Welcome to the (packed) Spring edition of the newsletter as we look forward to our first tour of the season leaving at the end of the month. I am more excited than Will Smith at the Oscars.
Our main news this month is that we are delighted to announce a new set of tour leaders to the Crossings' family. Full details below. We are very inclusive here at Crossings with our tour leaders spanning Scotland, the Midlands, the East of England and the South of England. We could not be happier to welcome Gwyn and Debbie representing Wales!
We also have a quick travel update. As the year progresses, more and more travel restrictions are being removed. All of the countries we are travelling to are now accepting fully vaccinated visitors with no restrictions.
We have also decided which tours we are doing next year and in what months they will be going. Full details will come out in the May edition, at which point we will be opening the bookings for 2023. More details below.
We have another great one-pot recipe and this month's motorhome tips are on the contentious issue of vehicle weights.
New tour leaders - Gwyn and Debbie Williams
We are very pleased to announce that Gwyn and Debbie Williams will be joining our merry team of tour leaders.
Debbie has spent her whole career devoted to childcare, rising to a position on the Board of Directors at National Level and more recently concentrating on local childcare resources in North Wales while running her own successful child-minding service.
Gwyn spent 30 years in the Royal Air Force travelling the World with iconic jet aircraft such as the Harrier, Jaguar, Vulcan and Buccaneer and since retiring from the military he has worked as an engineer with Airbus in North Wales where the wings are made for all Airbus’ passenger aircraft.
They both enjoy travelling and even married in Las Vegas! With children all flown the nest they became motorhomers in 2010, enjoying the freedom of travelling across the length and breadth of the UK, the West Coast of France and Lake Erie & Lake Ontario in Canada, never staying anywhere for more than four nights.
So after experiencing a tour to Italy with ‘Crossings’ in 2019 as customers, they leapt at the chance to become the latest and newest members of the Crossings' Team.
We have welcomed them into the fold, although we have not yet told them that they might have to take part in the Crossings' Zoom quizzes.
Latest travel news
The news on travel continues to improve as more and more restrictions get lifted. For those of you booked on tours this year, we will inform you of all of the details prior to travel.
We anticipate that things will continue to change rapidly. Here are a few things that have changed this month:
The UK no longer required a passenger locator form when you return to the UK.
France have removed the requirement of show the Pass Sanitaire in restaurants, cafes and many tourist attractions.
Slovenia have removed all Covid-related entry requirements even for the non-vaccinated.
Croatia have adopted the EU Digital Covid Certificate making entry to the country easier.
There are lots of other little bits and pieces but in general it seems that things are slowly getting back to normal as Europe opens up.
2023 Tour Schedule
We have now finalised which tours are going and in which month! Exact dates will be in the newsletter next month, at which point we will also open the bookings. How exciting.
The schedule is as follows:
Idyllic France - May
Lake Garda and Venice - May
Croatia and Slovenia - May
The Pyrenees: Biarritz to Barcelona - June
The French and Swiss Alps - June
Summer in Sweden - August
The Loire and Burgundy - September
Croatia and Slovenia - September
Tuscany - September
Yes we are doing Croatia and Slovenia twice next year!
If you want to express an interest, just email us and we put you on 'the spreadsheet'. Thanks to everyone who submitted their names last month. If you do express and interest, then just before we open the bookings we will email you to see if you want to book. You can express an interest with no commitment to go on and book.
As always, newsletter readers will get first dibs on everything before things goes live on the website later in the year. 2023 is shaping up to be a very busy year.
Coq au Van (the amusingly titled recipe feature)
Sri Lankan Salmon Curry
2 garlic cloves
3cm piece ginger, sliced
2 tsp each panch phoran & whole coriander seeds
1 tbs mild madras curry powder
2 small green chillies, chopped
2 tbs sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
10 curry leaves
1 bunch broccoli
270ml can coconut milk
600g skinless salmon fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
Shredded coconut, lime wedges, chutney & warmed roti, to serve
To make the curry paste, place the garlic, ginger, spices and chilli in a mortar and pestle and grind to a paste. Set aside.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tomato, curry leaves and broccoli, then cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and 1/2 cup (125ml) water, then bring to a simmer.
Add the salmon, season and cook for a final 5 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked.
Garnish the curry with shredded coconut and serve immediately with lime wedges, chutney and warmed roti.
This month's tips are on loading payload and vehicle weight. The total weight ('mass' if you are being picky) that your vehicle can be is often known as the MTPLM (Maximum Technically Permitted Mass, i.e. gross vehicle weight). This should be on your V5 or on a vehicle plate under the bonnet. Many vehicles are rated up to 3.5t (3500kg).
The majority of this allowable mass will already be being used by your motorhome e.g. the engine, the cupboards, the fridge etc. For example, this could all add up to 3t. What's left (e.g. 500kg) is known as the payload. This is the spare mass that you can use for all of your other stuff e.g. food, clothes, spare tyre, awning, jacuzzi etc. (Only joking on the jacuzzi).
You also need to take into account fuel and water with the payload figure and the mass of everyone travelling in the vehicle. So with 50 litres of fuel and 50 litres of water on board you have just added 100kg. With two average size people you might add another 150kg. There's half your payload gone already. It soon adds up.
To find out your exact weight you need to go along to a weighbridge when the van is fully loaded and ready to go and see how you stack up. You also need to think about the weight over each axle. This will be shown on the vehicle plate too. If you have a garage, be very careful that you do not overload the rear of the vehicle.
There is quite a lot to think about on this topic. Many motorhomers 'uprate' their vehicles' mass to allow more payload but this can have implications on toll costs when travelling in Europe or if you are over 70. It is a topic of hot debate and I can feel the emails coming in already!
Keep in touch
Please feel free to contact us at any time. When we are away, calls will bounce to our mobiles at no expense to yourself.