- Bob and Wendy
Welcome to the November edition of newsletter. We have two changes to the 2022 Tour Schedule to tell you about this month including the addition of a new tour in September. As usual we have another great one-pot recipe and this month's motorhoming tips are all about the law on rear seatbelts.
New tour added to next year's schedule: Idyllic France September 2022
Our Idyllic France Tour in June has been over-subscribed ever since we announced it way back in 2019. To meet the demand, we have decided to put the tour on twice in 2022 - so we will be running it in September in addition to the June tour.
The tour starts in the Loire Valley with a few nights spent on one of the most beautiful stretches of the river around Tours. On this section you can visit many of the best known chateaux, which characterise the region, including Villandry and Chenonceau. We are in the heart of the vineyards here and you will experience the grape harvest at this time of year.
From here we head down the Atlantic Coast towards Bordeaux, another area famed for its wine. Our campsite for the next few nights is set among the vineyards and it is possible to take a tour and tasting in the local St Emilion vineyards. Bordeaux itself is a grand port city set on the a wide stretch of the river Garonne running into the Atlantic.
We have a change of pace over the next few days as we wander up the meandering Dordogne valley. Here you can expect long stretches of winding river, medieval towns, fortified villages, castles and formal gardens. The area is rich in history with Roman remains and pre-historic caves.
Our journey continues into the Auvergne region and specifically into the Chaîne
des Puys mountain range, home to 150+ (dormant) volcanoes, vast forests and hot springs. Perhaps the best known town in this area is Volvic, famed for its natural water supply filtered through the volcanic rock. The water might make a nice change from all the wine.
From here we head into the Burgundy region, the home of good food and even better wine. It also boasts some beautiful towns and smaller cities, characterized by half-timbered houses, narrow cobbled streets, markets and avenues lined with cafes and restaurants.
Our Idyllic France Tour has been designed to steer clear of some of the more touristy and over-populated parts of France and concentrate instead on the more un-spoilt sections. September is a wonderful time to travel while the weather is still pleasant, but all the kids have gone back to school (hooray). You can expect a big dose of rural France following the paths of two of France's most famous rivers, a bit of coast, mountains, volcanoes and swathes of forests, loads of vineyards, great food and great driving.
There are currently spaces available on the September tour. Full details are on the website here.
Change to dates of Swiss & Austrian Alps Tour 2022
We have recently changed the dates of our Alps Tour. Originally, we had planned to take the tour in September, but we have now changed this from 15th June to 2nd July.
This tour takes us down through the Champagne and Burgundy regions of France before crossing into Switzerland and the uniquely beautiful capital city, Bern. The city, known as the gateway to the Alps is a UNESCO-listed sites and has the longest stretch of canopied promenades in Europe. The city is home to a diverse range of attractions including an amazing city clock, medieval buildings, modern art museums, a city bear pit (!) and cable cars transporting you into the local mountains.
From there we travel around the bottom of Lake Constance towards the tiny principality of Liechtenstein and one of Europe's smallest capital cities, Vaduz (population just 35,000). We are en route to the Austrian Alps and specifically to the Tyrol region, home to snow-capped peaks and rolling green foothills (think Sound of Music).
During the tour we have the opportunity to visit the two major towns of the regions, Innsbruck and Salzburg, along with many of the smaller and equally pretty towns along the valley. You can take the van out or enjoy a train journey between the stunning mountains. Join us on a bus trip up Austria's highest peak, The Grossglockner, home to the High Alpine Road with its twisting hairpins and dramatic views.
Our Alps Tour is a great way to see the area - our route keeps you on the wide, valley roads although you are always welcome to venture up the mountains if you fancy it! Our route back is through Germany via a stretch of the Romantic Road and skirting (or driving through) the mighty Black Forest. We spend a couple of nights in Strasbourg on the way back, which is one of the most beautiful cities in France.
We currently have a couple of spaces left on the Alps Tour. Full details are available on the website here.
Coq au Van (the amusingly titled recipe feature)
Marmalade baked sausages
1 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
12 good-quality pork sausages (we used Butcher & Block - Lincoln)
150g marmalade, warmed
110ml apple cider
2 red onions, cut into wedges
3 pears, cut into wedges
1 tbs wholegrain mustard
1 garlic bulb, halved crossways
Pickled cucumbers and dill sprigs, to serve
Preheat oven to 220˚C and grease a large baking tray. Toss oil, sausages, marmalade, cider, onion, pear, mustard, garlic, 1 tsp salt flakes and a pinch of ground black pepper on prepared tray. Spread over tray and roast, basting 3 times with cooking juices, for 20-25 minutes or until sausages are cooked through.
Scatter over pickled cucumber and dill to serve.
This month's tips are in response to a question I was asked on tour this September about seatbelts - specifically for passengers travelling in the rear.
In the front seats, all modern motorhomes will have seatbelts and of course, it is a legal requirement to wear one.
Many motorhomes will also have seatbelts in the back on the front-facing seats. Where these are fitted, you are required by law to use them.
With side-facing seats in the rear, seatbelts will not be fitted as it is not possible to meet the safety requirements given that you would move sideways rather than forward in the event of a sudden stop. Although it not illegal to travel in these seats, it is not recommended.
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.