Welcome to the June edition of the newsletter and we hope you are enjoying the Jubilee weekend. Wendy has told me I am not allowed to do any Prince Andrew jokes. We do love the Queen here though and her 70-year reign has been quite remarkable.
Thanks to everyone who has been in touch during May with a special thank you to everyone who has booked for 2023 already. Currently, the tour schedule is only available to you as newsletter readers. It will go live on the website (for public consumption) at the end of the month so there is still plenty of time to get first dibs.
Details of routes and prices etc are in the PDF attached to the email we just sent you. If you have any questions about any of the tours, please get on touch. If you would like to book, please do it online here: https://www.crossingsmotorhometours.com/book-now
This month is a bumper edition with two full tour reports on our Brittany & Normandy and our Croatia & Slovenia Tours. Both tours are now safely home and the reviews have been great. You can read them on the reviews page of our website if you want.
We have another great one-pot recipe and the motorhome/travel tips this month is about proving your vaccination status (or not).
Space available on Idyllic France September 2022
Due to a cancellation a space has become available on our Idyllic France Tour in September this year. Full details are on the website here: https://www.crossingsmotorhometours.com/2022-idyllic-france
Please contact us if you have any questions about the tour.
Brittany & Normandy Tour Report
Colin & Sue have recently returned (with a sun tan) from France and here is Sue's full report...
It was an early start for the travelling guests on Monday 25th April – down to the ferry port by 7:30am! No one seemed to mind though, they were just glad to be getting out on the first tour of 2022. A smooth crossing and then onto the smooth motorways of France. First stops were for fuel and food before arriving at our first campsite. It was early season for all the sites we stayed on which meant we were greeted by neatly cut hedges and freshly cut grass.
The weather throughout the tour was dry and mostly sunny. A chilly wind at the start of the trip soon dropped and by the time we were heading home it had reached a very pleasant low 20’s.
One of the highlights of the first few days was that several of the guests chose to visit the recently constructed British Normandy Memorial set above and looking down on the Normandy Landing Beaches. It is a spectacular yet poignant tribute to the 22,342 servicemen and women who fell during the D-day landings.
From the Normandy Beaches the tour then moved on into Brittany, with a few days spent around the St Malo area. This provided the opportunity to visit the Bayeux Tapestry, Mont St-Michel, the Old Town of St Malo and to explore the northern coast of the region.
Then it was a drive across country or around the west coast to our base in the south of Brittany. Duringour few days spent here there was time for cycling, shopping in another delightful walled town and enjoying the beaches of the area. Temperatures were now on the rise so a few brave souls ventured into the on-site outdoor swimming pool. Refreshing!
It was coast to castle for the final stop of the tour and a chance to explore the town and the Medieval Castle at Fougeres. Our visit coincided with the Saturday market with stalls loaded with local produce – oysters, crabs, mussels and the most enormous cauliflowers.
En route to Fougeres some of the guests enjoyed a fascinating visit to the Carnac Stones (alignments). Erected over 5,000 years ago the 3,000 huge boulders cover an area of over 4 kilometres and can be viewed either on foot, or as we did, on a land train around the sites.
From Fougeres it was back north to our final night stopover. The journey took us over the spectacular Pont de Normandie which spans the river Seine and was a glorious drive in the sunshine. From our final site it was then a relatively short drive to Calais and onto the ferry. The first tour of the season finished and a great success – fantastic weather, fantastic guests and a real taste of France.
Croatia & Slovenia Tour Report
Gary & Eleanor were our tour leaders for our stunning Croatia & Slovenia Tour. This is one of our most popular tours, so popular in fact that it features twice on the 2023 tour schedule!
All of our tours start and end in the UK, so the first part of this particular trip is getting to Slovenia. This takes four days so we do try and make the route interesting with stop-overs in the Champagne region and night in Strasbourg before a trip down the Romantic Road in Germany and night nestled under the glorious Austrian Alps.
Our first stop in Slovenia is the world-famous Lake Bled. After a very enjoyable group meal on the first evening, guests were able to enjoy a variety of attractions around the town and lake. Some took the gondola ride onto the island while others hiked up the Vintgar Gorge to enjoy views across the stunning Julian Alps. Lots of our guests bring push-bikes with them and there is a lovely route that takes you all the way around the lake with the chance to visit the castle on the way.
From here it was onto one of Europe's smallest and prettiest capitals, Ljubljana. The castle on the hill overlooks the small squares and network of cobbled streets. Restaurants and cafes line the sleepy river making this one of the most relaxing and laid-back capitals in Europe.
Some of our guests embarked on a short road trip to Slovenia's biggest tourist attraction, the Postojna Caves. Here you can visit 24km of underground caves that quite frankly, look like a film set. The stalactites and stalagmites are massive having been formed over tens of thousands of years. A small underground train takes you around the various natural tunnels and enormous cavities that are probably the best cave network you are ever going to see in your lifetime.
It was time for a change of pace with a week spent on the Istrian Coast in Croatia. The group spent a few days around Pula, with its intact amphitheater (better than the one in Rome) and beautiful coastline. Many guests took the opportunity to go dolphin watching on a evening boat trip with the sun slowly setting. From there the tour moved onto Krk island to be met with glorious weather for a few days lazing around the beach and ambling along the waterfront lined with pastel-coloured houses and restaurants.
A complete change of scenery awaited the group as the tour moved onto the Plitvice Lakes. This is Croatia's biggest tourist attractions pulling in visitors from all over the world. Here,16 massive terraced lakes are joined by waterfalls with azure and turquoise waters teeming with fish. You can access the lake by boat, land train or on foot via miles on interconnected boardwalks.
The last stop on Croatia was the capital, Zagreb. Although badly affected by the recent earthquake, the city is getting back on its feet again. Highlights include the commanding cathedral and the distinctive St Mark's Church. Zagreb remains one of Europe's least touristy capitals (which you might think is a good or a bad thing).
It was time to 'head for the hills' as the tour began the steady drive home back through Austria, Germany and France and home.
This is such a mixed tour encompassing lively cities, alpine mountain ranges, stunning coastline, castles and caves, lakes, waterfall and rivers, architecture and of course the food and wine.
Coq au Van (the amusingly titled recipe feature)
Chick and chorizo rice
1 onion, peeled and sliced
Handful of chopped chorizo
Around 400g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces Can swap for chicken breast or pork
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced Could swap/add courgette
1 tin sweetcorn, drained Could swap/add peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of crushed/chopped garlic
2 tablespoon tomato purée
750ml chicken or vegetable stock
300g long grain rice
In a large frying or sauce pan with a lid add the olive oil over a medium heat.
Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes or until softened.
Add the garlic and fry for a further one minute.
Add the chicken, red pepper and chorizo. Optionally add chopped courgette if using.
Fry for another 5 minutes and then add the tomato puree and stir everything together.
Add the rice and the stock and bring to the boil.
Cover and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the rice has adsorbed most of the stock.
Stir in the sweetcorn and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and optionally some parsley or coriander. You could also add a squeeze of lemon juice.
This month's tip is about how to prove your vaccination status when travelling abroad.
Many countries that we visit on tour e.g. Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, no longer require any proof of vaccination. We suspect that as the year progresses, more and more countries will do the same and remove the requirement.
In the short term if you are travelling though countries that do require proof of vaccination (e.g. France, Germany) you can do it either through the NHS app or by requesting a letter. Phone 119 and ask for a letter at least 5 days in advance. Your vaccination appointment card is NOT accepted as proof that you are vaccinated.
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.