Saturday 6th July
Set off from home at 10am hoping for a decent run down to Dover , “Big Mistake” only got as far as M6 Knutsford and as i have live traffic on satnav was informed of 50 minute plus delays around Stoke ,decided i would take the old rd of A50/A34 so came off the M6 at Holmes Chapel and rejoined again at Stafford missing all the standing traffic around Stoke ,had a fair run down via M6/M1 with a stop at the services and then when i hit the M25 an update on traffic was informed on another 50 min delay close to Dartford .I opted for the alternative route the satnav offered and ended up going the opposite way round the M25 down to the M2 for Canterbury (was still quicker than sitting in the traffic and had no hold ups.) Arriving at the Canterbury park and ride i was surprised at how quiet it was with plenty of spaces . After the run down didn’t feel like doing any cooking so we went for a very enjoyable meal in the Old Gate Inn on the edge of the Park and Ride. The addition of an extra tap on the services is new to me as last time i was here there was only one tap for fresh and cassette rinsing .Still had people not lifting the grate to empty the cassette even though there is a webbing to help you lift it resulting in some dirty b***ards leaving toilet wipes dangling from the grate. Fran donned her rubber gloves and removed these and put them in the bin and i hosed the grate down in keeping with my OCD .
Spent the Sunday in Canterbury (afternoon tea and scones at M&S is recommended) leaving sunday evening (cost for the over night and daytime parking and free bus was £7 so very good value )and then parked up on the Esplanade in Dover as we had a late ferry over to Calais. As it was a late /early morning ferry we opted for Cite Europe to park up for the night as its a free safe parking spot with plenty of other vans there and handy for the shops if needed. No services on the aire but the 24 hour service station down the road has a bourne which was free while we were there, also a van wash close by.
Left Cite Europe around lunchtime and headed of to the aire at Avion as it was on the way to a lot of the first world war sites that we intended to visit . It is a free aire with a wooden barrier which helped to keep the cars from parking , there are walks around a couple of lakes which made up for the very quiet town .Services (which we did use ) were 3 euros payable only by card .
Left Avion and then went to the WW1 Canadian Memorial site at Vimy Ridge. The monument on the hillside you can see for miles around , Lots of craters still on the site and has a free museum with loads of information and also access to the trenches .
From Vimy the next stop just past Arras (been before so gave it a miss) was Bapaume, a small village not far from most of the sites around Albert. The aire is at the rear of the church with half a dozen places at the side of a very large and unused car park . Parking was free and a borne with services for a couple of euros just round the corner.
Spent the next day touring the sites of the first world war around Pozieres then over to the museum at Thiepval and also Albert also on route was the crater at Boisselle and then finished this area with a coffee at the Le Tommy cafe..
From the WW1 sites we went on to St Quinten to spend the night and the next day there. The aire is a town run barriered site pay by card €8 for 24hrs including electric.We parked up and couldn’t get any electric even though we had paid for it , A phone call and 2 very helpful electricians turned up and as they couldn’t solve it moved us onto another pitch which did work. Nice walk down the canal into the centre and a few memorials there . We did witness a family raiding the doggy poo bag dispensers along the canal and they cleaned all of them out of bags !!!!.
From St Quinten we headed to the Charleville Mezieres area , had a look at the aire at Rocrio but didn’t like the setting so we moved on to Riven which is by the river with many shops ,supermarkets close by and would have been a nice stop but all the spaces were taken by badly parked French longtermers and no chance of getting a place so we had to give this a miss and moved on to Montherme. The aire right on the river i have stopped at before and the views are good and although there are no on site services there is a bourne just up the road. Small quiet town but small bar and chippy van close by and views of the barges etc. €4 pus tax for 24hrs so good value.
We are now heading towards Luxembourg and then the Mosel so we opted for an aire we had stopped at before at Stenay. Used to have to go to the tourist info site in town or the captainaria and pay there to get a code ,it is now a pay by card entry and €9.40 but does include electric and toilets and showers. A lidl on the edge of town 20 mins walk away and a few bars ,a brewery and plenty of bakers in the town.Stayed here for 2 nights and travelled the second day to visit the Citadel at Montredy which also had services and it was possible to stay.
Sunday 13th July :- Moved on from Stenay and as it was a Sunday and we were close to the Luxembourg border and we needed to fill up with diesel we opted for the pretty little village of Longwy and then we could call at the Luxembourg border booze shops on Monday . Not a lot going on in Longwy as it was a Sunday but found a couple of walks down to the village which was a bit of a walled village. Free aire has half a dozen dedicated spots for campers but as its a quiet car park room for more (there was a French R.V. there that looked like it had been there a while). services was a Flot Blu which you can obtain tokens from the machine which will give you access to services and electric points.We had tokens from last year so did use it for water.
