The Campervan That Could
Day 50 and significant milestone #5132. Sitting in our campervan in a random vacant block between a few oldish houses in the north western country region (Picardy) we are just hoping the locals are ok with us making a short visit. If they ask us to leave we will have to head back into Le Crotoy and pay 5 euro for a patch of gravel alongside literally 50 massive winnebago’s, where there is no toilet and one tap, so fingers crossed.
(About 30 minutes after writing this in my notebook, as we were going to sleep, a torch beamed into our window. Sticking my head out, a bloke with two pretty big dogs said something loudly to me in French, surprisingly enough, which I assumed meant “buddy time to go”. When I asked if he spoke English he said something else in French that I didn’t understand. So I went with; “Pouvon nous rester ici” (can we stay here), to which he replied “Oui, bon soir”. He then turned his torch off, called his dogs to follow and walked back to his house. Crisis averted, heart resumed normal beating pattern a short 30 minutes later.)
The city itself is crazy popular for ‘camping-cars’, as the signs say in all the streets with a big red cross through it. Especially considering its not even warm yet. We are 5km out of town to avoid the signs, gravel parks and 15 euro a night caravan parks. The sun is setting a golden orange, which is pretty, but the coast itself has nothing on Oz! Its also a lovely 1’C outside. Still, the fresh prawns, crusty bread and Belgium beer aren’t bad. Bout to fry some salmon and potato slices on the camp stove with a side of coucous for dinner. Bit of camping luxury.
Been an awesome couple of days in the van. Clare has done a freakish job organizing a rough but perfect route for us through the North of the country. We have packed in so much and it has been a different adventure everyday. Castles, waffles and beer tours in Belgium.
The Champagne region, sipping a bottle of the bubbly stuff in a roadside hilltop vineyard we had all to ourselves, with some canard rillette (duck dip that is delicious!) and fresh baguette.
The crazy battle grounds of the Somme, where we walked in the trenches, saw where aussies fought and died. Tiny towns with massive military graveyards on every second corner, 1.2M killed in the area in all. Then today a cute market, a trip through the forest where my sneaky roadside piss stop was interrupted by about 30 horses a couple of hounds and a long line of cars all on a good ol fashioned wild boar chase. All on our way to the west coast and the little towns of St Valery Sur Somme and Le Crotoy.
We have spent the night in some classic spots along the way too. The forest, the middle of a city, beside a pond and of course the vacant block.
I could definitely get used to this lifestyle, but it would actually take some getting used to funnily enough. Always being on the move is pretty tiring. Packing, unpacking, searching for a descent spot to set up camp. Been pretty chilly over night too. Probably about a month away from a descent temperature at night here. Getting us super excited for our month in the one place in Paris and our summer trip in the warmth.