A grumpy mans European vacation

Captains log 31st August 2019,

After having a few years recovering from Chemotherapy and being massively more grumpy than usual i had the mad idea of buying a motorhome-----And karen my better half enjoyed the idea as well.

With my very patient wife as co pilot we embarked on our biggest tour yet.......France and Italy

The Mirage 6000 travelling home was fully stocked with all the things you can not purchase abroad, like tea, tins of beans, marmite and bacon

With the ferry booked for 12.30 lunch time we arrived as usual 2 hours early because the little man in my head told me that the trip to Dover ( which is approximately 45mins ) would take me 3 hours .... nothing like being on time

The kind lady in the kiosk asked if we would like an earlier ferry and we jumped to it, bollocking from wife adverted

Once we docked in Calais we knew we were on French soil, even if you were blind folded you would know,
It was not the language, It was the fucking smell...that place stinks, piss, shite and pollution from the near by factories

WE WERE HERE...THE START OF OF ADVENTURE... NEXT STOP NORMANDY

 

The drive down was long and dull, fuck all to look at and bloody expensive roads

We rocked up in a small village in Normandy and set up camp for the next few days

The town was a 15 min stroll away and a mine field of dog shit, The sun was out and the temperature was creeping up into the high 20s by now so in places it did whiff a little

There was a market on in the town center and this consisted of 3 stalls flogging cheese, fish and veg, Now this just added to the smell of the town and not in a good way

I thought i would go all frog and have some local grub as people say the french are the best chefs in the world........
Fuck me, no butter with the bread, no sauce with me chips, mental expensive and poor service however the mussels were quite good.....that might change if they give me the shits....

All in all in my opinion you cant get any better than grub in England...
A Toby carvery or a wetherspoons lunch, both for less than a bottle of water you get over here

Next stop Brittany

 

We set off from Villedieu-les-poeles for the 45 minute cruise down towards Le mont st micheal with the aid of our trusty satellite navigation system
Did not realize that France has a post code for an area...NOT...a road or building

After 2 hours of testing my anger management to to max we eventually rolled up at a very nice place of rest, not far from the mount only to pack up the very next day and move pitch due to a tribe of feral Spanish gobshites setting up camp next to us

We have got our fair share of pikies in the UK however they choose to park on a school playing field or public car park, not a proper camp site...These fuckers trundled into the £30 a night site at 1am waking us up and then decided to have a bloody pic-nic
There were 3 motorhome hire vans and around 100 folk crammed into them, well thats what it sounded like and far too many for me to go ape shit on them .....deep breath and relax

We are at peace with nature again and loving french stick and grog

 

Mont-Saint-Michel is a national heritage site and well worth the visit but bloody hell they never tell you that you need breathing apparatus to reach the top

When you eventually reach the mount, you can take a sweaty free bus but we choose to walk (bad move) you are greeted by a Dickensian looking town and this hides the hundreds of steps that you need to hike up to get to the abbey perched on top of this mound in the sea

The cost of the entrance is for the abbey only and does not include the museums scattered around the mount, these are extra and well worth the 10 euros each NO FUCKING WAY

one museum had a moody black and white film playing in french, one had a few model boats, one had a bedroom and chastity belt and the only one worth looking at was a very poor wax work of a geezer in a box rotting away... tour over

The walk-crawl back to the camp site seemed to take all day and once back we crashed out and in the morning got ready for the next adventure

We set off at 0900 hours this morning in the heavy drizzle to be greeted by a stubborn exit barrier and a robbing french parking computer

We had paid for our 3 nights camping ( which in my book is parking up and doing nothing )
On exiting the site the barrier refused to open, French police got involved and after being told to reverse back so others can have a go at leaving i found out that i will have to pay another £27 for 3 days parking on site

What the fuck....i was never told this....Long story short, the police advised me to pay and helped me leave
45 mins later i was on my way
Lovely place to park up but jeez they know how to charge

 

I can now see how Charlie Chaplin and his merry bunch of storm troopers in the third reich goose steeped all over this country ... There is fuck all here to stop them ... fields after fields of sun flowers and maize

