I’ve only ever once been on a caravan holiday. I must have been about eight years old at the time. My parents had bought a flat pack caravan that you have to wind up. I was dying to see it in action, but it was the middle of winter and completely the wrong time of year to take a caravan holiday.
For six months it sat in the field doing nothing. When summer finally arrived, we attached it to the back of the car and headed off to Wales. The sun was shining, the weather was lovely and after three hours in the car we finally arrived at the camp site only to find that the caravan wouldn’t wind up. It was a total disaster and the shortest holiday I have ever been on in my life!
The next year we tried again, but this time we would be holidaying in a motorhome. We got the insurance through The Caravan Club and borrowed the motorhome from a friend of the family. It turned out to be one of our most memorable family holidays.
Now I know what you might be thinking; motorhomes are for the States, what you need for Europe is a VW Camper. Now, although your average hippy van looks funky and is great for Uni students taking long road trips to countries you never knew existed, they’re not actually all that good for family holidays. Motorhomes on the other hand are perfect as they have just the right amount of space that a family could want.
For this holiday, instead of going to Wales, we headed off to France. It was a pretty spontaneous decision and we didn’t have very firm plans about what we would actually do. My parents had booked a return ferry ticket from Dover to Calais. All we knew as we set off was that we would be away for three weeks. Everything in between arriving in Calais and returning to England would be a mystery; this is exactly the kind of holiday that I still love as an adult.
After our two-hour ferry ride, we decided to head to the picturesque medieval city of Mont Saint-Michel. The town is dominated by the castle, the walls of which surround the whole island. To this day I think it is probably one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. We found a nice campsite close to the town and then spent the next two days exploring the area, before heading off to our next destination.
Over the next two and a half weeks we simply enjoyed living on the road. We would drive for a day and then park up at a campsite or even occassionally stay in a nice Bed and Breakfast. We stopped off in small villages and large towns, we swam in the clear fast flowing rivers and took walks across beautiful country tracks and ate plenty of tasty cheese and simple fresh food. It was all great fun!
After this trip, I have to say that for me, travelling through France in a motorhome is a really incredible way to explore the country. In three short weeks we saw more of France than we had done on any previous holiday to the country. Moreover, as the motorhome was large and my brothers and I were small, space was never an issue during the holiday (I’ve got a feeling that if we tried to repeat the experience now, with five grown adults crammed into the same motorhome, my experience would be completely different).
Although my first attempt at a caravan holiday ended in a disaster, I’ve always been interested in an authentic holiday on a Vardo. The chance to slowly explore the back-roads of Europe would definitely be a great way to spend a few weeks of my life.