How to replace your fly chord on your Remis Blind. Ours went on one of the rear blinds in our Pilote P740 so we had to attempt to replace it. With trepidation I took it off the wall and took it apart. You’ll need gimp, yes GIMP ( that’s what it’s called) or alternatively 1mm waxed ( non-elasticated) black chord which you can buy from amazon https://amzn.to/2YKsYap before you start and it’s a bit fiddly but it’s definitely achievable. Here’s our video from our Youtube channel The Motoroamers
From time to time we found that the habitation door won’t lock when you press the central locking key. We found out what the problem was and a quick and easy solution to fix it.
Poland’s depth and character unfold the longer you stay; each week grabbing hold of your heart just a little bit more. In Part 1 of our Road-Trip, there is no doubting that we uncovered some seriously unique and beautiful sights and we felt instantly connected. Although as the weeks have gone by, little bit by little bit, Poland has secured its place both in our hearts and on our Top 5 List of Most Memorable Places. I know it’s really easy to say, given the ‘recency factor’, although I just have the feeling that Poland will remain under our skin for a long while to come. Let’s see if we can transfer some of this magic through our words, pictures and videos. Don’t forget that our full documentary of our Poland trip is now available for FREE download – check it out here.
Here is our interactive map of our entire route through Poland.
Warsaw – city of scars and rebirth
After the disappointment of Łodz we were really hoping Warsaw would match our eager expectations. I do recognise that after so many cities in the last two and a half years, that there is some danger of being blasé, although we genuinely seek the unique characters of each place we visit and Warsaw was no different. Sometimes we do get travel fatigue and we have learnt now to stop, ground ourselves for a day or two before then exploring some more. And this was our calling as we approached Warsaw and we found the perfect place about 8 miles to the west of the city at Camping Kaputy.
Duly rested, I awoke with the same eager anticipation I feel after being stationary for awhile. A new city, new secrets to discover and new tales to share. With my camera fully charged we headed into The Smoke and found a fabulous secure parking area right underneath the Old Town, which for 6PLN per hour or 124PLN for 24hrs, was just perfect and so easy to access. (52.25011, 21.01568) Within five minutes we were in the hub of the Market Square, which like Wrocław has so much atmosphere and charm. With café bars hugging the outer edges and rainbow coloured facias looking down on the scene like parental giants, the Rynek was delightful and no crowds! My perfect scenario.
Armed with leaflets from the Tourist Info centre, we made a bee-line for all the iconic highlights on our Map, letting them guide us like Pied Piper mice. The Stare Miastro (Old Town in Polish) was the main course to our starter at the Rynek, and boy were we in for a feast – for the eyes and the soul. A Royal Castle that at 11.15am each day plays out a bugle call to the waiting crowds, Chopin playing benches, a panorama tower and monuments everywhere. It was one of those experiences where we felt like we needed to turn in circles to take it all in.
And if this was the main course, what about dessert? Well it would not disappoint as we headed down a road that looked akin to the Champs Élysées offering yet more magnificent architecture, palaces and grand hotels. We passed through the park with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and eventually to the very efficient Metro service that would take us straight to the Uprising Museum. It was here that our real education of Warsaw’s dark history during WW2 unfolded. We got a real sense of the tragedy and evil that smothered the city. Like Wrocław, the same destruction razed the city to the ground and their subsequent reconstruction is secondly only to the rebuilding of their spirits. The horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto and the memorials to those who perished stationed around this now thriving city just asserts how human endeavour can never been destroyed.
Warsaw is definitely worthy of a day trip, and longer if you can, as there is so much to take in – slowly. Enjoy it. We did. Check out our video below.
Poland’s history is one that sets your blood boiling at the sheer brutality of humankind against its fellow neighbours. Our school education really doesn’t prepare you for what Poland will teach you. They are tough lessons, although necessary ones, if we as a generation are going to protect the sanctity of all that is good in the world and ensure that human compassion is never again lost to power and corruption. Our visit to Treblinka was not the first memorial experience. Over the last couple of years we have been slowly educating ourselves to the horror of our forefathers and paying our respects at the memorials across Europe.
Treblinka was the most powerful experience, second only to Birkenau. We had the place to ourselves as we had stopped overnight in the car park and the silence was palpable. Although there are only camp remains here, the memorial stones are thought-provoking and the long walk along the Black Path was evocative. There is no bird song and nature has just decreed that no life shall blossom here except for hardy breeds. I shall always hold Treblinka in my heart and pay respects to those millions who were brought here to work and die. Read more about this moving experience on our blog.
