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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Greek Summer 2017



Greece again. 2017


The plan this year was to head for Igoumenitsa and drive down the coast to Patras, meet with friends then carry on to the south.

Here's where we stayed on the journey:

Slate Hall Farm , Haverhill, Cambridge
Marine Parade, Dover
Aire de Camping Car, Stenay, France
Breisach am Rhein stelplatz, Germany
Brisighella, Italy 2 nights
Superfast X1 ferry overnight
Aginara Glyfa Greece 3 nights
Methoni , Greece
Camping Thines Finikounda Greece.....a long time!


Returning

Elia Beach Greece 3 nights
Kounoupelaki Beach Greece
Camping Tsolis north coast Greece 3 nights
Olympic Champion ferry overnight
Coldrerio services Switzerland
Plainfang, ( after Colmar) France
Stenay France
Dover



Slate Hall Farm Cl Haverhill 

The trip started with a visit to see friends. Simon, Marion and Molly. We found the CL down a narrow road- a pretty site on a working farm. Our friends came to collect us and we went to the Fox and Hounds in Steeple Bumpstead for a lovely meal and a catch up.

Dover promenade

We drove on B roads through Saffron Walden after calling for shopping. We made a stop at Maidstone services but the parking was awful- very narrow. We parked up at Capel le Ferne for a couple of hours before going  into Dover and parking up. We went to Wetherspoons for too much Villa Maria  and a curry for me after ringing DFDS to see if we could get an evening ferry without success.

Stenay

We woke up with water dripping in from the skylight- it was raining hard. Pete contacted Brownhills as we shouldn't have water coming in. The ferry was straightforward but we had fun in the E Leclerc  supermarket at junction 16  at Bergues because they have put height barriers. Never one to be defeated,   I negotiated a route past McDonalds and through a clothes shop car park. We got the usual first French shopping but the strawberry tarts had soggy bottoms!
We decided not to go to Remich but stop at Stenay.  It was a nice route as there had been some road improvements in Belgium and we took junction 28A  and a straight wooded road to N89 Bouillon.
We had a 'get to know your new van' day- we had fantastic showers, it didn't rattle on the road, loads of room ...but I couldn't find the instructions for the mifi, or the van instruction book or open the skylight in the shower.  The bedroom door jammed open . But....
I found the instructions for the mifi and got it working, I found the Adria book, I found the plastic locking switch on the shower roof light and found I had put some bags in a space that blocked the bedroom door from moving...yeah!
The van roof leak is bone dry so I think it may have been Pete's over enthusiastic washing of the roof. 

Breisach am Rhein

I went to the loos in the aire and there was hot water- usually it's not very warm. We went left in Montmedy for a change then went right via Musson  and Aubange to the Cactus supermarket and garage , Avenue de Luxembourg , Bascharage on the edge of Luxemburg where we fill up and get cheap gin ( 8 euros 30) and some of our favourite wine.We drove down to Metz in pouring rain but we were surprised to find that Jete de Pierre rest place where we usually stop, is now closed, what a pity. We stopped further on in Baccarat at Aire de Meurthe. We stopped for diesel in Vogelsheim ( France) but then found it was cheaper in Germany. We parked in the aire at Breisach where there is a new ticket machine and it costs six euros. We went for a walk and an ice cream but turned back as the skies went black and it poured down again. 

Brisighella - a new stop.





We headed off but wasted half an hour going round the new road system and buying awful bread at the supermarket. We stopped for a break south of Basel at Tufengraben- a good spot. There was a 19 minute queue for Gotthard tunnel and we stopped again at the parking after Gotthard south services. It was E2.30 entry to Italy  where for your money you get mad drivers, crazy driving and traffic jams but nothing much changes...expect the unexpected and all is well. 
We got to Modena, Camping Club Mutina where we usually stay. I had sent an email without getting a reply  and there were loads of people wearing yellow tee shirts buzzing around on bikes. One guy kindly told me that we couldn't stop there because they were full, there was a rock concert the next day ( Vasco?) and 200,000 people would be in Modena! They said they had sent an email and we could stay outside the camp but there was a chance that we wouldn't be able to get out of Modena in the morning because the roads would be closed. We were very tired by then so we had a cuppa and a biscuit and looked up somewhere else to stay. We found one but it was another hour and twenty minutes down the road. We got off at Faenza after struggling in rain and shitty traffic to get diesel. There were more jams round Bologna - it wasn't our night.  It got dark, we were tired, the sat nav played up and we couldn't find the sosta. I told Pete to drive back to the railway station where I got out and spoke to a group of young people who were sitting on their Vespas.  A couple of them went in front of us and found us the place to park.  They were rewarded! We were so relieved. I faffed about in the dark trying to read the meter and instructions, made tuna sarnies then slept.......