They say that if you are seeking help on the run from a country that is intent on bombing the shit out of you , You can claim asylum in the first country to arrive in ... Bloody hell i know why they risk their lives bobbing across the English channel on nothing more than an old air bed
There is just nothing to see as far as the eye can pog ..
The odd village you come to looks like its a set from a 1970s war film and every thing is shut

As for petrol stations....These are about as rare as an honest politician ... miss one of these and just hope your fuel gauge is correct

Most the Aires we have stopped at were nothing more than a truck stop with shit holes in the ground and were scattered around the motorways in the middle of no where ... ideal place to wake up and find the wheels gone

This trip so far has been an eye opener and we have seen some stunning buildings and met one polite French man

 

We traveled further south into France chasing the last days of summer until we reached Bordeaux.

Found a small camp site a few miles from the city center and set up home for the next few days....just beating a couple of Germans to a good spot....NO BEACH TOWELS HERE MATEY

After mooching around for a while we then set off to Bordeaux by bus and tram to take in some culture and maybe some decent grub
The first thing we saw were hundreds of French police in full riot gear lining the streets and having a stand off with some angry peasants protesting about some thing ..... and they do love a protest here, turns out this has happened every Saturday for the last 8 months,
They must have fuck all else to do here because if there was a major incident any where else there wouldn't be any coppers available....Best day for a robbery...Err how about a Saturday Pierre

When we both got bored of the peasants and plod shouting at each other we went off on a culture hunt and found this monster bell tower, over 200 steps to the top. This was a challenge

The entrance fee is included in our expensive city pass - which was a complete waste of money as half the folk dont pay on the public service, they just jump on and sit down, no inspectors or conductors any where

We entered the tower and started to ascend via a small, and i mean small spiral stair case, This was ok until a fucking huge yank wanted to come down
Bollox, the steps are 8" wide at the biggest and 1" at the inside.
Now I didnt want to shuffle over to the middle with a chance of plummeting back down to the basement so i stood my ground with Karen very close behind hanging onto the rope hand rail (no health and safety there i hear you shout)
After what seemed like an hour the mass of yanky lard squeezed by and continued down on his sweaty decent

This was enough to wear us out so off we went for the tram home forgetting about the bloody protesters.....BASTARDS....
Due to the police taking over most of Bordeaux central the Trams were at a stand still and we were forced to drag our selves a couple of miles towards the outskirts of the city so we could not get a tram home

The tram took us through some proper shit holes which no tourist rep will ever tell you about and we had time to plan our trip to a WW2 german submarine bunker the next day

Well its a big thanks to the Bordeaux council for forgetting history and making us walk miles to see some black and white photos of fucking beach huts and umbrellas
When i read about a WW2 Nazi submarine bunker not that far from the city center i obviously wanted to have a butchers.
Now this is one of Hitlers mega structures and could been seen from miles away up the river
It was a fair old stroll and when we arrived at a massive steel door there was a sign stating that the entrance was now on the other side
Half an hour later we arrived at the now main entrance on the other side of the dock and went into the bunker
The lady at the payment kiosk told us that the council have decided to change the massive concrete building into an art gallery and loose the historic classification of this 80 year old structure

 

The weather turned in France from 30 deg sun to 18 deg rain over night and we thought it was time to move on towards Italy and decent weather

We battened down the hatches and waited for the rain to stop.
Around 4 pm the sky changed from dark grey to light grey and it stopped raining so we ventured out for our last mooch around France before we head off to Italy

We Found a bar that served cold Sangria and ordered a couple of glasses from an extremely rude gutty miserable French woman who then brought us the wrong drinks after a 20 minute wait.....so we just left...bollox...manners dont cost a penny

Back now and fighting to open a fucking fray bentos pie with every tool i have in my tool box because the can opener broke while trying to pierce the armored plated case

Off to Italy in the morning but not before i fix a leaky drive shaft oil seal

 

FINAL SUMMARY OF FRANCE

The enjoyable things that we have seen and experienced

1..The roads, fast smooth, lots of stop off points, no traffic
2..The historical past, churches, cathedrals, and castles
3..The bread sticks and pastries
4..The scenery in some parts is breathtaking
5..The camp sites over here have so much more to offer
6..Late night french TV "say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink"

The things that we both thought FUCK

1..The roads, they cost a fortune unless you take a country route which can take ages
2..The food, every thing costs double what you think it should cost and is pretty poor...except the bread and pastries
3..The scenery driving through France is full of fuck all, just fields after fields of dead horticulture
4..The towns stink of dog shit, piss and cheap cigarettes
5..The french in general hate us
6..The lack of toilet paper and soap in 80% of the toilets we have had the miss fortune to use

All in all we have loved it, and to be truthful we dont do the tourist traps and go all inclusive at a villa resort
We both like to mooch and see the real France.

