To Figueres

We were up early, and back on the road after another disappointing B&B Hotels breakfast.

Our first port of call was the local LeClerc supermarket to pick up some drinks and snacks for the journey, and to fill up with petrol. The supermarket turned out to be a massive hypermarket, with a much greater range of products than we seem to get back in the UK these days.

It was an easy drive down to southern France, stopping only for a quick lunch at a service station and for Carol to part with lots of money at the road toll machines.

The highlight of the journey was the ride over the Millau Viaduct, which went much smoother that the last time we were here. Back in November 2018, we were travelling through France in our motorhome when we got stuck in a surprise dump of snow on the approach to the Millau Viaduct, and we ended up crossing the viaduct in very poor visibility using snow chains.

After crossing into Spain at the southern end of the Pyrenees, it didn’t take long to get to our hotel in Figueres, just to the north of Girona, nabbing the last disabled space. The hotel was from the Ibis Styles chain, and was far smarter, and cheaper, than the B&B Hotels the previous two nights. The hotel had its own restaurant with a good menu, and the food was great.

Next morning, the breakfast was fab, with a wide choice of food. We’ll be choosing Ibis hotels every time from now on!

To Clermont Ferrand

Breakfast at the B&B Hotel Rouen was very basic. Carol gave up with the fruit salad, and the sausages looked rank, so we had to make do with croissants. I won’t moan abut Premier Inn breakfasts again!

We made it out of Rouen without getting stopped for not having a Crit’Air sticker, so hopefully there weren’t any ANPR cameras and that we got away with it.

It took around six hours to drive down to Aubiere, just outside Clermont Ferrand, only stopping to refuel, and for lunch at an Intermarché supermarket, and we listened to a few podcasts to while away the time. It chucked it down for the first half of the journey, but it eventually brightened up, and it was lovely to see Le Puy de Dôme dominating the skyline as we approached Clermont Ferrand. Le Puy de Dôme is a legendary Tour de France climb which featured in the 2023 tour for the first time in many years. 

The B&B Hotel was situated on a leisure complex with a Pathé multi-screen cinema and lots of restaurants. The hotel itself was placed directly between two steak houses. Inside, the hotel was much nicer than the Rouen one, though the accessible bathroom was poorly equipped. 

We’d booked a table at the Rôtisserie as this looked to be a more ‘grown up’ restaurant than the one on the other side. We only really booked to make sure the restaurant was open, but it was good to see that it was surprisingly busy, with it being 2nd January. The food was very good and the staff were friendly, so it was a nice way to round off a long day. 

To Rouen

We’d booked the car on the 11:18 Eurotunnel train today. Whilst that meant having an early night on New Years Eve, on the plus side it meant that the roads were empty today. We drove from home to the tunnel without stopping.

This meant that we arrived super-early at an almost deserted Eurotunnel terminal, and we were able to get the 10:18 train.

Whilst waiting to board, I read online that Rouen is now part of the Crit’Air (low emissions) scheme. To comply with the Crit’Air requirements, you have to apply online for a vignette, uploading proof of your vehicle’s emissions status, and the vignette is then sent by mail. This can take six weeks, and failure to display a vignette can result in a €68 fine. The hotel we’ve booked is in the Crit’Air zone, and we don’t have a vignette, so this could be a very expensive stopover!

The crossing took 35 minutes, and once in Calais, I switched the car’s electronics from miles to kilometres, enabling me to set the cruise control to the speed limit. 

We stopped for lunch at a service station, and I applied for a Crit’Air vignette so that I can at least say I’ve applied for one if I get pulled up.

We’re using Google/Android Auto as our satnav, and it did a great job taking us straight to our hotel, the B&B Hotel, Rive Gauche.

After checking in and dumping our gear, we took the tram from right outside the hotel into the city centre, three stops away, so we could get some dinner.

The old town is very pretty, with the ornate cathedral and the grand Palais de Justice, complete with gargoyles and shell damage from WWII. The lanes in the old town are lined with painted timber buildings. There were lots of people milling about, but almost everywhere was closed. Luckily for us, Burger King was one of the few places that were open, and so we settled for a Whopper meal each.