Brisighella


We had a good sleep . We looked on the internet about this place and went for a gorgeous walk through tree lined streets to the town centre then up 380 steps to the Rocca Tower - three euros well spent. It is fabulous up there with amazing views. We read about the mining of gypsum and the Messinian salinity crisis....yes, a Greek connection. 
We went into the town square and sat ages waiting for a coffee before I realised it was self service!. It wasn't very expensive and a good spot for people watching. There was a  donkey track with a vaulted ceiling in the town and some of the biggest aspidistras ever.  We saw a hoopoe flying through the trees in a park and got back to the lovely sosta with a cool breeze blowing through the van.  A great place to stop.












Fano

We were the only ones staying overnight and we emptied the loo and water easily.  We called at Lidl in Faenza for some shopping. We cruised happily on down to Fano where the sosta at Sassonia was busy as normal but the lady on the gate was very smiley           ( Carla) and we parked in the second road. We didn't swim just lazed on the beach for a while.  We went to the same restaurant as last year where the food was fine but the service isn't great ( Mel told us later that if you turn right, there's a better place)
A nice breeze kept the van cool.





Superfast X1 and the big decision change.

We got off early down to Mondolfo and onto the autostrada where I randomly said 'How about not going to Igoumenistsa and going straight to Patras?' and Pete readily agreed. We just felt we wanted to be settled. We got to the ticket office and changed tickets without cost or fuss. we got to the docks and pulled up behind  David and Derwena and Maria and Stefan! We took pics and sent them to Theo at camping Thines. We had a very private spot- slight sea view and a really good sleep, helped by a glass or two of wine and a shared plate of gyros from the on deck snack bar supplemented with more salad and feeling glad that we didn't need to get up early and get off.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Driving to Greece


This is a letter we did for some friends joining us in Greece.
 It might help you if you're thinking about going- it's worth it! If you want any help with routes- as there are lots of choices, send me a message or a facebook pm and I will try to assist- we have been doing this Greek trip for ten years.



Corfu from the ferry



Maggie and Pete’s detailed instructions and route to Greece.

We drive down for an early boat in Dover and stay overnight on Marine Parade, near the fish restaurant , right hand end as you look at the sea. It’s free and we go either into the restaurant for great fish and chips or walk up, under the underpass, into the town centre to Wetherspoons or the chip shop.

Ferry:
Follow signs for DFDS ferry at Dover. Follow the car lane through passport control etc. Have your documents ready.They ask you daft questions like ‘do you have any knives, guns or weapons? Turn your gas off before going on board.

Dunkirk to Stenay  
It's best to set your sat nav to avoid toll roads while in France.
      
