Dobar Dan Hrvatska – Good Morning Croatia!

Leaving Hungary we crossed the border into Croatia, not one of the happiest Border Check Points, having had to show passports, Animal Health Certificate and Vehicle Log Book (V5), we were waved out of Hungary, before we were stamped into Croatia. We headed to a campsite in the hills, but the amount of roadworks and diversions made it impossible to get there, so instead we headed to Camp Zagreb, on the edge of the Capital, with a shuttle bus and train into the centre, and a restaurant onsite. We were late arriving and it wasn’t on our itinerary, so we were not prepared for another city visit, but have vowed to return another time. https://www.campzagreb.com/en/

Leaving Zagreb, we headed to the coast and the island of Krk. It’s connected to the mainland by a bridge and we had chosen to stop for a couple of nights in the town of Krk, at Jezevac Premium Camping Resort, hoping they had space on a lovely sunny Saturday afternoon. Arriving at about 4:00 pm we arrived with a huge amount of motorhomes and caravans, so weren’t hopeful, but our fears were alleviated, when we were shown two pitches – with the ACSI card you don’t get a premium beach front pitch, but the one we chose (of the two) overlooked the town beach, which was barely used and we claimed it as our own private beach! https://www.camping-adriatic.com/jezevac-camp-krk

We loved it so much we stayed for six nights, the town is a short walk away with it’s old buildings, harbour and restaurants. We swam in the sea, such a long time since last having done it – New Year 2020 (before the world shut down, and it felt like a lifetime ago). The sea was amazingly warm! In addition, there is a dog beach, but it was a bit too choppy on that part of the peninsula, so we didn’t take Reg, maybe next time…

Krk Town was so nice, we spent days wandering around exploring. Right next to our pitch was the Piazza with a bar and street food and a 5 minute walk took you to a Restaurant, which was so cheap.

We felt it was time to leave Krk, and headed across the country west to Novigrad, where we stayed at the Aminess Sirena Campsite. https://www.aminess-campsites.com/en/aminess-sirena-campsite It is a short walk into the town of Novigrad, with it’s working port and pleasure harbour and old town, bars and restaurants. The sea was way too choppy here to swim in (I’m not a lover of rocky beaches since a childhood sponsored swim in the sea – on a very rough day – resulted in a lot of scrapes on my shins from the barnacle covered breakwaters)! If it’s flat calm I’m in, if it’s not, then no way!

We walked into the town, mooched around the streets and ate in the restaurant at the hotel, in the campsite grounds. We met some lovely people – did a book give-away with a couple who had finished all theirs – Ric was happy as the payload lightens with each item removed! And swapped travel stories with a couple who have been touring for seven months and were reluctantly heading home, to save some pennies to return.

We have been to Croatia before – almost three years to the day crossing the border, we arrived in Opatija, to surprise Sarah’s mum, who was on holiday there and Sarah has been here as a child, but this trip felt different. We have fallen in love with it and are planning our return adventure (we’re not even halfway through this trip, as we write!).

We’ll be leaving Croatia soon, and heading to Italy. As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well and we’ll be back with another update soon…

Two Weeks in Hungary and Romania…

We didn’t know what to expect when we chose to come to Hungary, we knew it’s capital was Budapest divided by the River Danube, but that was about it!

We bought a month e-toll pass for the roads, as so many of them are tolled or payable, without booths but cameras, it’s based on number-plate recognition, and we had been advised to keep all documentation, just in case (for a year)! Remembering to put Ditsy Daisy back on to motorways and toll roads as we crossed the border, to try and steer to the decent roads…

Our first destination was Keszthely, on the Lake Balaton. Lake Balaton, is one of the largest lakes in Europe and Keszthely has been a market town since the 1400s and is a popular holiday destination. Architecture is divided between very modern apartments and hotels, communist influenced houses, commercial centres and flats and the opulent Baroque style of the Festetics Palace, designed by an Austrian in the 1800s.

We had a walk along the lakeside and into the old town, before we headed off to Budapest. Our stop was the Camping Castrum http://www.castrum.eu/en/keszthely

We had found a campsite, in the heart of Budapest, you do pay a little more, but the city centre is walkable – we were advised by Reception to take the tram or bus, but a stroll along the Danube was pleasant and flat. We saw the River Cruise boats arriving and departing, walked up to the very touristy city centre and along to the Elizabeth Bridge (the older and iconic Chain Bridge was shut for renovation) crossing over the River, so we could say we’ve walked in both Buda and Pest, crossing back and heading back to the campsite. The roads are very busy and there is an element of smog especially in the rush hours. We found random sculptures and wall art along the way.

