Prefer sites (with hedges) to aires

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Barclaybasher, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    I know many on here use aires and we have a few times on 2 trips to France this year. We prefer sites for a number of reasons - EHU (no generators!), toilets, showers, security and space. There are some very good aires but there are a lot that are just stone and tarmac carparks. Came across one last week in Normandy - over a million pounds worth of Mhs parked side by side - just couldn’t see the point.
    To spend tens of thousands on the MH, put up with generators, buy solar panels, extra batteries, gaslow bottles…………to stay in a carpark to save twenty euros- not for us
    Mind you not every site suited HWMBO. We don’t book sites, just stop whenever, and last week found a site right on the beach, front line on a grassy bank with a fantastic view over a very calm English Channel, brilliant sunset…. “What do you think”? I asked - “Don’t like it”
    To me it was an ideal spot - “What’s wrong with it then”? …….. “No hedges” was the reply.
    My wife would have preferred to give up the view and move to the centre of the site, where the pitches were separated by hedges - privacy of a sort.
    Sorry it has to be sites - with hedges!!
     
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  2. CarolynandMike

    CarolynandMike Read Only Funster

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    Aires v Campsites

    We are great fans of aires as campsites are often not close to towns and villages. Yes, its nice to save money, but that's not our main reason for using them.

    Last trip we stayed on some aires in lovely places in France which gave us time to explore architecture, sample local food and wines, and increase our historical knowledge. It also gives us more opportunity to interact with local people and a greater understanding of the country we are staying in. In Port Vendres I discovered a trail of Macintosh paintings and learnt about the fortifications built there; in Legrasse and Roque de Gageac we found some wines that were new to us and in Legrasse spent time exploring the ancient streets and ramparts and a lovely family-run museum. Yet another aire was in a Bastide town and we learnt much about these medieval towns which were models of town planning that still have relevance today.

    I could cite many other examples of aires we have enjoyed - past highlights were two aires at Lac due Der - Chantecoq and one other. We spent several days in the area, cycling around the lake, getting up before dawn and staying out to dusk to watch and listen to the thousands of cranes stopping over on their migration. We also spent a day at a small local truffle fair where we participated in everything going and were made to feel part of the community and not just visitors. No campsite was near enough for me to slip out of the van in the dark, take my cup of coffee with me, and be in position to watch the cranes waking up and taking off as soon as dawn broke. Nor could I have drunk several glasses of champagne at the truffle fair if I had to drive afterwards (we cycled).

    At the end of the day, campsite or aires, its what suits individual needs, isn't it? To hold the view that people only stay on aires to save money is rather narrow.

    Carolyn
     
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  3. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Some people have bugger all left to pay for sites after buying the motorhome and coping with rising fuel costs. We need nothing a site can offer. As for hedges they just get in the way of our sat reception, and provide shade for a billion ants, dive bombing birds etc. Still the more people on sites the more space for the rest of us, :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
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  4. iandsm

    iandsm Funster

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    Aires

    Congratulations. We hope you are sincerely happy with the sites you stay on. For us it's aires every time. Spending four months in France/Germany every year for the last four years would have cost us many hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. In fact we would only be able to be away for perhaps six weeks a year. Yes, we have a 65K camper and get a lot of pleasure and use out if it, the freedom and variety the aires give us could not be surpassed by commercial sites. We can make the comparison since we do use sites every two weeks or so just just for the laundry facilities.

    We do not need showers and toilet blocks and have, in all out time away only heard a generator once. As for hedges, we don't feel we need them either. We don't feel we want to hide away from others and are happy to share the view and even comment on it.

    For us motorhoming is all about freedom of when and where to travel and enjoying using the facilities a modern fully equipped motorhome has to offer which includes Solar panels and Gaslow. You may not see the point of aires, we don't see the point of spending a large amount of money on a motorhome and then confining visits to sites with showers and toilets etc. The saving, using your 20 euros a night figure, amounts to 2400 euros a year for us and you only but the sola panels and Gaslow system once. No brainer really.:Smile:
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
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  5. DesRes

    DesRes Funster

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    I'm with you burstner!
    We just changed our van, the last one was "fully loaded", you name it we had it and did not use any of it half the time.
    This time I'm going down the minimalist route, nothing on the roof, no ladders, no awning, kept my generator for any shows but it will stay home mostly.
    I say that now, but it will need A/C before a summer in Europe...:Blush:
     
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  6. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    I am with you on this point but I am sure you fully realise that this is not "off-site" camping as many people know it...

    I cannot understand people who have the independence of a motorhome and the freedom it offers parking on a site, plugging into electricity, using toilets and showers complete strangers might have been in seconds before AND paying to do so... hedges or no hedges... :Wink:

    I really shouldn't allow myself to get so annoyed after all this time when I read posts which assume off-site camping is done to save twenty euros... but I still do...
    :Angry:
    JJ :Cool:
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
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  7. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    The reason I bought this motorhome, after a break of 15 years or so, is only because my wife needs the toilet and shower on the van. I don't know if anyone saw 'This Morning' on ITV but my wife has MSA. Without the van we would not be going anywhere, I even use it for shopping - just to get her out of the house.
    The hedges thing is probably because she prefers to not be seen by others, we eat in the van mostly because she has difficulty drinking and eating.
    The toilet - it wouldn't be fair on her for me to share it - believe me! - give it more than a few minutes!!
    I am sure there are more good aires than bad ones but some that we saw last week were just carparks - and pretty full.
     
  8. Pikey Pete

    Pikey Pete Read Only Funster

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    I use all of the above as and when it suits.

    In the Summer Aires, Stellplatz etc in Europe and CL/CS and the odd Lay By/Pub Car Park in the UK.

