Day 810 – Euro Mini-Tour – 20 May 12
For piccies see www.eastmidlandsdea.co.ukPrimarily this blog is aimed at keeping our daughter in the UK, Chloe, abreast of our adventures in Europe. Additionally, we hope that other readers will find snippets of info regarding campsites, prices and foreign travel interesting or perhaps just informative.
Well, we remain at home waiting for the off. It continues to rain just about every day.
We go to the 'van quite regularly to prep it for Germany. It's amazing just how many jobs there are to do. Moving stuff in and out and re-packing to take account of the missing top-box (which we sold on ebay). I reckon we’ve reduced the weight by a good 100kgs and maybe more.
We renewed mum’s driving license, it needed a new photo and was due to expire. Mine is still at DVLA after a month! I really don’t know what they do. Their communication is pathetic. Just try to get through by phone – it's all but impossible and keeps cutting off. Same with the HMRC. They have given me the wrong tax code – for 2 years – and trying to get it changed is extremely difficult. Bet they'd be quick enough if I owed them money! However, I think we’ve done all of the necessary admin and will renew Smartie’s road tax and SORN the Mondeo on our return.
Mum went off to York for a ‘girls weekend’ and had a good time (wore her tongue out probably, but I got a peaceful weekend watching footie, snooker and IPL cricket. :thumb:
Well, the Euro continues to nose-dive which is great news for us. It means we have 10%+ to spend whilst we are in Europe – which is about £1600 over the ten months away. Bloody good news. Hurrah for duff Euro economies!
The weather is starting to pick up and it bodes well for the visit to Lee Valley and then into Holland for 18th May. We will stay at 13 campsites in 41 days on our mini-tour. Should be interesting. Hopefully, we’ll meet up with Heleen and JW in Holland, go to visit our old RAF station at Laarbruch, see Alun and Anne-Marie in Luxembourg, maybe hitch up with the Bollenbergs in Germany and see Biff and Erica in Metz. Phew…should be very busy in between all the touristing!
Got my ADAC card today after joining the German version of the AA. It's basically to support Smartie, but we are both covered, for ANY vehicle – including the 'van, for a whole year, anywhere in Europe, for €79. Bargain. And it covers us for repatriation if we get sick – so we save £400 on travel/health insurance. A VERY good deal.
We’ve sorted out the Taxman – just one more return this year and I’ll be back to normal. DVLA are playing silly buggers – but that's to be expected. Did you know that their advertised turn round time for responses is 6 WEEKS!!!!!! Appalling. Hopefully, they will have reacted by July on our return from Europe.
We bought 2 sets of lawn bowls off ebaY and are ready to play when we get to Cabopino – which is now the centre of attraction re the Madeleine McCann saga. Sadly, I suspect it's just another false lead.
We are putting the final touches to our preps for leaving on Tuesday. Getting the house and garden sorted for 6 weeks absence. I'm hoping Dirk will come round and cut the grass at least once.
The weather has picked up and we have got the cars washed and garden sorted. The end of a perfect week, with Blackburn and Bolton going down – Owen ‘Judas’ Coyle getting his just desserts – and to make things better Man Utd lost the Premiership to City. Makes up for Burnley’s crap season.
Euro Mini Tour Day 1
Finally got away in the 'van on 15th May and headed for Lee Valley to stay at the campsite and visit Chloe for her birthday. It's a nice, friendly and compact site and suits us for a few nights before catching the ferry from Dover. The midweek rate of £19.30 is reasonable for a site so close to Central London. They have been sold out for the Olympics for ages. We are going into town tomorrow to have lunch with Clo for her birthday. The weather is picking up somewhat but I'm not relying on anything decent for the next 6 weeks.
Had a really nice evening with the Tanswells, who always make us welcome. Chloe seems settled across the road with her boyfriend, Chris. Carole and I took Chloe into Central London for lunch at El Pirata in Mayfair. It's our favourite Tapas Bar and we had an extremely pleasant meal. Happy Birthday Clo.
Euro Mini Tour Day 4
Set off from Lee Valley on Tuesday morning at 0500! The bus ride back from Walthamstow was a dick dance. Only every third bus goes all the way to the campsite, so it took 2 changes and 90 minutes to get back. Beware!
Got to Dover by 0700 and caught the 0800 ferry. Good idea, as it was 168 miles to the campsite near Eindhoven, which we didn’t reach until 1300. The roads were relatively quiet, except round Antwerp, but we found the site OK. €17 per night ACSI, and very nice indeed. Clean, tidy, quiet with loads of facilities for the many Dutch tenters on site, including its own beach and swimming lake. We got a nice large hardstanding with a parking slot for Smartie – and it's flat! It also looks good for the weather as 3 weeks of very hot sun are predicted for 25th May onwards. Let's hope so.
Euro Mini-Tour Day 5 and 6.
We are off to Hardenberg to meet up with JW and Heleen today and look forward to catching up. Straightforward motorway trip of just under 3 hours. The roads around Eindhoven are a joy. Makes Belgian roads look even worse – if that's possible. Literally, as you cross the border into Holland it's like going from a bone-shaker to floating on air.
The campsite t’Veld is a family oriented site with many groups in large tents. We are the only English in sight but have arrived on a holiday weekend - so no ACSI! And the rate is around €30+ per night! Beware Dutch holidays. However, the children are very polite and don’t scream all day like Spanish and Italian kids.
J-W and Heleen turned up around 3pm and we spent a very pleasant afternoon reminiscing about Cervia, where we met in July 10. They are a very busy young couple who manage full-time jobs with being professional ballroom dancers. We also met Heleen’s parents again, who had also turned up in Cervia.
The weather has really turned hot! 29 deg C and thunderstorms threaten in the mugginess. We might be lucky. Our pitch is on grass and most of the other campers have gone, so I hope we don’t get stuck in the mud. Off to Laarbruch tomorrow for 4 nights to check out the old RAF haunts. Went for a 10 mile cycle ride around the Dutch countryside and finished off with a splendid Dutch Pancake – Ham and Asparagus.
Right, that's all for now. I’ll post this and catch up again when we are settled on the Mosel.
M and D
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