Like many of its Polish family, Lublin has an Old Town that has charm, tales to regale you and horror stories. Its castle in its past life became a prison during the WW2 for over 40,000 prisoners, most of whom were murdered. This theme continued post-war when the Soviets took over the royal walls, holding over 30,000 prisoners captive, many of whom were from the Freedom and Independence Association. The castle was a scene of death by torture, appalling conditions or execution. There is a lot of work being done in the town, so it didn’t appeal hugely, although inside the walls, it was delightful, colourful and definitely worth a short visit. There was a great parking area just underneath the Old Town walls and only 3PLN for an unlimited time. So you can park overnight here too – although probably a bit noisy. (51.24815, 22.57312).
Kazimierz is a super little town on the River Wisła in Poland’s central region, just west of Lublin. A timeless collection of traditional Polish homes, interspersed with the inevitable tourist tat sheds that try to capture some income and who can blame them? There are castle ruins here, beautiful churches, a Tree Root Gorge, a Wailing Wall memorial to the Jewish population and three crosses honouring the victims of the plague outbreak in 18th Century. There is plenty to do here that’s for sure.
The Cemetery was created in 1851 on land donated by the town. Although when WW2 hit the country the Nazi’s tore down the headstones and used them for paving leading up to the Gestapo buildings. Then in the 1980’s it was decided to use the salvaged stones to commemorate the dead by building a Wailing Wall. The split symbolises the division of Male and Female graves. Some tombs that were in tact have been resurrected behind and in front of the wall. It is a very serene place to visit and to see Jewish ancestry being honoured in this way.
The Tree Root Gorge is a delightful 15 minute walk through a cutting in the forest, where nature (and perhaps a little bit of human intervention, says the cynic in me) has carved a shallow gorge revealing tree roots that are precariously hanging onto the earth. There’s parking along the road to the Gorge, which cost between 5-25PLN depending on the size of your vehicle. It’s certainly a unique site, if not a little small.
Sandomierz is one of Poland’s most important and oldest cities. Whilst there is some evidence of dwellers here back in 5000BC, the main settlement is thought to date back to the Middle Ages. And tucked away in the middle of nowhere it is hard to understand its significance. Yet it stands proud on an escarpment with views across the entire valley. Together with Wrocław and Kraków, Sandomierz Castle was given royal status and being at the geographical points of three regions and on important trade routes, Sandomierz’s history was sealed. Although it’s been a tough old battle for them and not for the reasons that you might presume. This time it is not just WW2 we can caste a judgemental eye towards. This city came under the siege of the Lithuanians in 14th century, the Swedes had a go in 16th Century, a plague devastated the population in 1800 and World War 1 became their nemesis. So how is this town is still standing after all this? Goodness only knows, although the buildings still hold their dominance and with one of the best preserved town gates in Poland, Sandomierz deserves a visit.
We stayed at Camping Browarny, (50.68009, 21.7548) which is perfectly placed at the foot of the town’s escarpment and only five minutes from the town walls. And all for the price of £16 per night for a motorhome, two peeps and electricity – what a bargain.
In 19th Century, traditional Polish cottages had cooking stoves that would puff out smoke, flooding the house with soot. So the ladies of the house would mask their rooms with ornamental paintings using lime whitewash, black soot and beige clay. This practice then evolved in the 20th Century into something more colourful, a tradition that is still honoured to this day, giving it a real folklore feel to it. Wandering around this real open air museum, is just captivating. The newer houses haven’t followed the tradition, although there are enough of the original cottages that still have the paintings around their doors, windows, fences, bridges, wells, kennels and farm buildings. It is simply charming and there are just so few tourists here. So if you want something unique that offers you a real taste of rural Poland, come here. Just fifty miles north-east from Kraków, definitely worth a little diversion. We stopped overnight behind the museum, in front of the pre-school, with the proprietor’s permission. (50.23595, 20.8623)
Kraków and its vicinity
Kraków, Poland’s ancient capital, stands proudly amongst it city competitors, receiving probably more visitors per year than its rivals. It is a Mecca for tourists who flock from all over the world to sample its elegant Rynek – Market Square, drink beer in its Barbican Street or visit the many museums that tell tales of its wartime role and hold the secret behind why Kraków was not decimated like its neighbouring cities of Wrocław, Warsaw and Łodz.