All it needs here is a population transplant and a bloody good clean

 

We packed up and said good bye to grey cold and damp france and headed east along the A8 to Italy

All i can say is FUCK that is one naughty road, thousands of feet up in the mountains, loads of mental Italian drivers and so many arse clenching bridges we could not wait to pitch up on safe ground again

We grabbed a french stick and overlooked the millionaire play ground of Monaco, some of the yachts down there were the size of oil tankers and then after a top up of diesel for the old tank set off once more

The now trusty sat nav decided to tell us our camp site was in the middle of the motorway so after much deep breathing we eventually turned off at the next exit and found the site a few miles back on the coast....sat nav still intact and working....anger management has worked

Having making camp on the Italian riviera at Imperia we settled in for the next few days

Well the Italian insects love a bit of English meat, bloody invisible flying vampires tucked into me for a while before i drowned my self in repellent and sun cream last night.

We had woken up to another day of 30+ deg and thought i would take a look at the old trundling wagon while Karen had a paddle in the pool.
I topped up the oil and water and gave the old girl a check over (not karen) then we set off for a bite to eat
Mad dogs and english men i hear them shout

Now the first comparison to France is the cleanliness of the town, No dog shit, no nasty smells and friendly people.

The second thing we noticed was how cheap the grub was compared to france and the quality of it.

The third is the TV, In france the most channels we could get was 28 and nearly every one was an amarican show badly dubbed in french.....
How ever in Italy i have got 248 channels

Good news is the american and english shows are in the language they were made in.....the bad news is there are 10 channels like this and 198 shopping channels
Yes it was that hot today i stayed in this afternoon and counted every one of the fuckers
The italians love a bit of shopping, from cheap jewelry to cars and back-tit support systems to old paintings, they sell any old shit over here
Makes our TV look good

 

The last few days have been spent mooching around bars and restaurants on the Italian riviera at Imperia , chilling and enjoying the Italian hospitality

We left the site with one very tired Karen due to the fact that some Italian chavs rocked up next to us and their bloody dog was slightly more shouty than them and kept barking at any thing that moved....Now i know why they eat dogs in Asia

The old Mirage tank has taken us another 300 miles further into Italy and we are now camped up at the bottom of lake Garda

The site we are pitched up on is .. well to say the dogs bollox would be an under statement .. We are over looking the lake, with a beach, we have bars, restaurants, shopping precinct and pools, You dont get this at home

The only down side is we are surrounded by the hun ..... only kidding the Germans here are fine .. BUT DONT MENTION THE WAR

France Italy comparison

French roads are expensive however the money does go on the roads
Italian roads are less expensive and the money they raise goes on pasta and coffees

French food is shite except the pastries
Italian food is just so more-ish and i cant believe i had a cheese pizza that was to die for

Italy has loads of scooters and bikes ......sweet

 

Now some folk say "Its a small world" and i knew it wasn't, I went to school and did geography, this planet is not flat, its round and bloody massive.
How ever last night proved me wrong

When we brought our motor home .. A 20 year old mirage 6000 Mercedes auto .. we never knew at the time it was one of the most expensive wagons of the day and one of ten to have been made, Ive been trying to find out more about it since last year but to no avail

At around 8.30 last night we had a knock at the door ... First thoughts were FUCK who have i pissed off now
Turns out to be an English couple who were parked a few motors away in the same motor home that we have
The couple come from Coventry, right near to my old college and knew some of the previous owners of our wagon

Ours was the first of ten to be made and theirs was the last

Now what is the chance of that happening...1500 miles away from home and we bump into some one that has partied in our home.

