2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

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olive
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby olive » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:22 am

Excellent account. Some good pointers in your accounts for when we next do the run.

Haven't been to any of the beaches but have pulled in various battle sites and the immaculate war cemeteries. Very humbling. Also the site where Mrs o's uncle was holed up for three days. He led a charmed life in a tank regiment.

No punctures a bonus. :shh:

The traffic back in the UK and the price of drinks and a bag of crisps......

Look forward to your next trip account.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby 1bassleft » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:46 am

Brought back a few (not always pleasant) memories, DA. Les bouchons around Bordeaux forced us to 'phone ahead our next stop near Angouleme (family run hotel) to ensure that someone would be there to let us in and feed us. Bordeaux hasn't changed, then. I'm hoping that our Bayonne-Tours leg passes it at a quietish time of the day. Also, we once stayed at the Ibis right by the Chunnel. I popped out for a 2am cig back then, the sole receptionist shrieked and ran off. A near dozen would-be migrants heading my way while the door was open explained why. I sort of guppy-fished myself to keep them away in a Mexican standoff. Went for Cambrai the next time but it swings us too far east and onto the Peripherique at rush hour so it's out for this trip. Settling for Boulogne (boringly familiar to me but need triple rooms) this time and hoping it's not dramatic.

Although the unattended station diesel here is creeping up to €1.24 now, I'm selling all my shares in Google and Apple to finance the French leg of (tank and stomach) fill ups. I promise to wave at your M6 turnoff as I pass.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:54 am

Thanks Guys.

Olive, keep us posted when you do your next run and we can compare notes. It must have been a hell of an experience for your OH to visit the place her uncle was actually in action, incredible.
The traffic for the UK leg we experienced could have been avoided with better timing. We sailed through on the outbound journey leaving home at 10am and getting to Portsmouth with hours to spare for the St Malo evening crossing.

However sadly the return from Caen, which is the best timed ferry back to get us home in time for tea does coincide with rush hour by the time we hit the Midlands and causes headaches. I may have to rethink that journey next time.

Hmmm, what about the Chunnel? Never done that yet. All the best!!

1bassleft, thanks for that. When exactly are you setting off for Lancashire, early November?

I'd not worry too much about the Bordeaux traffic, it was easy on the way passing through at around 2pm on a week day, not a problem.
We hit it going home on the Saturday at about 12 noon and think it was weight of traffic for Saturday shoppers, and possibly a football match. No standing traffic but just a crawl with what seemed like a lot more awful driving manners than mid week commuters.

I suppose I could have saved a few bob by shopping around for fuel too but limited myself to using Shell VPower from big stations on the main roads, usually paying 1.45 per litre. It softened the blow though with the car returning over 55mpg over the whole trip.

Also, these service stations served a secondary purpose as they always seem to be clean, well stocked and inviting in France and ideal for a half hour break and bite.

Right, on your way home, drive about 1 mile or so past Junct. 26 then look left across the fields. Where the rise/hill is behind the fields about a mile away you'll see 3 huge conifers which are at the rear of our garden........I'll wave back.

Have a safe and pleasant drive back and again keep us posted on the journey.
Cheers
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby 1bassleft » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:56 pm

Yes, we'll take the most part of the 2nd week of November. We tend to be kicked out, rather than leave, a hotel which is why Ibis' noon chuckouts suit us. Should pass Bordeaux around 2pm or earlier on a weekday so hopefully not too bad by your account. I think we passed it on our way back many years ago, with our next stop between Angouleme and Perigueux, around 5-6pm and every turnoff seemed to involve crossing three lanes of snarlup. Indicator bulbs would've frozen over in hell before anyone allowed us across at any of them.

I think you did very ok with your V-Power price. I would leave a hotel (usually on the 'skirts) and find the nearest LeClerc or Carrefour and not find a much better price than €1.44. The actual main strip station prices could be ridiculous but, as you say, most aires make a decent stop for edible grub and clean facilities without much of a diversion - very unlike UK service stations (on the grub front at least). J26, 1 mile, 3 conifers - got it. My waving arm is on that side of the car, too.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby 1bassleft » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:11 pm

Gosh, I'm now in Tours. First night was (well outside, being Ibis Budget) Alacala de Henares. Of course, the big problem with driving in November rather than June or August is that we're arriving everywhere in the dark. We had a half-hour drive around the next day but Serena the satnav got all confused so we moved on towards Bayonne. Not paying for toll roads tends to make a TomTom choose the most bizarre back roads; twisty, challenging reasonable fun in daylight around Estella but verging on the hairy in the dark mountains past places with more 'k's and 'x's in their names than I cared to count. We entered France passing an unattended Douane that Roger-Moore era Simon Templar might have recognized.

