Alan's Blog




Holiday Tour in France and Switzerland

Part III - Back in France

Follow our tour by copying the addresses of where we are staying into Google Maps - and view the sites we stay on by viewing their websites.

Day Thirty Seven – Monday 26 August 2019

Camping de Mandres aux Quatre Tours, Chemin de l'Oree de la Peine 54470, France

Distance: About 75 miles.

We decided to stay another night in this peacful location so off we went on another tour. This time we visited the Esparges region, viewing some of the French memorials and a war graves cemetery. However, the most significant part of our visit was to see the countless shell holes and massive craters where mines were exploded in WWI during the Battle of Verdun. How anyone at all lived through these massive mining and artillery explosions would appear to have been impossible. The shell holes and massive craters were often overlapping. Seeing the shallow trenches where men lived and fought during the year this battle took place, in all weather conditions, makes one wonder how men could survive. More than one million didn't. What barbarism mankind can stoop to is beyone belief.


Day Thirty Eight – Tuesday 27 August 2019

Travelling from Camping de Mandres aux Quatre Tours, Chemin de l'Oree de la Peine 54470, France to Camping Albert, Rue Henry Dunant,  80300 ALBERT,  Hauts-de-France, 

Distance: About 222 miles.

Another long hot drive for us all, however we made it in good time using some of the motorways / toll roads to save time - roads that we rarely use. When I was a boy the roads in France were considered to be something of a joke - nothing has changed! Ask anyone who has travelled along parts of the N4 and N44 - dreadful! I'm surprised all my teeth didn't fall out. What with roads like this and the dreadful, disgusting public toilets (including those on many camp sites) it seems that France is still a second rate / second world country - especially when compared to countries like Switzerland.

Day Thirty Nine – Wednesday 28 August 2019

Camping Albert, Rue Henry Dunant,  80300 Albert,  Hauts-de-France, France.

At 1000 hrs. Kanga had her appointment at the veterinary surgeon for her tapeworm medication. I had to shove the broken-up tablets into her mouth to get them into her but got this done without losing any fingers following which her passport was stamped so we could get her back into the UK.

Today we visited the Thiepval Memorial where more than 62 000 British and South African soldiers are remembered – even though their bodies were never found.

We also visited the Rookery British Cemetery at Héninel, where a member of my family is buried after being killed during World War I at the age of 33. Harry Simmonds was the husband of Lily, one of my paternal grandmother's sisters who, sometime after being widowed, lived with my grandmother and her husband for the rest of her life.

Another visit was to Arras Cathedral – see photographs:

Day Forty – Thursday 29 August 2019

Camping Albert, Rue Henry Dunant,  80300 Albert,  Hauts-de-France, France.

Visiting Amiens and Albert:


Day Forty One – Friday 30 August 2019

Travelling from Camping Albert, Rue Henry Dunant,  80300 Albert,  Hauts-de-France, France to our home in Lancashire.

Distance: About 435 miles plus a cross channel ferry trip from Calais to Dover.

We set off at 0845 hrs. and managed to get on board the 1135 hrs. crossing – home by 2300 hrs after 15 hours travelling (one hour time difference).

We travelled more than 4000 miles in 41 days. A wonderful experience which I wish we could have continued.

Here is a very rough map of the route along which we travelled from one caravan site to the next - not including our day tours:

This is NOT an exact map of our journey - only a rough representation. For instance, during our journey home from Switzerland we actually travelled much nearer to Zurich than the map indicates.

How sad it is to be home. Home to the misery of wet, cold England. Home to where no one speaks to you because they too are staying at home out of the rain and cold. How awful it is to be home with the weather getting worse and the next eight months of darkness and winter ahead. What an awful prospect lies ahead. Sheer misery.

Being back in the UK is so depressing that it almost deprives one of the will to live. I understand that Beachy Head is a good place from which to jump!


Tale End:

One of the most amazing sights we saw during our recent travels in France and Switzerland was the huge number of motorhomes and camper vans that are in use. And France, in particular, is geared up for their use in providing facilities for emptying their sanitary and waste products and in providing fresh water. In addition, there are uncountable places where they can be parked for an overnight stay free of charge or for a nominal fee. In the UK the opposite is true, where expensive sites are the norm and the authorities do everything possible to stop people staying overnight in places other than on recognised sites.

One of the reasons for the popularity of motorhomes and camper vans is that site fees are now so high that they are in danger of pricing themselves out of the market altogether. We paid as much as £59/night on one site whilst we were away. This is a ludicrous figure for an overnight patch of grass and basic facilities. Is it any wonder that people would rather park for free? Of course, with a 25 feet long (7.6 metres) caravan, our choice of a place to stay is rather more limited than it would be with a motorhome or camper van – another reason why these vehicles are so popular – see:

Of course, these vehicles are very expensive, but that doesn't seem to prevent people buying them. The alternative is to buy a cheap van and convert it yourself – or just throw the essentials in the back and go – see: which is what I used to do as a young man.

Whatever you decide to do – just go – and enjoy your travelling.


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