There is not really anything to say about the campsite – its basic – with disposal and fill up, electricity and a secure gate. There is a lack of hot water, for both dishwashing and showers and it’s cash only, as we found out on departure, resulting in a hunt for an ATM, had we been told at check-in, we could have sorted it on our trip into the city! Haller Camping https://hallercamping.hu/

Leaving Budapest, we located a motorhome accessory store and headed along the bumpy and unloved roads to the suburbs to purchase a new cycle cover, ours had ripped beyond repair during our trip – possibly due to the poorly maintained roads combined with the hot summer at home.

Our next stop, was the town of Eger. We chose the Tulipan Camp Site https://www.tulipancamping.com/ a short walk to the city centre, with lovely architecture and a city square, surrounded by shops and cafes.

We bought a toll ticket for the Romanian Roads and headed over the border the next day. Leaving Hungary, the Border Police will stamp your passport and check the V5, Vehicle Log Book, then you move on to the next window and Romanian Border Control do the same – they are not a happy bunch and as we waited, they smoked! In total our crossing at Petea took about ten minutes, though. We headed into the town, bought groceries and headed for our overnight stop at Camping Norac, Sacalaseni. A lovely little site, but due to the amount of rain, the pitches hadn’t been cut and the ground a little boggy in places, but the facilities were lovely. This was our first trip to Romania and the amount of stray dogs was overwhelming, making walking an over-excitable Reg a bit of a nightmare.

We headed on to Cluj-Napoca and a campsite we had found, but on arrival the entrance driveway was way too steep for our motorhome so we found another, which is now a building site. We checked where we were heading to and found another campsite at the town of Turda. Slightly quirky, but with great hosts, Camping La Foisor https://lafoisor.com/ was a welcome stop.

The next morning, we headed off again, along the motorway (do be prepared to check for pot holes on these roads too, they do tend to be highlighted by cones but several are very deep) to Sibiu. The camperstop we found, was unlocatable, we have got used to the fact that this may well be a theme for our trip, so found another, in the village of Cisnadie. Here, we first saw the warning signs for bears (and wild dogs were not as frequent – don’t know if the two are connected, but…) The campsite has amazing views of the mountains and the sunrise was great. Camping Ananas https://www.ananas7b.de/ is an ideal stop, before starting the Transfăgărășan Highway.

One of the reasons we had come to Romania, was to drive the Transfăgărășan Highway, we’d first seen it on Top Gear in 2009, and never thought it was somewhere we’d be able to get to but time is now on our side. We had a great drive south along the route (road number DN7C), crossing the Fagaras Mountains, deep in Transylvania, stopping at several places along the way to look at the view and infamous hairpin bends. The highest point of the route is lake Balea at 2040 metres. A tunnel marks the road summit joining the two sides of the lake.

Our stop for the night was in Curtea de Arges, at a little campsite called Camping Curtea Arges http://www.camping-arges.ro/ro/ another quirky little site, on the edge of the village, but back with roaming stray dogs and bears and wolves!

It was here we decided to stop our Romanian Road Trip, our hopes of getting to the Black Sea and Bucharest were set aside. The driving experience on general roads was not enjoyable. The road surfaces are unmaintained, potholes are everywhere, the locals stop at the level crossings, not just to check for trains, but also to find the safe crossing route across the tracks. Drivers do not seem to have any idea of safety, if it says no over taking – it is generally an indication that they will, blind bend, hill summit or village are no reasons to slow down! We headed back towards Hungary.

Added to the mix, the lack of campsites (either open or locatable) was making our drives longer and longer, we found a very late stop at Arad – Camping Route Roemenie, in Minis https://www.eurocampings.co.uk/romania/minis/campsite-route-roemenie-118083/Having arrived at one we had located to find it closed for the season, despite the website saying otherwise. More rain and a very wet pitch, we stopped on our traction tracks just to make sure we could leave. The showers have a warning of 3 minutes of hot water, so we used the motorhome facilities instead!

Back to Hungary, the following day and our crossing point this time was the much busier at Nadlac. We arrived to a long queue and four lanes of traffic, finding the right lane – All Passports, by walking along the lane and directing Ric to the right one – holding the traffic behind us to allow us to change lanes and about an hour to get to the border, where we were stamped out of Romania and back into the Schengen Zone – two Border Posts agan, just wanting passports and the V5, nothing for the dog! and we were back in Hungary heading to the town of Szeged, where the campsite looked amazing on the website, but was a total disappointment – on the edge of the river Camping Szeged https://www.eurocampings.co.uk/hungary/csongrad/szeged/ has amazing views of the city ad a good walk will take you to the busy centre. Our arrival was fine, with a slightly dour check-in at Reception, we located our pitch and then discovered that English Gypsy Travellers had taken over the sanitary block with their kids, dogs and washing machines! We asked at Reception, where to fill up with water but couldn’t locate the tap, so made do. As our stay continued more of the campsite was closed off, so we headed off towards Croatia.

