Europe September 2017

Set off from Stockport at 5.30 pm on sat 2nd sept, had a good run down until they closed junction 10-11 on the M25 but after a detour off the motorway arrived at marine parade in Dover for 12.30. There are quite a few vans here so we stop at the Esplanade end. Move away for nine into town centre car park and a trip to McDonald’s and a bit of shopping Ferry’s at 8pm so as we are English heritage members a trip to Dover castle is planned.

First stop after getting an earlier ferry is the new aire just outside Gravelines at PAarc Rivers de l’Aa. A free aire without any services (there are services next to the police station in Gravelines). There are 14 plus pitches Grass and tarmac, the grass is hard and as it rained hard overnight i had no problems getting off. It’s next to a water sports centre and ideal for biking or walking, I only stopped overnight so didn’t do either but will be back. Went from here to Ostende but the only dedicated motorhome stops were full and the place was hammered so after a stop at a motorhome dealer just out of town (you can overnight  no services working when we were there, ) carried on to Ghent.

Just outside town on car park overlooking river, no services at all , if you come out of the car park and cross the road then walk past the shops (and massive launderette)on your right you come to the river, turn left and it’s a half hour walk into town. Plenty to see in Ghent and its ideal for biking. If you do have bikes there is parking further up with riverside views.

From Ghent we moved further into Belgium and stayed on the quay at Antwerp where i have stayed a few times before at Sint Michielskaal. It’s not in any of the camper books but a large car park close to the town centre, there was only one other van a French van so maybe not a dedicated place for campers but apart from a few shady looking characters i have never had a problem. Edit :- did have a problem last night as local pond life parked not far away playing loud crap music from about 12-1.30 and then they must have fell asleep and it started again at 5am but only for 15 mins then they must have crawled back to where they came from.

Fourth stop a camperplaats just out of the centre of Middelburg. Free parking with toilet emptying, €1 for water and there is electric but didn’t use it .Was lucky here as there are only five places and as i drove in there was one empty, there were about another 20 vans parked at the back of the car park. Shame as rumour has it that this is closing in Jan 2018. A nice easy stroll into a large town with many shops and bars cafe’s etc. The downside of this stop is

1 there are not enough places

2 there are 5 places and only 4 electric points

3 electric was €4

4 there is a drive over drain but not really suitable for cassette emptying as there was no water to rinse cassette and the opening was not ideal as there is a bar across which caught the paper from those that put paper in the cassette (we don’t we do as the Greek and use a bin.)

5 the drive over drain also had no proper fall towards the centre so a lot of water ran into the car park (not very well thought out).

Noticed the car parking around the town was €2 per hour and maximum 2 hours and there were plenty of traffic wardens issuing tickets. There is a small car park across the road from this park with spaces for about 20 cars which looked as though it had never been used ,again €2 an hour.

Next stop

Camping De Vlugtheuvel Stellendam

Cheap campsite, €12 for 24hrs including electric, all facilities, showers toilets and i believe Wi-Fi but i never got the code. Can’t say a lot about this as when we arrived it was raining hard, we did manage to get to the shops which were about a mile away before another torrential downpour. That was the only sightseeing we managed but believe there is lots in the area. The motorhome parking is just past reception on tarmac and facilities very clean.

Jaughthaven Strijensas

Great place on the marina 6 places and €7 for 24 hours including Wi-Fi, water 0.50 cents, toilets and showers. Electric €2.50 for 6 amp for 24 hours. Sun came out here so able to do a short walk on a nature trail, The way we accessed this was down a single track road and at the end we had to cross a bridge to get to the marina. The signs said 3.5 tonne 2.8 wide which was ok  but 2.4 height which i was worried about ,on inspection it was about  20ft high so no problem as i didn’t fancy going all the way back.

Dortrecht.

From the marina we went on to Dordrecht the parking was on a large car park just out of the town which is free with services on the entrance. Room for plenty of vans down near the river and a water bus runs to the centre. We stopped here as it was not far from the 19 windmills at Kinderdijk. Stopped here a couple of days first day we walked into the centre and walked back. Second day we tried the water bus and then walked back. Plenty to see in the town, there were a lot of road works when we were there and a lot of buildings being erected close by so not sure if the stop will be available in the next couple of years but the area was Dordrecht Stadswerven. Also visited the windmills before heading off to the Rhine in Germany.

Rees

Great stelpatz on the Rhine, village 10 mins walk and loads to see. All facilities including electric for €8 for 24 hours, had a lot of rain but still managed to get out and about and spent a couple of days here .A very good walking area with plenty of parks and sculptures.

Ruhrorter Yacht Club.

