No sooner had Bryony and Claudia returned the keys for our long-term-test Benimar Mileo 283 to the office after their city tour to Bath and Bristol (February 2019 issue), than I grabbed them – husband Matt and I were determined to get to Continental Europe before Christmas to see some of the beautiful festive markets.
We’d been to Bruges at Christmas before and loved it, so decided to stretch our legs a bit further and go to Ghent.
On the way back, we’d follow in the wheeltracks of former editor Niall Hampton, who visited the lovely city of Ypres in the January 2018 issue of the magazine. I’d not tried out the Benimar yet, so it was the obvious choice.
It was also the obvious choice because of its brilliant, sub-6m length: busy cities would prove no match for it, as it tackled narrow routes and heavy traffic with ease.
After taking DFDS’s excellent Dover-Dunkirk crossing – and treating ourselves to a spell in the Premium Lounge (see https://ferry.dfdsseaways.co.uk for details on routes and pricing) – we arrived in France. Then it was only a 90-minute drive to Ghent, where we parked up at the superb aire on the outskirts of the city.
After a few hours spent wandering through the lovely Christmas market, we returned to the ’van for dinner and a couple of beers.
The rear lounge is ideal for relaxing in, but we chose to leave it made up as a comfortable double bed for the whole trip, instead using the front dinette to relax in. The flexibility that this affords is great when there are two of you and you don’t want to have to make up the bed each day.
We had hook-up on the aire, so we were able to make full use of the facilities on board, which include an AES fridge, a three-burner gas hob and a microwave.
After a comfortable night in the Mileo, we drove on to Ypres, this time parking up at a campsite outside the town before once again wandering in.
We enjoyed our evening at the Christmas market, and spent another warm night in the ’van.
By now, I was beginning to realise just how high the kit level is in this motorhome. In addition to all of that kitchen equipment, there’s also sat-nav, DAB radio and cruise control in the cab, an exterior barbecue point, a full set of cab blinds and an extractor fan above the hob.
After spending our final day exploring battlefields and WWI monuments near Ypres, we returned home.
Our trip was a success – thanks in no small part to the comfort of the Benimar.
After a comfortable night in the Mileo, we drove on to Ypres