Bayonne looked nice but again we had to move on. Horrible, hateful Bordeaux held us up for over an hour in barely moving bouchon. There had been an accident and someone had turned the central reservation into scrap iron but even so, I am just sick of getting through or around the place. Thinking about it, I should have settled for Poitiers rather than Tours for the next stop as that hold up turns a long stretch into a real slog.

Tomorrow is not Boulogne. We've switched to Bethune. My great-great Uncle Thomas was killed in action in 1915 and his memorial is in Bethune; being there on 11/11/2018 is too opportune to pass up. We'll take a late enough Chunnel run to allow enough time to spend at the cemetery.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby olive » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:32 pm

Know what you mean about Bordeaux.

Have you booked your chunnel crossing on the move on your journey or did you have an open ticket?

Hope the weather stays fine for your Bethune visit on Sunday :thumbup:

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby 1bassleft » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:57 am

We booked our Chunnel just last night while in Tours. Hotels were booked a few weeks ago as flexibility only added about a fiver per night (indeed, we used it to cancel Boulogne and take Bethune instead). Eurotunnel, however, charge around £100 all the time without dropping (at all) or raising (much) as the date gets closer. So, I wanted to hold off until we were nearly there just in case a breakdown skewed everything. The flexible booking at £219 made it about as economical to throw away any previous ticket and start again if the worst happened.

Of course, I hadn't taken into account their ability to make a few quid if the opportunity arises. By last night, it was starting to sell out (we took 5:06pm, a fair bit later than desired) and they've realized that people might cross the Channel to visit war graves for 11/11/2018 and have pushed it up to £169 across the board - including into Monday. I would have saved £60+ if I'd booked in Bayonne the previous night but, knowing my luck, the wheels would have fallen off somewhere.

Thanks for your wishes, Olive. I keep forgetting I'm dressed for Malaga. Normally, my wife gets the looks but my shorts and T-shirt combination attracted some glances in 10C Rouen (which is a lovely city with great crepes, but the roadworks and parking was a real struggle). Ibis Styles in Bethune is vastly better than the Ibis Budgets we used on our way up - worth the extra cost.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:16 am

Nice report and a shame Bordeaux was up to its old tricks again, the dreaded Madrid is now a doddle for me compared to that.

What an experience it will be for you today, and well done for arranging it. Hope the weather stays dry over there and the Mrs digs something warm to wear out of the case for you both.........my Mrs wouldn't lol, once the main case is packed it stays shut until we arrive home and I wear what's in my carrier bag no matter what :mrgreen:

I never realised how expensive the Chunnel was, not a world of difference in price to the Caen and St Malo ferries.

Safe journey tomorrow and speak soon.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Enrique » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:15 am

Hi,

"I never realised how expensive the Chunnel was," me neither.........just booked Portsmouth - Santander for two weeks time = £228 outside cabin and two "free" breakfast value to £17 on the Cap Finistère not the even cheaper économie
Last edited by Enrique on Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:22 am

Enrique wrote:Hi,

"I never realised how expensive the Chunnel was," me neither.........just booked Portsmouth - Santander for two weeks time = £228 outside cabin and two "free" breakfast value to £17


And on top of that you'll save the fuel money for the drive across France and the overnight stop/s.

Good price you got there Enrique, miles better than flying too. Never done the Santander jaunt yet, may try it next year and go via Asturias ,Galicia and Portugal to our place.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby 1bassleft » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:15 am

Back in the NW of England around 11pm. I tried to see the conifers after J26, DA, but it was heckuva dark so I just grinned in the general direction. In any case, I couldn't wave my arm out as the electric window has gone skewy again - every time I use a French toll booth it misbehaves. I had managed to avoid all toll roads except for a little section where Serena Satnav got confused and cost me €8. Apart from the window, the 2002 Combo Tour has done a sterling job of around 4,000 miles bringing me down and back, plus a fair number of runs to the beach, all for £840 plus new boots all round and general fettling. The Isuzu designed 1.7 diesel isn't the fastest or most refined but it's unburstable. I'll be wintering it up and doing it again for a May to October run next year (that's < 6 months before some members sharpen their Stingers and thumbscrews in preparation).