A visit to Poland’s famous daughter is however not just a city tour – there is so much more to see in and around the area. We have a dedicated 10 Day Itinerary to share with all the detail, although here’s the highlights….
- Oświęcim – Auschwitz-Birkenau Camps, within 1 hour of Kraków that can be done in a day. Do Birkenau for a raw and reflective exposure to the Death Camp with few crowds and no queues. Go to Auschwitz for an excellent museum and storytelling portrayal of life and death in the infamous camp. Expect queues and crowds though unless you go very early or very late.
- Wieliczka – Kraków’s famous Salt-mines just 30 minutes south of the city so very easy to get to. Again our suggestion is go early or late as the queues can be pretty bad. It has an excellent 2.5hr tour that takes you into an underground world that Disney himself could never have conjured up.
- Zalipie – As I’ve already mentioned is really worth a visit for the day. It may be a 90 minute drive although definitely worth the excursion to see a real taste of a traditional Polish village and living and breathing folklore.
- Eagle’s Nest Route – following the 794 north from Kraków you will be able to follow the route of the Eagle’s Nest, a series of 44 castles and watchtowers all with different characters and stories to tell, that sit proudly in the land of the Polish Juras. It is a beautiful region and a lovely road to follow north towards Częstochowa.
- Poland’s Sahara Desert – Błędowka Sands is perhaps not quite what you imagine when you think of the Sahara, although it is certainly a unique landscape and for that reason alone it needs to be seen and appreciated. It is a man-made area that dates back hundreds of years when it was deforested and the water table dropped so low that it could no longer sustain life. Go see it, just to say you’ve been!
So a visit to Kraków is so much more than a city-break. Come and explore the area for its rich diversity, haunting history and unique earth-scapes.
Wooden Church Route of Małopolska
So many tourist brochures applaud the merits of Kraków and Zakopane in this rich southern region of Poland, although in so doing miss a pretty treat. This Małopolksa county has abundant pickings no more so than the Route of the Wooden Churches. A collection of 74 wooden beauties that were built between 15th-18th Century. Made, inside and out in wood, they stand as a testimony to the art of medieval craftmanship whilst they also display defiance against nature’s wrath. Eight of these churches have been brought under the UNESCO banner, showing off the best of these magnificent buildings. Almost every village you drive through in this region will have its own wooden beauty, even tiny hamlets. In addition, you have the advantage of being in the foothills of the Tatra mountains and so the whole landscape begins to alter. More undulating scenery opens up, reservoirs and rivers course their way from the mountains towards the coast. It’s a lovely environment that needs to be on your radar for a bit of real Poland.
Poland’s Alps – Tatra Mountains
Home to bears, wolves and lynx to name a few, the Tatra’s are Poland’s highest mountains and they provide a deep connection with Slovakia just across the border. Towering peaks with aggressive looking jagged edges, the Tatras form part of the Carpathian Mountains, a range that arcs from Romania around to Czech Republic. With peaks in the Tatras reaching 2,400m, these are giants with stature, beauty and challenge.
Skiing, hiking and cycling are big in this region and in fact the Polish equivalent of Tour de France passes through the region in August every year. Tour de Pologne has been sporadic since 1928 although from 1952 it has become an annual event which now appears on the UCI Pro-Tour.
Two notable places that appear on The Motoroamer’s POI map for this area are; Dunajec in the Pieniny National Park. Leaving behind the wooden church icons, you enter a curvaceous world that would look at home in the bosom of Switzerland. This is rural Poland at its best with farmsteads being the only dwellings we often saw for miles, perhaps just the odd hamlet dotted here and there – oh and the obligatory elegant church. Aside of this, we were offered a range of treats for our eyes and the outdoor pursuits devil within us. Reservoirs, 14th century castles and dramatic limestone gorges that have been carved by the river Dunajec creating mild white waters for theeager kayaker or may be a more gentle coursing on a 19th century raft that offers to carry you down river for 10 miles through this incredible gorge. Or why not cycle it instead and see life in a completely way?
The second port of call would need to be Zakopane – a Alpine-esque town in the most southern part of Poland bordering Slovakia. It is known as the Winter Capital of Poland although I think August might have something to say about this. Given the number of people who flock to this winter wonderland resort in the summer, I am sure that Zakopane revels in its all-year-round appeal. I am in no doubt that beneath the blanket of crowds and the gauntlet of tourist tat huts that line every mountain attraction, this is a delightful place. After all who could not love the mountain backdrop, wooden Alpine houses and outdoor lifestyle? Zakopane is the official gateway to the Tatra National Park, offering hiking valleys, cable-cars and secret lakes hidden amongst the mountain peaks. Although if you come here, plan your trip carefully so you can breathe in the lovely mountain air and not be affected by the inevitable congestion that the holiday season brings.
