After working in the hospitality industry for nearly 15 years and running a pub for five years, my husband Sam and I decided we’d had enough. We sold up, bought a 1993 Pilote Galaxy, put our belongings in storage and set off for life on the road.
We were engaged for 10 years, but got married on impulse last year, in Cornwall, where we were working. Our first motorhome tour would be our honeymoon. There are four of us in this marriage: Sam and I, plus our two 12-year-old moggies. Our ultimate goal is to take an entire year off work to travel, but until then we plan to use bursts of agency work to fund a series of four-week tours.
En route to Poole and the ferry to France, our 26-year-old Pilote’s gearbox failed. And even though we didn’t expect to spend the first three nights of our honeymoon in Bridport bus station car park, it was an interesting couple of days, with a visit to Dorset's Palmers Brewery and a murder mystery walk in the rain.
The G&A Commercials garage mechanics were able to locate and fit a gearbox in three days – no mean feat for a 1993 Talbot Express base-vehicle. They wished us bon voyage, adding: “It’s only a problem if it stops leaking oil.”
So, we crossed the Channel and from Cherbourg we drove the Pilote south to Moncontour, a medieval town with cobbled streets and castle walls, near St Brieuc in Brittany, to spend time with my parents. The local cider from nearby village Tredaniel is dangerously delicious and perfectly accompanied the pork pâté and Coquilles St Jacques that were the stars at our dinner table.
We went to Mont St Michel, which never fails to impress, and bought the local delicacy Agneau de Pre-Sale (salt meadow lamb).
Next we drove to Paris, booking into a pitch at the Indigo Bois de Bologne campsite, which is set in a large park beside the River Seine, right in the heart of Paris. We spent two days seeing the famous sights of the French capital, before stumbling across one of Paris’s secret bars – accessed via a walk-in fridge door behind a pizza restaurant. With an expert mixologist on hand to create magical cocktails in the secret bar, we found this an amazing experience.
From Paris, we continued to Luxembourg, staying on an aire just outside the city centre, before moving on to Esch-Sur-Such, a quaint village alongside the River Sauer. Esch sits below the ruins of a castle and when lit up at night it looks stunning. The local wine is not dissimilar to that from Alsace and only costs €3 a bottle!
We carried on to Belgium to see Ghent and beautiful Bruges, where we spent €40 on luxury chocolates for special occasions – only to eat them all by the following night!
In no time at all, we were on the ferry home to Dover. We were almost home when a warning light came on. We’ll get the Pilote Galaxy checked out before our next trip, this time to Germany – we’re totally hooked on this amazing lifestyle.
Like others before us, a motorhome tour has changed our lives for the better.