Europe by Kangoo Micro Camper – Part 1 – Video at the bottom of the page! 🙂
The crossing was booked and paid for. Friday 9th September 2016 Ted the Border Collie and I are leaving the UK and heading to Europe until we’re ready to go back!
This time I opted for a tunnel crossing. The ticket cost £99, including Ted’s fare. This was considerably less than the ferry and it meant I could stay in the van with Ted for the entire 20 minute journey – as opposed to leaving him by himself for four hours whilst bobbing over the ocean.
As always, I tried to get everything finished on the van and ready to go long before we were due to set off. Of course, that plan failed miserably and I ended up doing an oil change and service on the van five hours before our UK departure.
Nevertheless, I got the van ready, packed and fueled up in reasonable time. There were no major holdups on the motorways. The M25 of course was a car park for a while but we arrived at Folkestone for the tunnel with half an hour to spare! Nothing like cutting it fine!!
The Euro Tunnel experience was pleasant. I didn’t know what to expect but soon realised I needed to watch the large screen in the waiting area until it informed us to head on down to the check-in.
While I waited, I took the opportunity to put on the headlight beam deflectors. Not being overly sure if I’d got them in the right place, I figured someone would complain sooner or later if I hadn’t! So far, so good.
We didn’t have to queue for long to get through to the train. UK and French passport checks were done quickly and we soon moved along.
As you’ll hear in the video below, Ted said hello to the passport check-in people!
As you can see, Ted found this all very stressful…. He almost woke up.
Without much waiting, we proceeded to the train.
Driving on to a train… This was a new experience!
I don’t know how long this train actually is, but I drove for ages along it.
Down came the shutters between carriages… and we were almost on our way!
The view from the train window wasn’t very exciting. Once we started moving there was nothing to see at all.
Ted and I sat for the short journey, bobbing around a bit and enjoyed the experience. Once we arrived in Calais, we headed off and despite all the issues in the area, we saw absolutely nothing untoward and no sign of any trouble.
70 miles into France, I found a pleasant lay-by for the night and after testing out the shower, we bedded down for the night.
By morning, the sun was shining and the time had come for me to crack out the shorts and vest top. It must be warm!
A spot of breakfast and we were good to go…
We were heading to Galicia to meet my friend, Mandy. I’d got her a bag full of books to read and it was going to be good to off load them! Space is tight in this van at the best of times so a sack of books took up most of the floor!
We stopped off along the way a few times. Ted was in need of some food, so it was now time for him to try some French dog cuisine!
That went down a treat.
He hadn’t been eating for a few days in protest of not appreciating his change in food. So to see him scoff a load of French dog food was great.
We continued through France and did between 300 and 400 miles a day.
Ted enjoyed the French sniffs!
We parked up in a picnic area for the night. Again, the shower was brilliant. Really pleased I found a way to fit in a shower to a van of this size!
The view here was lovely too!
As we continued through France, Aqua Ted’s nose informed him of water and he was delightfully observing through any available window!
As we left the South of France, we saw our first hot beach. We didn’t stop here but it was lovely to see.
32 Degrees C… just as we left France and crossed into Spain!
This was our first morning view of Spain. Hot weather and right next to a beach! We were about 60 miles West of Santander.
I can cope with this view from my door!
The scenery around here was just beautiful.
Of course, we spent the morning here in the sea. Ted was in his element and got to race around and swim off the lead with other dogs.
Seems a “woof” in Spanish is as understandable as a “woof” in English!
I was enjoying this place. With hindsight, I should have stayed for a few days and enjoyed it more.
We soon arrived in Galicia and found Mandy in her “new” old van beside the sea.
The weather here wasn’t great as it’s the end of summer. In fact, it was raining and cold. So that could only mean one thing…
Time to head to Portugal.
After a couple of hundred miles, we were soon back to blue skies and hot sunshine. Perfect.
Now, until now, I’ve not done so well with the fuel economy because I was so keen to get to a lovely place in Paradise. However, I was so stunned to see prostitutes in every other lay-by in mid Portugal that I slowed right down to have a good look! This improved my fuel economy considerably. Sorry, no photos at this point, I wasn’t that brave!!
By what I thought was 10pm, it was time to find a night spot. Down here looked good to me!
What I forgot was we’re in Portugal so the time was actually 9pm. Early night then!
By morning, I realised we were in the middle of a wood and it was only 6 Degrees C.
So I had a shower. Of course.
This was a very peaceful spot but I was keen to get moving… towards the Algarve!
Once you see the sign, you know the weather is soon to get warmer!
We were heading to my favourite spot (so far!) in Portugal… Barragem de Santa Clara. In other words, a huge lake that you can park next to and swim all day long!
We had arrived. Finally. 1800 miles of driving and we were here!
For the night though, we moved to a spot a bit further along the lake for some peace and quiet.
Drinking Port in the lovely weather next to beautiful water. It’s a hard life but someone’s got to do it!
This is an amazing place! Though I was keen to hit a beach so decided to head for the Algarve for a couple of nights.
We passed the remains of the horrific fires of Monchique. These were fires started by the sun and the devastation went on for probably 8 miles. Absolutely awful to see.
Miles and miles of black.
The sight and smell of this was terrible.
Towards Lagos we go… The beaches are waiting.
The beaches look amazing. However, Ted’s not allowed on them!! There’s a dog ban on all Algarve beaches until October!
Though we did spot one beach where dogs were running around, so Ted got his swim in the sea and we parked up here for the night.
The beauty of a small van: straight under the sun shades!
We decided to head inland to Barragem Do Arade.
I drove to what felt like the top of the world! And then back down…
The last time we came here, we found a derelict building. So this time I drove round to the back of it… Because I can in a small van!
This was mosquito central so I decided to move on and head back to Barragem de Santa Clara…
… And took my fish for a walk.
The temperature here has been over 30 C most of the time. Glorious.
Good satellite signal too, so I have no excuse for my lack of Blog posts… other than I’ve been busy enjoying myself!
Blue skies, hot sun, warm water…
Before long it becomes Port O’Clock…
A group of us sit chatting in the evenings watching the moon rise.
We met a lovely couple, Caz and Gaz from England. Gaz makes the most delicious curry. The best curry I’ve ever tasted. Thanks for sharing that with us, Gaz!
Ted’s coping well with the heat. He spends the whole time off the lead roaming around, swimming, playing ball with people and seems to be accepted as everyone’s friend!
Oh, there he is!
The only area I’m struggling with is making food. I don’t know what to buy or make. All I could find on Sunday was this… erm… what looks like a penis… from the local shop. It was actually some sort of sausage thing. So penis pasta for tea it was.
I’m swimming most of the time… not alone of course…
Aqua Ted’s always there somewhere! A few of us were swimming the other evening and Ted just overtook us… his head just bobbing past, snapping at the water!
Europe By Kangoo Micro Camper – Part 1… The Video…
Enjoying some time at Santa Clara is a lovely break from the driving. My plan is to stay here for a while, then decide where to go next… Then let the sight seeing and blogging really commence…
You can find many more, extra updates on our travels via Facebook, Instagram and YouTube…