Sadly at the end of our Poland Road Trip, Zakopane didn’t leave us on a high. We recognise that not all travel can be iconically beautiful and memorable and that actually all faces of travel need to be experienced; and we have left Poland feeling that Zakopane is not indicative of Polish culture. We would come back to explore whether we can see beyond the crowds; may be in May/June or September.
So as we sit here waiting for one of the infamous mountain summer storms to pass so we can head south, we reflect back on our road-trip through Poland. From 16 June when we first set foot on this fair land with a sense of uncertainty and curiosity, around each corner we have been more and more captivated by this Central European gem. Conspicuous by its absence on the European stage, Poland’s progressive economy is clear to see everywhere. From the bulk order of pavement bricks that they have surely got a mountain of hidden somewhere in the hinterland, to the rural country that relies on its simplicity and earthly values to secure a happy life. From rebuilt cities that defy enemies’ domination, to memorials that ask – no beg for us to learn from the past and never again repeat the atrocities of war. From lakes, gorges, rivers, street art, geological mysteries, underground worlds, castles and rolling countryside – we have been taken on a rollercoaster ride of experiences that have left our emotions wrung out like lettuce leaves. Although Poland has given us one of the most rich, meaningful and memorable trips that will serve us with reminders of its contrasts for years to come.
We had so few expectations because, quite honestly Poland had never been on our radar and in fact was only ever intended as a ‘pass through’ country en route to Lithuania. Although what a surprise and a delight Poland has been and I will always look so fondly on our experiences here. What would we say to entice others to Poland?
Come to an unassuming land, that has scars deeper than the ocean and a spirit taller than any mountain, with a character that reaches right into your heart. A rainbow of colours seeps from every aspect of life, asserting their place in a modern world, which is so removed from the grey communism that sought to repress them. Poland calls to be put on the map, demands to be respected and asks for us to share in its glorious and complex culture.
71 pages of information, route guides, practical tips and camping options all in one place. It’s yours with our love. Click the image to access your copy.
Wrocław, may well be Poland’s fourth largest city and capital of the south west region of Silesia, although this seems not to be on people’s travel itinerary. Perhaps the lure of Krakow to the east has more appeal. After all the cities we have seen in the last two years of our full time travels, Wroclaw has shot up to poll position, sitting proudly in our Top 5 favourites.
Wroclaw is one of those places that defies adjectives, because something far more profound than simple words are needed. The best way I can describe it… is like a novel that you pick up from the library that looks pretty enough from the outside and yet once you begin reading its compelling story, you realise how little the cover does it justice.
This is how I feel about Wrocław. When I visit a place I am often in a quandary about how much research to do before we go. Do too much and it spoils the surprise; do too little and it’s easy to miss the real essence. So for our visit to Wroclaw, I had done a little reading up from a Lonely Planet’s Guide and plotted the main ‘tourist highlights’ from a Wroclaw website. Yet I have never felt quite so unprepared for the real truth behind the elegant facade of this city. In many ways I feel a little ashamed at the lack of knowledge that I had gleaned beforehand. Having remedied that on our return, I now feel like I know a bit more of the real Wrocław and, in truth would love to return to speak to its soul and not the glossy, yet delightful image that it portrays on the outside.
Wrocław – Did you know?
Did you know that this city used to be called Breslau and only became Wrocław after the German’s were defeated in WW2?
Did you know that the city was devastated and had to be rebuilt after a Mongol attack in 13th Century?
Did you know that the city was to fall to yet another attack which would devastate both the Medieval buildings and its population? In fact 70% of the city was demolished by the Germans in 1944 so that they could build a fortress to encompass the city, trapping residents inside its walls as part of their defence agains the advancing Soviet Army.
Did you know that The Siege of Breslau in 1945 was one of the worst human tragedies of the War loosing a recorded 170,000 people during an 80 day siege?
Did you know that in the aftermath of the battle, more devastation was to rain on Wrocław as poverty, raping, pillaging and disease took their toll on the remaining civilians?
