Welcome to another 'good news' edition of the newsletter and a special welcome to everyone who got strong-armed into signing up at the NEC.
The Show was the biggest ever and we have a brief run-down in this month's edition. There was a lot of love for our Garda Tour in September, hence the gratuitous photo of Venice.
We can also report on a further relaxation of travel restrictions meaning that tours can now go without any need for any tests or quarantine. Many people were asking about 2023 schedule and we have a snippet of new information on that. We have another great one-pot recipe and this month's motorhome tips are on the new GHIC card.
Latest travel news
Last month we were able to report that from 11th February, the UK government scrapped the requirement for testing when returning to the UK.
Obviously we need to be mindful of the rules for the European countries that we are travelling to. Thankfully, most of the countries that we are visiting have now done away with the requirement to test before arrival. Also, there is no requirement to quarantine. Effectively, this means that we are now free to travel around Europe as before.
Yes, there will be a bit of form filling, but for everyone booked on a tour, your tour leaders will be there to help with this. It may be that by the time we travel later in the year, this requirement also goes away. There is mounting pressure on EU countries to come up with a standardised process rather than asking travellers to fill in a form for every country. We will keep you posted on the latest requirements.
All of the above assumes that you are fully vaccinated (triple jabbed) and that you have proof either via the NHS app or with a print-out.
NEC February Show
The NEC February Show was the biggest ever. Due to Covid, the event was entirely ticketed with no 'walk-ins' available. In fact, it was sold out on all days. In total, over 100,000 people attended the show over its six day run.
Thanks to all of our existing customers, new customers and general enquirers who came to see us. Judging by the leaflet count we reckon we must have spoken to over 2000 people over the course of the show!
This year we were opposite the naturists again and it was great to see lots of their members too. We have decided that we will not be doing a naturist holiday any time soon.
The main news from the show is that there is a real appetite to get back on with overseas travel. 2022 is going to be a busy year for us and it is obvious that 2023 will be even busier.
The talk of the show was motorhome prices, which are the highest they have ever been. There has not been any discounting from the dealers although it sounds like trade-in values are really high. We know that many dealers are really struggling to get hold of decent nearly new vans.
So this makes it a good time to sell or trade in. We can't help thinking that once everyone can get back to their package holidays there is going to be a glut of barely used motorhomes hitting the market in a year or two's time though!
2023 Tour Schedule
We have not finalised the schedule just yet but we do know that we will be offering some of our favourites next year including Croatia & Slovenia and Lake Garda. We are planning a new Alps Tour focussing on the French and Swiss Alps and we have two longer tours planned, one around the Pyrenees (down as far as Barcelona) and our long-awaited Tuscany Tour (which got kiboshed twice by Covid). There will also be a couple of shorter tours to France ideal for first-timers and Francophiles alike.
We will be putting some dates to the schedule in next month's newsletter and will be taking expressions of interest prior to opening the bookings in the late Spring. If you want to express an interest, just email us and we put you on 'the spreadsheet'. Then just before we open the bookings we will email you to see if you want to book. You can express an interest with no commitment to go on and book.
As always, newsletter readers will get first dibs on everything before things goes live on the website later in the year.
Coq au Van (the amusingly titled recipe feature)
One-pan pork chop supper
1 tablespoon butter
4 pork loin chops (1/2 inch thick and 7 ounces each)
3 medium red potatoes, cut into small wedges
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices, or 2 cups fresh baby carrots
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 cup water
Optional: Cracked black pepper and chopped fresh parsley
In a large pan, heat butter over medium heat. Brown pork chops on both sides; remove from pan, reserving drippings.
In same pan, saute vegetables in drippings until lightly browned. Whisk together soup and water; stir into vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, just until vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes.
Add chops; cook, covered, until a thermometer inserted in pork reads 145°, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with pepper and parsley.
Prompted by a question at the show, this month's tip is about the new GHIC card, which used to be known as the EHIC card, which used to be known as the E111.
The UK arrangements with various countries around the world to provide 'reciprocal health care'. This means that if a non-UK resident requires medical care in an emergency whilst in the UK, they can get it. Similarly, when we are abroad, we too are entitled to emergency health care in participating countries. The governments then divvy it all up at the end and pay each other.
To access this you need an EHIC or GHIC card. You may already have the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), but when this expires (or if you don't have one) you need to apply for the new version called a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card).
If you already have the EHIC, check it is in date. If you don't have one then go to the website below to get your GHIC. The cards are free.
More information: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/
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.