Our next and final stop in Hungary, was at the town of Harkany. A thermal spa town with a slight Cocoon feeling (if you’re old enough to know the film https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088933/ People of various ages were walking along the streets to the Thermal baths in their bath robes! The campsite is located behind the Drava Hotel and check-in is in the Reception, there. https://www.eurocampings.co.uk/hungary/baranya/harkany/termal-kemping-harkany-100583/

The water rises from the ground at 60°F, and walking Reg in the morning, steam was rising from the manholes!

We’re off to Croatia, another Border Crossing out of the Schengen Zone beckons… As always, thank you for reading, we hope you and your families are safe and well and we’ll be back with Croatian update soon…

Back to Europe – a meander to Hungary.

We’ve set off on our next tour – we’re heading to Hungary, but we’re not in a rush to get there! Our route will take us through France to Germany, across Austria and into Hungary. As always, we don’t have a set route but a vague idea!

We arrived at the Tunnel in good time and headed to the Pet Check-In, where we hit our first problem, Reg’s Animal Health Certificate (AHC) didn’t have the date of his microchip so there was no proof he’d had it inserted before he had his Rabies vaccination. Luckily, we had his puppy and vaccination records with us and we were able to prove the date of both. We were on our way, a quick stop for a breakfast bap at Leon and we were on a much earlier train than we’d booked. As normal, the crossing was eventless (not a bad thing, baring in mind the week before there was an evacuation of the train) and our arrival in France was upon us.

Leaving the tunnel, we headed on the autoroute to Felleries and a Camping-Car Park Aire, https://www.campingcarpark.com/en_GB/ , on the edge of the village, on the site of the old municipal camping ground and the old station. At the entrance is a monument of the elephant, Jenny, who was brought to the town to aid the German war effort in the First World War, by moving logs and even righting an overturned train. She must have meant a lot to the people of the village, as an elephant is part of the town logo. In the town itself, there is a cafe, grocery store and museum. A little further out of the village is a bakery, it’s a short-ish walk, perfect for a dog walk!

Our next stop, was at Charny-sur-Meuse, another Camping-Car Park Aire, next to the river Meuse and not far from the town of Verdun. We walked around the town of Bras-sur-Meuse, along the canal into the village via a French National War Cemetery and along the high street to another bakery, before returning back to the stopover.

Heading further south, we stopped at the thermal spa town of Contrexéville, in the Vosges mountains and the Camping-Car Park Aire, just outside the town. It is next door to a large campsite, and a short walk down to the spa town. After Contrexéville, we travelled towards the German border and the Camping-Car Park Aire at the Île du Rhin, right in the middle of the Rhine River and on the border. A short walk to the local town, took us into Germany and the town of Breisach.

Germany beckons and a trip through the Black Forest to Bavaria. The first part of our journey was thwarted with roadworks and diversions, including a 16 Km one through the mountains! We arrived at our chosen campsite, to be met with a site, which we didn’t really like the look of, so we set off again and found a nice site, Campinghof Salem https://www.campingcarpark.com/en_GB/ outside the town of Salem near Lake Konstanz. There are a number of walking and cycling routes from the site and the local town is within walking distance.

Onwards to Bavaria, and the lovely camping site Campingplatz Dummerhof https://www.campingplatz-demmelhof.de/ right on the lake, with a lovely restaurant and bar, fresh bread is available in the morning. The lake has a beach area and is safe for swimming and paddling. This is one we’ve added to our list to return to! On our route we passed close to the Zeppelin Museum and in the sky there was a Zeppelin flying – not something you see every day!

Austria beckons and we’ve headed to the town of Mayrhofen. Over the border there is a big dam and reservoir, the Tegernsee, with a big viewing platform. We travelled through the Tyrolean mountains into Mayrhofen and the campsite https://www.campingplatz-tirol.at/en/. Located at the edge of the town, it’s a short walk up to the town centre, with a lot of shops and attractions, including the Mountopolis attraction, with summer and winter activities. https://www.mayrhofen.at/en/pages/mountopolis-mountain-experience-summer

Next, we travelled east to the town of Maishofen, and the campsite Camping Bad Neunbrunnen https://www.camping-neunbrunnen.at/ where they now offer a stellplatz style camping stop, be aware it is cash only, and Austria doesn’t seem to have many free cash points – and they vary in cost of transaction! The campsite has a large lake, which can be swum in (and people did, but….)! The views of the mountains were spectacular and the morning sunshine poked through the clouds.

