As we approached the Spanish/ French border I wondered if we would need our passports to show but luckily we didn’t (they are locked away in the safe where they have been since we arrived from Calais). The campsites usually ask for our passports but we have been lucky in that they have accepted seeing a photocopy of them instead.
I was surprised at the number of shops and people milling around at the border. After we had gone through I regretted not stopping, although I didn’t really want to be tempted to spend.
Thursday 11th April
The sky is grey today and a bit chilly. The sort of day that reminds us of the good old UK.
On the main roads travelling through Spain, you get a lot of prostitutes standing at the side of the road at various intervals mostly next to a secluded farmers track (where a car or lorry can pull over and the girl get in). Most of them take a chair and sit watching the traffic, others stand and some, if they are getting a bit desperate for customers, hike up their tight little skirts to their waist showing off their thongs and walk up and down wiggling their bottoms at the passing traffic. Over the past few years, we have been used to seeing this in Spain but were really surprised to find them also doing it in France. I thought the French laws would have been a bit stricter.
On the road today we saw a prostitute that was even providing her own bed as she was parked up sitting in a really old camper van in a field facing the road. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. A little further down the road, we noticed several sitting in their cars again parked up in a field but it was very obvious they were touting for business. Makes you wonder how much business they do get.
We had to do a supermarket shop today. one thing we have noticed in both Spain and France is the queuing. They only seem to have 1 or 2 checkouts open even in the really big supermarkets. It’s really frustrating.
We were heading to Marseille but as we drove past Arles I noticed how old some of the buildings were and on looking at the ASCI book there was a campsite which was just 2km from the old town so we turned around and went back to stay the night here instead. L’Arlesienne, Pont-de-Crau, (page 340 ACSI book)
The campsite wasn’t really anything special. The toilets and showers are communal which I don’t particularly like. The swimming pool wasn’t in use and motorhomes had to park on the outside of the barrier which didn’t seem right. The actual pitch was ok though and a good size with electric. There was an old toilet block near the entrance and near the water fill up but I wasn’t sure if they were being renovated or pulled down.
There is a bus stop outside the campsite but we decided to take Rosie into the old town as we noticed on the map that there is an Aire de service in the town. We were lucky to find a parking space as a lot were taken up with showmen’s caravans. I just had to take a photograph of one of the trailers they were towing behind a caravan as it had both a washing machine and dryer inside. The Aire provides electricity and water so they were taking advantage to get some washing done.
We spent a few hours walking around and had lunch in the old city of Arles. During the 17th and 18th centuries, stately townhouses were built which are part of the charm of the old city, where dozens of buildings, some dating back 2000 years, are listed as Historical Monuments (Roman and Romanesque buildings are listed as Unesco World heritage monuments. There is The Amphitheatre which was built around 90 AD, The Roman Theatre, Late first century B.C, Saint Trophime’s Cathedral 12th. And 14th centuries magnificent Romanesque facade, various museums, Van Gough’s Bridge and much more. If you are ever in the area it is worth a visit.
We left Arles about 2.30pm to head further up to Six Fours Les Plages. We passed through Marseille and although we told Tom Tom we didn’t want any toll roads it looked as if she was sending us on one. Luckily Ray realised and took the alternative route on the DN8 to Toulon. What a good decision that was. The scenery was truly spectacular in fact we didn’t want the journey to end. We passed through some really pretty villages with mountain ranges in the background. We passed by the OK Coral theme park, log cabins in woodland areas. It was really beautiful.
Eventually, we came back out from inland to the coast with lovely beaches. Sanary-Sur-Mer was really busy in fact the busiest seaside town we have seen in all of France and Spain at this time of year. We were heading for an Aire on the port that was in our campers stop book but was disappointed to find it closed as they were digging it all up supposedly improving it. Luckily we had noticed an ASCI site in the area called Les Playes which we went to instead.
The site was signposted off the main road but once you had turned in and down the road a little it was confusing at one point whether to go right or left. We didn’t want to take the wrong turn as the roads were narrow and turning around would have been difficult. unfortunately, TomTom told us we had arrived at our destination before we actually got onto the site.
The campsite is nice with a nice pool area, sun beds and outdoor exercise machines at the side of the pool. The campsite owner is very friendly and took time showing us places on a map and telling us when and where the two markets are in the area over the weekend. The only problem with this site is that you have to sit outside reception to get a wifi signal and it is painfully slow.
As we sat outside Rosie with a glass of wine enjoying the early evening sun we heard English voices coming from the terrace below and noticed that it was a couple similar age to us from New Zealand. We got chatting to them and asked them in for drinks the following evening.
We had a really lovely evening and it was so interesting talking to them. We found out that Linda and Milton had ordered their New Swift motorhome online and flew over from New Zealand to Preston to pick it up and start their year trip around Europe. They set out last August. Their son married a Spanish girl so they went to the wedding in Girona then carried on their trip. They are also travelling into Italy so we may bump into them again during this trip. We have swopped email addresses and will befriend on Facebook. One place we would love to see is New Zealand so we were asking about it with a view to maybe hiring a motorhome and doing a tour of New Zealand and Australia in the future.
Saturday and Sunday we walked into Six-Fours-Plages And Sanary It only took about 20 minutes to walk in and was lovely. Sunday afternoon was quite hot so when we got back we spent the afternoon around the pool. We were putting off coming into France and Italy because we didn’t think the weather looked too good on the weather app but since we have been here we have been very pleasantly surprised and this afternoon it was about 25 degrees.