Now i know where i can get parts and help if needed
ITS A SMALL WORLD

Any way, we strolled around our local town today, huge market and lots of bars and grub stops with in the moated town

Did not want to jay walk here because the lolly pop man carries a fucking huge gun and we saw the most reliable split screen camper today ....... It was made of concrete

Thought we might treat ourselves to a train trip to Venice tomorrow so booked a couple of seat !st class ( still cheaper than bloody south eastern to London ) for the hour and half fast train ride....

Cant wait to go bobbing in a cornetto boat and start singing opera .. Cos that what they do here .. seen it on telly .. OK

 

Now English was never my strong subject however that Shakespear geezer caught my attention and his play, The merchant of Venice had stayed in my old nogging for years so when we realized we were only 60 odd miles from Venice I had to go and have a butchers

We brought the FAST TRAIN tickets instead of the cattle cart because it took half the time, photos showed a huge ferrari red bullet train and when we got on board it was well flash
We strapped our selves in to first class and waited to be pushed back into our seats
What a fucking anti climax that was....it was a quick as Gino on his Vespa 50

Any way we rattled through some country side and industrial areas to eventually end up at Venice ... By now my guts were telling me to lose that pasta i had happily been shoveling down so a quick dash to the nearest toilet was needed
I took to my pins like Usain bolt only to find the bogs took a bloody euro and Karen needed to go to the ladies room as well.
Being English we snucked through on 1 euro, bit tight on the auto barrier but we made it
Little did i know the crappa was all high tech and no sooner had i sat down the fucking flush had gone off and washed my nuts
After the initial shock of the cold dunking i realized that a euro was well worth it

Off to Venice

JOB APPLICATION .........
PLASTERERS AND PLUMBERS NEEDED HERE

Bloody hell there aint much plaster left on these old buildings and there is a serious issue with water leaks
Joking aside this is one beautiful city and the customer service is second to none

For a city which consists of over 100 islands and 400 bridges we walked for fucking miles, no wonder they bob around in boats here, it takes ages to reach your destination where ever it is.

As in Rome i believe the saying goes we sold a few limbs for a kings ransom.....No wonder shylock the money lender (shakespear) did well here and took a cornetto Yacht out for half an hour bob around the ally ways and lanes of Venice with a punting bloke...YES PUNTING...I would recommend this to anyone as it did show you the real Venice

Day of rest tomorrow as we have worn our legs out down to the knee caps

 

Milan , Fashion capital of the world
As we were only an hour away from the city center of Milan by train we thought it would be rude not to pay this fashion icon a visit.

Now I am not the most fashion conscious of humans and my wardrobe consists of 3 pairs of jeans and a hole rail of power shirts..shirts that no one would wear in public.

I got on my best strides and shirt and thought to myself that there could be a slim chance that i might just get spotted and be appearing on the next cover of Vouge ... Milan here we come

Dressed to kill we got on the fast train to Milan central and set off, An hour later we rolled into what looked like a graveyard for trains, A huge sign saying Milan was hanging off some rusty steel girders and we were surrounded by derelict buildings....Fucking hell this is a lot worse than i expected....maybe - just maybe I could catch the eye of a Photographer here.

An announcement came over the trains tannoy system
"we are being held up by heavy traffic entering Milan central please be patient as there is a 5 minute delay"
That explained why every person on the train except us looked pretty chilled when we stopped at this ghost town...we were not there yet.

The train pulled into a spectacular iron and marble building, It was huge, the cost of owning a vehicle in Italy is very expensive so trains are the biggest form of transport here and there are thousands of them, even double deckers.

We alighted the red rocket and set off to make my millions....
This was the first time we met an unfriendly Italian, The staff here are gutty, snotty and rude.

The station is nothing like anything i have seen before, its like strolling through an art gallery within a grand museum with a fair share of very expensive shops and lots of advertising....They do love an advert here.

We didn't have a lot of time here and nearly an hour of it was spent trying to find the bloody center, although the station states it is the center of Milan it isn't.