Although cold, Bethune stayed blue-skyed for us and we had it much better than Macron, Trump et al who were getting a soaking in Paris on our hotel TV before we headed out. I don't know why (nor if it was necessary at Le Touret) but I wanted to avoid any 11am event and arrived just after noon; there were three other cars, all UK reg'd. Despite the thousands of names, we found Thomas quite quickly and it is something of a shock to see your surname on the wall in such surroundings. Very glad we went, not exactly planned but once we realized the possibility to be there on the centenary it would have been a dereliction not to.

A side note: we arrived at Sous La Manche two hours before our departure and were easily able to drive into a train 45mins earlier than alloted. I notice they are still holding onto the £169 price for now, rather than the usual £100ish - I do hope it's not a conscious decision to cash in, but I saw precious little evidence of demand simply exceeding supply.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:59 pm

Welcome home, hope the house and everything was fine when you got back.

Sounds like you had a great extended stay in Spain and a decent trip as well.

As for the conifers, I think we'll be getting rid of them soon anyway to improve the views lol.....catch you soon.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby olive » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:10 pm

:idea:
Devils Advocate wrote:
Enrique wrote:Hi,

"I never realised how expensive the Chunnel was," me neither.........just booked Portsmouth - Santander for two weeks time = £228 outside cabin and two "free" breakfast value to £17


And on top of that you'll save the fuel money for the drive across France and the overnight stop/s.

Good price you got there Enrique, miles better than flying too. Never done the Santander jaunt yet, may try it next year and go via Asturias ,Galicia and Portugal to our place.


That is a good alternative. You might have to be a good sailor for the Bay of Biscay!

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:22 pm

You might have to be a good sailor for the Bay of Biscay!

And that Olive is my one reservation about doing it !!
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby 1bassleft » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:10 pm

I didn't want to be Mr Miserable, but the Bay in winter can be pretty rough. My mum decided to treat much of the family to a New Year's Eve "cruise" (ferry crossing, I kept annoyingly calling it) from Portsmouth to Santander and back on the Pride of Bilbao. As I half-expected, the ship was lifting and dipping by several metres at a time. The waiting staff didn't even bother picking up the crockery crashing onto the floor every few minutes and the captain gave up and headed for Cherbourg. Fun NYE anyway, but would have been an unsuccessful crossing. Hopefully, November's not so chundery.

DA, we came back to a house as our 20y.o. had left it. My previous posting was so late because I had fried rice to remove from the sink drain and the weirdo seems to shave in the bath. Son went straight to bed (I had a quick look at that room and hurriedly shut the door) and Mrs 1BL kept saying "I don't know where to start" so she didn't. A good scrub and all sorted, though.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:50 pm

Welcome home :mrgreen:
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby olive » Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:34 pm

Family troubles - old age funeral. So we are off to the UK.

Thought I would append to this thread. I was a bit dubious about travelling north on New Years day. It has proved to be a mixed blessing. Madrid was the ultimate doddle. Later in the evening “ empty roads” was a feature on the TV news. However not so good was a lot of places were shut on route so even getting a coffee was hard work.

We are in Lerma. Hotel DC. I couldn't remember the recommended spot. So booked this online as we barelled along. How did we manage without the internet?! 8.3 tripadvisor or similar rating. Two star so no coffee facilities in room but is ensuite. Dog friendly. They have other places in town. Breakfast is in one over the road. Had a damn good walk around the town. Very nice specially with xmas lights. What a gem of a place. Only a few restaurants open so ate in one of Hotel DC s places. 20 euros three courses. Very nice. No tapas with pre dinner drinks was kind of a shock!

We stopped at a small picturesque village beginning with B on the A1 halfway between Madrid and Burgos . Very nice - like a small Lerma. Can’t rememember the name. Everywhere was shut including the hotel.

The other place to recommend was an antiques emporium with cafe and restaurant. Bristling with cctv everywhere , even the ladies loo apparently. Some nice pieces among the thousands of items. Made a change from the usual services stop. La Tijana from memory. About 200km south of Madrid.

North of Bordeaux is the target for tomorrow. Bit concerned at “ everywhere closed by 8.30. Is that the case ? Restaurant here served 8.30 to 10.30. Would like to stop in Vitoria G to see how the babazorros live. Might also pull in san Sebastian.