Next we are off to Duiseburg , a yacht club and a great spot on the Rhine €9.50 per 24 hours inc electric 6 amp, showers €1 and washing machine and dryer. Nice walks along the river and a couple of museums. Some steam boats in the harbour and a 100+ year old crane. Netto and hyper market close by. Only downside was nowhere to empty cassette or grey water but still stayed 2 days as toilets and showers compensated so didn’t have to use our own and needed to do some washing. Club bar was also very cheap as we had 4 beers and 2 wines for €8.50 which is good by German standards.

Unkel

Heading down the Rhine now to Unkel a car park on edge of town with cassette and grey waste emptying across the road at the fire station water €1. Spaces for 8 to 10 vans free. Only downside is school next to park where the kids get dropped off at 7.30 onwards so lots of door slamming. Nice typical old German village 2 minutes away and on the Rhine so plenty of passing boats . Lidl and Aldi and another supermarket close by and also a €1 shop and a builders merchant and cheap garage for fuel and LPG.

Andernach

Next stop on the Rhine is Andernach , One of the biggest stelpatz i have been on , it was like a hymer convention. €7 for 24 hrs , water €1 electric €1 all other services free, plenty of shops close by for the shopaholics, right on the river so views of the Rhine and the cruise ships are good although chances of getting on the front row are slim. Full of large German R.V’s as i suppose they cant go anywhere else as they are too big. Very very busy but worth a stay as the parking is plentiful and room for a hundred or so vans.

Urmitz

Just down the road from Andernach this is a gem of a place , right on the Rhine, €7 for 24hrs, water €1, electric varies €1 for 8 hrs, €2 for 16 , €3 for 24. tarmac pitches overlooking the river ,very clean and lots of cycling paths and walks. Just before you get to the stelpatz is the biggest retail park i have ever seen which is worth a visit before you go to park up. Its only a small village nearby with a few shops . We are now close to the split of the Rhine and the Mosel and we intend taking the Mosel route into Luxembourg from here. We were going to stop at Koblenz but looked a bit short on spaces for parking so we opted to stay a couple of days and get the train from here and spend a day in Koblenz.

Briedern

Now we are going down the Mosel and the first stop is 20 van site right on the river €6 a night with free services , a guy comes round about teatime for his money, small village nearby no shops but a few bars and wine caves. Great place to just chill and for shopping go to Zell barl ,a massive shopping centre with lidl and aldi, fuel, and 24hr washing machine. Also possible to stop but no services.

Losnich

Next stop a very big and busy stelpatz right on the Mosel , plenty of room and spaces for 100+ vans , a couple of nice villages to explore ,€7 a night with all services free except for electric which will cost you €2 for 24 hours. Also free WiFi . Stopped a couple of days and even had a free firework display.

Luxembourg Camping Fuusselkaul

Now off into Luxembourg for some cheap fuel and booze, this campsite/motorhome stop is a great stop if in Luxembourg, €10 off season (Sept- March) a dedicated motorhome area across the road from the campsite with about 30 pitches all with electric water waste and tv socket. Free WiFi at reception, showers and toilets and a washing machine and pub /restaurant can all be used on the campsite. Also a motorhome dealer with accessory shop next door and a Delahaze supermarket (although it was very sparse when we were here so maybe a refurbishment or closing , a burger bar and chippie. 15 minutes to the border where there is a massive shopping centre and cheap fuel and booze , also an Aldi and Lidl . You can also get the bus into the centre of Luxembourg from outside the site , and then change to a train at Ettlebruck (takes about 45 mins ) all for €3 , believe all travel will be free in 2020.

Now on our way back to Calais but with a few stops in Belgium

Dinant

Fantastic place on the Meuse in Belgium, a car park on the edge of town no facilities . I have stayed here a few times in sept/oct  no problem but it is not a dedicated motorhome stop and i have only stayed for 1 night . Did ask if it was ok at the tourist office, loads to see and the birthplace of Adolph Sax the inventor of the saxophone. A lot of work going on with the riverbanks and walkways at the moment so hopefully it will still be possible to stay . I stopped going out from the centre just past the prison and Casino. It is only a car park but good spot close to town and with views of the river .

Thieu

Good stopover on the canal, no services but service area about 10 mile away on the motorway if heading north. Boat lift close by which is the tallest in the world , not a lot in town but nice boulangerie. Free parking on concrete and a nice walk down the canal to the boat lift. First English vans we have seen for over 2 weeks and here there are 5.

Arras

quick call into France at Arras, A free aire close to supermarket and town centre , cassette and grey waste emptying free water with jeton from tourist centre . World war one site and close to Vimy ridge and a few more WW1 sites and cemeteries..

St Venant

Aire municipal close to St Omer and handy stop if going back to Dunkirk. On a marina with canal walks and a small town with a few shops close by . All facilities free but a French van parked on bourne hooked up which looked like he was permanent along with 3 other vans who had leads running to the boatside electric points.(all fishing). This left just 4/6 spaces instead of 7/10. Spoke to a guy who had been there a few times and full timed in France and he complained to the council meeting but got nowhere

From here we spent the last night at Gravelines .

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