Thursday 8 September 2016

The Twenty-Sixth Week

Saturday 27-8-16

So we were having our second day at Goncourt on their very nice municipal camping inside the medieval walls. The walls can be walked, so that's what we did. But we waited until two o'clock when the sun was at it's hottest and we were sure to be hot and sweaty. Even with the heat it was nice to walk the whole way around the town on top of a wall.

We had a wander around the town too and bought stuff for dinner, a big meaty salad.

After dinner we had a bit of spectator sport watching a German pitching his caravan on the road around the site. Seems he didn't fancy a proper flat, grassy pitch. This was his final effort at leveling it before giving up.

We got the big map out and plotted our route for the next five days. A loop of French camping municipals that would end up near the German border and our next weekends beer festival destination.

Camping Municipal Goncourt, France. N47.86052 E005.32883

Sunday 28-8-16

Our next municipal was at Saint Marie Sur Ouche, to get to it the road narrowed over two bridges, one over the river and then one over the canal.

The site was small and quiet, our kind of place. The reception was closed but a sign said to find a pitch and pay later. This we did.

A lady came around at six and collected the money for the pitch, 16 euro. She said the town didn't have a bakery for bread in the morning but there was a great machine that dispensed bread on our way out. I dragged the charcoal and bbq out and burnt some pork and cooked some tomatoes in foil for dinner.

Camping Municipal at Saint Marie Sur Ouche, France. N47.28455 E004.79631

Monday 29-8-16

I had to find this bread machine, which we did in a car park. It did exactly what it promised and dispensed us a baguette after putting money in it. Problem was it was artisan bakers bread. This means oddly shaped and with a crust like a wood rasp.  I'm not a fan of artisans.

Something else we needed today was LPG. After a few laps around a few French petrol stations we eventually found one flogging gas. It was self service which I prefer as the attendants give up too quick and we never get a completely full tank. By waiting after the pump slows down I can normally get a couple more liters in. So far in the trip we've used 95 liters over 180 days.

At a big town called Gray we found the camping and made ourselves at home again.

Camping Municipal at Gray, France. N47.45219 E005.60168

Tuesday 30-8-16

And the week carried on much the same, drive for a few hours in nice scenery, a wander around a supermarket and then find the next camping on our list. Not that interesting but very relaxing after our previous months adventures. France is so easy to tour in a motorhome. Today's camping was again a small quiet one with a lady who collected the money in the evening, this one being just 11 euro.

Camping Municipal at St Maurice Sur Moselle, France. N47.87766 E006.77944

Wednesday 31-8-16

On the drive today we passed through Colmar. On one of its traffic islands we came across a 12m high replica of the Statue of Liberty. Latter with a bit of Googling I found out sculptor Auguste Batholdi, who was born in Colmar had created the original one.

Our plan was to stop at the camping municipal at Obernai, another medieval city. There was a closed barrier and the reception was shut when we got there. But the barrier wasn't a problem as I just followed a car through who had the code. We pitched and then when the reception opened we went to pay. The lady was unhappy and non too friendly, asking us to move to a gravel part of the site where motorhomes had to be parked. I didn't want to, so we asked her to lift the barrier and left. In the middle of the town was a free motorhome aire. It was just a gravel car park but not much different to where the snotty cow at the camping wanted us to pay 20 euros to pitch. We found ourselves a space.

The town was right on our doorstep so we had a good walk around. I forgot my camera so early the next morning I got up and went to take some snaps. The market stall holders were setting up everywhere so instead of pictures of nice old buildings with no tourists I got them in all my pics.

Aire at Obernai, France. N48.45972 E007.48607

Thursday 1-9-16

We wanted to be as close to Germany as possible today. The most easterly town in France is right on the border and that's where we found our last camping municipal of the week. From the outside it looked French.

But once in we felt like we were back in Germany, all the other people camping there were German and the signs were all in German. It was also the most expensive nights camping we'd had in 180 days at 22 euro a night.

It was next to a big lake with a beach so Liz topped her tan up there in the afternoon. They were setting a stage and some huge speakers up on the beach for a party at the weekend.

Camping Municipal at Lauterbourg, France. N48.97047 E008.16430

Friday 2-9-16

As we packed up the van in the morning they started sound checks at the beach, my coffee cup rattled on the table in the van. I felt a bit sorry for the campers stopping here over the weekend, it was going to be noisy. But we were off to a noisy event ourselves. Every two years my friends town in Germany has a beer and wine festival. This would be the fifth time I'd been to it and we were meeting my friend and 16 others there. He'd sorted us out a pitch on an allotment ten minutes walk out of the town. It was ideal as the town had no camp site or stellplatz for motorhomes. We found it down a gravel track and tucked the van under some trees for shade.

We walked into the town in the afternoon and met up with everyone. The idea was to have a few beers then go back to the van and then meet up again that night. That didn't happen, we just stayed out drinking. First in the bars....

Then up at the festival....

Friday night was supposed to be the quiet night at the festival with Saturday being the busy night. It wasn't that quiet for us. At 2am in the morning we wandered back to the van, it took over an hour rather than 10 minutes to find it in the dark with blurry eyes and wobbly legs.

An allotment near Jockgrim, Germany.

Below are the numbers so far for 179 days away.

Cheers, the Van Brian Crew.


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