Showing posts from 2019

Winter sun at Camping Didota

What a difference being in the warmth of the sun under clear blue skies makes. Shorts and flip flops, a walk along the beach, cerveza sitting in the sun.

We left home at 4.30am yesterday. Drove all the way through France, arriving in Spain at 9pm. By 9.30pm we were parked for the night and up at 7am for 4½ hours more driving.

The campsite we settled on is right on the beach. It's almost full, mainly of pensioners who are here for several months. We've already saved the £13.95 it cost for the ACSI card as 16 euros a night for two people with electricity is half the normal price.

We nearly dismissed the site upon seeing it for the first time. It lacks character. However, being full of pensioners it's nice and quiet and the facilities are superb.

The area is not somewhere we'd choose to come in high season but it's pleasant out of season with the hotels deserted and only a very few souls in the beach.

You can tell who are locals as they have as many layers of clothes…

Valencia for new year

We're an hour away from Spain, having travelled the entire length of France since early this morning. We left home in the dark at 4.30am and have been driving for over 14 hours. We've chosen a camping spot just across the border where we are scheduled to arrive at 9.30pm.

Our destination this year is Valencia in a complete change to what we usually do at this time of year! Much as we'll miss Les Deux Alpes this winter we decided on sun and not snow. We settled on Spain, and Valencia in particular, less than a week ago after closely following the weather forecast.

Tonight we're going to stay on a private aire which appears to be a huge field that, unusually, also accepts caravans as well as motorhomes. It's 10 euros per night which we may or may not get to pay. Reviews seem to suggest someone comes around to collect it in the evening and there's no facility to pay if you're not there at that time. I should start a notebook of how much we owe and to whom. It…

Strasbourg - camping, shopping, cycling and beer

I've wanted to return to Strasbourg since last visiting four years ago. We had a whole week there in October 2015 and we returned for three nights in October 2019. We booked a pitch at CityKamp Strasbourg for the last nights of our half-term road trip that had also seen us visit Paris and Troyes for a real city-break holiday. This is the same campsite we were on last time, having been rebranded from Camping Indigo but still a part of the Huttopia chain. The site sits surrounded by trees on the outskirts of the town centre just to the south west. There's a little noise on this site but it's more a distant hum of city life and nothing that would spoil your stay. A train passes occasionally and church bells strike the hour. It's a trade off for being so close to such a beautiful city.

Strasbourg will have your phone in hand snapping photos at every corner with its cobbled streets and colourful mix of Medieval, Renaissance, Romantic and Art Nouveau architecture. It became…

Huttopia Versailles convenient for Paris

October half term is always a tricky holiday to plan for in a campervan. With only a week you really can't go too far south to find good weather. We researched a few destinations including Britanny and the Black Forest and made up our minds the weather would be the deciding factor.

As Friday evening came around it didn't seem to make a lot of difference where we went - there'd be occasional rain - and so we decided we'd start off not travelling too far. We'd reassess the weather after a couple of days and in the meantime have a city break and visit Paris.

We're big fans of the Huttopia chain of camping and glamping sites and their Versailles site was one of a handful open at this time of year. Our research showed we'd be able to catch a train or cycle into Paris and with plenty of pitches seemingly available we headed there without booking.

We learned a couple of useful things on this holiday. Firstly Huttopia's online booking fee isn't payable out…

Corsica road trip 2019 vlogs


Channel hopping and island hopping again

After three nights in the alps we had two nights at Huttopia Etang du Fouche, a campsite on a lake not far from Dijon. Aside from the lake, which folks were swimming in, there wasn't an awful lot to do in the vicinity and two nights was certainly enough. It wasn't a lake I'd have wanted to swim in either, fully of smelly lily pads, so we walked and cycled.

After that we had to return home for two nights as Tony needed to be at work for exam results day, hence our gradual journey north from Corsica.

At 1pm on Thursday Tony was home from work and we set off to cross the channel again. We made such good progress that were were able to amend our Eurotunnel crossing, bringing it forward three hours and then getting a train even earlier than that. By 11pm we'd made it to the Vendee and our all-time favourite aire de camping car in Saint Michel Mont Mercure.

As we entered the village the church was illuminated and the gold statue on the spire was glowing in the light. We cli…

Camping at Bourg Saint Maurice and Les Arcs

Avoid the Frejus Tunnel. That was our main priority when choosing a route from Savona in Italy, where our Ferry from the island of Corsica had docked, up into the French alps. At £54 one way (you can buy a return but it has to be used within a week) it adds a considerable cost to the journey. Google Maps offered up three routes and there was less than 15 minutes difference between all of them.

Eventually Italian motorway became slowly winding roads up into the mountains. The higher we climbed the lower the temperature dropped - quite a shock to the system after Corsica's scorching heat.

Bourg Saint Maurice sits in a valley below the ski resort of Les Arcs. We were pleased to see temperatures getting back up to the mid twenties as we made our way down into the town. We arrived at Huttopia Bourg Saint Maurice at 6pm. It had been a long day of traveling with the five-and-a-half-hour ferry crossing but we didn't want the whole day to have been about traveling. We resisted the urg…

The night before the Bastia to Savona ferry

A locked door at the reception of Casa di Luna when we were ready to depart was affecting many people. A few, like us, were waiting to pay their bills, collect their passports and leave; others were hoping to pick up the baguettes and croissants they'd ordered for breakfast.