Monday morning we filled up and got some liquor at Rodange before moving into Luxembourg. Went over to Dudelange on the outskirts of Luxembourg , a small village that has been updated quite a lot since we were last here a couple of years ago. The aire has 8 dedicated spaces but can fit more and there are more spaces down near the bowling club a few hundred yards away. All services are free and there are 4 electric points and if you arrive before the French as we did you will get free electric.The village which has a large supermarket is 15 mins walk and well worth a visit, We stopped a couple of days and caught the train into Luxembourg , the station is 2 mins away and with a change at Bettenbourg which ties in with the time of the Dudelange train you are in the city in just over half hour and all for €4.(free in 2020). Luxembourg at the moment is a building site everywhere (using our E.U.money).
As we were heading for the Mosel we moved on to Perl a small village on the border of France ,Germany and Luxembourg. The aire is next to the swimming pool where you pay for your stay €5 (open 7.30-10.30, and 4pm-7pm) pay at reception ,you can pay by phone but it is a German website. You can walk down to Lidl and a few more commerce’s via the lane in front of the aire which also takes you to the Mosel and the German/Luxembourg border and a few bars/cafes but it is a good uphill hike to get back. There is an Aldi and a couple more shops closer to the aire and if you turn left at the roundabout close to the aire you will come to Sehndorf which has a few bars etc and the only cash machine/bank for miles.The aire itself can take half a dozen /eight vans with services at €1 and also electric at €1 for 6 hours. The services are a new type which i had not seen before where you empty the cassette onto a stainless chute which then goes into the drain but considering it had a big black button on the front for flushing we found it full of waste that somebody had left and couldn’t be bothered flushing it.
Moved up the Mosel past Trier to Weingut Edwin Pauly a small stelpatz with 4 places with views facing the Mosel but after parking up (nobody came for money €8 ) and having a stroll into the small village we decided as there was not much there and we would need bikes to get about we moved on to Urzig .
Arrived Urzig and luckily got a place at the end overlooking the Mozel . Small village with great views watching the barges and cruisers on the river . Free services and water and €8 for 24 hours,€2 for electric if you need it.
Moved up the river to a stelpatz we had stopped at before at Traben Trabach which was surprisingly quiet as last time we were here we couldn’t get on . The entry is now via a camered barrier which takes your reg and then you pay at machine inside. €13 plus tax of €1.70 made it the most expensive stop but you get toilets , showers, electric (i blew a fuse ) and free wi-fi . A half hour walk down the river and across the bridge and there are many bars/cafes. While we were there they had a large craft market, and also an Aldi and another large supermarket close by.
Now Sat 20th and we move a little further down the river for the weekend to Zell. Busy stelpatz outside a campsite (you can use services) €7 for 24hrs and managed to get a spot on the river. Nice village across the bridge which had a wine festival on the Saturday. Massive shopping centre close by but not walkable unless you are a mountain goat.
After a bit of shopping at Zell Barl and a top up of gas we went back down the Mosel to another site i have stopped before on the river at Kinhiem €9 a night plus extra for electric.
As the temperatures are now getting up to 40 degrees we move from Kinheim to a small private stelpatz at Piesport €8 a night again on the river with plenty of bike trails for the cyclists. We walked into the village and found a very nice cafe/bakery . There was still not a lot of shade here so off again tomorrow to find shade somewhere.
Moved a bit further down the river to Ensch again on the river but luckily we found some shade under a tree as it was now getting unbearable heat wise .Very small village across the road with just i shop which was a grocers bakers and butchers. Services also on the opposite side of the road so if you do stop a few days make sure you are full with water another at €8 a night. Bit of wildlife here for a change with a couple of unusual birds and a deer. As it was getting no cooler we decided we would stay until late morning when the sun came round the trees and then move on and use the cab air conditioning and a bit of shopping to try to cool down.
We needed to refuel so called at Remich on the Luxembourg border. The intention was to stop here as it is a nice touristy village but when we found the aire even though it had an open air swimming pool next door was unshaded and the heat was getting worse so we found a hypermarket and did a bit of shopping .
From here we went back to Perl and did a bit of shopping and stocked up with some Aldi wine . The stelpatz was empty when we got there around 6pm and we found a bit of shade under a tree.
From Perl we again opted for Dudelange for the weekend as we were going into Luxembourg for the Darts Open in which a friend of ours Darryl Fitton (The Dazzler) was playing. Again it was fairly quiet when we arrived but it did fill up a bit later , the weather also changed a bit and we got a bit of much needed rain.
Left Luxembourg Sunday afternoon and as we wanted to get somewhere near Calais so we could spend Monday without much travelling as we had a 12am ferry on Monday night, Ghent was on our route up so we opted for that . A busy free stop on the yauchtdreef in a car park close to the canal which was handy just for the night .
Left Ghent and had a short trip to Calais and Cite Europe where we chilled out for the day doing a bit of shopping ,washing the van and the relaxing before the late ferry. We got an earlier ferry (11.30) so arrived dover 12 am UK time so i filled up with fuel and set off to do most of the 6 hour trip before the traffic started.
Trip was ok until the M1 around Luton at around 2.30am and i have never seen so many lorry’s nose to tail making passing very hairy.(will never go this way again). and to make matters worse junction 4 -5 on the M6 was closed making it a detour through Coventry. Apart from that it was a good trip.