Cherbourg is a nice town. I rather expected it to be more like Fishguard, but it is big and pretty,with lots and lots of shops. I had a commission for Armagnac and so that gave us an excuse to go to a few shops, I did, I confess buy a number of bottles of spirits, basically anything unusal...just so I can broaden my repertoire of cocktails...purely in the interests of knowledge you understand?
We parked for the two nights in tourlaville an adjacent town of Cherbourg , We were parked literally on the beach as I fancied a day on the beach to laze and swim before we had to head home. But the rain caught up with us, it poured all day, but sometimes that is a good thing. I was pretty wiped from all of the driving and a day snuggled in Rosita, playing cards and reading was exactly what I needed, there was plenty of time on the last day for Armagnac shopping.
Our departure dawned in the teeth of a howling gale..and yes we were getting a boat...and I am not a fantastic sea traveller at the best of times, so it was down with the sea-sickness tablets and we were off, it was a rocky trip but uneventful.
And then on the 24, Rosslare, funny after all of the time driving on the right I had to really concentrate to drive on the left again. The drive from Rosslare to home seemed interminable.
But by happy chance a couple of friends were in my house when we arrived, they had popped in to turn on the heating etc..so we had a welcome home party. They came back again a little later and we popped a couple of corks on some of the fizzy wine that found its way into my shopping trolley in France..and we talked and talked.
I have loved having the company of Mollie on the trip, I am lucky that we get on so well and that we have a fantastic relationship, but it was also nice to get home and have a few more people around.
and then the very very best thing of all
My own bed!
thanks for reading
Most of the rest of our trip was boring, boring to do and boring to read about. Hard driving, for the first time on the trip we ventured onto the motorways, we had a long long way to go and only a few days to do it in.
I drove across Germany in a day we were consistently impressed in Germany and in France by the roads, the services, the signposts...getting lost has really lost is charm...
Luxembourg that night, mostly because its there, but as it turned out it was a lovely night, we stayed in a little town Viandin again just over the border. The town is on both sides of a river bank in a steep little river valley, perched high on the mountain was the most beautiful castle yet. http://www.hotel-petry.com/english/vianden/index.html Oh how I want to live there!
there was a chairlift up the mountain so we had to do that first thing in the morning, gorgeous spot, but short of time we had to hit the road.
Luxembourg into Belguim and then into France. Staying in more stellplatz on the way.
We made really good time and arrived into Cerbourg on the evening of the 21, two nights to kill until the ferry
Czech is another pretty country that we barely managed to scratch the surface of, it took a day or so to drive across, with the shortest tourist stop ever in prague
We drove into the city and couldnt find anywhere to park legally, so I took the risk of parking illegally...a place reserved for permit holders. I think I have inadvertantly parked illegally in a lot of cities, sometimes a foreign registration is a boon. This was the first time I did it intentionally, but it was OK, no traffic wardens appeared, mind you we couldn't stay long, we had a quick wander around the old part of the town, saw the gorgeous bridge, of which admittedly little was to be seen under the hoards of people, added prague to my list of places to return to. And then back to Rosita to drive for the border. At least that was the theory, in the event it took about 2 hours to get out of the city, i drove through tiny winding streets...a much easier way of being a tourist!..and then hit the biggest road works in the world.
eventually clear of the city we headed for the border. The border crossing was the strangest yet. As with most crossings you tend to be driving along country roads and then hit what looks like a huge toll plaza. But just before the border crossing we found an enormous chinese village, or at least that was what it seemed. It was called something like asia dragon market. A couple of hundred stalls, most of which were closed when we arrived (apart from the stall selling garden gnomes..) in the village was a circus tent and a pathway of candles leading to the tent. There were hundreds of chinese (?) people milling around, we were not sure if it was a wedding or religious revival, but didnt want to intrude on what was clearly a very private event. But it was the trippiest thing ever to stumble on in the middle of the czech countryside.
Deprived of shopping opportunities (which never breaks our hearts...sorry Joanne, we didnt take your advice, not much shopping on this trip at all) we crossed into Germany and pulled up for the night in a little stellplatz. One of those free camping for campervan places. In a nice little village, as it happened the only place still open was a gelateri, so we had to go and revive our spirits with a
Since we were on a roll with countries I decided to go home a different way and drive across some countries that still hadnt made it onto our list.
Slovakia was very pretty, it is a lovely country, a sort of mix of irish green-ness and alpine forest. And they used Euro!....so nice not to have to divide everything by 3.5, mental arithmetic is not my strong point.
At this stage of our trip we dont have a lot of time left for tours or sightseeing, 6 nights to get to cherbourg for the ferry. So we drove across slovakia, everywhere there were mushroom sellers, random people standing at the side of the roads, with boxes full of the most gorgeous wild mushrooms. So far on this trip we have seen everything for sale on roadside stalls, from baskets, to cheese, cooking implements to millions of watermelons, vinegar, fruit and olive oil. I wanted to stop and buy from them all, particularly from the elderly women. Actually really I wanted to just stop and talk, learn all about them and their lives....cursed tower of babel...
we ended up finding a nice little campsite, there were a load of pretty A framed cabins set in a half circle on a meadow, with mountains and forests rising up behind, and of course a river and a waterfall.
The office had a young woman who spoke perfect english, her mamma who did the money and assorted other elderly aunts and uncles who watched carefully the transaction. A pitch for the night was...wait for it...just 5.60, that is five euro sixty cent. For a little slice of tranquil heaven...(with no mosquitoes!)..so I thought I might splash out on a night in one of the gorgeously cute little cabins, so I went back and braved the unsmiling scrutiny of the aunts to ask the price of a night in a 2 bed cabin. She asked if I wanted one with heating or without, it wasnt such a cold night and so I figured without heating...12e.80c!...so pushing the boat out I thought I would splash out on heating...a night in the cutest dollshouse of a place was the princely sum of 15e. for a real bed...
next morning as we sat on our balcony to eat breakfast a couple of the aunts pushing a trolly came up wanting to clean our room..I felt so guilty that a couple of elderly ladies were to clean up after us...but they were smiling this morning so perhaps a good night sleep was all they needed. We certainly had a great night and I was so reluctant to leave. Rosita is actually surprisingly comfortable to sleep in, but no match for a real bed.
all in all. Slovakia is another place that I have on my list to return to...
onwards to Czech, we are quite blase about borders and had everything ready but as we were approaching the border the sky got darker and darker...the wind started howling and we drove into the biggest thunderstorm yet, it was scary, I had to pull over for a while as visibility was nil, but then I figured that we could shelter at the border post. Which turned out to be a dust covered little hut in the middle of no-where...obviously the notion of a border between czech and slovakia is a nominal one in these parts. So we out_drove the s