On 18 April we left NZ to start our second season of roaming around Europe in Biggy and Twiggy. After flying into Paris via Dubai with Emirates we endured (no other word to describe it – hard seats only and not even a decent cafe) 3 hour plus wait at CDG airport before taking the TGV to Nîmes in the south of France close to where the van is stored. After about 34 hours of travel we felt somewhat shattered arriving in the evening, only to be told by the taxi driver at the train station that our hotel was too close for him to take us. 200m on cobbled streets carrying 4 check in bags (including 2 small golf bags) and carry on luggage seemed a very long way. Luckily we had booked 2 nights at the hotel so were able to spend a pleasant day exploring Nîmes before picking up the van.
The Roman arena (top photo) was definitely worth a visit, also the Maison Carrée, a well preserved Roman temple.
After stocking up on yummy French cheeses and other goodies at the market, we picked up the van. Everything was in good condition- no sign of dampness anywhere thank goodness. And we were off straightaway to our first campsite near Nîmes . Not the best campsite but it was close to the Hymer agent where we had to take the van that afternoon to see if we could get the electric step fixed. No luck with that – they said it would take 2 weeks, possibly longer to get the parts. Unbelievable – I am sure we could get parts from Germany in a shorter time from NZ. The only alternative was to remove the step until we get to Bad Waldsee in Germany in mid July for the annual habitation check with Hymer.
The Camargue beckoned us the next day. It is a large area of flat, often swampy land where, surprisingly, quite a lot of rice is grown. The highlights for us were visiting a bird sanctuary which attracts large numbers of flamingos and visiting the walled town of Aiguës-Mortes where we enjoyed, you guessed it, a good lunch with some local specialities.
That night we managed to get into a bistro attached to a well known Michelin starred restaurant. The gazpacho soup, of Thai spiced cucumber, and fish main course were excellent.
Next stop – the Vaucluse