped out to explore Puurs. There was very easy walking access to the clean, well maintained town centre. Flags fluttering from overhead lines added a splash of colour against the grey and red brick buildings. A number of businesses had closed down but there were several independent specialist shops that we enjoyed having a nose in. The language here is Dutch, (not one of the languages we've studied) but thankfully everyone we met spoke good English. Our bag filled with loose Red Bush from the tea shop, a cherry tart and custard slice from the boulangerie, and green grocer portabello mushrooms for our favourite burgers, we came accross Der Vierklaver, a traditional looking pub with leaded windows. A board outside advertised Chouffe; a beer we have fond memories of drinking with Will's daughter and son in law when they visited us in Brussels. We popped in for a glass and tried the Chouffe Cherry variation too! The atmosphere was that of a quiet local, but the bar tenders were friendly enough and the other customers smiled back at us and said farewell when we left. It can sometimes be a bit daunting stepping into an unknown establishment where you don't speak the language, but we find that a relaxed and smile and greeting of some sort generally goes a long way towards breaking the ice.

    Early(ish) on Sunday morning Vicky donned her winter coat and walked to Liezels Park, named after the small, grey stone fort within its grounds. The land is low lying and very flat around here, shallow ponds with connecting channels had been created with boardwalks and small pontoons. The fort was closed but around it ran a wide moat lined with deciduous trees in their late Spring foliage. It was a pleasant route despite the rain. After lunch we returned together in search of a festival we'd seen advertised in Puurs. We followed a series of laminated A4 posters, their arrows supposedly pointing in the direction of this elusive event, but to no avail. Perhaps it was the language barrier or maybe the gathering had been called off due to the weather but all we found were some scenic farm tracks, not that we were too dissapointed, especially when the hailstones began pelting us!

    As we warmed up inside Martha we discovered the internet signal was down. It remained so the rest of the afternoon. The afternoon was productive, with Vicky sewing a new zip into her bag, Will mending his bag and coming to the conclusion that we need a new switch for our SOG toilet cassette fan (the new motor we'd picked up in the UK hasn't fixed the problem). We've recently upgraded to a contract with 100GB of data, it is amazing how many of the things we do rely on the internet, such as finding a motorhome dealer for the new switch!
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  • Day1040

    Port de Plaisance d'Halluin, France

    May 2 in France ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    Jackdaws are poking around amongst the carpet of daisies growing through the grass in front of the van. Beyond them a mix of pleasure craft are moored in the small marina, their rubber fenders swinging gently in the breeze. The Old Leie channel breaks away from the River Lys and curls round the tongue of land we are parked on, acting as the border line between France and Belgium. Every so often an angry buzzing penetrates the air, as lessons finish at the Belgian college over the water and students escape on low powered mopeds.

    Before setting off this morning, Vicky called the company we had ordered the new door handle from. Communicating with a Spanish telephonist through the medium of French was a little difficult but we were told the part would be ready in 4 days (better than the possible 2 weeks but we'll have to wait and see how things turn out).

    Our journey here took us on a wild goose chase through Belgium. Vicky is in need of a specialist yarn to finish a knitting project and had used the internet to hunt down a Belgian distributor, only to find the address was that of a private home, not a wool shop. We consoled ourselves with a trip to a frituur for lunch. They were friendly, spoke good English and even had a choice of vegetarian fare, so we walked away happy with a couple of burgers and piping hot frites in a perforated bag to stop them getting soggy.

    Will had a successful afternoon fishing, catching some decent sized carp, while Vicky tried in vain to find somewhere that sold the yarn she needed, either online or at a shop we were likely to be passing. As the sun broke through the clouds she cleared her head with a walk. Our little peninsula seens to be a 'green lung', set within an industrial, urban environment. It was good to walk amongst the trees and spot the birdlife, including a Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Widgeon and Great Crested Grebes. She even took a short trip over the pedestrian bridge to Belgium and back. We really do love the freedom of movement within the Schengen Area!

    A chilly wind blew on the second day but we wrapped up and took a stroll into the towns, yes, towns. The urban area here spans the border line. The Belgian side, where we began, is known as Menen and the French section that we walked to is known as Halluin. Menen's main street is a busy place, crammed with businesses selling tobacco, alcohol, chocolate and a few seedy sex stores. The border at Place Jacques Delors Plein was subtle, with a small granite plinth marking the spot. We were surprised to find that Menen spoke Dutch and Halluin spoke French. Our previous impression had been that Belgian areas close to the French border had adopted this language, but it obviously wasn't the case here.

    Will had successfully fitted the new chain and gear changer to the tandem so in the afternoon we took it out for a test run, following the grassy walking track up one side of the River Lys, through a corridor of Cow Parsley, then returning on the smooth tarmac cycle track on the other. Will indulged Vicky by stopping at a field where two foals were finding their feet. We spent five minutes watching as one reared up and grabbed hold of its mother's mane, hanging on and tugging like a dog would with a rope toy!

    Although it wasn't an official aire, Halluin was a good spot to stay for a couple of days, providing opportunities for fishing, walking, birdwatching, and cycling. It was quiet enough as well as having easy access to a town (or two)!
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  • Day1038

    Bray Dunes, France, April 2019

    April 30 in France ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    The three days spent in the UK has whizzed by and we have a whole three months' of travel stretching out ahead of us! From the familiar Bray Dunes Carrefour car park here in France, we plan to make our way through Belgium, Germany and Poland, to spend a couple of months exploring Lithuania, a country neither of us have previously visited.

    Bray Dunes is only 60km or so from Calais and its Carrefour supermarket offers an aire with van facilites, a laundery and car wash. Upon arriving, Will went shopping to pick up a few bottles of French wine and ensure we had enough edibles to tide us over for tomorrow's May Day public holiday. Later, we worked together to secure the living area door to its hinges. The external handle mechanism broke yesterday, leaving us unable to open the door from outside. Will did a temporary fix with some araldite glue, but it looks like we need a replacement handle pronto! Vicky found the part online and ordered it with delivery to an Esso fuel station in Germany, via the Relais logistics company in what appeared to be two day's time. When the confirmation came through, it told a different story; shipping within 2 weeks and up to 3 days for delivery! What!? We're not sure what we are going to do about this massive delay yet, but it obviously affects our travel plans...

    We decided to stay a second day at Bray Dunes to get our heads together. Will fished in the nearby canal, watching ducklings hone their swimming skills, hopping on their mother's back when they got tired. He fitted a new bike chain we'd picked up at Halfords and did some more work on the door, while Vicky carried out repairs to the upholstery. It isn't the most glamorous start to a trip, but the van is getting to the age where wear and tear is beginning to show and it is better to try and keep on top of it!
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