Did you know that the Anti-Soviet movement – the Orange Alternative was founded in Wrocław in the early 1980s and they used creativity and humour to stand up against the Communist rule and they played a significant role in Poland’s fight for independence. Their symbol was the dwarf – more on that later.
And did you know that it was awarded European Capital of Culture in 2016 and was voted Best European Destination of 2018. Now that is some come back!
Of all the great cities we have visited, Wrocław is the one that stands head and shoulders above others for its sheer tenacity and strength against opposition. Whilst they may have been brutalised, overwhelmed and beaten, it feels like today’s Wrocław is saying ‘We are not defeated’.
The example of the Phoenix rising from the Ashes, has never been more apt.
Every building, that looks so immaculate in the Market Square has a tale to tell and, whilst its frontage may delight your eyes, it is what lies behind the facade that is more important. Perfectly reformed, a scar or three may be, although tough, strong and irrepressible. Wrocław will have your admiration and undying affection when you blend its historical battles with today’s modern and award winning city.
With this historical context in place, I feel it is now appropriate to show off the visual display that this city offers the eager visitor. Click on the image below to see a short video of our highlights.
The Motoroamer’s Wrocław City Tour Video
Wrocław strangely doesn’t have a feel of a city, as even on the outskirts there is very little evidence of the built up, residential and industrial zones that are so often found in large cities around the world. The one thing that struck us most was how well catered for cyclists are around the city. Everywhere you look there are dedicated bridges, cycle routes and even traffic lights – reminiscent of our trip to The Netherlands last month. And then there are the trams, buzzing all around the city offering car-less travel if you wish. And I’m sure this contributed to the feel of the place. No traffic jams, no honking horns and no congestion. It was a joy to cycle around without the threat of being clipped by a passing lorry. That isn’t to say that it was deserted. There was still plenty of atmosphere, just not the sludge that you often feel in an inner city.
Whetting your Wrocław appetite
Situated on the banks of the River Oder, Wrocław is often described as Poland’s Venice. Having been to Venice I’m not really a fan of this comparison as it’s a huge set of shoes to fill and I feel that Wrocław deserves an identity of all its own. That said, there sure is a lot of water here and its 130 bridges and 12 islands form the basis of Worcław’s charismatic allure.
Wrocław is colourful. It embodies its creative history and it really does demand that you to look up from your phone and see the roof lines that stand out against the afternoon’s brilliant blue skies. Or perhaps you just want to listen to the music that seems to float around the streets in some sort of melodic happiness.
As I mentioned earlier, gnomes played an integral part in Wroclaw’s history. When the Soviet rebellion group, The Orange Alternative was born, they adopted a creative strategy to their resistance. They would deface the propaganda posters around the city with street art, most noticeably mischievous gnomes, as a way of laughing at the establishment. Every since then, the gnome has been an important symbol to Wrocław and in 2001 the city decided to commemorate the rebellion’s artistry by placing a bronze statue called Papa Dwarf at the Group’s meeting place. Five years later a local artist had the idea to create smaller statues, which have since been placed all around the city – between 300 – 400 of them to be precise, each one telling a modern-day tale of city life. They are so easy to miss and yet once you catch one, you find yourself on a mission to find others.
Aside of the cheeky chappies that are found at ground level, slightly higher up on your eye-line you will find some other pretty stunning monuments to people, events and ideals. In fact almost around every corner, there will be some statue or another that will intrigue you. There are chairs, footballs, fountains to name just a few that really give Wrocław its character and charm.
Worcław’s Market Square
Having said that the comparison with Venice was a mute one, I am about to contradict myself when I come to describe Worcław’s Market Square. Whichever direction you approach it, whether from The Shambles or The Penitent Bridge, the Market Square will impress. From streets bordered with the tallest of buildings that sometimes feel claustrophobic suddenly you open up into this atmospheric square with cafe-lined edges, where a piano tinkles filling the air and an acoustic rhythm that bounces off the walls. And that’s all before you caste your eyes around the skyline of buildings. Gothic, Medieval, Baroque, they all have a presence here and you could imagine the history that holds them up. And I think armed with the know of the bygone era it makes these facades even more impressive. You will not want to leave this enigmatic space and you could easily while away a couple of hours drinking their cheap beer and people watching.
The centrepiece is the St Elizabeth Church and the Town Hall which elegantly and assertively stand with pride relishing the placement of every piece of rebuilt brickwork. These are just testimony to Wroclaw’s culture.
