Nine months ago, we bought a retired RAC van with a vision to turn it into a fully-fledged campervan – fondly known as Enid. Our recent holiday to Lake Como in Italy was our deadline for completing her conversion. Well that’s a big fat box we can now tick! We have just arrived back home from an epic holiday and Enid did us so proud. She drove me, Ed and Luna a whopping 1,664 miles.
To get to and from Italy, she took us through England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland (and a little bit of Germany for good measure). You can read all about our three-day journey to Lake Como here but our three-day journey home was somewhat different.
For starters, we knew we’d be stopping off overnight in Switzerland and France (twice), but we had made zero bookings. As someone who likes a plan and, more importantly, 24/7 toilets, this was a bit of a risk…or at least a bit scary as nobody wants to be woken up in their smalls and told to move on.
The first day saw Enid take us through hours of breathtaking scenery in the Swiss Alps (albeit in fog again, dammit!) before arriving at a small campsite in a village called Lauterbrunnen. Thankfully, there was a spot for us to park up, although it was by the skin of our teeth as the site was about to close, plus we had to rush back to the main village to get hard cash out so we could pay.
We didn’t have much time here, but it didn’t matter – we were surrounded by imposing mountains, there was very little light pollution and we had just enough time for a serious game of Carcassonne.
The next day, we strolled around the village in what is a decent base for mountain bikers, walkers and base jumpers. We then headed off to Beaune which is the wine capital of Burgundy. It would be rude not to sample the local wines so, while we had plans to wild camp near a lake, it wasn’t meant to be. We needed to park Enid somewhere that would be within stumbling distance from the centre.
We found a car park packed full of caravans (Enid therefore in a sea of white) – not the most exotic of destinations of our whole holiday but it served a purpose. Naturally, it meant we spent less time with Enid and more time drinking and eating in a lovely wine bar called Le Bistrot Bourguignon.
Keen to raise our standards of overnight camping, we found a vineyard-come-campsite in the champagne region of France. The journey to this site was amazing – rolling fields and quiet roads. It provided a much-needed change from the dull motorways we had previously endured. But trouble was ahead. This campsite – adorned with chilled out campers sipping on champagne (we’re not jealous, honest) – was full. Shit. And we were hungry and tired. Double shit. After much deliberating (and more swearing), we decided to drive further afield to another site.
We pulled up at another vineyard, called Champagne Jacques Copin, which really was our only hope otherwise we would have to drive a further 45 minutes on growling stomachs. I watched Ed talk to the owner and I prayed. I prayed there would be space for us, and I prayed there would be cold bubbles at the ready. My prayers were answered and then some. Hallelujah!
Not only could we park for the night, there were toilet and shower facilities. Winning! This came at a small price of 10 euros, or free if we bought some champagne. Obviously, we did the latter as we were in the champagne capital after all. We bought two bottles and it wasn’t long before we were soaking up in the sun with a glass (or three) of bubbly. It was the perfect final night of our holiday.
The last day of travelling saw us spend a few hours driving across France (and spend yet more euros for those darn French tolls) before eventually arriving at the channel tunnel in Calais. After a couple of hours waiting for our train’s departure, which gave us time to walk our panting/anxious/high maintenance (delete as appropriate) dog, we drove another few hours from Folkestone to home.
And now that’s it. Our first big road trip is over (SOB!!)… but it will be by no means our last. The great thing about travelling in Enid is that she enables us to travel through and stay in places we never would have chosen. Who knows where she will take us next, and we can’t bloody wait 😊