 232 miles 4 hrs 23 – Aire at  Port de Plaisance
Leave Dunkirk, following signs for Lille A25/ E42. We go off  at junction 16 going up slip road and turning left, carrying on to Le Clerc  for fuel and the first French bread and cheese- there is a height barrier so go into the shop via the McDonald’s entrance. Back on the road-
head to Armentieres/ Lille. We usually do E17 Douai/ E643 Cambrai – a tree lined lovely road.
On that road towards Hirson there’s a Lidl at Caudry and an E.Leclerc.
We stop for a drink and something to eat between Le Nouvion and La Capelle at a signposted pull in , in the woods. If you’re lucky, there’s a friterie ( chippy) open on the other side of the road where you can point to different size boxes for which size portion you require- the lady doesn’t speak English but the chips speak for themselves!
Carrying on towards Charlesvilles Mezieres you turn right to Sedan N43 towards Liege andMetz.
When you get to Douzy, there’s a right turn signposted Stenay. You will be following the Meuse through rolling countryside. When you get to Stenay follow motorhome signs and Port du Plaisance. Pull in at the Capitainerie onto the emptying grids. The office for the aire is in that little building at the opposite end. You go in and get a ticket for parking over the canal in the aire or there are a few spots on the same side. Last year it was 7 euros. The lady gives you the key code for the gate and shower and maybe one free ticket for the Beer museum. You can empty here and fill up. The toilet empty is under a cover. There is also a filling and emptying point on the other side of the canal.  Drive off to your left then turn right over the canal . Pull in first right. Enter key code and park where you like. The electric points are on the left and bottom side of the aire. The showers are next to the canal, bottom right of aire. It’s a nice little place to walk round along by the river. There is also a Lidl at the top of the town roundabout turn left ( we walked up) .  We didn’t get fuel in Stenay last year preferring to wait till Luxemburg. Have a good sleep and enjoy the achievement of getting there.







Stenay to  Kaysersburg Aire

 Maybe loo empty before leaving to go across towards Montmedy and turn right to  Longuyon.Diesel and fresh bread  at the supermarket just on the left, after your right turn to Longuyon over the flowery bridge. Look up left to the castle/towers on the hill at Montmedy. There’s a proper campsite up there and an old walled village to look round perhaps on your return?
Pete says you’re not doing Luxemburg so I’m not sure which way you’d choose to go but you’re heading for Metz. . Set sat nav to avoid toll roads. Bear in mind you’ll need some change for the machine in Kaysersberg. 7 euros overnight last year. We stop halfway around Nancy  just after Nancy Centre towards Nancy south  A33 for lunch at the parking area at Jete de Saint Pierre.After Nancy bear right to St Die. At St Die bear right to Colmar PAR COL – this avoids a toll tunnel and is lovely. 415 goes through Fraize up the mountain and down the other side. Keep following Kaysersburg but DO  NOT go straight on to  town centre- keep going along main road. Turn left into town roundabout signpost Vieux Ville and motorhome sign. Turn first left and go along past a building and left into the motorhome parking. Park anywhere but at the bottom on the right there is   a little grassy bit where we sit out for a cuppa. People will park closely as it’s popular. Put money in meter. Loos and service point are at the entrance but there’s no electric or showers. Beautiful town to walk around- watch for storks. There’s a supermarket- closed lunchtimes and diesel Intermarche down the first right off the road you came in on. ( main road , turn left over the flowery bridge and first right- it’s signposted. There’s a tourist office and  free wifi on the aire. ( wee fee in the French accent)
The castle is worth the climb up for the views. There’s an Albert Schweizer museum ( never been in) and lovely shops- fab ice cream  and tons of Alsace tourist tat.
If you want a proper camp site- there’s one on the Freiburg/Breisach  road  A415 on the right  ( Camping D’Isle)  through Colmar or just as you come into Kaysersberg on the left.



Kaysersberg aire- storks on the roof in the background



Kayserberg to somewhere in Italy around Parma

There’s a choice here- whether to go down the right or left bank of the Rhine to Basel.
If you want to do a big shop, it’s worth going to the huge E Leclerc in Colmar. You need the Neuf Breisach road to Freiburg  A415 signposted Breisach.  E Leclerc is on the left . There is fuel here and a temptation to spend a lot of time and money! If you’re going down the German side,turn left out of the shop and head for Breisach, over the Rhine  and then turn right onto A35 towards Basel.  ( There's also a nice aire on the riverside in Breisach which is a lovely town to walk round) We usually stop at Bad Bellingen services to buy a vignette but if  you don’t need one, there’s a nicer place to stop for coffee or whatever past the services, by a river further  on  the A35. Then you come to the Border stop where you’ll probably be waved through.