Worcław’s Cathedral Island
Don’t miss the 14th century Cathedral – St John Baptist, which like so many other dwellings was destroyed in the Siege of 1945, yet has been beautifully rebuilt back to its former glory. There is some evidence that one of the towers is 10th Century, hence why they look so different, so the attention to detail in the reconstruction is outstanding. Can you just imagine what the view looks like from the top of this 97m viewpoint?
As you amble down the tree-lined avenue you get sucked into the effervescent buildings, despite the tourist trains disrupting your peace. The Tumski Bridge has got to be one of those Instagram moments, as lovers capture their sentiments in a padlock and a statue of Pope John XXIII stands with grace and presence overlooking the river that surrounds this stunning piece of heaven, leaving you mesmerised.
And to complete our Wrocław city tour who could not put a park and a fountain on the agenda? Although this is no ordinary park, nor any normal fountain.
This is a park that includes acres of landscaped zones including a Japanese Garden. If like us, half a day on your feet exploring has been enough, then do make time for an evening display at the multimedia fountains. Chill out on the grass as you watch the synchronised water play in time with classical, jazz or modern music and what how the lights and visual effects dance around the arena. The shows are free and go on throughout the day, on the hour from 1000 and the evening shows start at 1800 through to 2140 and it is lovely to be part of this event and I guess at night with the full effect of the lights and the setting sun make it even more atmospheric.
- Wrocław is a great all-year round city in part because of the lack of crowds. We visited at the beginning of July and were not overrun with tourists – which is our worst nightmare (even though we are one of them!)
- Cycling is a great way to get around, as to see all the sights by foot will make for a tiring experience. There are plenty of cycle tracks into and around the city and bicycle parks to chain up your wheels allowing you to go on foot for a while.
- There are plenty of trams moving around the city, so if you don’t have bikes, then there are alternative transport options.
- We thought a beer in the Market Square would be expensive, although unlike other cities we have visited, we didn’t feel ripped off. A beer and juice cost us 17 PLN, about £3.40.
- There is a Tourist Information centre in the Market Square. (51.109416 17.030572).
- If you want camping, then we stayed at Camping Wroclaw, about 20 mins south east of the city (51.075781 17.089353). It’s 100PLN per night, which on Poland standards is expensive although it is convenient and a very good quality site that is secure.
- Wroclaw is accessible from Poznan in the north west and Krakow from the east. Even Warsaw is only a 3.5hr drive away.
And so, what say we about this city of Poland? An example of a place besieged and ravaged by war and oppression, yet has risen up against its opponent to reclaim its rightful place in Europe’s ‘Best Destinations’. You will not be disappointed by Wrocław in any way.
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With our trip back to UK full of long To-Do-Lists and high priority actions that were more strategic than a plan for battle, having a weekend sojourn with my bestie was just the tonic I needed. Three years is a long time not to see your nearest and dearest and whilst I love the ability to Skype and FaceTime, it’s never quite as good as seeing someone in the flesh. So as one of our lovely followers aptly named our meeting – it was going to be a weekend of Gin-Wagging and two Birthday celebrations to boot.
I became starkly aware when my anticipation of the weekend had moved from purchasing a few bottles of Rhubarb and Ginger Gin and getting our meals pre-prepared, that actually this was my first solo trip without Mr Sunshine! Whilst I have driven Scoobie on my own, not for more than five minutes and both events resulted in a war wound. So as you can imagine my anxiety suddenly increased at the thought of 100 miles without my right-hand man. Still our travel lifestyle has always been about confronting fears head on. Fear these days really doesn’t stop me, although it does make me just a little bit more mindful – which is no bad thing.
The day approached to embark on my maiden voyage to Bristol Airport to pick up my ‘bestie’. With the fridge packed, a full tank of LPG despite the UK shortage and all we needed for a fun-filled weekend of RnR, I headed off. And what a trip it was, save a small graze on the wing mirror when my battle was lost with an oversized tractor who thought he was king of the Somerset roads. Aside of that, all was well with Scoobie and my it was great to be back onboard our faithful chariot.
Here are our highlights should you decide to put North Somerset on your list.
You can get into the drop off zone with your moho. Although you have to park across 2 parking spaces, getting in and out was doable. £1 for 10 mins. For ease, there are a number of lay-bys about 10 minutes away, where you can pull in to wait for flight arrivals. This makes it slightly easier than waiting around in an expensive car park or trying to get into the short stay parking areas, which have limited parking options for 7.5m+ vans.