Continuing our journey eastwards, our next stop was in the village of Aigen im Enstall https://www.camping-putterersee.at/en/ I think I came here as a schoolgirl skiing, but 40 years is a long time to remember! There are a lot of walks, hikes and cycle routes around and a short drive away is the mountain activity centre, Dachstein. A walk into the village, will take you along the lake, where there are various activities taking place – including swimming – the lake is the warmest in Austria, apparently, Further reading informs us, that the water quality is excellent due to the boggy bottom (that’s enough to put me off swimming in it – along with the midges around the lake edge) and it was used to dispose of armaments, at the end of the Second World War, as the Allies approached.

Our final stop in Austria, was the village of Burgau, and the campsite Schloss Burgau – we have been here before on our trip south in 2019. As we put our destination in to Ditsy Daisy Sat Nav, she informed us that we would enter an environmental zone (like the LEZ – low emissions zone – in England), checking on the internet, Austria doesn’t sign these zones, but there is a fine for not having the appropriate badges displayed on vehicles. We made a trip to a local authorised seller, and added another badge to our windscreen.

As we awoke on our last morning in Austria, we were greeted by the sight of hot air balloons above the village, a fitting farewell. So for now it’s Tschüss Österreich – bis später (Bye Austria, see you soon)!

As always, thank you for reading, we hope you and your families are safe and well and we’ll update you from our next stop – Hungary!

Our Tour of Southern England – Part 2 & 3: Lynton to Exeter (Our Tour of Wales Part 7 & 8) and on to Sturminster Newton, before heading back to Sussex.

Rain, Rain, go away, come again another day…. We’re heading south in search of the sun! (Update as I write, be careful of what you wish for – we are currently in the middle of an amber extreme weather warning for heat with the temperature currently rising to 29°C – it’s 11:00a.m in England).

We have chosen to stay at Plymouth Sound Motorhome and Caravan Club Site, overlooking the Sound and watching Brittany Ferries, cross-channel ferries, arrive and depart wishing we were on them to head back out to see more sites and continue our trips (technically, I’m glad we aren’t on them, as I don’t sail too well, without seasickness meds, but I’m sure you understand what I’m saying)!!

Plymouth Sound Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/devon-and-cornwall/devon/plymouth-sound-club-campsite/ is located in the village of Downs Thomas, overlooking The Sound, with great views, when the weather allows! A short walk down the hill takes you to the beach and part of it is dog friendly and on to the Coast Path. The village has a pub, local store and Post Office and the local bus stops outside the shop to take you on to Plymouth or the surrounding areas. The Club Site Shop stocks local Pasties from the Pasty Maid, advance order – Monday and Fridays.

Leaving Plymouth Sound we headed to Newton Abbot and the CMC Site at Stover https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/devon-and-cornwall/devon/stover-club-campsite/. Located on the edge of the Stover Country Park, with lovely walks and a lake. We followed the Heritage Trail up to The Canadian Forestry Corps World War I Statute. The Canadian Forestry Corps was affectionately known as the Sawdust Fusiliers and was made up of 1600 Canadians, drafted over to help fell trees for the troops in France and Belgium. Our short walk turned into a 4 mile trail, up to the Stover Canal – a disused canal and over the railway, which doesn’t look like its been used in a while, but take care crossing, just in case! We arrived on the right day to get an lovely wood-fired pizza from Sid’s Woodfired Pizza, who just happened to be at Stover CAMC, on Wednesdays https://www.facebook.com/sidswoodfiredpizza/ Whilst in Newton Abbot, we attempted to buy rear brake pads, from Euro Parts, but apparently they don’t stock them! However a very friendly person in Halfords directed us to their website, where we ordered them from EuroParts to be delivered to our next stop – Exeter.

A short drive up the road to Exeter, we collected the previously ordered brake pads and checked in at Exeter Racecourse CMC Site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/devon-and-cornwall/devon/exeter-racecourse-club-campsite/. Located in the centre of the Racecourse, you are able to walk the course too, along the road, unless it’s race day. It’s a very popular site for stopovers to and from Cornwall and the Ferry to France and Spain, with lovely helpful and friendly staff too. The facilities are a little dated, but owned by the racecourse, and spotlessly clean. Whilst here, we thought we’d change the brake pads. We borrowed a Torque Wrench from another camper and removed one of the wheels, only to find the pads were the wrong size! But, we did discover that they aren’t worn as much as we thought so still have plenty of life (miles) left! We opted to stay another night here, the weather was heating up and we were settled! It was here that we were the victims of fraud – a phone call with a lot of personal information supplied by the fraudster, meant I let my guard down, we will let you know more soon, but we are still awaiting the investigation results. As far as we are aware, it has been sorted, but it’s very quiet out there….

