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  • Bob and Wendy

April Newsletter

Welcome to the fairly brief but important April edition of the newsletter and we hope you are enjoying the typical British bank holiday weekend (as I sit here in my thermals).


Thinking of warmer times, here is a gratuitous picture of some spring flowers. Colin & Sue will soon be heading off on the first tour of the year taking in the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens in Holland (pictured).


We have one main news item this month and that is that we have officially opened the bookings for the 2025 season. Remember that as newsletter readers, you get first dibs on all of our tours as we will not be making the schedule public on the website for another month. Read on for full details.


For anyone looking for something this year, we have had a cancellation on our 2024 Provence & Ardeche Tour, so please contact us if you would like to take it up. More details below.


We have another great one-pot recipe and this month’s motorhoming tips are all about preparing the van for the new season.

 

2025 Tours - Bookings Now Open


We are pleased to announce that the bookings for thew 2025 season are officially (drum roll please)...open! We are offering eight tours next year with some new tours on offer in addition to the perennial favourites:


  • Three-Country Taster Tour

  • Poland

  • France Grand Tour

  • The Swiss & French Alps

  • Sweden & The Arctic Circle

  • Croatia & Slovenia

  • The Loire & Burgundy

  • Lake Garda & Venice


Many thanks to everyone who expressed an interest last month. If you are ready to book, please go online and fill in a form, or give us a ring and we will go through it with you: https://www.crossingsmotorhometours.com/book-now


Last month we sent out the previews and we now have the full itineraries available. If you take a look at the reminder email we have just sent, you should see a link to a PDF file. If you have any problems accessing it please get in touch (PDFs can be a bit funny on iPads). At the moment the itineraries are exclusive to you as a newsletter reader. This is because we always give our readers at least a one month head-start on the rest of the world.


We have a couple of brand new tours for next year including a couple of more adventurous ones. We are offering an "expedition" to the Arctic Circle, which we are very excited about. We have done the trip ourselves but never offered it as a tour before. This one is for the explorers among you and will take you right up to Lapland in Finland over the impressive Oresund Bridge.


We are also putting on our Poland Tour again. We last ran this very successfully in 2019 and we planning on doing it again when COVID kiboshed everything. This is a varied and interesting tour taking in some well-known cities, coast and country and the world's tallest statue of Jesus! We know that a few of you have been waiting for this one to come back.


We also have a grand tour of France that is brand new and covers all the best bits. Basically it goes to pretty much everywhere you have ever heard of in France and includes a real mix of coast, countryside, mountains, cities, towns and villages, vineyards, chateaux and lots of places famed for their wine and gastronomy.



As always we will be running our ever-popular Three-Country Taster Tour and our Lake Garda & Venice and Croatia & Slovenia Tours. We like to do a mixture of shorter and longer tours to suit all tastes.


Now we know that all tour companies say this, but please book early to guarantee your space. Our most popular tours fill up almost straight away so if you know that you want to join us next year, please act quickly to secure your spot.


If you want to have an informal chat about any of the tours, then please feel free to contact us.

 

2024 Cancellation space available


A space has become available on our Provence & Ardeche Tour in September this year. This autumn tour focuses on one of the most beautiful regions of France including the marvellous Pont d'Arc (pictured) where you can pick up a kayak at the campsite, paddle down-stream through the arch and get a lift back in a minibus!


Other highlights of the tour include historic Avignon, the stunning hilltop villages and towns of the Luberon and the magnificent scenery of the Haute Alps. Full details of the tour are available here: https://www.crossingsmotorhometours.com/provence-and-the-ardeche-2024


If you would like any further information or just fancy an informal chat, please get in touch. If you would like to book, please give us a call or complete an online booking for here: https://www.crossingsmotorhometours.com/book-now


 

Coq au Van (the amusingly titled recipe feature)


One-pot beef stifado


I have never made this but just liked the name of it!


Ingredients



Method


Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat and brown the beef all over, removing it to a plate with a slotted spoon as you go (you may need to do this in batches). Drizzle the rest of the oil into the pan. Peel the onions (but leave whole) and add to the pan, then scatter over the sugar. Sizzle for 5 mins, stirring now and then until starting to brown. Add the garlic, bay, cinnamon stick, allspice, cloves and oregano, and cook for 1 min more. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for another minute, then tip in the beef along with any resting juices. Stir to coat in the spiced onion mixture.


Add the red wine vinegar and chopped tomatoes. Rinse the cans out with the wine and pour it in, then add a third of a can of water. Season with salt and stir well. Bring to a simmer, stir again, then cover with the lid and transfer to the oven for 1 hr.


Remove from the oven and stir again. If the sauce looks very thick, add a splash more water. Cover again and return to the oven for another hour, or until the meat is fork-tender – the timing will depend on the cut you’ve used. Serve hot. To get ahead, leave to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and chill for up to three days or freeze for up to three months. Defrost completely in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a pan over a low heat with a splash more water to loosen, if needed.

 

Motorhoming Tips


We use our van all year round so keep up a maintenance schedule throughout the year. However, we know that many of you have your vans in storage over the winter and it is about now that they can come out to play again.


In no particular order:


  1. Clean and fill the fresh water system and run the taps to get rid of any airlocks. Consider using Puriclean or similar.

  2. Give the van a good clean inside and out. Get rid of any of that green Lichen that grows where the sun don't shine.

  3. Check your door and window seals for damage or cracking. You may spot these while using the hose pipe!

  4. Check the tyres for pressure, tread and also for signs of cracking in the tyre walls. (Check the spare too).

  5. Give your van a good airing.

  6. Do your standard engine checks - mainly oil and water.

  7. Give it a run out before you embark on your next holiday, just to check everything is running OK.

  8. It's also good time to get your habitation check done. Don't skip on this as it will catch any costly problems with water ingress that can be solved cheaply if caught early.

 

Keep in touch



Instagram: CrossingsMotorhome


Please feel free to contact us at any time. When we are away, calls will bounce to our mobiles at no expense to yourself.




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