Follow motorway signs  in GREEN E25/ A35 for Gotthard and Luzern. We stopped for lunch at the second aire after you go through the long tunnel. E35 Milano Chiasso
Entry into Italy. Border Police don’t usually ask for passports. A little further on is an ALT station where you pay a toll of 2 euros 10 cents to get into Italy. Don’t use telepass lane.
 Follow E35 MILANO /MILANO  LINATE . 
Turn off right to A1 BOLOGNA. You will come to another ALT station . take a cash lane and Pay 2 euros 80 ( last years prices) It gives change. Follow signs for Bologna. 
Keeping in left lanes or best is middle lane following BOLOGNA  join A1 . There’s a stazione at MILANO SUD. Take BIGLIETTO lane . Press big red button to get a ticket and keep it safe to pay when you get off A1.
Where you go is your choice.  There is a campsite called Camping Arizona at Salsomaggiori Terme. It’s expensive for a night but it has swimming pools that close around 7pm. 2015 we carried on to Camping Club Mutina in Modena- lovely little place with electric, showers and wifi  - Str. Collegarola, 76, 41100 Modena MO, Italy)  http://www.camperclubmutina.it/ for about 15 euros or go off the Autostrada at Fidenza and follow signs for Soragna.   
Indirizzo:
Via G. Matteotti
Comune:
Soragna (Parma)
Coordinate:
N 44.94633, E 10.12561 (MAPPA)
  ( you can see this on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7etDVmWW340 )  You can stay in the town centre square for free, emptying and water available and little cafes and shops are near plus a Conad supermarket.
For the camp site you get off at FIDENZA .Pay toll at the stazione.
There is a garage  Esso  in Fidenza

 To Fano
Get back onto the A1 autostrada. Take a biglietta entrance on right and follow signs for BOLOGNA. Just before BOLOGNA go off right E45/ A14  ANCONA .( this starts to  look confusing as the ring road runs alongside the autostrada and you can see the signs over the barrier but stay on the autostrada)
Keep in the middle lane.
We stopped last year for coffee at Santerno services but there isn’t a lot of parking space there.
Follow autostrada to FANO signs. 
Get off autostrada at Fano and go to manned toll booth ( 17.20 euros last year. ) Take left fork to Fano- keep going round tight bends over bridge into Fano. At the island take 2nd exit CENTRO. Go right at lights – STAZIONE, PESARO MARE. Go straight on at mini roundabout. Go right at next mini roundabout , straight along past big white building turn left up and over a  flyover  /bridge over the railway line signposted SPIAGGIA ( beach) it’s a very small sign. Turn right off the bridge signposted SASSONIA  and Parking CAMPER – motorhome sign. Go alongside the railway slowly as it’s a little lane to the sea. The road bears left at the sea. Turn left into parking 200 yards approx. on left.  Depending on the time of day you arrive, either the guy comes out of the little hut or you just go and find somewhere to park if there’s no-one about mid afternoon.  We usually park at the far left end at the end of a row near the bamboo if possible. You pay 7 euros on departure. We put the awning out though it says you can’t- you will see everyone else does.  We go for a swim on the beach. It’s a walk along the front then turn up left into the town.
There is a proper sosta with services in Fano town itself but though we have heard it is nice, we like to be beside the seaside.