We returned to EuroParts and returned the brake pads, before we headed east to Sturminster Newton and a CMC Certified Location, aptly called What a View https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/dorset/sturminster-newton/what-a-view-cl/. If the weather had been a bit cooler the village was a short distance away and we could have walked in to see it, but we were walking the dog before 08:00, along the very pretty footpaths and bridleways as it was much too early for the village to open up! We did, however, drive in when we left, and visit the lovely Oxfords Bakery for lunch on the road. We had been trying to find somewhere, affordable, for our next few days but many were full, so we decided to cut our losses and return to Sussex and the local Slinfold CMC site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/south-east-england/west-sussex/slinfold-club-campsite/ – it was a bit of a drive in the heat, but gave us a good base to sit out the expected increasing weather temperatures.

Slinfold CMC site is one of our go-to sites. It is close to home and family and being volunteer run and without a toilet block, is only £17.00 per night- a significant difference to the larger sites in August, charging over £40.00 a night. The weather did heat up and we were able to sit it out with our newly acquired sun shade attached to the awning (a much welcomed Father’s Day present). We also parked up facing east instead of our usual west facing preference! It was hot though…

As always, thank you for reading we hope you and your families are safe and well and have survived the heat, hopefully the much needed rain will arrive as expected and cool us down a touch. We’ll be back soon, with more news and updates…

Our Tour of Wales – Part 6: Highbridge to Lynton – now technically, Our Tour of Southern England – Part 1!

Leaving Bason Bridge and the lovely Malthouse Farm CL, we headed along the coast to one of our favourite places, Minehead, Somerset, and the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site,https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/southern-england/somerset/minehead-club-campsite/ just on the edge of the town, but close to all the amenities. One of our reasons for stopping is the lovely China Garden, chinese takeaway – cash only, and hygiene rated 5 – as well as the vast beach (no dogs May – September) and the harbour. Minehead also has 160 Metal Heads to spot (there is a map available at the Tourist Information Centre) https://www.mineheadbay.co.uk/point-of-interest/minehead-metal-heads-1 We thought there were several more than last time and research proved us right!

Our next stop, was the Camping and Caravanning Club Site at Lynton. https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/devon/lynton/lynton-camping-and-caravanning-club-site/ Located at the top of the hill (it is very steep and you do need to plan your trip), the last time we got a bus back, but this time we thought we’d walk – ever wish you hadn’t? Even Reg was flagging at the top! We walked down to the Valley of the Rocks, and along the coast path, spotting the goats on the cliffs, before arriving at the bridge over the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway – a water powered funicular railway which joins the two towns. We headed into the town and began our ascent back to the campsite… The following day, the weather changed and rain set in, so we caught up with a few chores and planned our next leg of the journey, where we go will be in the next round up!

As always, thank you for reading, we hope you and your families are safe and well and enjoying reading our brief catch-ups!

Our Tour of Wales – Part 5: Penrherber to Highbridge, Somerset

Leaving Terfyn Mawr, we said our goodbyes to Gerald and Hazel and following their directions took the road down to St. David’s via Fishguard and Haverfordwest, returning along the coast through Newgale and Solva. St David’s Lleithyr Meadow Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) site, is a short walk from Whitesands Beach, and although no dogs are allowed in high season, the coast path is still a joy to walk with the dog. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/wales/pembrokeshire/st-davids-lleithyr-meadow-club-campsite/ We were here, in the heatwave, and although the temperatures weren’t as high as some places, it was pretty warm! Dog walks were early or late for a couple of days, thankfully the weather cooled, before we left and we were able to wander along the Coast Path and admire the views. We had some lovely sunset views looking to Carn Llidi, from our pitch.

Continuing our tour, we left St David’s and headed to Pembroke and Tenby and on to our next stop at Pembrey Country Park CMC. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/wales/carmarthenshire/pembrey-country-park-club-campsite/We made a detour through Pendine and Laugharne. Pendine Sands is a seven mile stretch of beach, which was used for car and motorcycle racing in the 1900s. It was very busy when we passed through, so on our list to return to, out of season. Travelling back up to the A477, through the village of Laugharne, this was a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, as it’s where the BBC series Keeping Faith was filmed – Ric has no idea, what I was talkin about, but it got me through lockdown! Arriving at Pembrey CMC site, we were a little disappointed! Having spent a lot of time of Certified Locations (CLs) and at St David’s, the pitches seemed very close together and it was very busy! Our last time here we were just out of lockdown 1, and it was a little later in the season, so probably our bad planning rather than a site issue! A walk into the town, revealed a church, and a couple of pubs but not a lot else, although we did find a random Post Box, which we can confirm still works (our parcel arrived)!

We only spent a night at Pembrey (planned), before we headed off to a CL at Pencoed, Bridgend – our last stop in Wales (on this trip). We headed along the south coast, east, around Swansea and Port Talbot into Bridgend and on to Pencoed and Dryslwyn CL https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/wales/bridgend/bridgend/dryslwyn/ The site also has two log cabins, handy for friends and family who don’t share the motorhome / caravan experience, and a toilet! The lanes are very quiet and suitable to walk with the dog and although it was fairly wet when we were there (so a lot of cloud) the views were great.

