Saturday 25 August 2018 Cologne – Dusseldorf
Today we headed to Dusseldorf for the Caravan Salon, a week-long show of 2019 motorhomes, to investigate motorhomes and accessories. After completing our grocery shopping and washing we drove to Dusseldorf, arriving at the parking area for motorhomes late in the evening. Even though there were lines of caravans and motorhomes waiting to get in it, it only took a short time to be parked up because they had electronic admission and parking attendants everywhere.
Sunday 26 – Monday 27 Dusseldorf
On Sunday we caught the shuttle bus into the Caravan Salon and went to investigate the latest motorhomes. The area is huge, and the number of motorhomes is unbelievable, with a lot of people like us, looking. After investigating the possibilities, we headed back to our motorhome and then into the city on the free shuttle bus provided by Caravan Salon. We had a lovely dinner at a German restaurant Zum Schlussel and then headed home on the free transport.
On Monday we headed back to the Caravan Salon to check out the accessories halls and another look at the motorhomes. This salon is a massive marketing exercise and people come from all over Europe to see the latest and greatest inventions. It is extremely well organised with around 15 halls containing the latest motorhomes and caravans, food stalls and bistros serving everything from ice cream to restaurant meals, camping and motorhome accessories, information on accommodation and maps for every country and camping clubs to join. The camp ground has all amenities required and free live music every night of the show and to get to and from the Salon they have free shuttle buses which come every 4 minutes and after 7pm free shuttles into and home from the Alstadt. Germans don’t do anything by half.
Tuesday 28 August 2018 Dusseldorf – Kehl
We are making our way down to Malaga to watch Mark McLean (Flash) our friend, compete in the decathlon in the World Masters Games on Thursday and Friday 6-7 September. After a long day of driving we parked in an Aires not far from the Rhine River in Kehl, which is in Germany not far from the French border near Strasbourg, in fact the boundary separating Germany and France runs down the centre of the river. The Aires was packed with motorhomes and in the morning, there is a van which comes around selling fresh bread.
Wednesday 29 August 2018 Kehl (Germany) – Vienne (France)
Another long driving day today with only a stop for lunch and then our parking spot for the night just south of Vienne in a lovely quite village surrounded by houses and three other motorhomes parked near us.
Thursday 30 August 2018 Vienne – Orange – Avignon
Once again today was another long driving day. We stopped in Orange, went to the Tourist Information and discovered there were too many Roman sites and other interesting things to see In Orange and because we didn’t have an amount of time to do it justice we decided to leave this pretty town for when return this way next year.
So, we headed off to the fortified city of Avignon, our destination for the night to catch up with a fellow traveller, Gary, whom we met in Inverness, Scotland in June. After reading reviews from others about thieves in Avignon we decided to stay in a secure park as we were uncomfortable about leaving the motorhome unattended late into the night.
As Gary had lived here whilst playing rugby league he volunteered to be our tour guide which we were grateful for. After walking over the bridge and through one of the seven entrances of the superbly preserved stone ramparts, we continued along the cobbled streets, past the square where tables were full of diners and up into the beautiful gardens of the Palais des Papes, one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe and was the papal residence during the 14th century.
The view of the town, the surrounding countryside and the Pont d’Avignon, the famous medieval bridge with four surviving arches on the bank of the Rhone from here are quite spectacular. We continued to wander the ancient streets, the courtyards of the private mansions and the renovated facades and after drinks at a couple of bars, found a beautiful French restaurant called Place St Pierre and had one of the best meals to date. The atmosphere sitting outside in the cobbled street with a red checked table cloth and lanterns, watching the passing parade and absorbing the most delightful smells of French cuisine was so charming.
Friday 31 August 2018 Avignon – Perpignan
We left this morning and headed to Trouillas a small village just South of Perpignan to stay on an olive plantation, Les Oliviers de la Canterrane, run by a friendly husband and wife. They provide services for camping vehicles for the night. When we arrived, he greeted and handed us a brochure in English which explained the area and the free services they provide. They have a shop which sells a variety of olive products as well as other local farmers’ produce. Ian bought some olives and an olive dip and little biscuits, which he devoured as soon as he got back to the motorhome. By the time night fell there were 7 motorhomes in the area.