Is there a collective noun for motor homes or campervans? What would you suggest? A drive, a herd, a colony? A caravan, a wagon train, a nuisance? What about a meander, a journey or a wander? A hold-up, a fleet or a flotilla?
Whatever you would like to call them, when we arrived in Honfleur in the Normandy region of France, we came across the largest number of campervans that I’ve ever seen in one place! There were literally hundreds of them.
What draws so many “kings of the road” (hmm, that would have been a good blog name for us!) to this pretty harbour town? Well I suppose part of the reason must be that they are made so welcome, with loads of overnight spaces at low cost, but surely that couldn’t be the only reason?
Well I have to say, the reason I think that it is such a mecca for travellers is because it is such a delightful harbour town with a stunningly beautiful port.
Overlooking the old docks on three sides there stand distinctive high, narrow, timber-frame and slate-clad houses.
At the bottom of the tall houses there are fantastic restaurants in nearly every building spilling out on to the dockside, interspersed with tourist shops selling all those things you didn’t know you needed such as stripey t-shirts, fishermen’s sweaters and all kinds of headgear.
Down by the newer docks we were very taken with the tiny fishing boats and of course all the yachts – there were sail boats everywhere!
Wandering round the town away from the harbour we found some lovely, narrow laneways, lots of delightful architecture and many more great restaurants.
It was a very short stay in Honfleur but we will definitely return there to see more of this enchanting port.
From Honfleur it was just a short hop to Calais where we boarded the ferry for the English port of Dover.
Our first stop in England was with our good friends Mike and Sheila in Bournemouth. It was great to see them again and also to meet up with their guests from Canada, John and Doris who we had a great outing with to Corfe Castle and Swanage.
Corfe Castle was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century and was one of the earliest castles in England to be built at least partly using stone – when the majority of castles were still being built with earth and timber.
During the English civil war it was one of the last remaining royalist strongholds in southern England but in 1645 it fell to a siege by the Parliamentarians. In March that year Corfe Castle was purposely damaged on Parliament’s orders.
After a few days in Bournemouth we visited various family and friends, first in Suffolk, then in Cambridge, Beckenham (South London) and East Grinstead before heading to a small village in Hampshire called Tichbourne where we were able to overnight in the car park of the delightful thatched pub, the Titchbourne Arms.
To give you an idea of this very English rural spot, we overheard one customer saying to another at the pub entrance “I went back to collect the partridge from the table but they weren’t there. I think Nigel must have picked them up.” Yes, it was very much green wellies, waxed jackets, cocked rifles and gorgeous looking gun dogs running underfoot.
Inside the cosy pub there was a distinct smell of wet dog but that didn’t spoil the excellent partridge pie that was served or the delicious “real ales” selected from the wide range on offer!