We had four days left before returning to Martins place in Holland where we needed to sort the motorhome for its winterizing. With a few hundred kilometers to travel we would visit a few places of interest to break up the driving.
Arriving at Rouen (Oct 16 – Monday) in the afternoon we found the motorhome designated parking area next to the river. Very convenient for visiting but a bit noisy and dirty for staying the night. It was a short walk into town where our first destination would be the cathedral, here is where Rollo the viking is entombed as well as many notable people . The TV series Vikings has a character Rollo which is loosely based on the real life person who invaded France and was given Normandy so that he wouldn’t attack but protect Paris. Here is our last blog reference to Rollo. http://www.travelbunyip.com/homepage/?s=looking+for+Rollo After walking around the cathedral once we couldn’t find him, we had walked past him looking in the wrong direction.
Rouen was more interesting than we had expected and we spent some time exploring the old part of the town and the place where Joan of Arc was put on trial and burned at the stake. On the location a large cross has been erected. It was getting late and the thought of getting back, relocating and cooking was not very appealing and the option of eating at a nice restaurant eating french food was more promising. We chose a restaurant where we sat outside having the special of the day. We chose wisely as the food was delicious and plentiful accompanied with some apple cider. After a successful time in Rouen it was back on the road for a short drive to a small village called Esteville where we parked in the carpark of the Abbey.
From Rouen we headed north towards the coast and a region of France that we have not been to. A coastal town we visited was Saint Valery-sur-Somme. We parked on the outskirts as motorhomes were not welcome in the carparks but it was only a short walk and were on the banks of the Somme river where it met the sea. We walked through the old part of town and then to the main street. We passed a cafe that had moules and frites on the menu which was too tempting to pass up. All three of us ordered the same dish (mussels and chips) as well as a jug of apple cider. A messy dish to eat but very yummy. After lunch we spotted a confectionery shop, as if we hadn’t had enough. We did buy some marshmallows, some covered with chocolate which we would save for later.
Our destination for tonight was Dunkirk but after reading some reviews of places to stay nearby Jenny found a campsite that was very cheap during the off season near a place called Gravelines. It was our first campsite in two weeks and it was luxury to have a hot shower, toilets and electricity was also included in the price.
In the morning we drove to Dunkirk and parked in a free carpark on the harbour. We walked along the harbour to the museum which depicted the events in 1940 surrounding the evacuation of British and French troops. With plenty of displays and written information we were impressed with the place. With the new film on Dunkirk just being released I’m sure there will be an increase in tourism over the coming months. Walking back towards the centre of town next to an old tower we had lunch in a very nice restaurant and of course being by the sea we had the fish which happened to be dish of the day special. After a lovely meal we walked through the centre of town and back to the motorhome. On the way out of Dunkirk we drove along the beach and past the sandunes which where in 1940 it would have looked very different.
Leaving France behind and into Belgium.
Now the weather has changed to be much cooler and damp. We drove to Antwerp which for the first part went well until we were about 15 kilometers out when we hit a traffic jam (file in Dutch). The traffic crawled along and it took an hour and a half to get into the centre where we parked up in a carpark near the harbour. This might have been an option for staying overnight but the carpark was being upgraded and it was hard to get into it, crowded and noisy so we decided to leave for a quieter place. We found a place 15 kilometers further next to a sportsground which had a large area set aside for motorhomes. A much nicer setting but a little bit noisy with traffic nearby.
Thursday 19th October
This would be our last day on the road. From Belgium we drove into Holland and to the village of Schijndel which has one of the biggest camping shops in Europe, De Wit. Here we bought a new vent for the fridge, a fan to help ventilation, a new cap for the cassette toilet (lost one when emptying it, always carry a spare) and some toilet fluid. We had a wander through the array of camping equipment, sports clothing, garden furniture and lots of tents of all different shapes and sizes. We restrained ourselves from purchasing anything that wasn’t needed and had fun taking some photos of the mini figs with assorted small toy cars.
We left the camping shop and decided to visit Breda as it was on our way back to S’Gravendeel. An easy park next to a canal was in the Park4night app and it was a short walk to the old centre, we wandered around, had a small snack for lunch and then returned to the motorhome for the last leg of our trip.
The adventures of our minifigs can be seen here : Lego minifigs on tour.