We left Pencoed and travelled through the minor roads to Caerphilly, and Newport, before picking up the M4 and crossing the second Severn Crossing – the Prince of Wales Bridge (Britain’s second longest bridge), back into England. Our Tour of Wales has officially ended, but in Tour de France style, we’re keeping the title of our trip for this week! Our next stop was a lovely CL in Bason Bridge, Highbridge, Somerset – Malthouse Farm https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/somerset/highbridge/Malthouse-Farm/ Located on the edge of Bason Bridge, with a pub of the same name and a Garage, there were lots of footpaths and various places to walk. The site is ideal for the M5, but there was no road noise – we will be back….

As always, thank you for reading, we’ll be back with more of our tour of???? soon, hopefully there’ll be more stunning views and sunsets (and fingers crossed good weather). We hope you and your families are safe and well, too.

Our Tour of Wales – Part 4: Trefor, Gwynedd to Penrherber, Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire

Our Tour of Wales continues and we’ve been to some lovely places this week, we’ve started heading south along the coast…

Leaving Trefor and the amazing views across the Llyn Peninsula, we headed to Llanystumdwy and the Camping and Caravanning Site. A little further inland than we’ve been recently, it was an ideal chance to get some chores done! The sea is just visible from the campsite and you can walk to it, a short walk will also take you to the town of Criccieth (or you can get a bus)! We walked down to see the grave of David Lloyd George, British Prime Minister 1916 – 1922 (our third PM grave to date), opposite his grave is the Museum dedicated to him, too. The village, itself doesn’t have a lot, there is a pub and a school! https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/gwynedd/criccieth/llanystumdwy-camping-and-caravanning-club-site/

From Llanystumdwy, we headed down the coast to the town of Barmouth, were had read about Wales’ Number One Fish and Chip Shop – The Mermaid Fish Bar http://themermaidfishbarbarmouth.co.uk/ and felt it would have been rude not to give it a try. It is definitely worth the wait in the queue. We have subsequently discovered that the Times Newspaper have voted the Mermaid number 2 in the United Kingdom, now there’s another challenge afoot! Barmouth has a lovely sandy beach and although the main part is not dog friendly, there is a part near to the harbour where dogs are allowed, and at the time of our visit the beach side car park was big enough for us to park up in – it is pay and display, and no overnighting!

We continued our journey south and to the little village of Bow Street, just outside Aberystwyth and a Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Certified Location (CL) Cae Ceiro https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/wales/ceredigion/aberystwyth/cae-ceiro/. Located next to a Guest House of the same name, and about a mile from the local shop, but along the way you’ll pass the pub, butcher’s shop, chinese (cash only) and Fish and Chip Shop. Walking along the footpath, which runs along the side of the CL, passing over the railway line, you can head up through the fields and along the road to St. Michael’s Church at Llandre, where you can pick up the Poetry Path, dedicated to local poets. The churchyard also has a 2000+ year old Yew Tree.

From Llantre, we continued our journey south and to another new CL, Terfyn Mawr https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/wales/carmarthenshire/newcastle-emlyn/terfyn-mawr/, in the hamlet of Penrherber, outside Newcastle Emlyn, with views across the countryside to the Cardigan Coast. Our hosts, Gerald and Hazel, have created a wonderful little CL, complete with a spotless shower and toilet room. Although the CL was only opened in May this year, it is just beautiful. The grass pitches have been arranged to maximise the view and the sunsets from your pitch are stunning. The grass properly cut and like carpet under your feet. Walking Reg from the campsite, the lanes are so quiet, that you don’t need to fight your way along the overgrown footpaths. There is a Cheese Farm nearby – walking distance, downhill! https://www.cawscenarth.co.uk/ This is now our Number One CL (apologies to the others but)… Unfortunately, we have another site booked so couldn’t extend our stay, we will be back, probably scheduling our other stops around this one.

As always, thank you for reading, we hope you and your families are safe and well and managing to stay cool in the weather we have at the moment in the UK. We’ll be back soon with more from our tour of Wales.

Our Tour of Wales – Week 3: Bala to Trefor

Sunset and Moonrise – Trefor, Gwynedd, Wales

Leaving Bala, we headed a short way up the road to Bryneglwys, Denbighshire, where we had chosen to stay at a Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Certified Location (CL) Plas Newydd. A lovely slightly sloping CL on the edge of the Llantysilio Mountain. We had a lovely Welcome from Alison and her husband and a CL with a lovely (spotless) shower block is always a bonus. A short walk down hill will take you into the village itself, but the views from the CL were amazing. We were able to see eagles and deer on the hillside opposite and the sky above! We awoke to a ‘roost’ of wagtails on the bonnet. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/wales/denbighshire/llangollen/plas-newydd/

Continuing our journey we headed back across the border to the Wirral and Birkenhead, where we knew the Knife Angel would be (It had been in Aberystwyth, but we were too far away, before it moved! The Knife Angel is touring the UK and can be seen in various places this year and next…https://www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk/national-anti-violence-uk-tour/ The Knife Angel stands 27 feet high and is made from over 100,000 confiscated, seized and handed in knife blades, specifically designed to highlight the negative effects of knife crime.