Puncture count. Nil so far but did have one 3 months ago. Statistically 93,000 miles till next one. :thumbup:

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby 1bassleft » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:29 am

Sorry to hear, Olive. We also have to return to UK for similar reasons but are flying. I'm a bit late to advise, but getting north of Bordeaux will hopefully put that dreaded bouchon behind you without making you very late for your next hotel room. I'm hoping the holiday season empty roads holds out for that part of your journey. Yes, a meal after 9 in a lot of France is surprisingly difficult. We stayed in Bordeaux, a large city after all, took the tram into the centre after 9 and walked fruitlessly around before settling for noodles at a takeaway with a few stools. Many parts of France have ended up being McDo or Buffalo dammit Grill after 9pm. In some respects, the out of town just off the autoroute chain hotels at least make nearby calories an easy find.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:25 pm

Likewise Olive, sorry to hear the trip back is not for the nicest of reasons.

However I enjoyed your write up and wish you a safe forward journey. Keep us posted for the return leg too!!

PS Super news about the puncture count.....but now you've mentioned it let's hope it's not jinxed it lol
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby olive » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:35 pm

95 so another relative with a good innings. It is life apparently but that doesnt help atthe moment. We all have this to go through. Hope your flight went smoothly and the family grieving.

I have to say nice that the dc was the beds were uncomfortable. Cant recommend the place. Wasn't looking forward to today as we were both shattered before setting off.

Had a different walk around Lerma., left a brand new pair of gloves at the Correos. Saw about ten Bonellis eagles too. Really like the place but will try the recomended place next time!

On to France but two stops on the way. First was to see the barrazorros ( bean sacks as the locals apparently are colloquilly known) at Vitoria Gasteiz. Been past the place many times . Got on the old N road by accident. No traffic but slow from Burgos. Got parked under one of thetwo cathedrals (the one with the interesting free display of religious artifacts. Had a walk around the old quarter. Bitterly cold. Interesting hearing people speak . We had a coffee and pintxos. That was very nice. Such a choice . I was impressed with the tram frequency and a street escalator that was very well used to save climbing lots of steps. Lots going on likedisplays, ice skating in the square and so on. However getting in and out was a real time bandit. The suburbs and traffic lights seemed endless. Won’t plan on going back.

I had the bright idea of a coffee and more pintxos on the sea front at San Sebastion. Watched the surfer set riding the waves. Some very interesting vehicles they use to live in and get around. That was nice but we took a wrong turn leaving and ended up heading for Burgos even with two sat navs. I shan't be going again. Maybe Biarritz would have been a better idea. Anyone broken their journey there?

Wasn't looking forward to the Irun toBordeaux part . There was a five mile queue of lorries at the border toll booths and a slow moving shorter queue of cars.some stern looking cross armed , armed gendarmes in the road after the toll booths. Quite what they would have done if they had seen any miscreants is anyones guess. What a joy to be able to legit do 130 on a motorway once in France but that was short lived down to 110 back up, back down, slow down for a short section of roadworks, bad noisy surface for a good thirty km. i never have liked that section. Not helped by it always seeming to be the end of a tiring day. Oh and the endless toll booths. At one both two euro coins we were given in change at the previous toll were rejected by the machine. How does that work!

We filled up before leaving France. VPower tractor fuel 1.20 a litre. Couldnt believe the 1.50 French basic diesel price. No wonder they have yellow jacket protests. Will look for a supermarket when we fill up next. Last time we had 100 euros skimmed from our card and no fuel at Carrefour out of hours at Rouen. La Caixa refunded it no questions asked amazingly.

Booked on the move Hotel Gardenia on the Bordeaux ring road. Modern place, pet friendly. Secure parking. No restaurant but over the way is a climbing centre with a restaurant open Monday to Thursday. Nothing else nearby on foot.we were lucky it wasnt a weekend. Had a nice steak but even though I asked for medium , a skilled vet would have got it back to life. I cannot believe how much French I have forgotten but then thesame applies to English. I couldnt remember the word artichole the other day. The meal was a first. Have never eaten while watching people climbing and falling off artificial rock faces.

Somewhere northern France tomorrow, handy for Eurotunnel on Saturday. Well that is the plan.

Puncture count . Hmm I am tempting fate.......


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