Milan is huge, Imagine your stereotypical Italian and that is what you get here.
Thin men on vespas wearing perfectly ironed blue tailored suits and half face skid lids and sporting ray bans,
Women that either look like super models or film stars.
No one here is over 7 stone and there I am ..... looking as English as an English man could get, fat, bald and looking like i had got dressed in the dark
I FELT A BILLION DOLLARS and with Karen on my arm we went window shopping

Fuck a duck.....£8500 for a hand bag, £12000 for a suit made from silk, I would want that to be stitched together in gold thread and come with a Porsche key as a zip.

Food was not great, Expensive and very little choice.
We should have guessed this because grub is just an item here that you need for survival.

After hours of trudging through the long hot streets we eventually found something to buy and take home.
A reminder of Milan and the very expensive city....
A £2 fridge magnet

We had an idea of how long this visit could take and the sites we wanted to see but truth is, we just didn't like it.
Dont get me wrong, this is a beautiful city with the best cathedral we have ever seen, lots of restaurants and bars and the window shopping was mind blowing however the ques were hours long to see anything and entrance fees wallet emptying .

The trains run every hour back to our little town so we took an earlier train and said good bye to Milan,
We met a very nice man on the train who helped us with our tickets because the staff here were arse holes.
I will try to stay in touch with him (bit of a petrol head like me) because he loves motors and maybe just maybe on our next visit i might bring back something a bit bigger than a fridge magnet

 

This is our last day at lake Garda in northern Italy before we start our long drive home and we decided to take a trip to Verona for some more cultural experiences.

We set the alarm for an early start and trudged the mile to the station, we must be wearing a groove in the path by now.

NOTE TO SELF.... scooter needed for next long trip to save chaffing arse and thighs

When we arrived at the station Karen said that we should get the tickets for the train our selves from the box of tricks in the corner, now being here before and studying how it worked for ages I thought yeah we can kill this

Armed with my credit card we successfully retrieved our tickets to Verona including a return...we were legends, how ever our success was short lived when we looked at the over head screen and found out that every fucking train to Verona were cancelled due to industrial action.....Double bollox

My anger management was wound up to stop going ape shit-start to shout at staff.
I kept calm and went to get my money back all of £14 from the tortoise behind the armored screen in the station entrance however we could not have been the only ones to get mugged off because the queue was out the door

We took this as a lesson learnt and forgot the refund, just could not be arsed for £14 and the chance of getting it back i expect would have been more aggro than it was worth and probably had me arrested in the process.

I suggested we get the ferry to one of the smaller towns around the lake so the early morning trudge was not a dead loss so off we trotted with a spring in our step to the ferry terminal.
Just as we rounded the corner we saw said ferry leaving the dock but this did not put us off as it was a ferry terminal and people need to travel...correct.... NO NOT CORRECT

It was fucking lunch time and they stop for over 2 hours, Talk about bad luck, by now we were getting quite despondent with the public service providers and the cure for this was a few cocktails and a top notch ham and mozzarella panini in a small harbour cafe.

A few gifts for family back home were purchased , you know the sort , fridge magnets and tea towels etc

With ruck sack bulging we then crawled our way back to the old motorhome to pack up for the last leg of our tour back through the Alps and that dreaded country France.

It will be sad to leave Italy as this country has much more to offer than we had both thought, we met some good people and enjoyed nearly every minute of this stay

Ciao for now Italy

 

Homeward bound....
We awoke to the sound of rain bouncing off the roof of our traveling home at around 4am,

Its a good job i had folded up the table and chairs last night and tucked them away with the out door mats under the van, that will keep them nice and dry.....
NO it bloody wont, they were covered in mud and soaked so much that our early start was postponed until i had cleaned and dried our furniture off....Shit that was not a good move and lesson learnt.

We eventually set off around 9am in the lashing rain and headed for the Alps.

I had looked into the cost of travelling through the Mont blanc tunnel into France and the robbing bastads wanted to mug me off for the grand sum of £162-one way so an alternative route was planned a few miles further down.

The old wagon was fueled and windscreen de bugged, My credit card was given to co-pilot Karen for the extortionate tolls and armed with our not so trusty sat nav we set off on our journey back to good old blighty

Italian roads are cheaper than the french however in a much worse condition and we bounced our way along heading for the Alps....Fucking hell that is one steep hill we had to to navigate,
We went higher and higher until the sat nav showed us that we were 4000 feet above sea level and approaching the clouds.

