Monday, 26 June 2017

France, Les Alicourts Resort, 2017

France Loire Valley 2017

As last year its about three weeks before we go, we are booked in for a week at Les Alicourts Resort in a mobilehome. As last year we are booked to go with young Ralph and his girlfriend Fran but this time taking Amber with us, so we need my car this time. Also with us this time are Fran's daughter and her family, in another car of course. As last year we are going through the tunnel to save time, so we got Eurotunnel tickets with the booking, the whole thing cost around £451 for all of us, in my car that is. I am driving in England and young Ralph is taking over in France to drive down to the Loire, well that is our plan anyway.

Fri 2nd to Mon 12th of June

Day One, Friday 2nd June

We were all sorted and set of to Fran's just after eleven in the morning (the Tunnel tickets were for early tomorrow morning). On the way down, we stopped off in Thirsk and popped into Spoons for our dinner, we both had the all day breakfast, we were just too late for the normal breakfast.

From there we drove on to Fran's but didn't get the car packed until just before we left next day. Amber was already there and later Fran got home from work. Early that night Ralph and I popped out for a couple of drinks before going back for a pizza take away. We were setting off at about 01:30, so Ralph went to bed fairly early, he had decided he was driving for some reason. The rest of us went not too long after but still only got a couple of hours sleep.

Day Two, Saturday 3rd June

Got up at at 01:00 and set off around 01:30, with it being that early the roads were nice and quiet. One problem on the way down was near Cambridge, where we were diverted because of road works. The car just cutout as we turned, eventually after about a minuet (it did seem much longer), it started again and was alright the rest of the way. It has done this once before last year, when we travelled more than one hundred miles, we have not travelled that far for a while.

Arrived early for the crossing but only had time to go to the toilet before our number was called through to the train. The others had not arrived at the tunnel yet and when they did, going to the toilet meant that they missed the train.

It was after seven when we arrived in France but we just drove to the first petrol station to wait for the others off the next train.

The drive through France took quite some time as the others, Tim and Zoe, were having overheating problems with their car. We eventually arrived arrived at Les Alicourts Resort at about three and booked straight in, well as soon as we found the reps.

We decided we could survive until Monday by just getting a few things from the site shop or by using the takeaway. So that meant we could just relax and start drinking.

We wandered over to the pool and bar for a look around and had a beer in the bar, we actually sat inside as it was a bit cold on that first day. On the walk back we got food and beer from the site shop, we even got chips from the cafe, to have with the sandwiches we had left from the travelling down.

One surprise that first day was that there was only going to be Me, Dot and Amber in our van, Ralph and Fran where staying with the others in the other van.

Day Three, Sunday 4th June

Today I though I would get the satellite working but I couldn't get any reception for the trees and then the tripod broke, so I just gave up.

I let the others wander of to the pool while I had a rest, my hart was ok but it was only a couple of weeks since it last went funny. I just sat and read my book in the sun, one change this year was that I was using an iPad for my book for the first time. It worked well, looks like this is the way to do it, it took up a lot less space than several books would.

Eventually though Ralph texted me to say that he was in the bar so I set off over to see him in there. We sat in the hot sun with a couple of Amstel's but two was the most I could do and changed to Edelweiss for the next one. Dot and Fran noticed Me and Ralph in the bar and joined us for a couple before we wandered back via the shop to get food for tea.

Ralph Amber

Tim did the BBQ cooking for tea, as that's what he wanted to do, so that was a nice rest for me. I did do the chips in our oven though. Then we just sat out after eating until it was time for bed.

Day Four, Monday 5th June

Today the men went off for the shopping to Aubigny-sur-Nère, it was about 25k each way and we spent about €160, quite a lot but we did get lots of beer. Tim also found a Tabac for some tobacco but had to queue for ages. I took this photo while we were waiting.

Aubigny-sur-Nère

When we arrived back it was dinner time, so we had something to eat and then made our way over to the pool area. Where we spent the rest of the day, Me and Ralph in the bar and the rest in the pool. Eventually Dot and Fran joined us for a couple.