We chose to stop at the Wirral Country Club CMC Site. Located on an old Railway Line – we have a knack of finding them – and near the Dee Estuary, walks and cycle routes are all around. A one night stay does not do it justice, but we did arrive to use their showers and washing facilities, and a boiler fault meant we were disappointed – NO HOT WATER! Luckily, facilities on board enabled us to shower but there was no reduction in price!

Leaving the Wirral and a quick stop at ASDA – Queensferry – for LPG (significantly cheaper than we paid in Sussex), we left England to continue our Tour of Wales, heading along the coast to Colwyn Bay then Llandudno and Conwy. Our stop for the night was at the Conwy Motorhome Stopover, which we had a little difficulty finding, but is at the rear of Station Car Sales – once you know what you’re looking for the signs are obvious! We had a warm welcome from Richard, the owner, before we walked into the walled town of Conwy. We had a quick drive around – it is navigable in an 8m Motorhome with care – as we didn’t know exactly how far the stopover was! Conwy is about 10 minutes walk over the river! We walked the walls tour, the Suspension Bridge, through the town centre, stopping for an ice-cream, visited the Smallest House in Great Britain (at just 1.8 metres wide and two rooms), before heading back along the riverfront. https://www.conwystopover.com/

Our next drive took us up to the Isle of Anglesey over the Britannia Bridge, to the town, with the longest place name in the UK and Europe ( & 2nd longest in the world) Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – which means St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave! From here, we headed to Caernarfon, and onto our next stop Cefn Eithin a CMC CL. We had another warm welcome from Helen, Andrew and their collie George, shown where we could pitch up and admired the views over the sea to Anglesey. The weather has got a lot better and the sunset was great! We could only have one night here, as they were fully booked (but a no-show meant they did have space for longer, but we’d already booked another… In case you want to know they also have a couple of holiday cottages, so ideal for non-caravanning / motorhoming friends or family to come. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/wales/gwynedd/caernarfon/cefn-eithin/ or https://cefneithinholidays.wordpress.com/

Our last stop of the week is in the village of Trefor a short drive from Cefn Eithin, but we had a drive around the headland and into Pwhelli, where the traffic and inconsiderate drivers as bad as we remembered from our Transporter days – we have vowed we will NEVER return! So a detour to Porthmadog, for a bit of shopping before heading up to Cappas Lwyd CL. What a find! Warm welcomes, seem to be the norm in this part of the world – Christine and Mark and their 3 rescue dogs and ex-battery hens offered a great welcome. The views must be the best we’ve had for ages and the weather was just so good too. A short walk takes you to the beach or the village but there are more paths up the mountains. Christine will happily show you where to walk. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/wales/gwynedd/caernarfon/cappas-lywd/

As always, thank you for reading – it means so much to us. We hope you and your families are safe and well, we’ll be back with Part 4, soon. We’ll leave you with more sunset spam…

Our Tour of Wales – Part Two: Aberbran to Bala

Leaving Aberbran, we headed north and up to the town of Llanidloes. We’d chosen to stay at a Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Certified Location (CL) and Upper Glandulas Caravan Park did not disappoint! Located about a 20 minute walk from the town centre, on a working farm, you wake to the sight of sheep around you. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/wales/powys/llanidloes/upper-glandulas/In addition there are Red Kites which liked to land in the trees nearby (and at times, it felt, follow us into the town)!

Walking into town we found it was steeped in history, and dates back to the 7th Century, when the Celtic Saint Idloes, founded a church by the RIver Severn. The Normans invaded in the 11th Century and established a motte and bailey castle, now the site of a Pub! Edward I granted the town a Market Charter in 1280 (there is still a market on Saturdays). In the centre of the town, at the junction of the four main roads is the old Market Hall, on stilts and dating back to 1612, and is the only surviving timber framed market hall in Wales, in its original location. The source of the River Severn is located about 10 miles away in the Cambrian mountains; Llanidloes, is the first town on the river. You can walk the length of the River on the Severn Way, from source to sea.

