This was the beginning of our first long journey.
We needed to take Wanda to Taunton in the UK to have some 'extras' fitted to her and so we decided to combine this with visits to family and friends. We also allowed ourselves an extra few days travelling so that we could take it a little slower through France and enjoy some of the places we stayed at.
Our first stop was at an aire - an area that offers free parking and often free facilities as well - in Falces, just north of Zaragoza. We had had a long day travelling covering 690 kms, so this was just a stop to allow us to eat, relax and get a good night sleep. All boxes were ticked and as you can see, there was no worry about noisy neighbours! :)
Another long drive (563 kms) and a late arrival at our stop for the night. This was an unplanned location as the route we took over the Pyrenees was not one that most people take. However, it was a pretty drive - when I dared to look anywhere other than the road ahead - but it meant that we had to stop short of our planned location. Thankfully we arrived at the aire at Chataillon-Plage to find one empty slot that was obviously meant for us. It was a pretty town and we had a short walk around in the morning before setting off again.
Only 40 kms to our next destination which was L'Ile de Re.
We booked into a proper camp site and chose our pitch for the night. This island is a real delight and so pretty, It is very flat and cries out for bikes to be taken on our next visit - oh yes, there will definitely be another visit. There is also another island to explore close by, called Ile D'Oloron, so plenty to see and do next time.
The one thing I'm not sure if I'll ever get used to are French facilities. Men and women sharing the same shower block takes some getting used to!
We were so lucky with the weather here although it wasn't so great the following day and although we travelled to the far end of the island to see the lighthouse, we decided to make tracks and head to our next stop.
Segre was our next stop and it really was just somewhere to stop overnight and make an early start the next day. The aire was by a river and very acceptable, but the access to it was a little tricky. Well, it was the way our satnav decided to send us! The town was very quiet with no sign of a restaurant that would serve the beef bourguignon that Mike was so looking forward to.
Fourgeres was our next location and once Wanda had been parked up in a very good aire only a minutes walk from the town, we donned coats and set off to explore this historical town. The weather wasn't very good but it was dry when we set out.
After 5 hours of walking around the old town, the many gardens, the medieval houses and the chateau itself, our feet said they'd had enough and we made our way back to Wanda. It really was a great location and thoroughly recommended for a visit.
Wanda can be seen from the castle battlements - at the front on the right.
We left Fourgeres and drove to Le Havre for our ferry crossing at 17:00 arriving at Portsmouth at 21:50
Even though we had been warned that the crossing could be 'bumpy', it was far from and thankfully, very uneventful.
We had planned to stay in the Portsmouth area for the night and travel onwards in the morning, however, our planned stop turned out to be not what we had thought it would be and so we carried on towards Market Harborough and stopped for a few hours shut eye at Toddington services.
The photo below was taken from the cab as we approached the bridge at Le Havre
After a shop at Lidl in Market Harborough to get supplies in for lunchtime, we made our way to Waterloo Farm where we were staying for 2 nights.
The location was chosen as it meant that David, Jo and Annie only had to take a short train ride to come and visit us over the weekend. On Saturday it was just David and Annie to fetch from the station, as Jo was joining us later after she had finished work at lunchtime. Annie was quite taken with Wanda and especially so when she saw the overhead bed with a ladder!
We had lovely weather to explore the site which has 2 lakes for the fishermen. Daddy bought Annie a kite at the little craft shop and the adults had fun trying to fly it while Annie collected stones in a zip lock bag filled with water!
Lunchtime meant picnic time and discovering Wanda's reclining chairs. Mummy arrived soon after and we spent more time chatting, playing and having fun.
We then headed into Market Harborough for dinner a Zizzis. The food and service was excellent and we then said good night to our visitors and we all headed home.
Sunday was another lovely day with the family and we were also joined for lunch by Jennie and Chris. It was great to see them (and Monty too), and we were very pleased that they made the detour on their journey home from Derby to come and visit.
Annie had got up really early that morning to bake a Jaffa cake for Nana and Pa - it was scrumptious!
Our next destination was Dursley to spend 2 nights with my Mum. It was then onward to Liskeard to stay with Mike's parents. All was good, apart from a puncture on the M5.
It was great to see so many of our family; it also felt like Christmas had come early with all the parcels that awaited us in Cornwall, most of which were for Wanda's benefit!
Taunton was next on our tour list and more specifically Van Bitz where Wanda was having an alarm system and a solar panel fitted.
We spent the morning in Taunton town centre doing some last minute shopping and having a look around the town, and then headed back to the workshop to wait for the work to be finished.
We had hoped for a reasonably early departure, but this was not to be and it was 5 pm before we left Taunton for our journey to Newhaven. We could have stayed at the camp site at Van Bitz and left in the morning, but we decided to play safe and stay at the ferry terminal that night in readiness for an early sailing on the 29th.
I'm sorry to say that the camera didn't come out until our departure from Newhaven. Note to self: remember photos are far more interesting on the blog!