Ferry Day
Pay your parking fee- leave it in the box if there’s no-one about. Go back the way you came turning right at the end of the bridge. If you need bread or shopping, get it before you get to the autostrada as the shop on board doesn’t sell food. (There’s a little supermarket on the right if you turn left off the bridge.) Follow signs to autostrada and Ancona. It’s a round about route back  and seems to take ages to the autostrada. Green A14 signs. Take a ticket  and join the autostrada. Turn off at ANCONA NORD  with a ship sign follow road round. Pay at toll 2.70 euros last year.
Follow ship sign SS16 ANCONA PESARO. Join SS16 Ancona.  Go off at ANCONA PORTO 3 . Road forks right PORTO down hill ( always queues) past hospital. Straight on, second exit at roundabout. Keep in right lane. Straight on at lights down to sea Turn right. Bumpy road by the sea. Off right to PORT. Keep right. Bumpy road over railway, carry on along to PORTO left lane. Take second exit at roundabout Check In. Turn in right to CHECK IN . Park up and go into the building with tickets.  They will give you loads of tickets and a camping on board sign for your windscreen.
After check in leave check in area and go to third exit on roundabout IMBARCO TRAGHETTI. Road bends left. There are amber flashing lights over railway. First exit at roundabout – follow IMBARCHI car ferry. Someone will stop you at 2A controls and tell you where to go and scan your tickets. The port people wear orange tee shirts- just go slowly. It will be hot here. Just try to get comfy- there’s usually a breeze. You can get out of the port area with your ticket and passport- Pete usually goes for a walk but I don’t.
When the ferry comes in, don’t get too excited as it takes ages to clear and embark- two hours sometimes. Just follow directions – they wave you on up a ramp ( huge lorries go up it- don’t worry) and position you. Someone may come with a long pole with a hook to plug you in or watch what other people do  as it varies from  ship to ship. There are showers and loos and though they don’t always look great, the showers are powerful and good and I usually have one pretty quickly! You usually get  a pass at some point given so you can have access in and out of the main part of the ship.  We usually get a gyros plate to share and take it back to the van-we take some foil up to put over the plate and a plastic bag to carry it in. 8.5 euros.  Remember you can’t use your gas for cooking but electricity is ok. There’s a self service restaurant and a restaurant on board.  We play back gammon and read. Your kindle 3g will work till you are well out at sea. You  can get a phone signal near to Croatian coast.  Yu can pay to get Anek wifi. It might be a bit noisy in the  night and sometimes it gets windy and can things can rattle a bit. The electricity supply is good so you can boil kettles and run air con!  



 Greece! And Aginara Camping
There is an early morning call for those getting off at Igoumenitsa. I usually get up to watch then go back to bed.  We sometimes go on deck and watch the islands floating past- you can see Corfu, Ithaca , Kefalonia- and sometimes dolphins but not as close as Rosemarkie.
When you get to Patras, the crew tell you when to get off. Just follow the traffic out and turn right at the main road.  You will go up a ramp and head for the New National Road. If you need shopping, turn first left off the ramp. You will see a Lidl which is worth stocking up at.  Be aware that this is a port area and keep everything well locked. When you come out of Lidl, turn left and follow  signs to New National  Road which will take you up left. You need to go right on to the New National Road south to Pyrgos. There are lots of garages to fill up just along this road. It seems to get cheaper as you go further out.  Have you got directions to Aginara? Turn off at Vartholomeio/ Gastouni . Keep going strigh (ish) till you see a left turn for Glyfa .The camp site is a right turn at the bottom of the hill in Glyfa then a left turn down to the site- it’s signposted from a distance away. Stop at reception and Angeliki might ask for your passport. Pete says ‘Say hello from us’  You might like to park just up by the little roundabout and have a walk down to the front to see where you would like to park. We drive down the track furthest left and turn right and wait there till we’ve had a look around on foot.  Just watch as some pitches have low branches and are unsuitable and avoid the dreaded sap drip from pine trees as this is very sticky stuff! I usually do washing in the sinks down by reception. The toilets and showers are unisex and are ‘wet rooms’ .  You’ll need to take loo paper with you.
The electric here is good and the bar at the front is a nice place to watch the sunset and the Zakynthos ferries. We leave our stuff on the beach, it’s safe to. Round about the middle of the beach is good as there are rocks underwater to the left and right- this is the clearest place to get in and enjoy the swims I dream about.
 The restaurant is lovely but they will speak German at you till you say you are English. It’s maybe worth  taking your little Greek phrase book but the food is plain greek cooking and you can’t go wrong with ‘brizola hirini’ pork chops. There are no menus   but they have all the staples- salad, tzatziki, but never hummus. The grilled fish is good .There is a little shop there and the bread is fine.
You can cycle out of the site and turn left. About two miles away is Arkoudi where we park the bikes in the square or by some railings and have coffee in the little place opposite the newsagent/kiosk. There is a bakery and a good shop.


Pete says remember to drive on the right- not joking! Hope this helps .


