February 2018 – 6th March 2018
Our destination on our way back to the UK was to our friends in France near Limoges. We visited them when we set off back in September and left our spare tyre in their barn and now needed to collect it. As we set off from Denia, we had no firm destination for the evening, just drive as much as we could suffer for the day and stop. Our first stop was near the border of Spain and France, Olite, a small town with a beautiful Gothic castle-palace. By the time we arrived it was early evening and freezing. We hastened around the town to give Chloe a walk and snuggled back up in the Motorhome, snow was forecast overnight. We woke up to thick carpet of snow, the first we have seen in the Motorhome. David was stressing about getting out, I said we would just have to stay another day as the weather was due to warm up the next day. The only one that loved it was Chloe, beach, snow, it’s all the same to her. David was avidly watching the road and the traffic flow and just after midday said, we are leaving ! The biggest obstacle was to get out of the area we were parked in, if we could do that it would be OK. The Motorhome is quite a heavy beast and we didn’t want to get stuck. As usual with David’s excellent driving we were on our way, as we left the town and headed onto the Motorway the roads improved. The reason the roads are so clear is that Spain have plenty of snow ploughs and gritters. We saw 3 in the space of 20 minutes. Now as it gets dark, I start stressing if we haven’t found anywhere to stay, as we had left a little late it was dark by the time we arrived at our stopover. In France no campsites are open until the end of March and we have to stay on an aire, which are areas set aside specifically for motorhomes, which are situated in or around villages. The aire was nearly full, but we squeezed in, cooked and slept ready for the drive to our friends the next day. We arrived to a warm welcome as ever from our lovely friends, a log fire, wine and a hot shower, pure bliss. Chloe was dragged to the vets to complete her pet passport and the poor vet had to get the worming tablet into her three times before she actually swallowed it. We should have wrapped it in a sausage roll and then she would have eaten it ! After two lovely relaxing days we set off for the final leg of the journey. Again we drove until late afternoon and started to look for a place to stay. The first aire we came to was shut and as we were discussing where we were going to go, a car pulled up behind us and a couple got out. Now I start to panic and think the worse. The French couple inform us that they also have a Motorhome and show us where we can stay on the map. With our limited French and their limited English they said to follow them, now I am thinking this doesn’t seem right. Anyway, we start following them, with me thinking we off to our graves ! After around 25 minutes we pull over and they get out of their car, hand us a hand drawn map of where to go from here and wish us “Bon Vacance” Wow, now I felt really bad thinking they were going to kill us. ! By this time it is dark, we ignored the map and found the nearest aire, around 10 minutes away, cooked and slept. The following day was forecast rain all day and so we decided to drive as much as we could. Our destination was Wimeraux, our first destination when we left in September. It was like coming full circle. The weather was certainly different from September. In September we were on the beach in the sunshine and now we were wrapped up in coats, hats and scarves (well me !) We had a final Moules & Frites for lunch and our final walk along the cliffs with Chloe.
This have been an amazing part one of our Once in a Lifetime journey, 167 days, 4 countries and over 9,334 miles. We have seen some amazing places, met some really lovely people and formed some firm friendships. I have had no sclerosis since I left. David has caught up on all the years of sleep he has missed, Chloe has reversed her age and we have learnt what is important in life. We are very, very lucky and are looking forward to Part Two. Blog will resume at the end of March.