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  • Bob and Wendy

June Newsletter


Welcome to the June edition of the newsletter in what has been a very busy month. We have had three tours completed during May/June: Idyllic France, Croatia & Slovenia and Lake Garda & Venice.


We have full tour reports from the first two and we will be reporting on the Lake Garda Tour in next month's edition.


That takes up most of the newsletter for this month. We have another great summery recipe and this month's motorhoming tips are all about leaky taps.


Finally, we have a very, very late opportunity to go on our Swiss & French Alps Tour, which goes in a few days' time. If anyone is feeling spontaneous, please contact us asap.

 

2024 Tours - Website and brochure updates

Just a reminder that the 2024 brochure is now available on the website. The website has also been updated to include all the details for the 2024 touring season.


To view details of the 2024 season please click here:



To view and download the brochure PDF please click here:



The bookings are now open so if you see anything you like you can book now here:



If you have any questions about any of the tours, please feel free to get in touch at any time.

 

Late, late cancellation


We have just had a very late cancellation on our Swiss & French Alps Tour that goes in a a few days time. If anyone, fancies a very late getaway, then please contact us directly on 07957 745434.


Full details of the tour are here.

 

Idyllic France Tour Review


Our first tour of the season went out at the end of April and returned in May. This is our tour of French France. By that, we mean it is all of those typically French parts of the country, away from the more obvious touristy bits. The idea is to get into the heart of France to experience the food, wine, countryside, architecture and local customs that typify France.


Unfortunately it was a bit of a cold and wet start to the tour as the whole of Europe experienced bad weather that was to drift on into May. A bit of British pluck was in evidence as the group got together to enjoy the local wine and gastronomy offered in Burgundy. There was time for visits to Auxerre and Avallon, two towns steeped in Medieval history and fine architecture.


As the group got into the Dordogne region, things started to improve weather-wise and guests were able to visit the local towns in the region. Some intrepid folk ventured out onto the Dordogne River itself on boats and canoes. Our lovely campsite is nestled in the valley with the castle towering over it on the opposing cliff face.



The biggest and most well-known city on this tour is the beautiful Bordeaux. Access to the city is really easy from the campsite allowing for two full days of visits. Bordeaux sits on the mighty Garonne River as is the heart of the wine-growing region. This makes for an affluent and lively city, which in part feels very much like Paris.


It is a wonderful city for wandering around with wide boulevards, public parks and a long quays running down the side of the river, lined with cafes and restaurants. One of the highlights is the massive 'water mirror' in the Place de la Bourse. Here, an enormous pool (just 2cm deep) fills the square and creates a reflection of the surrounding 18th Century facades.


The tour then moved on to another historic French region, the Loire. Our well connected campsite provides access to some of the Loire's most beautiful towns and cities, including Tours and Angers. In addition, many of the finest chateaux are on this stretch including Chenonceau, Chambord and Villandry.


All of the French chateaux have something different to offer and there are around 300 of them to choose from. One of our favourites is at Brissac, who's claim to fame is that it is the tallest on the Loire. It also houses its very own cinema room! Villandry has perhaps some of the best gardens, which have been extensively re-modelled over the years. Chenonceau is perhaps the most photogenic with its arches spanning the water beneath.


A lovely feature here is the Loire a Velo (Loire by bike) cycle path that runs along the path of the river, segueing into the local towns and villages. The whole paths runs for an incredible 800km although you are allowed to do just bits of it!


It was time for the tour to head home although now the weather had turned, it would have been nice to stay out longer.


We will be running the Idyllic France Tour again in last May 2024. Full details are on the website here.

 

Croatia & Slovenia Tour Review


Our second tour of the season headed off at the beginning of May. This popular tour goes twice a year these days, with another group heading off in September. So why is it so popular?


We start with a few driving days to get us down to Slovenia. However, these are not long, boring driving days as we have picked an interesting path down through France, Germany and Austria. En-route, guests took various opportunities to visit interesting things along the way. Some went through the Black Forest to see the waterfalls, some ventured up the Alps!


The whole group had a couple of nights in Strasbourg, which is a great place to stop and break up the journey and little bit. We also had a couple of nights in the Austrian Alps where you don't even have to leave your motorhome (or the campsites) to enjoy stunning views. Being May, there is still plenty of snow up on the tops.