With no bars open, we decided to have a drink back at the hotel bar. That was a total rip off though… the drinks menu clearly stated that the Bordeaux was €19 for a bottle, or €6 for a 150 ml glass (ie a thimble full) so we asked for a bottle, but the guy behind the counter said he wasn’t allowed to serve by the bottle and could only let us have 150 ml glasses. We didn’t stay in the bar for very long. We normally take an emergency bottle of wine when we go away, but I didn’t bother this time as this is France. Schoolboy error! I won’t do that again.

Spain trip countdown

In three days time, we’ll be setting off on a four week trip to Spain, to get some winter sunshine. This’ll be our first holiday abroad since returning from our motorhome tour in February 2019.

We’ve hired an apartment in Castellón de la Plana for two weeks, and another apartment in Zaragoza for a further week. We’ll be taking the car, with three overnight stays each way.

Quick Update

We went up to Nottingham today with the intention of buying the Sunlight T69, but instead we’ve gone and bought something completely different!  The first van we saw in the yard was made by Knaus, a German firm, and we both fell in love with it straight away.  It is six months old and has done just 2,500 miles.  The spec is way better than the T69 (coming with sat nav, a reversing camera, alarm and spare wheel), the fittings are of higher quality, and it only cost about £1k more – a lot of van for our money. p1040409The photos I took inside the van didn’t come out great, so here’s a link to a website with some more pics,

It all seems very real all of a sudden, just over three months to go and loads to do, including handing my notice in.


Homeward bound… 

Today’s our last full day in the motorhome, as we have to return it by 9am tomorrow. We checked out of the camp site this morning and drove to Dobbs Weir in Lea Valley Park.

After a week of lovely weather, it was very grey this morning.  The heavens opened as we drove off, and it continued raining for the whole of the journey. Good driving experience though. We made it through the stop-start traffic in Harlow, and arrived at Dobbs Weir at about 1pm, putting some soup on for lunch.

This afternoon we’re getting all of our stuff together so that we can load the car quickly in the morning, as we don’t want to be faffing about if it’s raining.

So, our thoughts on our week in a motorhome… we’ve both really enjoyed it, and feel that full timing will work for us. Admittedly the weather has been lovely most of the time, so we haven’t experienced what it would be like to be cooped up in a week of bad weather, but we now know what it’s going to be like living in a confined space, and don’t have any problems with this. For the freedom this will give us, it’s going to be well worth it.

We do have a confession to make though… we’ve only gone and bought ourselves some crocs-style footwear. I really don’t like Crocs, they’re just plain ugly. However, when you’re in and out of the van all day, you need to kick your shoes off outside otherwise you get grass clippings all over the place inside the van, so we had little choice. At least these are not real Crocs, and only cost a fiver a pair.

Renting the moho has been really useful, as we now know what to check for when buying. We had been planning to buy the same model that we have rented, but the steep steps between the beds in the back are a pain, and having the mattresses right next to the windows meant that the blinds would snap open in the middle of the night, waking us up, so we’ve decided on a similar model instead, the T69, which has an island bed at the back. We’ll be driving up to Nottingham on Sunday to view a T69, and see where we go from there.

This is the last blog entry for a while. I will be setting up our own website to record our travels, and I’ll post a link here when it’s ready. Thanks for tuning in!


A lazy day… 

Here’s the view from our front door this morning:

The only things on our to do list today were:
1) have a fry up for breakfast

2) go for a walk into the next village

3) spend the afternoon sat reading by the river

I haven’t had a fry up since December, and I really fancied one, so we bought all the stuff we needed in Morrisons yesterday. The breakfast was good, but was a bit of a faff cooking the full monty in such a diddy kitchen, so tomorrow we’ll have bacon sarnies for breakfast instead.

Once the washing up was done we went for a walk into Stoke Ferry, about a mile away. The sun was clearing the mist away and it soon warmed up. We got to the village pub just before it opened at 12, and I don’t think I’ve sat outside a pub waiting for it to open since I was a kid! We’d intended to stopping for a coffee, but the weather was so nice we had a cider /lager instead.

We’ve spent the afternoon reading by the river. The only annoying thing was the owner driving up and down on his lawnmower, taking forever to mow the grass. First world problems eh?!

It’s now nearly wine o’clock, we’ve got a prawn salad to look forward to for dinner, and another evening chilling out on the riverside. I could get used to this!



We left East Runton this morning, stopping off at Morrisons before driving to tonight’s camp site in Whittington. We did plan to stop for a coffee in Holt or Fakenham, but neither town had a car park which would accommodate our moho. We had to wait until we got to Swaffham, where there was a free car/lorry park.

