Saturday 6th July
Set off from home at 10am hoping for a decent run down to Dover , “Big Mistake” only got as far as M6 Knutsford and as i have live traffic on satnav was informed of 50 minute plus delays around stoke ,decided i would take the old rd of A50/A34 so came off the M6 at Holmes Chapel and re-joined again at Stafford missing all the standing traffic around Stoke ,had a fair run down via M6/M1 with a stop at the services and then when i hit the M25 an update on traffic was informed on another 50 min delay close to Dartford .I opted for the alternative route the satnav offered and ended up going the opposite way round the M25 down to the M2 for Canterbury (was still quicker than sitting in the traffic and had no hold ups.) Arriving at the Canterbury park and ride i was surprised at how quiet it was with plenty of spaces. After the run down didn’t feel like doing any cooking so we went for a very enjoyable meal in the Old Gate Inn on the edge of the Park and Ride. The addition of an extra tap on the services is new to me as last time i was here there was only one tap for fresh and cassette rinsing .Still had people not lifting the grate to empty the cassette even though there is a webbing to help you lift it resulting in some dirty b***ards leaving toilet wipes dangling from the grate. Fran donned her rubber gloves and removed these and put them in the bin and i hosed the grate down in keeping with my OCD .Spent the Sunday in Canterbury (afternoon tea and scones at M&S is recommended) leaving Sunday evening (cost for the over night and daytime parking and free bus was £7 so very good value)and then parked up on the Esplanade in Dover as we had a late ferry over to Calais.
As it was a late /early morning ferry we opted for Cite Europe to park up for the night as its a free safe parking spot with plenty of other vans there and handy for the shops if needed. No services on the aire but the 24 hour service station down the road has a bourne which was free while we were there, also a van wash close by.
Left Cite Europe around lunchtime and headed off to the aire at Avion as it was on the way to a lot of the first world war sites that we intended to visit .It is a free aire with a wooden barrier which helped to keep the cars from parking, there are walks around a couple of lakes which made up for the very quiet town .Services (which we did use) were 3 euros payable only by card .
Left Avion and then went to the WW1 Canadian Memorial site at Vimy Ridge. The monument on the hillside you can see for miles around, Lots of craters still on the site and has a free museum with loads of information and also access to the trenches.
From Vimy the next stop just past Arras (been before so gave it a miss) was Bapaume, a small village not far from most of the sites around Albert. The aire is at the rear of the church with half a dozen places at the side of a very large and unused car park .Parking was free and a borne with services for a couple of euros just round the corner.
Spent the next day touring the sites of the First World War around Pozieres then over to the museum at Thiepval and also Albert. Also on route was the crater at Boisselle and a coffee at the Le Tommy cafe.
From the WW1 sites we went on to St Quinten to spend the night and the next day there. The aire is a town run barriered site pay by card €8 for 24hrs including electric. We parked up and couldn’t get any electric even though we had paid for it , A phone call and 2 very helpful electricians turned up and as they couldn’t solve it moved us onto another pitch which did work. Nice walk down the canal into the centre and a few memorials there. We did witness a family raiding the doggy poo bag dispensers along the canal and they cleaned all of them out of bags!!!!.
From St Quinten we headed to the Charleville Mezieres area, had a look at the aire at Rocrio but didn't like the setting so we moved on to Riven which is by the river with many shops, supermarkets close by and would have been a nice stop but all the spaces were taken by badly parked French long termers and no chance of getting a place so we had to give this a miss and moved on to Montherme. The aire right on the river i have stopped at before and the views are good and although there are no on site services there is a bourne just up the road. Small quiet town but small bar and chippy van close by and views of the barges etc. €4 plus tax for 24hrs so good value.
We are now heading towards Luxembourg and then the Mosel so we opted for an aire we had stopped at before at Stenay. Used to have to go to the tourist info site in town or the captainaria and pay there to get a code ,it is now a pay by card entry and €9.40 but does include electric and toilets and showers. A Lidl on the edge of town 20 mins walk away and a few bars, a brewery and plenty of bakers in the town. Stayed here for 2 nights and travelled the second day to visit the Citadel at Montredy which also had services and it was possible to stay.
Sunday 13th July: - Moved on from Stenay and as it was a Sunday and we were close to the Luxembourg border and we needed to fill up with diesel we opted for the pretty little village of Longwy and then we could call at the Luxembourg border booze shops on Monday .Not a lot going on in Longwy as it was a Sunday but found a couple of walks down to the village which was a bit of a walled village. Free aire has half a dozen dedicated spots for campers but as it’s a quiet car park room for more (there was a French R.V. there that looked like it had been there a while). services was a Flot Blu which you can obtain tokens from the machine which will give you access to services and electric points. We had tokens from last year so did use it for water.
Monday morning we filed up and got some liquor at Rodange before moving into Luxembourg. Went over to Dudelange on the outskirts of Luxembourg , a small village that has been updated quite a lot since we were last here a couple of years ago. The aire has 8 dedicated spaces but can fit more and there are more spaces down near the bowling club a few hundred yards away. All services are free and there are 4 electric points and if you arrive before the French as we did you will get free electric. The village which has a large supermarket is 15 mins walk and well worth a visit, We stopped a couple of days and caught the train into Luxembourg , the station is 2 mins away and with a change at Bettembourg which ties in with the time of the Dudelange train you are in the city in just over half hour and all for €4.(free in 2020).Luxembourg at the moment is a building site everywhere (using our E.U .money).