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  • Bob and Wendy

January Newsletter

Welcome to the January edition of the newsletter and we wish you all a Happy New Year. Thanks to everyone who has sent Christmas and New Year cards greetings - we do appreciate them.


In this month's newsletter we have some exciting news about the NEC Motorhome Show along with ten free pairs of tickets to give away! Read on for more details.


We also have the first in our "Spotlight on..." features for this year with details for our new Tuscany & Rome Tour in June.


As usual we have another great one-pot recipe (to warm your cockles) and this month's motorhome tip is all about keeping warm if you are using the van this winter.

 

Spotlight On...Tuscany & Rome


We had the first run out of out Tuscany Tour in 2023 and have decided to run it again in 2024 with a few tweaks. The main difference is that we are adding in the historic capital of Rome.


All of our tours start and end in the UK and we like to do round trips where possible to make the drive there and back as varied and enjoyable as possible. To that end the route down is a leisurely drive through France and Switzerland with a two-night stop-over in the Swiss Alps. We stay (in the valley) underneath the mighty peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains with the chance to visit Interlaken.




From there we take head down to northern Italy around the famous lakes for another two-night stop-over. We then hit Tuscany and the stunning city of Florence, the capital the region. Our well-located campsite, just a couple of miles from the centre, allows easy access by shuttle bus. Alternatively, you can get directly onto the banks of the River Arno and walk or cycle in. The attractions of Florence are well documented so I probably can't do justice to them here. Our favourite spot is overlooking the city high up at the Piazzale Michelangelo (pictured).



Next stop is the capital of Italy, Rome. We stay a little way out of the city to avoid the crowded motorways. However, the city is accessible via public transport from the campsite and Andy and Rebecca will be there to help you with the arrangements. Again, I probably do not need to do a sales job on the delights of Rome. Our favourite spot is on the side streets around the Colosseum. Last time we went they still hadn't finished it!


The pace drops for the next section of the tour with more stunning scenery and picturesque drives (including one through the Chianti wine-growing region). None more so than the run to the delightful hill-top town of San Gimignano. You can expect tall towers, cobbled streets and beautiful views across the vineyards from the high-points within the town. The place is crammed with restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlours and artisan shops. It is an ideal place for an aimless wander and only a short way from the campsite.


Another lovely drive gets us up to Pisa. Famed for its iconic leaning tower, the old town nestled on the river hosts many other attractions including the Square of Miracles, the Lungarni (river walk) and the pedestrianised medieval centre. Pisa also has a well-connected train station with the option of visiting (among other places) the ramparted towns of Lucca or Siena on a day trip.


After Pisa we head via the Italian Riviera and on through the wine-growing region of Asti towards the Alps. Here you have the option of driving through one of the tunnels or we can show you a route over one of the French-Italian mountain passes, which for many, was one of the highlights of last year's tour. We also build in time for a two-night stop over at the foot of Mont Blanc with the chance to access the mountain via the cable car or cog railway (weather permitting of course).


Overall, the Tuscany and Rome Tour has a bit of something for everyone with some iconic cities and towns, some lovely drives both to and from Tuscany, but also around the region itself. you can expect great food, great wine, loads of history and a warm climate.


As I write, we do still have spaces for June this year and you would be very welcome to join us. Full details are on the website, or feel free to give us a call for an informal chat: https://www.crossingsmotorhometours.com/tuscany-rome-2024


 

The NEC Motorhome Show


Regular readers will know that we love the NEC Motorhome Shows and that they are the biggest and best of the motorhome shows in the country. You will also know that I am sometimes a bit sniffy about the quality of the guest speakers and celebrities.


Well this year, the organisers have called our bluff and asked us to do a series of presentations at the Inspiration Theatre! We have agreed to do one on the delights of Sweden. Wendy has thrown me under the bus (as young people say) and volunteered me to do the talk. Consequently I will be sandwiched between Annabel Croft and some bloke off Youtube on four of the six days of the show.


I rarely get asked back to places twice so this may well be a once-in-a-lifetime presentation. We would love to see you in the audience and as part of the deal, the organisers have kindly offered us ten free pairs of tickets to give away for any of the days of the February Show. The tickets will be available for you to pick up on the day, regardless of whether the show is full or not. You may even choose to attend on the two days that I am not presenting.


Just in case all twelve readers of the newsletter want tickets, we have decided that the fairest way to allocate them is via a lottery. Therefore, if you would like to get a pair, please send us your name and email address and we will put your name in the (woolly) hat. We will then draw them live on Facebook at the beginning of next month to prove that we are not just giving them away to our favourite customers.


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)


Spanish style chicken and peppers


Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in

  • 1 tbsp plain flour

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large onion, thickly sliced

  • 3 mixed peppers, chopped into 3cm chunks

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes

  • 1 chicken stock cube, made up to 200ml

  • 225g long-grain rice


  1. Toss the chicken thighs in the flour until lightly coated. Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over a high heat and cook the chicken thighs for 4-5 mins on each side until golden and the skin is crisp. Transfer to a plate.

  2. Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook over a high heat for 2-3 mins until starting to char on the edges. Add the garlic, scatter with the paprika and season well. Stir well to coat and cook for 1 min before adding the chopped tomatoes and stock.

  3. Return the chicken thighs to the pan and nestle into the sauce. Cover with a lid, reduce to a low simmer and cook for 30 mins. Remove the lid and cook for a further 10 mins until the sauce to reduces and thickens. 

  4. Meanwhile, rinse the rice and put in a pan of boiling water. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 10 mins until tender. Fluff with a fork and serve with the chicken.

 

Motorhoming Tips


This month's tip is for those of you who use your motorhomes in the winter. Before Christmas we had a road trip to Aberdeen and it was cold. Although we had the heating on we did find that it is difficult to get a consistent heat around the motorhome due to the vagaries of the blown air heating. For example, the bathroom may get very warm, while the area in the cab of the motorhome remains cold. Here are a few things we tried that helped:


  • Close the heating vents in the bathroom and this will direct more of the heat to the open vents.

  • Get a separate low wattage electric heater to use in the cab area. We find this essential as none of the vents blow hot air into this area.

  • Use insulated "silver screens" on the windscreen. This helps retain the heat in the cab area.

  • If all else fails, have an early night. It worked for our grandparents!

 

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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