Dot Amber

Back at the van I cooked supper for us all, we had pizza and chips, not special but easy, and we had plenty of beers to try, well I did.

Day Five, Tuesday 6th June

Time for a day out, so we all set off to Orléans, it was a little bit overcast today anyway. We drove straight to Orléans via the A71 and parked in a multistory in the town centre. Ones we found the others (we got split up in the car park), we headed of to find the Cathedral.

It wasn't far from the car park, we just followed the tram lines up to the Cathedral and all went in for a good look around. When we came out we wandered around the outside, just as we finished it started to rain so we popped into the Musée des Beaux Arts Orléans (Musée des Beaux Arts Orléans, cost me and Dot €3.00 each to get in as old age pensioners, I think the others payed twice as much. We were in there for about an hour and when we came out it was sunny.

Orléans Cathedral Inside Orléans Cathedral

We walked down to the river but the weather started to change again, so we didn't stop long and wandered back to the car park, to set off back to the site.

Paddle Boat, Inexplosible Pont George V

We took the D2020 on the way back instead of the A71 and stopped off when we passed a Chateau, the Château de la Ferté Saint-Aubin. We had our sandwiches in the car park next to the Château, before we walked over for a look.

Château de la Ferté Saint-Aubin Entrance Gate and Moat

We all called into the Supermarket a Intermarché Super, in Lamotte-Beuvron on the way back, for some fire lighters for the BBQ. But the others had stopped at a garage in town and got some. We did all go into the Intermarché though and bought plenty more food and about three new beers.

That evening it pored down again and we had lasagna to eat.

Day Six, Wednesday 7th June

Today it was glorious and we did nothing at all, except go to the pool, the bar and had a BBQ. Although Tim was up early and off fishing in the lake, the rest of us just had a quiet morning, Me and Dot just reading. After lunch though we set off to see how Tim was doing, not too good but he was enjoying himself. Me, Dot Ralph and Fran went to the bar from there, big surprise.

The campsite bar

Again Tim did the BBQ on the evening for us all.

Day Seven, Thursday 8th June

Today was going to be a day by the lake, so after a morning reading at the van we set of to see what the others were up to. They were sat by the lake with the little ones playing in the water. After a short while Me and Dot wandered off around the lake and out of the site, to look at the bridge just outside. Not that anyone knew it was there, well not with us anyway.

The side of the lake River and Bridge

When we got back to the bar, Ralph was already in there and the others had moved into the pool area. I joined Ralph for a beer or two, and the girls joined us later.

Back at the van we had chicken and spaghetti for supper and we all had a fairly early night.

Day Eight, Friday 9th June

Well everyone was up early to go to Disney, that is all but me, I have been to Disney in Florida and didn't fancy it. Anyway they were all up on time and set off, it was about 220 km to Disney. None of the young ones knew they were going until the morning and they were very exited.

I had the full day on my own, read, sat in the sun (when there was some) and watched films. About seven I wandered over to the bar to ask if they had the football on tomorrow but they didn't, I only had the one beer and then walked back over to the van.

The others however did have a very good day and Dot took a camera with them.

The Kids Disneyland Paris

So I thought I would put some photos on here.

Grace, Zoe and Fran Amber at Disneyland Paris

Some more from Disney

Disney Paris The Wild West

And finally the parade.

Frozen float Nemo and Dory float

That evening I was watching films from the laptop when I got a call to ask me to do some food for them getting back. It was very late as I cooked burgers for everyone and got some beers out for them. When they got back they were very tired but they had had a fantastic day.

Day Nine, Saturday 10th June

We should be off home today but we had booked an extra night on site so we had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. I even went in the pool, not for long though, I had a couple of rides down the water slide but that was about it.

Me and Amber Fran and Dot

By about three thirty Me and Ralph were in the bar, its were we belong. I did keep taking photos though, some zooms to the top of the slide. Later we were joined by the others for a couple more beers, before heading back for the last BBQ.

Having a rest in the bar Amber

The BBQ was nice and the kids seemed to be happy, shame it was the end of the holiday. The kids even got my camera and took the photos below, plus many, many more.