After a few hours of ear popping and sweaty palms we came to a border crossing...Thank christ we were waved through as we have got quite a few bottles of plonk stashed away..hard to resist at under £2 a go.

A huge tunnel loomed up from behind the toll barrier and we had to stop here for yet another fucking toll charge...The smart lady in the kiosk took our card and swiped £61 from it, Bollox the money we have paid into the French economy for bloody road usage has been more than i pay in road tax on 3 of my cars for a year....No wonder you see hardly any non-french truck drivers here....England is much better for rich pickings, cheap fuel and no tolls
We should adopt this pay for use culture and charge foreign truck drivers when they step of the ferry...put the revenue towards better roads or schools etc

Anyway less of me moaning... The tunnel took us 12km through a mountain and when we popped out the other side it was bright sunshine and 28 deg... sweet

With shades now stuck to our faces we decided to go off track, The old wagon had clocked up just over 300 motorway miles today and i thought we could give the old wagon a rest and carry on up france toll free, the sat nav was told to avoid all tolls and off we rolled.

2 hours rolled by very slowly and we had only covered 60 miles, stop starts, traffic jams and a few near mirror on mirror misses later i decided to get back onto the toll roads,
The little villages with their run down buildings and peasants were not worth the extra time crawling through them.

350 miles to go and its time to rest now,
we have rocked up at an Aire .. posh car park with stainless sinks buried in the ground as shit holes, I have just pissed on my new trainers having a crap...WHY NOT HAVE A PROPER BOG

Dont ask me where we are because i have not got a fucking clue, Thats tomorrows adventure, getting out of here.

 

Last night was the first night we have ever gone off grid and stayed at an Aire ( posh car park )

With No electric and a sink in the ground as a shitter we settled in for a night of trial and error,

The gas fridge worked a treat, I had repaired it a couple of months ago but never used it on gas, only mains and 12v .
The inverter I fitted to power the TV and DVD player worked a treat,
The generator worked so we could still have our kettle and make a brew,
All in all every thing went as planned ...Except I found it very difficult to sleep, The car park was full of trucks one side and we were in the smaller park next to the crappa.
I kept thinking what if some one was to break in, nick something, damage something or kidnap me for a huge ransom...How will Karen get home then.
My bloody head was spinning so I sort of slept with one eye and ear open

It was pissing down when we woke at 7am .. I was not kidnapped and our travelling home was still intact. The old bus was tanked up (26mpg at 65mph .not bad for a 4 tonne wagon ) and we set off for Troyes about 300km up another fucking expensive toll road.

The scenery here is slightly better on the east side of France , still as dull as fuck but with the added bonus of the odd factory slung in.
However it is still as hilly, like a big dipper sometimes and we kept our selves amused by watching our altimeter seeing how big the next hill was and guessing the speed we could get up it. Thats how boring driving on French toll roads are you have to pay for this....They are very smooth and get you from A to B very quickly though.

We followed the SHAT NAV to Troyes and again the £400 system took us to within a mile of the camp site and parked us in the middle of a bloody street,
Nothing around and again no bleeding camp site ...It did not matter how many times i punched the post code and address into Mr thick , it just smuggley said you are here.

I was parked as near as the kerb as possible and well out the way of traffic trying to find the missing site when I heard a few loud blasts of a car horn,
Some prick had decided to let me know that the 10 foot gap next to our van was not wide enough for his Audi to pass and then proceeded to overtake....

By now i was getting the hump with Mr thick the shat nav and anger management was approaching level 9
I gave the gutty garlic gobbling piece of Frog shit a good blast back on my duel horns only to see him stop a few feet in front of us.
Now either this leather clad 50ish year old fuckwit has balls the size of melons or he is just like every other French man ive had an argument with and full of shit.

Yep .. from a safe distance and hanging on to his open door he shouted something in French at me and sped off when i went to get out the old wagon.

Eventually we found our camp site and set up home, It was only 2pm so a trip down the mine field of dog shit to the city was called for,
we needed grub and i needed cake,
" I LOVE FRENCH CAKE AND BREAD"
The town of Troyes is made up of derelict buildings old and new, like many other french city however this gives it that charm.

