Airborne at Arnhem

We arrived in Arnhem mid afternoon after 2 easy hours driving on Motorways from Brugge. You don’t even know you are crossing the border. Its amazing.

Harry and ralph at the Arnhem campground

In Europe, it pays to book ahead with the campgrounds but we took pot luck and there was plenty of room. Great campground with all the facilities and reasonably priced I thought at 26 Euros for two per night.

Outside the campground figuring out the buses.

The next day, the weather was miserable and it was drizzly and threatening to rain so we caught a bus into Arnhem Centrum and then another virtually straight away out to Oosterbeek where the Airborne Museum is for the Battle of Arnhem.

An Allied tank outside the Museum

This was one of the battles the Allies lost in the final push towards Germany towards the end of the war.

Its a great tribute to the Allies involved and there is lots of memorabilia there. Its a must do if you’re in the area.

Shopping at Arnhem

One the way back, between buses, we checked out the town and then headed back to the vans at the camp. A really interesting city and one worth checking out.

Getting Lost in Belgium

We had sorted out a spot to stay in Brugge and entered it into both GPS units and we were on a mission with Gary leading the way in Harry.

Where are we. Fiona, Dianne and Gary looking for clues

Brugge is going through a huge road rebuilding and new motorway system and what we hadn’t counted on was that both GPS units were totally confused. It all adds to the fun!

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

The Brugge canal

After going round and round and eventually ending up opn a dirt road on a farm in Holland an hour or two later, we headed back to Brugge and found a campground and its fantastic. All the mod cons and it was 27 euro’s a night for 2. Pretty good really.

Fiona and Dianne at the Market

Our first day in Brugge was fun. We got on a bus outside the campground and headed into the centre of the city. About 20 minutes later, Google maps suggested we’d been through the middle and were heading out the other side 🙂 .. Time to get off and we found another bus to take us to Town where we stopped in to have a cup of coffee. The Markets were on in the Market Square and it was huge. Some amazing food and the cheeses and Nougat cakes were something else too.

Brugge is amazing. The buildings are sensational and they’re all very friendly here too, even the bus drivers. We walked around the town looking at the shops and eventually ended up in a Gourmet Burger Restaurant which was fantastic. I’m not a big Beer drinker but the Stella on tap was great. I even had a second one 🙂

We spent the day looking in shops. Fiona bought some shoes, some trousers, a top and a scarf and I bought some shoes and a shirt.

Visitors enjoying the Canal

After a full day in the city, we headed back to the camp on the bus and chilled.

Fiona in a Chocolate Shop

Brugge is a neat city and although their Motorway system is currently “Non GPS Compliant” it is still pretty easy to get around with a great transport system.

Ralph in his corner
Dianne, Gary and Fiona with Harry opposite

The end of the day came and we caught  a bus back to our campground and had a laugh or two over a glass of wine.

The Chunnel Crossing

After checking out the new Niesmann and Bichoff at Telford, we all piled into Gary and Diannes, Harry the Hymer and headed to Milton Keynes through the traffic to collect Ralph the rental Hymer. We arrived just before 5pm and Peter the proprietor, gave me a run down on Ralph. Where the hoses were, the camp chairs etc and how everything worked.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

Ralph is a real hard case machine. Its a 1992 Hymer with a 5 cylinder 2.9 litre Mercedes with automatic trans. It starts first pop everytime despite its 250000 miles on the clock. Its a fun wagon.

The Hymers in the carpark at Bearsted

We stopped at a Caravan park in Bearsted after battling the M1 traffic for a couple of hours and we arrived 3 minutes late at 8.03pm. The sign said no admittance after 8pm so we spent the night out in the carpark but still had to pay what I thought were extortionate fees of 34GPB (NZ$70!) without power and not much else. What a welcome .. Dianne rang and we were basically told “Rules are Rules !” .. not a nice welcome…no wonder the other Caravan Association calls themselves “the friendly group”.

We were close to the Channel Tunnel for the next morning and that was all that mattered.

We were away at 8:30 to get on the Chunnel Train. We arrived quite early and clocked in through both borders and parked our car in the C lane and went to get a cup of tea and look at the duty free stuff.

Fiona and Dianne with the Hymers waiting to board the train.

Gary and I stumbled on this amazing deal for internet for roaming all over Europe with a prepaid card from 3.  All the Truckies use it apparently but its great.

After an hour of cups of coffee we were asked to line up Harry and Ralph Hymers and get ready for the train. Its was amazing how quiet and how easy it was.. very streamlined. Dianne even got a wink from the French immigration man with his “lovely accent”!

Dianne and Fiona at the Duty free terminal waiting for the boarding signal.

About 10 minutes early, we were asked to move the Hymers onto the train.

Our view of Harry on the crossing

We drove up over a small bridge and then straight down a ramp and the sideways onto the train. You drive through the carriages until you get as far forward as you can then they chock your wheels.

20 minutes later with what was a very easy smooth ride and we were in France. It only took about 10 minutes and we were cruising up the carriageway to Belgium.

The Chunnel station in France with Harry on the ramp

Fantastic service and so easy.

Nibi

Nibi is our good Motorhome friends newest thing of beauty. It is amazing. These are considered to be like the Rolls Royce of Motorhomes in Europe and one look over it, its easy to see why.

Gary and Dianne with the beast behind

We were meeting Dianne and Gary in Telford to check it out before it gets shipped to NZ and we were running late. I texted Gary with an update saying we’d just dropped off the rental car and on our way in a cab to see them. The reply was.. “I’m in RV Heaven” .. I could picture him drooling over it but its neat that both Dianne and Gary are pleased with it as its been a long time coming.

A happy Dianne in the living area while Fiona inspects 🙂

It has a centre island bed with a centre Shower/Toilet bathroom arrangement and the living area in the front. Based on a Fiat Ducato, it is 8.8 metres long and has a custom Alko Chassis from front to back to give it car like handling. Gary also got the Air suspension option so it can self level and be raised to avoid damage on rough campsites.

We’re continuing on around Europe with them until early August and it will be back in NZ before they will so what a great homecoming present..

Gary in the garage

Nice one guys. I want one of these too 🙂

Shakespeare Country

While had the rental car we found that we weren’t really that far from Stratford on Avon so we’d do a trip up there for a look around.

Shops at Moreton on Marsh

On the way we stopped at a neat wee town called Moreton on Marsh and also had a walk around there.

Moreton  on marsh Hotel

We noticed one of the pubs there was doing specials around the Sky showing of the Lions V the All Blacks so we asked if we could watch the Americas Cup as a back up plan and they were very welcoming. We managed to get our Sky Go app and internet issues sorted so it wasn’t necessary but very kind of them.

Stratford on Avon was an amazing town. It was chocker with people having fun everywhere and again some more of those lovely old buildings. These looked even older but more Thatched roofs and from basic building practices.

The Canal was busy with a couple of Narrow boats set up as Ice cream shops doing a great trade. There were canal boats parked on the river and moving in all directions along with tour boats and a larger restaurant barge left while we were there.

We had a good wander up through the shopping streets to look at some of the old buildings.

The Oldest House

There is one house there that is said to the oldest house still lived in. Part of it has been turned into a museum. It is just great seeing all these towns and they’re all different.