Two people arrived to man the reception almost simultaneously at 9.15am. The lady had been cleaning the shower blocks while the man was titivating parasols and deck chairs around the pool. Whether one thought the other was manning the reception wasn't clear but it was frustrating to have been delayed on our last day. I'm afraid I knocked two stars off the five-star rating I'd awarded on Google Maps for the experience.

Once I'd been reunited with my passport and paid the bill for our four-night stay we were able to journey north, almost completing the loop on our circumnavigation of Corsica's coast.

We discovered Domaine de Caterelli on our last day in Corsica last summer. We'd spent a …

Canyoning in the Vallee du Fango from Casa di Luna

Continuing our clockwise trip around Corsica's coastline we arrived at Casa di Luna campsite at 11am. We'd chosen it for its location half way between the sea and the promise of wild-swimming in the Vallée du Fango.

The whole site sits in the shade of huge olive trees. They'd never been shaped as would trees for olive production and had grown tall with their spindly branches forming a beautiful canopy of dappled light. It had the feeling of an enchanted wood. We were allowed to choose a pitch and we picked a really spacious plot with trees for our hammocks.

We were delighted by the campsite but not particularly hopeful the wild swimming location, chosen from our Wild Swimming France guide, would have any water. It was only a kilometre upstream from the dried up river bed beside our campsite. We spent two days at the beach in Galeria, just a 20-minute cycle away before investigating the suggested swimming spot on our third day.

I was overjoyed as we cycled closer and I beg…

Camping Mandriale Cargese

"Chaussée déformée", uneven road surface. I wondered why they didn't even out the road rather that erect a sign. The chaussée was deformed for a very long way though so the putting up of a sign was certainly the quicker and cheaper method of dealing with the problem.

It looked like we'd picked the wrong route along Corsica's west coast to our next destination. Google Maps offered up another choice through the middle of the island, adding 50 kilometres to the distance but only a few minutes to the time of the journey. As we approached Ajaccio the roads gradually improved, so much so that I was able to pour water from the boiling travel kettle in my lap into the cups in Cleopatra's cup holders in spite of the warning not to use it while the vehicle was in motion.

In Ajaccio, only ten seconds from our route, was the biggest Leclerc supermarket I've ever seen. It turned out to be the biggest supermarket of any chain I've ever been in. We could have spent…

Time to move on

We determined that five nights would be enough for us at Camping Cyrnos. Today is our last day and we'll move on tomorrow.

We spent this morning walking along the beach eastwards to the next town and its Spar supermarket. As we neared the town the beach became difficult to walk on, sloping so much that I declared it 'a bastard' and we clambered over the dune behind, across a small piece of scrub land and on to the road. We passed another campsite with kids playgrounds and basketball court, thanking our lucky stars that it wasn't ours.
The Spar was a similar size to that in Porto Pollo but didn't appear to sell fresh vegetables. We walked around twice in case we'd we missed it but there just didn't seem to be any. While queuing to pay for sliced cooked meat and cheese for lunch we saw the person in front paying for fresh vegetables. Strange. We just shrugged. We didn't need any anyway since we're moving on tomorrow and need to find a large supermark…

Camping Cyrnos on Corsica's west coast

Camping Cyrnos is a simple site on a rectangular field sitting amongst agricultural fields on the west coast of Corsica. It is right on the beach and shares the beach with no other residences. It sounded perfect when I found it on Google Maps and looked pretty perfect when we rolled up at 10.30am on Saturday morning.

I found the welcome from the man at reception lacking any warmth. We could stay but he didn't seem to mind one way or the other. However we were allowed to find a free pitch and return to book ourselves in, handing over a passport as seems the norm.

The site was about 80 percent full and, of the occupied pitches, it looked like most campers had been and would be here for a while. We chose a pitch at the top of the site, a large square pitch with a sycamore tree at each corner we thought would provide shade. The pitch would be 31€ per night, not the cheapest but not the most expensive on this trip to date. The premium seeming to be warranted by the location rather tha…

Bonafacio Camping Pian Del Fosse and Cala Stagnolu beach

Bonafacio is one of Corsica's largest towns and it's southern most point. It has a medieval cliff-top citadel below which sits a modern marina where huge luxury yachts are moored.

We didn't visit the town last year during our first Corsican summer holiday and so it was high on our priorities this time around. We had selected three possible campsites, thinking there may be more tourists around this area. Our route down from the mountains took us past the third choice, shortly followed by the second before arriving at the first option just before 10am. Initial impressions, of the untidy and uneven car park outside reception nearly made us think twice. We parked and decided to look around the site before committing.
Once past the reception building the campsite was nice. Spacious pitches on stone-walled terraces enjoyed shade from huge and old trees. A large number of pitches had no vehicular access because of the terrace and contained tented campers. Many of the vacant pitc…

Camping Municipal Zonza

We'd spent five nights on the beach and two by mountain rivers and wanted to see a bit of Corsica on foot and so we left Camping U Ponte Grossu at 8am on the second morning, continuing inland westwards to Zonza.

Our first priority was finding a cash point as the 31€ per night rate of the previous campsite had wiped out our currency. We stopped in Zonza itself at something describing itself as Banque Postale. No ATM was apparent outside so I entered and asked one of two staff if I could withdraw money. They replied with the name of the next town south.

It was only an eight-minute drive to the next town and it did indeed have an ATM. We headed back towards Zonza and then
five minutes eastwards towards a municipal campsite. It was ten minutes to ten in the morning and a sign informed us reception was open from 8am to 10am daily.

We booked in. It would be 16€ per night including electricity, half the price of our previous campsite. We were free to find ourselves a pitch.

The site wa…