New note: Depending on how we feel, we vary the route each year. Last year, we didn't stop at Stenay, choosing to go to Luxemburg and get diesel and shopping in Remich. We also emptied and filled at Kaysersberg then carried on to Breisach am Rhein where there is a stelplatz by the river. We went along the  ridge road above the Mosel and stopped in Baccarach at the stelplatz on the campsite there for a change. On the way back we stopped at Luneville in France which was lovely.



1 comment:

  1. That is one brilliant instruction. Just add a map and you could sell it. We too have just arrived in Greece, hopefully we will bump in to you x
    ReplyDelete

Monday, 10 April 2017

Post op 'pootling'

March and April : Carsington Water, Meltham,Newark, Filey and York.




Feeling 'van sick' and needing to be away from home , I rang around a few sites trying to book a night away. Five phone calls later, Paul the farmer at Uppertown Farm Caravan Park at Carsington Water said he had space. He sensibly warned me that there was a tap, and an emptying point and that was it. It was perfect for us. He also said that the field was wet but if we wanted to park on the stony track, we were welcome. So off we went to the beautiful little site, five minutes walk downhill to the reservoir and visitor centre with good views and six pounds to overnight. As it costs £4.70 to park in the daytime at the reservoir, we thought that was fine.


We had a walk down to the reservoir which was busy but it was about as far as I could manage.



We had another walk, this time uphill, to the Knockerdown Inn where we had a lovely meal and a nice starry walk back. Although there is a little bit of road noise, we found it was just what we needed for a first trip out of the year.


Will O' Natts pub Meltham
 We had a night out with friends at this little pub we had found online. We had some good food, great beer and a quiet night. There are no facilities, just toilets when the pub is open but we were made welcome. It's a short walk to Blackmoorfoot reservoir and not far from Meltham.



Newark Brownhills and Milestone Caravan and Motorhome site.

We'd needed a new fridge catch and Brownhills were fitting a new aerial so the sat nav will work consistently instead of forgetting where it is,so we took the opportunity to have a couple of nights on Brownhills motorhome parking. It was good for me as they have a swimming pool so I tried doing my exercises and swimming in the pool twice. We also had a lift into Newark and had a look around the market. We managed to look at some motorhomes too......

We then moved five miles up the road to Milestone. It is a very pretty site around a landscaped lake and gardens with very pristine showers. We went to the brewery next door which was a bit of a let down as there were no tastings, just sales. But Pete was happy to buy some beers. Sitting in the sun watching birds was nice but sadly the site is next to the A1- which we knew about- and the noise is grim. On review sites, people say they don't notice it. We have slept next to Italian motorways and slept better than here...we couldn't get used to it at all. It's a shame because it really is a pretty site.

  The A1 is just behind that bank at the back!
  Happy to try new beers


Centenary Way campsite Filey

 We've been here before, a good few years ago, and it is a neat little site about fifteen minutes walk into Filey...a bit longer for me this time.  I needed to see the sea and it's just right for that.

We stayed two nights, had the customary fish and chips, bought a crab and wandered around the town. We talked to our neighbours who were checking out their new Benimar motorhome.It is always nice to look round someone's else's van for ideas. 

Rowntree Park York.
 We had a message from friends we'd met in Greece and arranged to meet up with them in York. We were lucky to get a spot and even better to see our lovely friends and have a super evening. York is such a wonderful place- we always find somewhere new or something different to look at. This time we went to the station to the York Brewery Tap where we spent some happy time watching people and trains, drinking good coffee and beer.


 beautiful dafffodils around the the walls.
 The station and York Brewery Tap.
  Inside the pub- wonderful glass.
 Geese and goslings everywhere!
York evening


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Not much of a blog........



Not Much of a Blog.

More than half way through February, and I haven't posted for ages! That's because we haven't  been away in the van much. Since coming back from Greece in October, we have only done two trips, one to a wedding in Southsea and our usual December trip to York.

