Rainy driving day 22.01.18
Woke up to rain still falling on our roof so after a coffee and some porridge, we prepared ourselves for another day of driving. With the help of Facebook French Camping group to gain a few recommendations of places to visit,we’d made a rough plan to visit a couple of villages in the Alsace region. We carried on heading north on the N83 whilst the rain still poured, farmland was flooded and trees were submerged where the river had burst its banks!
Late afternoon we’d arrived just outside Eguisheim – one of the villages we’d been told to visit. The drive through the start of the Alsace region was amazing – so many vineyards! With the sun setting and the miserable weather set in, we decided to visit in the morning.
Eguisheim, Kaysersberg and Nancy 23.01.18
Much better weather today! Eguisheim was well worth visiting – what a beautiful village. Made up of picturesque houses in concentric circles and cobbled streets, it was almost like being in a fairytale! We even spotted a couple of Stork nests on top of the church – they were attracting a lot of attention from the locals!
Came across a bakery so of course we had to pop in for a ‘Pain au chocolat’ and a croissant… when in France 😉 !
Full of pastry, we decided to move on to Kaysersberg where we were once again taken aback by the beautiful style of buildings! The river running through the town was flowing rapidly and it was clear that the level of water wasn’t usually that high – luckily the weather was brightening up so there wasn’t much chance of more rain!
Walked through all the small, narrow alleyways and up and down the main street – not much was open due to it being low season, however it was still a pretty encapsulating place! We ould definitely like to come back when there’s more life in the town and sample a few wines in the sun!
Drove to Gerardmer lake for some lunch with a view…
Before making our way to Nancy in hope to find a better French sticker for the van (we bought one online after our last trip to complete the first half of our collection but it’s pretty naff compared to the others!). Found a carpark which was luckily free after 5pm, and after a 10 minute walk we were in the centre. The main square was beautifully illuminated with decorative street lamps…
We wandered around and found a couple of shops that sold only ‘Nancy’ stickers and with that we gave up our search and instead made our way back to the van. Didn’t fancy staying in the carpark we’d parked in and 10 miles down the road there was a free camperstop by a river – perfect! Took a detour to the supermarket where we treated ourselves to some wine and bacon and made gorgonzola/bacon spaghetti for dinner – Tris done a good job on that one!
Visit to Metz and into Belgium 24.01.18
Arrived in Metz late morning and we were pretty jammy with parking – right next to the impressive cathedral and because it was near lunchtime we got 3 hours parking for €0.50!
Had a look round the indoor market before proceeding along the high street towards ‘Porte des Allemands’.
Our time at the car park was up after exploring more of the city as well as having another unsucessful hunt for a sticker! Spent the rest of the day driving, stopping off at a supermarket to pick up some cheese for home as well as a few bottles of champagne from Eguisheim! Crossed the border into Belgium and carried on driving into the dark night and eventually pulled over in a little place called Williebroek.
Just started to enjoy our dinner of cheese, salami, olives, crackers etc before being interrupted by the police! Turns out someone had spotted Tris taking photos of our van and it had risen suspicions as there had been reports of burglaries recently… after showing our passports and having a quick check over we were left to enjoy our dinner! We were just glad that people were looking out for the bus!
Into Holland, visit to Breda and our last night at The Hague 25.01.18
Our last full day 😦 After finding some cheap tobacco for Tris we made our way into Holland and decided to visit Breda. Parked in the camperstop which was only €4 for 24 hours and was nicely situated next to a river and only a 10 minute walk or so into the centre.
Breda itself was ok, a few examples of interesting architecture but there wasn’t anything that seemed to catch our eye to tempt us to stay for the rest of the day! So after a wander round for a couple of hours, we decided it’d be best to move on and to spend our last night at The Hague. After zooming in on Google maps we found a great potential spot – right next to the beach and near a few restaurants and bars.Drove for another couple of hours, through rush hour, to then discover the spot had a height restriction…
So we made the decision to spend our last night having a meal inside the van – who could wish for anywhere better anyway! We felt we owed it to Charlie so we parked up down the other end of the beach(after a visit to the supoer, the sound of the sea whilst we enjoyed our last night. Treated ourselves and cooked some juicy steak, chips and for dessert we shared a tub of ice cream which all went down great with our bottle of champagne!
Waffles and a walk on the beach then a ferry back to England 26.01.18
Ending the trip in style with waffles and chocolate spread for breakfast! Spent the morning taking a walk along the sandy beach in the sunshine – couldn’t ask for better weather considering it’s only January!
Unfortunately, time was ticking away, meaning we needed to get to the Hook of Holland to catch our 2pm ferry… 😦 Got there with plenty of time to spare and it was so empty compared to every other ferry we’d been on!! Had the whole bar to ourselves and enjoyed a cheeky half pint before making our way outside onto the deck to watch the ferry set sail.
The next seven hours went pretty slowly, and I’m not going to lie, it was pretty sad knowing it was the end of this trip! But it gave us time to reflect on all of the awesome places we’d seen, all the experiences we had encountered and all of the new friends we’d made across the continent!
Thank you so much to everyone who’s followed our adventure, for everyone who’s been part of it and helped us in one way or another. You made our trip what it was! And of course, thank you Charlie Brown for plodding on for 21,000 miles + this year around 22 countries. It’s been the most amazing experience and we can’t wait to see what adventures the future holds for us and the bus!
Zoe and Tris