Spending Christmas on the continent

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Rob and Val, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Rob and Val

    Rob and Val Funster

    Oct 17, 2010
    We are fairly new to motorhoming. We bought a 1994 Compass Calypso/Talbot Express 2.5 diesel in July this year. Have had a few mechanical problems – mainly due to a lack of knowledge as to where to source spare parts – but now we believe that the Calypso is in fairly good condition (fingers crossed).

    This will be the first Christmas that we shall have no family commitments and so we are seriously considering spending a couple of weeks travelling in the motorhome either to Southern Spain or the Portuguese Algarve. We have driven from the U.K. to Southern Spain before but that was in a car and was in mid-April 2007 and we had accommodation en route pre-booked. This time we are thinking of leaving around 17th December and returning early in the New Year.

    What we would like to know is this: -
    1. Is Dover to Calais the best crossing with a motorhome during winter? We would be very happy travelling through France if the weather is reasonable. Would the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao work out less hazardous and cheaper? The Calypso does about 27 m.p.g. and we are on a fixed income now (don't like the term 'pensioner' - seems much too old!).
    2. As we’ve already drained the water system should we leave it dry and carry water in containers until we reach warmer climes? This will mean heating water from the containers on the gas stove for washing, shaving etc. and, we assume, pouring water down the loo to flush it – things we’d prefer not to have to do.
    3. Will aires be open at this time of year to enable us to fill up with fresh water? Not having any water at all would be a nightmare!
    4. How easy is it to find stopovers during the holiday period? We are hoping not to have to pre-book as that puts pressure on us to get to a certain place at a certain time.
    These questions may well seem naive to seasoned travellers and many will probably think us crazy for contemplating taking a 16-year old motorhome on the continent during wintertime. So any comments and advice would be very much appreciated.  
  2. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    Read through The Spanish Job Final Planning.

    Routes, ferries, costings, stopovers all done for you.
  3. keith

    keith Funster

    Aug 25, 2007
    Hi Rob & val & welcome
    Don't worry about being called a pensioner, remember it's the longest holiday of you life. ::bigsmile:
    1. the Aires are open in winter but you may not get water as many are turned off, but you seemed to have thought of that. But they will be quiet, we have often been on our own when stopping on the Aires in winter.
    2. You cannot be sure of good weather in France in the winter but you may get lucky we have done it in snow, wind, rain and sunshine over the years but always got through.
    3. You might be more comfortable considering the routes to N. Spain taking into account your older vehicle. It will possibly cost you more but peace of mind may enter into your decision.
    I hope you have a safe trip if you go. :thumb:
  4. bobandjanie

    bobandjanie Funster Life Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    UK / Spain
    Hi Rob and Val, as you have done it in a car you know its a long way. If I was you I would look at coming back in March,:winky: as it cost a lot to get there and France is a big cold country in winter. :roflmto: And it will take you that long to thaw out.:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

    Our last van was a 1997 and not a warm van, but if your water tank is in the van you will be OK, but we have had the pipes freeze, I take it your Hot water will come from a Carver heater if that freezes it with push the drain plug out being only plastic.:Doh: We put a valve on ours so the heater never filled up until we wanted it to.::bigsmile:

    We always went the beginning of January from Dover Seafrance or Norfolkline who ever had the best deal. We head down the west coast to Biarritz Aire the water and electric's On there. Some of the Aires have the Electric ON so take a Fan Heater with you, and sometimes its Free.:thumb:
    We spent 5 weeks on it a couple of years ago because the weather was so bad in Spain and Portugal we didn't bother putting any more diesel in to go any further.....:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

    So be warned its not always nice and :sin::sin::sin::sin:

    If you get stuck for water the Aires on the major roads have the water ON, but don't stay over night because you will get Gassed and Robbed.:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

    And once you get there you decide.......................::bigsmile: Do we turn Left or Right..:thumb: Enjoy your trip. Bob.
  5. Heyupluv

    Heyupluv Read Only Funster

    Oct 7, 2008
    Hi Rob and Val......we travelled to Portugal last few days in January 2010 to three weeks into February...we live in Northern France....we left in a blizzard of snow and it was cold well into Spain...in fact freezing...the further we travelled south in France the skies turned from grey to blue but still very cold, all aires was open that we stopped at BUT water turned off due to winter and freezing problems......but don't worry to much about water because all supermarkets have bottles of it, and it is very cheap compared to England....I think Lidl are the cheapest for the water.
    have a safe journey and a lovely holiday


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