We found a nice-looking independent coffee shop and had a tea and a coffee, a bargain at £2 – they need to put their prices up! Nowhere took our fancy for lunch, so we walked back to the moho and made a couple of tuna sarnies instead, so a cheap morning out!

Whittington is a rural village near a main road, but there’s not much here at all. The site itself is lovely, and we are parked up right next to the River Wissey (which I hadn’t heard of before). We’ll be here for two nights.

We’ve spent the afternoon sat on the riverside chilling out and reading. We went for a walk along the river earlier, and we’re now relaxing with a glass of wine, waiting for the sun to set. This is the life!

I promised yesterday that I’d post some pics of the inside of the moho, so here goes…


A glorious day

The plan for today, if you can call it a plan, was to take a bus into Cromer and go from there, so we were up and out in time to catch the 9:17 into town.

We had a wander round the shopping area and then dropped down to the sea front. The weather was lovely for this time of year, and it was forecast to be the hottest September day for 50 years. There’s a nice pier there so we went for a stroll, stopping for a coffee before checking out the RNLI lifeboat station at the end of the pier. If I ever get into difficulties padding on the Cromer beaches, I know I’ll be in safe hands.

There wasn’t much else to do in Cromer, so we went to check out the local Morrisons. We’ll be stopping by in the moho tomorrow to buy enough food to see us through to the end of the week, but we still bought a few bits and bobs before catching the bus back.

Lunch today was a simple smoked haddock from the smoke house yesterday, and then we vegged out under the awning reading our Kindles. Whilst it was lovely and warm, it was a little overcast and definitely not the 29°C they’d forecast.

Once it had cooled down a little, we went for a walk along the coastal path, calling in at a cafe on the way down to the beach. We had a lovely walk along the beach, then sat watching the tide gently coming in.

Back to base and time to start cooking dinner. The kitchen on the moho is pretty compact: a three burner gas hob, a small gas oven and a sink (I’ll post some pics of the inside of the van tomorrow) . I’ve done most of the cooking so far and haven’t had any problems, though to be fair I haven’t cooked anything that demanding. Tonight’s dinner was a chicken and chorizo paella washed down with a glass or two of red. We’re going to have a go at learning how to play cribbage tonight, should be fun!


Learning to drive again! 

Today we both woke up before the alarm went off, so we got up and ready. We’re getting a bit of a routine going now, and I think that’ll be important when living in such a confined space.

Today’s drive was about 50 miles along the A149, following the North Norfolk coast to a village called West Runton, which is between Sheringham and Cromer, where we’ll be staying for two nights.

The A149 started out as a fast single carriageway road, but before long it started to run through small villages, where it transformed itself into a twisty, narrow road. Between the villages it narrowed itself even further, becoming  a single track road in places. Driving a big white box (7.5m long, 2.3m wide and 3m high) along this road got a bit hairy at times, especially when I’m not used to driving a manual gearbox, but we got through safely and without having to do too much reversing (reversing the big white box is really tough!). It really is like learning to drive again.

First stop was Wells-Next-The-Sea, where we parked up in a new-looking car park. We were able to squeeze the moho into a normal parking space with the rear overhanging the grass verge. Wells (we’re on first name terms) is a lovely seaside town with a pretty high street.

A coffee and a short walk later and we were back on the road. We’d wanted to stop off for some lunch at Blakeney, but the village car park wouldn’t accommodate our moho, and so after reversing out we continued on our way, stopping at Cley-Next-The-Sea, which did have a decent sized car park.

Cley is a tiny little village and had a lovely deli selling all sorts of unusual stuff, and also a smoke house selling all kinds of smoked fish. The only eaterie was the George pub, but the menu was outrageously expensive – £9.95 plus 12.5% service charge for a sarnie – so we knocked that on the head and walked back to the smoke house, bought some supplies, and had a yummy smoked salmon salad lunch in the moho.

Back on the road, we wended our way along more twisty narrow lanes until we arrived at Sheringham. We found a space in the car park, or rather two spaces,meaning we had to pay double. There’s a nice promenade along the sea front, and we stopped off for an ice cream and watched the world go by. We didn’t hang around too long though, otherwise we’d have been up for a double parking fine!

The camp site we’re staying at tonight is much bigger than I had thought, loads of caravans and quite a few mohos too, but it’s nice and quiet and we’ve been able to sit outside and chill out.