Stanton Drew – Druids Arms Inn – Motorhome Pub stopover
One of the things we have enjoyed about coming back to UK is experiencing the Pub Stopover scheme. I guess similar to France Passion, it has been lovely to camp out at a public establishment and enjoy their local tipple. The Druids Arms didn’t disappoint with its charming stone village houses, Standing Stones and narrow roads, there was plenty of charm. The car park is just past the pub on the left and is up on the upper tier. Although the ground is on a bit of a slope, nothing that a set of chocks won’t resolve. Talking to the owner, they have big plans to develop the car park to make it more attractive to motorhome visitors. For the moment, you are blessed with great views across the fields with the sound of church bells to gently rouse you in the morning and the prospect of fresh eggs from the hens all named after the pub’s staff. We arrived too late to sample their food, although I did promise that we would give them a great plug here in return for our free night’s stay. For more details click HERE. Their co-ordinates are 51.365715 -2.579927
Bath Marina Campsite – A4 Bath
Bath is one of the most alluring Spa towns I know and it draws me back time and time again without hesitation. Its blend of history, architecture and natural beauty entice the humbled tourist to sample its offerings. And let’s not forget the shopping that presents unique boutiques as well as your brand name shops. And what better way to enjoy Bath’s deliciousness than by stopping overnight at the Bath Marina Campsite. It is only 2 miles from Bath on the A4, which you can reach either on foot, by bike on the adjacent canal or by one of the many buses that pass by on the main road. For £2.50 you will arrive in the hub of Bath ready to walk your socks off.
The campsite is a fairly large site with 64 pitches and is open all year round, although I would advise booking, as it was really busy when we arrived. Large hard-standing pitches are available at a price of £28.40 per night (prices quoted at April 2018 for a 7.5m van plus two adults.) Each avenue of pitches has its own drinking water station and grey waste dump and the shower facilities, whilst look very basic are clean and efficient. Sometimes it is just worth paying a price for the location and accessibility. Parking in large towns and cities is so difficult for us motorhomies that having somewhere like the Bath Marina site is a bonus.
You can find out more by contacting them through their website at Bath Marina Campsite. Their co-ordinates are 51.388. -2.403617
Iconic Bath where you can learn, discover, shop, eat, people watch, walk and rejuvenate. So many appeals to the mind, body and spirit. If it’s a walk around the historical studded town; The Pump Rooms with its World Heritage status shows off the most ancient religious spas of Northern Europe or perhaps Bath’s Cathedral would please you. The Royal Crescent will stop you in your tracks and through every street you will get a sense of history balanced with an elegant modern face that honours its past.
If you fancy being more in the now than the past then why not indulge in a spot of rest and relaxation. Bath’s natural thermal springs make this town a focal point for well-being and no better a place to visit than the modern twist on Roman baths at the Thermae Spa. This 21st Century building has history at its heart together with your well-being on their agenda. With two hour slots available you can enjoy three floors of relaxation delights; from an outdoor rooftop pool that overlooks Bath’s historical roofline to a heady bath in the basement with its lazy river flow that makes you feel weightless; or may be the Wellness Suite that gives you diverse range of multi-sensory experiences. Why not commit to some personal well-being and check out this luxurious Spa although watch out for weekends when it is incredibly busy and you will have to share the space! Check out their website for more information; Thermae Bath Spa
Chew Valley Lakes
The home of Yeo Yoghurt this stunning rolling countryside is full of Somerset sumptuousness. Whilst the roads are narrow in places and tractors here are kings of the road or so they think. So driving with caution is necessary for your sanity to stay in tact. After leaving Bath, a trip to the Chew Valley Lakes is more than worthwhile. Although there looks to be no camping opportunities, for a day-time stopover, the Picnic areas on the lake are well worth a visit. Parking isn’t easy for motorhomes as you can see from the picture, although there are larger spots on the coach parking area if it’s too busy to park lengthways.
The Chew Valley Lake is the 5th largest in UK and is renowned for great fishing. To park in the official car parks is £2 all day.
So as I look back at my Somerset road-trip I can feel proud of my solo efforts and joy of not only being able to share our home with my bestie, also being able to get to see a stunning part of the country. A triumph for my solo confidence and an elevation in my capabilities. And yet again proof that we can overcome our fears as they are only hidden in our minds and are so often not reality. Step out of your comfort zone and surprise yourself in how easy and joyful life can be.