Our destination when first driving into France was a town called Thionville and to the municipal campsite there. We went there for 3 reasons, we needed to wash some clothes, use some wifi and get a sim card to use internet in France. Upon arriving at the campsite our first disappointment was that they did not have washing machines, so we would be handwashing. Luckily it was a sunny warm day with a breeze and we didn’t have to wring out the clothes too much.
The lady gave us a code for the wifi at the campsite and trying every device we had it still would not connect. With the help of a friendly Belgian man we went back to the office and explained that the wifi would not work. Lisbeth the lady at the office who spoke no English gave us a new code. The new code we received would also not work so we gave up on the wifi from the campsite.
In the afternoon we went to the town and found a SFR Telecoms office. We purchased a sim card which would last for 4 weeks and had 4GBs of data. The assistant at the shop set it up and told us it would take a few hours to come on line, well we waited and waited and waited and nothing happened. In the morning it was another trip to the SFR office and another attendant finally got it to work. Hurrah!! Finally something worked. Another success was that the sim card hot spots from our tablet which last year it could not do. We tried the dongle Helen and John lent us but the sneaky SFR people must have put something in the sim to stop it working in anything but their own. Any way we now have internet on the go.
With clean clothes and working internet we left Thionville at lunchtime [Friday 2nd] and headed to Metz a larger town further south. We had planned to stay in a carpark which is next the Municipal Campground and we were lucky to grab the last place available. It was a short walk into Metz crossing several bridges as there are many canals around the town. The Cathedral in the centre of town was quite impressive mainly due to its size, very, very big.
We wandered the streets stopping for a beer in a small square near the highest part of the city. On
the way back we came across a dragon hanging around in one of the side streets. Not sure how dragon’s feet are supposed to look like but this one looked like it had chicken feet. Further back towards the centre we came across a meringue cake shop which from the road had a window where you could see the cakes being made. Yes we were tempted and bought 3 to have with coffee that evening.
It was only 4 o’clock and we decided that we would move along to an aire about 20kms away. We could have stayed in the carpark overnight but the place we moved to, proved to be far nicer, next to a river where we could sit and relax on the lawn. As a bonus there was a roast chicken van on the site and a chicken for 7 euros was an easy tea.
We parked up next to a canal and walked into town via a large park which was very drab having a rundown obelisk and an uninspiring statue. This was not a good first impression and then we saw the town square with ornate wrought iron fences and decorative fountains, surrounded by beautiful ornate buildings. A pleasant surprize.
Another surprize was in the church, walking in we smelt flowers and not the musty damp smell of most of the old churches. That night they were having a special service and the place was filled with flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables. They even had a gum tree which we though needed a koala so we left them with a souvenir.
After exploring the town we walked back via another park which was the complete contrast towalking in. It was a lush park full of people with stalls, café’s and plenty of activities. We stopped for a beer before heading back and continuing on to an aire about 12 kms away.
Luckily when we arrived at the aire there was one place left as there were only 5 places. The places were very large and there was even free electricity. Up till now we have been very lucky with finding places, every place we have sought out has had space for us. We have seen other places where motorhomes come later when the places are all full and have had to continue on to find a place for the night.