Leaving Llanidloes, we took a detour up to the Clywedog Reservoir and Dam, there are walks and viewpoints around it. We continued our journey up to Newtown and Welshpool, before finding our next stop outside the village of Berriew. Glandir CL, is located, a short walk from the Montgomery Canal, along which you can walk to the village centre, about 30 minutes, or Welshpool about 3 miles – there is a bus back! Berriew has a selection of pubs, a village store, butcher’s shop, cafe and Sculpture Museum. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/wales/powys/llanidloes/upper-glandulas/

Our next stop this week, was the Camping and Caravanning Club Site at Bala. We had assumed that the Bala CCC Site, was in Bala, but it was actually 3 miles away. Next time we visit, we will find the campsite on the Lake! That said, we upgraded our pitch to electric and chilled over the weekend, with the British Grand Prix and Laundry (Ric the former and me the latter, but I do love clean clothes and am a little partial to ironing)!

We’re heading of again on Monday, continuing Our Tour of Wales. As always, thank you for reading. We hope you and your families are safe and well and have some inspiration from our little tales of our travels. We’ll be back soon, (as WiFi and 4G permit in these mountainous parts!)…

Our Tour of Wales 2022 – Week One: Sussex to Powys

Setting off on a slightly overcast Sunday morning, having said our farewells to family, we headed north west to Wiltshire and Royal Wootton Bassett. We had found a Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Certified Location (CL) at a Fishery. Flaxlands Fishery is a short walk to the main town and the CL is located at the top of the site, with spectacular sunsets, but it’s not very dog friendly. There is a dog walk which is along the side of the M4 (it is fenced from the road, but I always worry there might be a gap and a return walk inside a conifer corridor. The back of the CL leads to a footpath, which given the time of year was through haylage awaiting harvesting – Reg loves running in the long grasses, not to good for his new found hay fever but.. As the next footpath was unwalkable in shorts (nettles and brambles adorned the stile) we could only walk a straight walk out and return the same route, according to the fishery map, dogs are not allowed to walk through the fishery even on the roadway! so a round trip was not possible walking along the road.

Leaving Wiltshire, we headed north to Gloucestershire and our happy place, Tewkesbury. Staying at the CAMC Tewkesbury Abbey Site (again), we relaxed, had some lovely walks, some we’d done before and others not. We walked part of the Battle Trail and River Walk, but not the Severn Ham (this time)! On one of our walks, we even saw a couple walking their…..tortoise! https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/cotswolds/gloucestershire/tewkesbury-abbey-club-campsite/

We did venture into the Abbey, however! It was a very hot day, and for the first time in all our visits to Tewkesbury, the doors were open, so we were just going to have a sneaky peak, but it’s dog friendly – dogs are welcome INSIDE! A great relief from the rising humidity and heat outside. Tewkesbury Abbey in parts dates back to the 12th Century, and was built to house Benedictine Monks. The build was started in 1102 and it was almost complete when it was consecrated in 1121. As always, Ric is fascinated by engineering and found two Gurney Stoves, made by the London Warming and Ventilation Company in the 19th Century, to provide heat by burning anthracite, and have now been converted to gas. https://www.tewkesburyabbey.org.uk/visiting-the-abbey/

Our next stop, and we’re still not in Wales, was the World’s First Book Town, Hay-on-Wye. Home to over 20 bookshops and a castle. We had a wonder around the town, walking up the little roads and twitterns. We ventured up into the castle – again dog friendly – and home to the oldest set of working defensive doors still in situ in the UK, having been first installed in the 13th century. We walked along the river walk as well as through some of the fantastic countryside. There is even another gold post box (our second one found), for Jody Pearson, a paralympian discus thrower.

Our stop for the night was a lovely CAMC CL – Dark Orchard. It is off grid, but in a large secure field about a 5 minute walk from the town centre and so peaceful, with a stream running along the edge. The owners Linda and Chris are so welcoming as is the official welcome you will receive from Linda’s father, Pete the Greet. This is on our list to return to (especially as we have had a whole list of more things to do and see)! https://www.no10dulas.co.uk/dark_orchard_cl/

Leaving Hay-on-Wye, we crossed the River Wye and into Wales! It was only a short drive to our next stop and a short detour to Brecon first. Each time we have arrived at Brecon, we have been drenched and this trip was no different. Stepping out of the motorhome and taking two steps, prompted the biggest downpour yet! Having stocked up with food and essentials, we headed to our next stop, Aberbran CMC Site. A short drive from the A40 and alongside the edge of an old railway line, unfortunately the old railway is not a walkway, like Slinfold CMC, but we did manges to find a walk through the countryside. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/wales/powys/aberbran-club-campsite/ The weather has yet to improve, although the rain has abated, the wind has picked up, gusting up to 30+ MPH, the awning was safely stowed early in the morning, having read it is only tested up to 20MPH!

As always, thank you for reading and we hope you and your families are safe and well. We’ll be continuing Our Tour of Wales, and hopefully we’ll be able to keep you updated as we go!