The Last Night Tim after the BBQ

Then it was time for the football, we managed to get it on Ralph's iPhone, so the pair of us sat up close to the table and watched. It was England v Scotland, anyway we managed a draw but it was in the last second of the game.

Day Ten, Sunday 11th June

We were up early to get ready to leave, Tim and the others set of as early as they could, as their car was still overheating. We set off about two hours later and didn't have to rush at all, we even stopped for a picknick on the way back.

Snack Me

Again the car cutout a couple of times on the way back, that was about four times now, it did start each time but is was worrying. We did catch up to and pass Tim and family but they caught us on our first breakdown. The next time was just as we got to the tunnel but we managed to get it going again.

Back in England the car was ok, it took some time getting through the river Themes tunnel but as soon as we got out the traffic flowed ok. I took over driving somewhere near Cambridge and after dropping Amber off in Peterborough, it was strait back to Wath, where we stopped the night.

Day Eleven, Monday 12th June

Fran was up early and off to work, Me and Dot just took our time driving the rest of the way home. One thing was though, we drove home on one tank of petrol, that was 666 miles, we would have had to fill the van at least twice.

Well that was it, roll on next time.

By the way we got nearly 700 miles from that full tank before we filled it up the next day.

Monday, 12 September 2016

France, La Croix Du Vieux Pont, 2016

France, Aisne 2016

Well with about three weeks to go, we booked a week in La Croix Du Vieux Pont campsite, France. Not with the Motorhome not even in a Mobilhome, this time we booked a Log Cabin and it was relatively cheap. We booked to go with young Ralph and his girlfriend Fran and he wanted to use his car, as it is a convertible. He also wanted to go through the tunnel to save time, so we got Eurotunnel tickets with the booking for the Log Cabin through Canvas Holidays. The whole thing cost around £550 for all of us.

Fri 2nd to Sat 10th September

Day One, Friday 2nd September

Dot was working so I got the car ready, after she got in and had tea, we set off to meet the others at Fran's place. It took about one and a half hours for us to get there and it was about nine when we turned up. We got Ralph's car packed, had a couple of beers and then had an early night.

Day Two, Saturday 3rd September

We had to be up relay early to set off in the dark for the tunnel. The drive down went really well and we arrived nice and early only to find out that the trains were running late after a breakdown in the tunnel. We had a beer from the terminal and sat by the car in the sun. We eventually got on the train at about twelve, we could have had a nice sleep in.

Eurotunnel

Off the train we set off in the wrong direction, not by accident but because I wanted to visit where my grandad was, one hundred years to the day during Wold War One.

Bailleul in northern France, was the place, one hundred years on after my Grandad was there in 1916, although the place was totally destroyed by the French and British in 1918. So we just had a quick wander around the train station there, I did know that he had worked on the railway during his stay back then.

SEPTEMBER 9th Month 1916

3 Sun-11th after Trinity

Awaiting relief. Relieved A & S.H. (
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) Marched to camp in Bailleul Lost 30 Franks and Janes photo. Had to rely on G.H.R. Nothing doing.

Not a lot I know but he was there and one hundred years later, so was I along with Dot. It may not have seamed like it but I was rather upset but very proud of my Grandad.

Bailleul Station

From there we drove on to the site, we had already used about and hour and a half and gone about 55 miles the wrong way and still had another 125 miles or so to go. The Sat Nav gave two routes, both about the same distance, the one we followed was the wrong one, well at least the slowest and we had done it before. So we should have known better and this rout even led us to a muddy farm trail, luckily I knew the way from there. We would be travelling back the other, quicker, easier, way though.

The Canvas Holidays book in was full and the rep insisted on showing everyone to their tent, caravan or lodge. Luckily the people in front of us knew where they were going and were let to set off to their caravan, that let us say that we also knew where we were going and the booking in became simple.

Our Lodge

We got all of the gear sorted out of the car and Ralph got the roof down, we then set off to the shop. It was good to get out in the car with the roof down. With the food and drinks bought, we went back to the lodge for me to get the satellite working and to make some supper.