Streets after street of oak beamed buildings came and went
Then a spectacular cathedral tower loomed above us and upon turning the corner it was there,
One of three here and this was massive for a small town, nothing like Milan but still impressive

We had a good butchers around the town and set off back to our mobile home gingerly skipping over the broken paving stones and dog shit yet again.

Last full day in France tomorrow and deep down i will miss it

JUST LOVE THOSE BLOODY CAKES

 

Our final day in main land Europe and it was still pissing down,

We left Troyes after i rubber gloved up and emptied our crappa,
Bloody hell all that pasta and french stick has left with me with a vengeance.
When the contents of that bog hits the sea it will be a danger to shipping.

Wasn't to sure where to go on our last day but it had to be with-in easy reach of Calais for our ferry home,
I did'nt want to stay in the port as the idea of a load of non natives hanging from my under carriage or strapped to my roof pissed me off, Im not getting any fine for importing cheap labour for anyone

Karen suggested Belgium, Fucking Belgium..what happens there.
Euro robbing parliament, Tin Tin, bad drivers and that ballet dancer jean claude van damme.

We set off for Belgium and decided on Ypres,
This city was raised to the ground in the great war of 1914-1918 and according to the articles i had read about it there wasn't a single living tree in the town after both sides bombed and gassed the shit out of each other
I never did history at school and most of what ive learnt is from the discovery channel or similar programs on TV,
The teachers at school had the talent of making you fall asleep or consider slashing your wrist by making any subject they taught so bloody boring .

Imagine driving up the arse hole of a giant....Yep that was france, we had gusty winds from all directions and the stench today was .. to say the least.. Colourful,
The wafts of shite, chemicals, onions and cabbage seemed to mix and with every blast of wind that hit us they filled the cab of our motoring home .

More toll roads were paid for in blood and then about an hour from Ypres we went toll free again,
Bollox..big mistake, traffic jam after traffic jam, I know i moan about toll roads but they are the best roads to drive on here, fast and very very smooth with no hold ups

The Belgium border came and went and on our right we spotted a huge cemetery stretching as far as you could see, we pulled over and took a stroll around, there were over 3000 graves here and nearly half had no name....
Fucking hell these poor soldiers couldn't even get a grave for dying whilst saving king and country.

Ypres approached and Mr thick the sat nav actually took us to our camp site for the night,
The booking in system was fully automated so i had a little melt down before getting our pass to open the barrier,
The site is only a 10 minute walk from the center ,
The bogs and showers are out of order and its quite tight for parking, has no shop, no pool and no staff
If we had rocked up here for more than 1 night we would have turned around and fucked off again, not too impressed with this one

The city of Ypres was a shocking surprise, It is one of the most beautiful places we have seen, the smell of waffles and chocolate fill the air, music is piped through speakers along the high streets and the people are just so friendly.

We took a visit to the flanders museum and spent the next hour and half in silence ...
Now im not easily up set with things but looking at how this town had lost everything was eye watering,
Photos of young men buried in mud with limbs missing, men hanging from barbed wire fences and the old lady standing in a pile of rubble where her home once was .. this was moving and every one should see this.

Needing a cheer up i remembered that Belgium had some of the best beers so a hike to the nearest boozer was needed to wipe away that tear,
The first pub we came across had a mini museum in the cellar and was proper mental...so mental it was excellent
A few jars of the local falling over water later and we set off for some grub.

If your ever in Ypres take a trip to the Ypres burger bar in the town square, the burgers there are to die for...well recommended.

Whilst eating said burger a line of soldiers mooched past towards the Menin gate at the end of town
This is where the last post is sounded every night at 8, Its been going on for years.
We followed the now marching soldiers .. stopping for some chocolates on the way (be rude not to) and waited with quite a large crowd for the last post and wreath laying

As it had been raining a little i had my bright yellow full length brolly with me and this was used to prod a gobby little German in the back whilst i promptly told him to fucking shut up.
With the silence now resumed we listened to the last post and left thinking how lucky our lives have been.

This city has been rebuilt from nothing over the last 90 years and respect due to keeping it as original as possible

In the words of that great philosopher Vinnie Jones
" Its been emotional "