This year we have finished almost as we started although in a slightly different location. We began the year down at Pedros in Almerimar and will finish the year parked up in La Línea de la Concepción at Puerto Marina.
We have visited France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Danmark, Wales, Scotland, Andorra, Gibraltar and Spain. Spent 28 weeks over in Europe, returned to the UK twice in preparation for Brexit, worn out 2 sets of front tyres. Sorted out our Insurance Green Card and International Driving Permits just in case, we needed 2 for our European travels (1947 and 1968 versions) both of which were obtained from Post Office for the princely sum of £5.50 without hassle or problem. Turns out our Green Card was issued automatically with our insurance and will be renewed annually.
We had intended to head for Sweden and down through the Baltic for the summer but health issues dictated that we return to the UK and our planned trip was curtailed hence our wander around Scotland and Wales over the summer.
Wales turned out to be a revelation despite the terrible weather. After initially heading for Brecon we headed into Ynys Môn and Holyhead and took it from there heading down to Harlech and Aberystwyth. Sadly we discovered that the northern end of Wales is not exactly Trundlebus friendly, Conwy in particular. We had intended to head down into The Gower but unfortunately the weather turned against us. We did however make lots of notes and have decided we will be back to explore further.
Trundlebus underwent some major repairs and upgrades (braking system and suspension, to get through the annual test and we once again. We also discovered that no matter which brand of tyres we install we only get six months wear out of them. We have tried Michelin, Goodyear, Continental and unbranded Chinese tyres. All are correctly load rated 121/120 something we strongly adhere to, but the price difference is amazing. The unbranded tyres are almost half the cost of the branded ones. They perform the same and last the same amount of time, six months. Road holding in all weather conditions is similar, we can’t honestly tell the difference.
Returning to Europe will be once again dictated by Brexit and the Transition Period which should end on 31st December 2020. So it looks like it’s going to be a summer running around the UK and returning to Europe in the late summer. After that we will be bound by the Schengen Area Visa rules, 90 days in any 180 day period. It will mean that our travelling will have to be creative but as always am sure we will cope and find somewhere to take us in.
In previous years we have undertaken sports fields, vineyard and stately home tours but this year we thought we would mix it up and throw a spanner in the works with castles. We even managed a return visit to Guédelon. We were last there 3 years ago and surprisingly it hasn’t changed. Obviously rebuilding a castle using traditional methods isn’t as easy as we thought. Schwerin was also a return visit but we managed to find several new ones, well new to us as they have been there for a few years, down the Mosel and Ruhr valleys including the amazing Schloss Lembeck near Dorsten. Many of the Castles we found were either privately owned, turned into restaurants or were no more that a couple of walls so hardly counted as a castle. Continuing the theme in Scotland and Wales where we visited Harlech, Conwy, Caernarfon and Caerlaverock, which by the way has a very interesting Aire.
Not sure what we will be choosing for next years theme but out of the current options “war cemetery’s” looks like a good option and a continuation of the CWGC sites we have discovered in both the Somme and Flanders.