Hampered by hip pain, walking has been an issue and getting in and out of the van bed had become a little bit problematic.....perfectly possible to do but it just hurt. So here I am, sitting at home , reading everyone else's blogs  and planning for trips as soon as my six week post operative time runs out. The wonderful National Health Service looked after me well during my time in hospital getting a new hip and I am looking forward to getting out and about again.

November and December : Brownhills , Southsea, Stratford and Castleton.

As we were going to Loughborough to have the bikes serviced ( free ) , we thought we would overnight at Brownhills on the way down to Southsea. We left the bikes and the van and had a wander round Loughborough centre.  After collecting the bikes, off we trundled to Newark, pitched up and Pete went for a look around the vans while I holed up with a book. There is a new Elsan point and disabled toilets in Brownhills for customers staying overnight and we find it's a convenient stop.
We went over to the Roman Way pub across the road for a  nice meal. We heard some odd sounds in the night then realised it was the horses in the next field.

The next day , we had a lift into Newark and a wander around there before coming back to a serviced van, though they hadn't got a fridge catch to replace the broken one.

In the morning,  we had showers and I did my hair ready for tomorrow's wedding as we wouldn't have hook up and though it's possible, it's easier with electric. We parked up near where the wedding was, having asked permission months earlier from the management, then headed off for a lovely meal with a whole lot of friends at the Eastney Arms. We had an early night.



baby, it's cold outside...
Wonderful dry sunny weather for a winter wedding! As it was in the afternoon, Karen and me had a look round the Southsea shops, before going back to get ready. It was a wonderful wedding with a Scottish flavour- kilts and bagpipes. We had a great time meeting up with friends and their families in the wonderful Royal  Marines Museum.





Richard and Amy's lovely wedding


After lots of people had been round for coffee in the morning, we headed north - we'd been warned of slow traffic on the A34 so we went cross country...never again! It took forever! We stayed overnight in the Leisure Centre at Stratford, another good stopping off point when travelling north/south. We found a good pub showing football, had a nice meal then had a really early night.....tired from yesterday's festivities.

A bright cold start to the day at minus 5.6 degrees! We had a decent drive up to Castleton, stopping for shopping on the edge of Chesterfield. After setting up we went for a walk along the 'back lanes' into Castleton where I did my usual stunt of stepping into deep mud and getting messy while Pete  managed to stay clean. Of course we had to have a pint in the Nag's Head then back for showers and  a tasty pasta.


It wasn't a very nice day when we woke up but we managed a walk into Hope and back again in the damp foggy weather.

Another day, another walk and even though we walked along 'Dirty Lane'- that's what it is called on the map- I didn't get dirty! I managed to walk back into Castleton for an evening meal too. Christmas lights in Castleton are very pretty.












December - Annual Trip to York

We usually come for Christmas shopping, buy little, eat and drink much! The caravan club site is always busy and they had a helpful system of meeting the van at the gate, telling you to choose a pitch then return to the office. This save a queue of vans at the gate.  We went out of the back gate to watch football in a favourite pub.

After a long lie in, we went shopping- not my preferred activity but somehow it seems okay here. I think that's entirely to do with the amount of breaks we have....coffee, beer and a trip into Barnitt's where there is always something to look at.

Another long lie in , then we bought boots for Pete before heading into the Chocolate House for coffee and hot chocolate. This little place is amazing- they make their own chocolate on site and you can watch it being made or just sit and relax in the warmth of the chocolate aromas.  We went into The Hop pub on Fossgate, another favourite and had pizza while listening to the singers and watching acts as the first ever Busker's Christmas Party took place. Buskers from all over York had got together to raise money for a cancer charity and they all played for free. We really enjoyed the music and atmosphere.


Phil and Karen arrived with Molly, their dog. Off we went shopping again to buy something to send to Austria as we had just heard that our friends, Gerd and Gabi have a new granddaughter.


We spent the evening in the Windmill, another Greene King pub and they had good food.

We all went into town, yet again, but I came back to the van early, tired out. I had a good rest so we could go out again at night to the Slip Inn and the Swan before having a nice meal in the Punchbowl.
Another lovely trip!

We cancelled the New Year trip to Hawes as my hip problem got worse and walking became too difficult- the first New Year at home since 1999!