Welcome to the February edition of the newsletter. We are getting excited here at Crossings HQ as the NEC Motorhome Show is nearly upon us. More details later.
We continue our "Spotlight on..." feature with a look at our brand new Brittany, Normandy & The Atlantic Coast Tour in September.
As usual we have another great one-pot recipe and this month's motorhome tip is all about winter tyres.
Cancellation Space Available On Croatia & Slovenia September 2024
Due to a cancellation we have a space available on our Croatia & Slovenia Tour in September this year. Spaces do not come up very often on this one, so if you want it, please contact us as soon as possible. The space is available on a first-come-first-served basis. We are working today (due to the lack of rugby on the TV).
Full details of the tour can be found on our website here: https://www.crossingsmotorhometours.com/croatia-slovenia-2024
If you have any questions about the tour, please get in touch.
Spotlight On...Brittany, Normandy and the Atlantic Coast
First of all, we wish we had thought of a snappier title. However, it does describe the tour quite accurately! 2024 will be the first outing for this short tour, which covers just over 1000 miles over the 18 days.
Our first stop is the picture-postcard coastal town of Honfleur. The town sits on the confluence of the River Seine and English Channel. It is best known for the old harbour (pictured) with its colourful houses lining the seafront. As you might expect, the town is jam-packed full of cafes, bars, restaurants and artisan shops.
Regular readers will know that a key element of all of our tours is making the attractions accessible from the campsites. This one is no exception with our very well equipped- four star campsite just a couple of miles from the town with a bus stop out the front.
On this tour, we have chosen a route that allows you to access some of Normandy's best-known attractions. Two notable ones are the iconic Mont St Michel. It is possible to park the motorhome and walk across the causeway regardless of time tides. We also travel close to the Normandy Beaches so those interested in WW2 history are able to visit these en route. A small diversion off the route takes you to Bayeaux with its famous tapestry.
We head inland into Brittany next with a chance to visit the Medieval towns of the region, the pick of which is Fougeres, with its impressive, intact castle. You can wander the narrow, cobbled streets and enjoy 1000 years worth of history (and a glass of wine).
We then head onto the largely unspoilt southern Brittany peninsula. Here there are miles of flat, sandy beaches and a mixture of larger and smaller towns. We stay close to one of these at Carnac. In addition to the beach you have the added attraction of the slightly mysterious Carnac Stones. For no particular reason there are around 3000 standing stones spread over 4km. But who put them there? I have two theories. It was either the young farmers, or maybe the Carnac Tourist Board. Either way, you can wander among the stones for free while pondering the enigma.
Our next stop is onto the Atlantic Coast with the finest city in the region - La Rochelle. We stay in one of the smaller resort towns with excellent links into the city. La Rochelle is is a large medieval port with many of its ancient walled defences and towers still in place. There are boat trips from the harbour including one to Fort Boyard (used in The Crystal Maze TV show). Away from the harbour you will find an extensive network of cobbled and arcaded streets lined with shops and eateries.
We head back inland next and onto one of France's most famous and beautiful rivers - the Loire. The Loire is home to over 300 chateaux and over 400 vineyards and wine cellars. We don't recommend visiting all of them but can recommend the best ones to get a taste of the area. For example, the chateaux at Brissac is one of the less well-known but more interesting castles which boasts its own cinema. Of the better known ones you can't go wrong at Chambord, Chenonceau or Villandry, all of which could be visited on the tour.
In terms of vineyards and wine cellars you really can take you pick. Our campsite has its own vines and we organise and tasting with a local expert.
Our next stop takes us back to Normandy and this time we stay on the banks of France's best-known river - the Seine. From our campsite you can access the river path and enjoy the local town of Les Andelys nestled beneath the limestone cliffs and the ruined fortress built by Richard the Lionheart. If you are feeling more adventurous, the train station is a short drive from where you can jump on a train to Rouen, famous for its massive cathedral and multiple museums.
All in all, this new tour has a little bit of everything that makes France so special without having to do loads of motorway miles. Full details can be found on our website here: https://www.crossingsmotorhometours.com/brittany-normandy-atlantic-coast-2024
The NEC Motorhome Show - Latest News
First of all we would like to thank everyone who put their name in the orange woolly hat to win tickets to the NEC Show later this month. All the winners have now been notified and we are sorry if your name did not come out.
Video evidence of the draw (and the existence of an orange woolly hat) can be seen here:
A reminder that I will be doing a bit of a turn at the show in exchange for the 10 pair of tickets we have just given away (and a VIP parking pass for me and Wendy on the Sunday).
If you want a laugh (for all the wrong reasons) I will be on at the Inspiration Theatre on Tuesday at 1.30pm, Wednesday at 11.45am and Thursday and 10.20 am. I am the warm-up guy for Ray Mears on the Wednesday. You may not spot him if he's hiding in a bush.
The show runs from the 13th to the 18th of February. We will be attending as exhibitors as usual and we will be on Stand 4110 in Hall 4. More details about the show can be found by clicking on this very long link: https://ccmshow.co.uk/caravan-camping-motorhome-show/?gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQiAy9msBhD0ARIsANbk0A8D_fSXuxK0agsGOkmDMriTLkQWOmexNr8ASBMFm_Bl0BQesCzItzUaAoxcEALw_wcB
Coq au Van (the amusingly titled recipe feature)
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Freshly ground black pepper
350 ml whole milk
350 ml chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200 g fettuccini
120 ml double cream
100 g freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden and cooked through, 8 minutes per side. Let rest 10 minutes, then slice.
Add milk, stock, and garlic to pan. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Add fettuccine, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. Let cook until al dente, 8 minutes more.
Stir in double cream and Parmesan until combined. Simmer until sauce thickens.
Remove from heat and stir in sliced chicken. Garnish with parsley.
Winter Tyres: Prompted by the need to buy four new tyres I have been researching the market. Why four new tyres I hear you ask. Well the front ones wear out as they are the drive wheels. The rear ones never seem to wear out but they do get old a degrade. Expert advice on this varies, but once your tyres get 5 - 7 years old, you need to replace them.
There is no requirement for winter tyres in the UK but you may choose to fit them if you use the van in the bad weather. In Europe there are various mandatory rules on winter tyres depending on the time of year and the country. Failure to adhere to the rules can lead to fines or worse - accidents that are your fault.
A lot of motorhome tyres sold in the UK are summer tyres only and therefore would not meet the requirements in Europe. In order to be legal (and safe) you can get tyres that are badged as M+S (mud and snow) or there is a newer classification called 3PMSF (Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake). Either of these meet the requirements for most countries as being winter tyres. My research would suggest that they are about 20% more expensive than summer tyres but essential if travelling abroad in the winter and advisory for the UK.
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.