Week 1: The Tunnel to Amsterdam…

On Tuesday 2nd July we made our way to the Tunnel to begin our first adventure in Nortia, our Etrusco T7400QBC Motorhome. On arrival at the tunnel, there appeared to be a large volume of lorry traffic. After check-in we discovered there was an hour delay. Still, this time we had a motorhome where we could move around and make our lunch rather than having to be reliant on the services provided. Also, an hour delay can provide a nice time to shop!

Waiting to board, a couple of lanes over from us, was a zoo vehicle and trailer – our curiosity was too much and we had to ask what was in it, after all it would be nice to know what we were sharing a train with! It was two antelopes being transported to a zoo in Germany. They looked lovely but the horns looked severe!

Finally, we were called to board but, the train was full, so we were taken around again and boarded the next available train.

Over the weekend whilst we had been sort of wild camping (a car park with electricity), we discovered a leak from the bathroom sink. It wasn’t life threatening and didn’t leak into the Motorhome but would still be annoying and could cause us issues when wild camping or using Aires. A phone call to Rachel at Erwin Hymer, had us booked into an Etrusco Dealership in Geel, Belgium – Dicar Motorhomes http://www.dicar.be on Wednesday morning at 09:00. We changed our planned route and have chosen to add them to the return journey. We hastily tried to find a campsite close to Geel – having assumed (first error) the one in Geel would have vacancies! Our search took us to a small campsite just over the Dutch Border – Camping Buitenlust near Chaam, NL. From here it was an hour to Geel and Dicar Motorhomes. We had been in four countries in one day!

On arrival at Dicar, we were impressed it was enormous – a vast two storey showroom with an outside area similar to a two storey car park in England. The signage was great and we were directed to the Service Centre. They have a ticket system, like we used to have in the supermarket for the Deli Counter (if you’re old enough to remember!). After a short wait, we explained the issue and within 3 hours we were on our way again. We were even given coffee (from a vending machine but so much better than an English machine).

Next stop was a small campsite in Belgium, Camping Fort Bedmar in De Klinge. There is a statue here to the De Loor brothers one of whom won the Tour of Spain Cycle Race – now La Veulta.

From here we made our way back to the route we had wanted to travel and we drove up the coast of The Netherlands passing Middelburg and on to Ouddorp. Where we stayed at Vakantiepark De Klepperstee. A short distance from the sand dunes and a cycle path around the peninsula. Driving there had been over a number of dams holding back the North Sea. We chose to stay here two days and went on a bike ride around the area stopping to eat lunch overlooking the dunes and with a spectacular view across the North Sea to Den Haag and Rotterdam.

Leaving here , we had decided to go up the coast to Delft before heading to a campsite we’d booked outside Utrecht (second error, as I’ll reveal!) We checked into the campsite found our pitch, placed our washing in a machine, sorted out our stuff and took the dog for a stroll to check out the restaurant and facilities. We’d taken about ten steps, when people started staring at us and we felt really uncomfortable. We looked at each other and realised we hadn’t seen any dogs at all – really rare for the campsites we’ve been on. A quick check on the website and there we saw it NO DOGS ALLOWED! We have never decamped so quickly – including remembering the washing!

Back on the road, we chose a campsite we had already discussed and it was perfect. Camperplaats Het Groene Hart in Abbenes, NL. Its a simple stop over with amazing views in the middle of an arable farm on a lovely quiet road. All the instructions are there for you with a shower and toilet block (2 showers & 2 toilets). Perfect – Time to reflect our mistake, from the comfort of the Motorhome.

Final stop for the week and a journey of less than an hour – Gaasper Camping Amsterdam. As the name suggests it’s in Amsterdam. Its about 30 minutes on the Metro to Centraal Station. Having set up our camp and checked out the facilities we thought we’d go to the city the next day and go for a bike ride in the afternoon. We cycled out to the Muiderslot Castle. The route took us through pretty villages, over a lock for the Amsterdam Canal, alongside the motorway and through a lovely big park, back to the campsite.

On Monday – Day Seven, we’ve been to Amsterdam, walked the locks, had lunch, visited shops and seen the views. It is truely stunning and the campsite is an ideal base to visit the city and its environs.

Now as I write this, we are contemplating our next week of adventure. We have an idea, but… How many mistakes will we make in this coming week? I’ll be sure to let you know! For now here’s a quick round up of facts: 4 major Dams crossed; 1 Toll Tunnel; 4 country borders crossed: England – France, France – Belgium, Belgium – the Netherlands (and the Netherlands – Belgium and back again!) 2 Bike rides; 1 city visited; and 2 errors made!

Thank you again for reading. We’ll have another update next week – have a great week and stay safe.

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