    In Spain ,in the winter I use a campsite because it suits me too.

    You should use your Motorhome exactly how you want to, and if other people find this offensive then that's their problem.


    Pete:Cool:
     
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  9. iandsm

    iandsm Funster

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    Of course, an individuals circumstances and health must have a bearing on the way they use a motorhome and had I been aware of your circumstances, which I was not, I would have understood your post and replied with them in mind.
     
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  10. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    We must have twin sisters as SWMBO's who don't know each other!
     
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  11. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    The good thing is that Motorhomes give you a choice.

    We mostly stay on sites because we choose to but I equally see the benefit of parking near a deserted beach or lake for a few days.

    I chose choice:thumb:
     
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  12. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Of course Itinerant... use it how you want... but do not suggest that people who "off-site" camp are doing it to save money...

    some maybe doing so but many are doing it because they do not like the rules and regulations on sites... all the other vans parked with you (often in lines) etc.

    I have no problem with people who use their vans in ways I would not... but I get annoyed when a post suggests the reason we are not on sites is SIMPLY to save money.

    (I am sure there are some people who like to use camp sites so they can show off their nice, expensive, shiny motorhomes to the maximum number of other people, but to suggest that they all do would be silly.)

    Frankie (Yodeli) and I are about to tour Portugal for three weeks and we plan to park "off-site mostly."

    We also plan to post photos etc of where we stop, as we have done in the past. These will show a different way of motorhoming to just using campsites.

    Maybe we could call the thread "Show me a campsite which offers all this..." :Wink: :Wink:

    JJ :Cool:
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
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  13. Hayleylulu

    Hayleylulu

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    Full timing in the van
    up the wild camping tosses:thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
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  14. Pikey Pete

    Pikey Pete Read Only Funster

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    I wasn't suggesting anything of the sort.
    My point was that how anyone chooses to use their Motorhome, has got nothing to do with anyone else, unless it directly impacts on others in a negative way.

    Pete:Cool:
     
  15. Encantador

    Encantador Funster

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    Staying on aire with harstanding recently that was attached to camping site in France.

    After a night of torrential rain I went into the site next door with for water, it had grass pitches with hedges, there were 4 pitches in each section. There was a relatively small Hobby stuck in mud, they had a builders type pick up truck trying to tow it out, luckily, it was just inside the hedge bordering the narrow roadway which meant the truck could stay on the road and just had the angle to pull it out.

    IF it had been on one of the pitches further from the road I couldn`t see how they would have got it out if the truck was all they had. The truck would have had to reverse onto the very wet grass and the only way it could have gone was across the very small road into the 4 pitches opposite, all occupied.

    A few days earlier I had driven my 5 ton MH onto a sandy pitch near the beach the front wheels were soon buried and the exhaust was touching the ground. I then found that the site had no facilities to help. I got it out by digging holes and using the ramps was lucky that the pitch opposite was empty with only a couple of very small bushes in between.

    So, as a total newbie, I learnt a lot from these two incidents about picking a pitch very very carefully, realising the weather can change things within hours (our first MH show was Peterborough 2012) and you can`t drive through hedges.

    Steve
     
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  16. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    Well I totally agree with you. I also cannot understand why people pay all that money for motorhomes and then just cheapskate on wanting to off grid camp. Campsites for me every time from now on. Am now wondering why I ever bought a motorhome in the first place. Just a few of some of the many hideous wildcamps I have had to resort to in the past.
     

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  17. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    I don't understand why people get their knickers in a twist about this.

    I don't care how other people use their vans, where they park, or what colour socks they wear.

    Why should I ?
     
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  18. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    The trouble with hedges generally is a) insects and b) obscured views, as even if there are no picturesque ones, they severely hamper my people-watching! :Rofl1:

    If it wasn't for people/rig watching on an 'open meadow' campsite 3 years ago, we wouldn't have bought our van in the first place. And you chat to the people and admit you don't find tent camping as comfy as you did when you were younger, but although you have an old caravan which is perfectly sound you perhaps don't have the best car for towing it any distance. They invite you in to see their facilities - and suddenly out of the blue six weeks later you are back in France again in a new Bessacar .... :Eek!:

    I mean I do feel for Mrs Burstner and understand where she's coming from - but frankly I'm more annoyed and frustrated with life/other people that she ever has to feel like she does. :Angry: (apart from the loo/showering privacy and time etc I mean, whilst as a naturist I'll happily wash in full view and frequently have done - there are some little jobs that esp girls need a bit of privacy for notwithstanding naturism, so that part just doesn't come into this)
     
  19. DP_JAY

    DP_JAY Funster Life Member

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    We use the aires a lot, mainly for the freedom. We don't have to book, arrive & leave when & where we want, any time of day or night. It has been known for me to stop on an aire just to rest my eyes for a couple of hours & then drive on.
    As for sites, I use them sometimes, but I don't want hedges anyway.
    Only been on two sites with hedges & found the pitches very small, & by the way we've used/seen aires with hedges as well.
    The main thing is we do what suits us at the time, on the recent french trip we used a mixture of sites/aires as the mood/needs took us.
     
  20. Roryboys Dad

    Roryboys Dad Read Only Funster

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    Here are two kinds of stopover sites.

    One is an Aire in Le Touquet, where twelve MHs are packed in like sardines, cost €9.50 + €2 Water + €2 EHU for 24 hours.

    The other is a campsite at Orbec, our pitch was 12 paces by 23 paces in size, cost €11 for 24 hours with water, EHU, waste disposal, toilets, hedges, fire fighting equipment by the side of every pitch, showers, etc. all included in the price.

    I know which site I'd prefer.
     

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