Burger and Sausage

Day Three, Sunday 4th September

As we had travelled and had rather a long day previously, today was a rest day, a day to do nothing at all. We however popped out to the shop and just managed to get what we wanted before they closed at 12:30.

Had a nice quiet day before walking over to the lake paddling pool bar for a beer.  Back at the hut we watched England play football and win 1 - 0 over Slovakia, well we got the second half, we had got the times all wrong.

Day Four, Monday 5th September

Today we had to be up early to catch the but for a trip to Paris, the bus was full, as usual and the traffic was horrendous.

The weather was pretty poor today but we had coats and umbrellas with us. After we popped into Place de la Porte Maillot, to use the toilets (and take GANT photos), we walked towards the Eiffel Tower.

GANT

As we got there the rain started to get bad, so we got on the BatoBus river boat and went for a ride along the river. We have done this three times now and I still love it, not sure about every one ells though. The boat even went around the L'île aux Cygnes at the end this trip and I got photos of the Statue of Liberty, do not think it did this before.

Wet day in Paris Statue of Liberty

Off the boat it was still raining so we made our way to a bar for a drink, not only was it the bad weather but I was worn out as well. The bar seemed nice enough and the bar man had worked in England, we had a couple of beers before we left. We had four pints (large beers) and four half's (small beers) and it only came to around £45. Well we usually get robbed at least once when abroad, hope this was the last time for this trip. The weather was improving slightly and we had another walk before heading back towards the pickup point and the bar that we usually use.

Nice (but expensive) bar in Paris Better Bar

The drive back in the bus took an age as usual and when we got back I had to make food for everyone.

Day Five, Tuesday 6th September

Today the weather was improving, quite warm in fact and we made our way to Soissons, to get things we needed from Lidl. Only first we had a walk around the town, the bar we have been to on our last two or three visits, down by the river was now closed, very sad. The big old building opposite had also gone and new building were going up, the footbridge over the river was also new, it all changes.

L'Etrier Pedestrian Bridge, River Aisne

Back at the site the weather was improving and it was time to just sit and read, of course, I made the tea on the BBQ.

Day Six, Wednesday 7th September

It was really foggy on the morning but that soon burnt off for a fantastic day.

Early Morning

We went out for a drive with the roof down, very nice and ended up in Pierrefonds, forth time Me and Dot have been there. Ralph's foot was playing him up so we just had a short walk and went for lunch in Le Kiosque (we have also been there four times). We also had a beer (or two) before we went back to the site.

Market Place, Pierrefonds Beer before Lunch

We didn't stay out too long and headed back to just sit in the sun and read, it was nice to just sit in the their relaxing. We also had a beer and a wine or two as the sun went down.

The Lodge Evening Drink

Day Seven, Thursday 8th September

The sun was shining so we spent most of the day just sat in the sun again.

Later on though we did go for a walk down to the main bar, and had a drink in the sun by the main pools.

Dot and Me Fran and Ralph

We also popped into the other bar on the way back to the Cabin. After the drinks Me and Ralph wandered back to the cabin to make supper, the girls on the other hand, went for a wander around the lake on the way back.

Day Eight, Friday 9th September

Today we went back into Soissons, Ralph wanted to look into Aldi and then Lidl, I forget what for but we got beers and wine in there. From there we drove on to Chateau de Coucy, a place we have been many times before but it is so good.

Driving in France

Ones there we had a short walk around the walls but Ralph's foot was playing him up so we made for a bar. The one we have usually used was closed (very unusual), so we went to the Hotel Belle View, and sat outside in the sun. After the beer we made our way back to the site, where we lazed about to end the holiday.

Sunset

Day Nine, Saturday 10th September

We got packed up fairly early and set off for the tunnel and the drive home. We took a much easier way back to Calais but we did pay more in tolls. All was going well but in the tunnel my hart went funny again and it was wrong until we got back to Frans. I was still OK when I took the photo below as we were setting off in the train.

Eurotunnel

We were going to stop there overnight but with Me feeling the way I was, Dot just drove us the rest of the way home. Another sad end to a nice time away.