1990 Shepton Mallet, EnglandOur first trip abroad with caravan!
We planned this holiday very carefully. We contacted all the countries tourist bureaus and asked for infos. Got ourselves a camping book with all of Europes campsites. We also got a "petrol card" that could be used everywhere. One of our bank cards were connected to VISA. Everything to get us on the safe side if anything should happen.
We then sat down and planned the way to go to the rally site, but not the other way around. Maximum 600 kilometres per day should be enough. We were on holiday, so why stress it! We were as prepared as one could expect and the plan didn't hold long enough to cover the first day abroad!
21/7 On the first day we stayed at Luhrpassets camping. The name of it in Swedish is rather funny, that was why we choose to stay here. But we could have done without it.
22/7 The planning said that we should down to Hamburg for the first night abroad, but there was a queue ('stau') on the Fehmarn, which meant that we didn't get any longer than to a Tank u Rast. We had heard that you could stay in such places for one night, preferably with more than one caravan. And here there were a couple of caravans staying for the night. The problem with this, standing on a Tank und Rast, is that they are close to the motorway and that the traffic never sleeps. In other words, there is seldom quiet during the night, but if you have to, it will work anyway.
23/7 Then the planning was ruined. We hadn't gone as far as planned the day before and the day after turned out wrong too. But the main thing is, that we will get to the ferry in time! To travel by the ordinary bundesstrasse in Germany broadens the mind, more than the motorway. That's recommended. In Holland we found the cutest camping we've seen so far, by accident too! There were about 4 caravans, 2 tents and a very small mobile home, and then it was full! But the camping was much bigger than that. It was mostly occupied by large caravan trailers.
24/7 In Belgium we found a campsite that was not cute at all. But the lady warden that greeted us spoke more than happily English for she wanted to learn more. Then it was that connector that didn't fit in the socket. They lend a spare cable to us for free. The campsite was untidy when we arrived, but after a while the garbage truck came and emptied all the dustbins. There was a swimming pool in the area and that sounds nice, doesn't it! But the water and the tiles were all green, and you wouldn't dip the tiniest finger of yours in that water! Another thing we discovered about Belgium is that signs are rare. Signs that tells you where you are on your way to, that is.
25/7 The first campsite we found in England was nice, with a view over the channel to France. It was sloping almost too much, where caravan and mobiles homes should be. The ones with tents could stand on level ground. If they wanted to.
Then at last we arrived at our goal. The FICC rally in Shepton Mallet! Rally in this case doesn't mean to go as fast as you can to get to the goal. It means meeting. And here met over 2000 units from almost all over the world, for 10 days.
FICC means Federation Internationale de Camping et de Caravanning, and in this organization is the number one caravan club of Sweden a member, Caravan Club of Sweden. FICC rallies are held every year on different places in the world. You meet new people, you explore the surroundings without towing along the caravan. FICC is a pretty good way of looking around in Europe, with the starting point from the rally site. Even the way to and from the rally is a destination of an excursion, if you make it like that.
5/8 The next camp site we arrived to in England, were in Felixstowe and is named Peewit Caravan Park. Very nice indeed. There were small bird's houses on high sticks, where colourful birds flew in and out.
Perhaps I should mention that we only used the umbrella one day (during the stay in England), and that was the day when we visited Bath. On 1 of August it was almost a heat record broken for that day.
6/8 8 We almost didn't find our way out of Belgium due to lack of signs. We had to go north (without knowing which way that was) and go in that direction, and eventually we found Holland. And here, there where signs, lots of them! The camp site we found had closed for the day (it was about 11 in the evening) but we were allowed to stay outside on the street and we got a permit to put on the car so we shouldn't get a parking fine.
7/8 The embankment was great to go on. The camping we found in Germany was nice. Pitches of two, surrounded by hedges. And that meant it was a bit tricky to get into place.
The whole holiday: 4936 km