Well, what a winter this is turning out to be in the UK. We have had storms with 80mph winds and experts forecast that this weather will last for two weeks more. Huge areas of Britain are flooded and the Prime Minister David Cameron described the storm damage as “biblical”. The Met Office said: “This has been the wettest January for 248 years”. Clearly it is time to start thinking about being somewhere with some better weather. Although it is probably hard to think about hiring a motorhome at the moment, maybe you should. As the weather seems to be a bit ‘set in’ here maybe you should think about hiring one here in the UK, and then taking the motorhome abroad to somewhere a bit warmer where it doesn’t rain so much.
I hadn’t thought about going abroad too much until a friend of mine invited me to a ‘get together’ in L’Estartit, Costa Brava, Spain. The date is the first week in May which fits in perfectly with the second week of our children’s Easter School Holidays. All of sudden the thought of sitting on the patio of a bar in Spain on a warm evening, became very appealing. The miserable weather outside now seems irrelevant. My preferred method of going anywhere is to hire a motorhome and drive there, so this is the plan.
The drive from the UK to L’Estartit should be fairly straightforward, but we are not going to rush – in a motorhome you don’t need to. I am intending on picking up a Chausson Flash 03, 6 berth motorhome from the new Unbeatable Hire Depot near Brentwood, Essex. Unbeatable now have 11 depots where you can hire a motorhome and of course, safely leave your car for the duration of your holiday. You can now hire a motorhome in Edinburgh, Barnsley, Glasgow, Gatwick, Bristol, Heathrow, Cambridge, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester and the new depot at Brentwood, Essex.
My favourite ferry company, by far, is DFDS and my preferred sailing is from Dover to Dunkirk. From Dunkirk we will join the A26 autoroute at junction 3, there’s a little road called the D300 which goes towards St Omer. I love the D300 because it has some really un-french names of villages along it, I guess this is the Belgian/Flemish influence in this area. From Loon Plage, you go to Craywick, Watten and Tatinghem – what great names they are. I find this road great for getting a bit of practice at driving on the right, rather than just getting straight onto the autoroute. After this we will probably just take the autoroute pretty much all the way. I prefer the route that goes past Reims, Troyes and Lyon as the route via Paris always seems slower due to roadworks.
The lovely thing about doing a trip like this is that you can always stop at the Aires de Service on the autoroutes of France. These are all free and although you won’t have the most idyllic setting you can still get a good nights sleep, fill up with water and diesel and cook a meal. There really is no point in driving until you are completely tired, just take it easy and enjoy it.
In Spain we plan to stop at the L’Emporda camp site in L’Estartit (see www.campingemporda.com). This is a great campsite with a full size swimming pool, a lively bar restaurant and everything you would expect from a campsite. There’s a lot for your children to do to, with a play area, kids club and entertainment. As you can see we will be going in the low season and there is a special offer for 2 adults, a plot and electricity: 7 nights for 119€ – bargain!
So if you can get away at Easter, why not do something similar with a rental motorhome? It will give you something to look forward to while we trudge our way through this miserable winter. I’ve been down to the Costa Brava many times in April and May and although you can get the odd day that is a bit rainy, it’s generally perfect. If you do decide to go to L’Estartit do pop into The Fighting Cocks and say hi to Dave the landlord there. It’s a lovely little pub with a great atmosphere. Another great spot is Toni’s Bar which is run by my lovely friends Chrissy and Stu – value for money meals at Toni’s Bar for sure.
So if you were to hire a motorhome, where would you go?