The first main stop is on Lake Bled, which is lovely. You can walk or cycle around its perimeter or catch a 'gondola' or row yourself across the island to ring the bell. From Bled you can walk up the Vintnar Gorge, which many of our customers did and access the Savica Waterfall.


As with the France Tour, the weather did not really play along at the beginning so it was more British character in evidence as the group got out and about despite the rain. On the plus side the gorges and waterfalls have never been more spectacular. The group were also lucky enough to enjoy the local music festival that was on during our stay.


Next stop is the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. I always think it feels a little bit Italian but with an Eastern European theme. The ice-cream rivals the Italians. It is a relatively small lively place with a wonderful old-town that sits underneath the large castle on the hill. A funicular runs up the hill and on a good day, it's a great place to sit and watch the sun go down.


Ljubljana is also well placed for a visit to the Postonja Caves. The caves are Slovenia's most popular tourist attraction attracting visitors from all of the world. There are 18 miles of them, which you access on an underground train (a bit like a James Bond underground lair). The massive caves full of stalactites and stalagmites are unreal. They look like they have been made for a film.


Some guests combined a visit to the caves with a trip to Predjama Castle, a striking looking place built into the mouth of a cave. The castle was home to a dodgy baron, Erasmus of Lueg, who was beseiged by the Habsburg Empire, but kept himself going by nipping through the secret cave network to get supplies. They finally got him by firing a cannon ball at him when when he was on the toilet!


The next phase of the tour is on the Istrian Coast of Croatia. We split this section with a few days close to Pula and a few days on the island of Krk. Some guests also dropped into the postcard-perfect town of Rovinj. Guests were able to walk, bike, bus, boat and even submarine around the coast here. The weather was improving at this point and a few birthday celebrations within the group made of a wonderful few days.


There are some lovely old fishing villages and resort towns on this stretch of the coast along with Roman remains and even a fully intact amphitheatre in Pula.



Next stop is inland to the border with Bosnia and the Plitvice Lakes. These are a mixture of large turquoise lakes teaming with fish, surrounded by waterfalls. They are a global attraction although it has to be said, that the weather did not play nicely on the day of our visit. Having said that, the waterfalls really are at their most dramatic when there is plenty of water about. Our intrepid group certainly made the most of it and there were some stunning photographs that came out of it. Thank you Nigel for this one.


The final stop in Croatia was the capital, Zagreb. The group enjoyed an excursion from the campsite bus into the city. Guests did a mixture of things from the botanical gardens, to museum visits, to walking tours. Among the many interesting museums here, are the Tesla Museum and the Museum of Broken Relationships. Take your pick.


It was not time for the group to head back to the UK, which they did over the next four days. As you might imagine with this intrepid group, there were lots of visits along the way with excursions to places as diverse as the Porsche Museum, the Grossglockner mountain road and the waterfall at Gmund.


So overall, despite some horrible weather at the start, the May Tour to Croatia & Slovenia was a great success and we look forward to going again in September. We are also running the tour again in 2024, with full details here.

 

Coq au Van (the amusingly titled recipe feature)


One-pot sun-dried tomato, garlic and pecorino pasta


Ingredients:


  • 350g dried spaghetti

  • 1 large onion, very finely sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

  • 80g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced

  • 2 tsp chilli flakes

  • Finely grated zest 1 lemon, plus extra to serve

  • 30g pecorino shavings (or vegetarian alternative)

  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • Small bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, most roughly chopped


Method:

Put 1 litre salted water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the remaining ingredients (except the pecorino, oil and basil) and boil for 9-10 minutes or until the pasta is just al dente (cooked but with a little bite). Strain off any excess water, leaving just a little in the pan.


Stir in the pecorino, olive oil and chopped basil. Top with a few whole basil leaves and extra lemon zest to serve.

 

Motorhoming Tips

Did you know that most modern taps no longer have washers in them? This is the case for motorhome taps too. Therefore, if your tap starts to leak (like ours did last month), you might assume that you have to replace the whole tap.


This is not necessarily the case as most taps have a cassette inside them, which is replaceable (see picture).


To get at the cassette, you prize off the little hot/cold marker on the tap handle, which gives access to a grubber screw, which you undo with an allen key. Then pull the handle off. On ours there is then a hex lock to undo too, which in turn gives access to the cassette.


It is impossible to put the new cassette in wrong as it has a couple of lugs that locate it in the right place. Replacements cassettes are about £6, which save on a new tap, which will be more like £30.

 

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.




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