– by Eva
We’ve already told you a bit about us and our plans in the Intro, now I want to tell you a bit more about our trip. The short description is: save money, sell/give away almost everything we own, give up our jobs, get a camper, go travel as long as the money lasts.
We started to look for a camper while we were still living in Thonon-Les-Bains. Retrospectively, the second one we saw would have been the best match, but we hadn’t looked at many campers yet and I wanted to get a better idea first and look at some more to compare. We didn’t find one in France and with the move to Germany/Bavaria coming closer, we postponed our search to after the move. Unfortunately, this coincided with the Bavarian summer holidays and campers were way too expensive. Eventually we also started to look for campers in France again (what irony), and we finally – finally – found the thing closest to what we’d been looking for in Jura, France. We had planned to register it in Germany and keep our “base“ there so we brought it over, but in the end that turned out to be very complicated and expensive and so we decided to move our “base“ to the home of Ju’s parents. So we drove it back to France and apart from the huge waste of time we still made it all work. We had some changes made to the camper and were ready to go.
Originally, we’d been planning to start our trip end of August after staying with my parents for some weeks. As it turns out, we spent some months with my parents and then over a month with Ju’s family near Clermont-Ferrand. And even though it was frustrating not to be able to leave sooner, it was also beautiful and soothing to spend some time with our families after we’d been seeing them so little while we were living away from them.
Alors, since I’ve been fantasizing about the French West coast for forever, this was our first “destination”. We hit it at Saint Nazaire where we spent some time with Ju’s dad and now we’re slowly moving South along the coast towards Spain. It’s really beautiful here, with the ever-changing architecture and landscape. Auvergne in the middle of France with its volcanoes is wild and green with rough, grey stone houses, then the Northern bit of the coast is a bit plainer with a rocky coastline and towns with low white-washed houses. And the further South you go towards Pay Basque, the lusher and wilder the pine forests become and the wider the sandy beaches. In the South, in Landes, the typical architecture are wonderful wood-and-brick houses with colourful doors and blinds.
Unfortunately, since we’re in wintertime now it’s raining quite a lot. Or rather, the weather is literally changing all the time. But I guess that’s just what happens at the Atlantic, and with the strong winds and the clouds playing around the bright sun against a blue (and sometimes steel grey) sky, it adds its own charming character. We also had some really sunny days. Cold, but sunny.
And thanks to the awesome gift of Samira and Julian – a book called “I love the seaside: The surf & travel guide to Southwest Europe” – we’re discovering lots of nice places all along the coast and get some travel info as well. Hopefully we’ll soon be able to try surfing. For now, it’s so cold that I would rather not change my clothes for a wetsuit. J
The most fascinating sight up to now was the Dune of Pyla – 3 km long, 110 m high, 600 m wide – which we climbed barefoot and walked all the way to its highest point. From there we could see all the way over to La Pointe of Cap Ferret where we’d been sitting having picnic at the beach just the day before.
Since we’ll be spending Christmas with my family near Faro in Portugal, we’ll be steadily heading South, stopping a couple of days here and there whenever we feel like it and looking for warmer weather. So we’ll be sending you some beach vibes in a month instead of gingerbread kisses – but then Pastel de Nata is sooo good, I’m not sure I’ll be missing the Christmas cookies too much!