Our DIY camper made it through our 2nd week! That’s a pretty big achievement for us. And the reason? It’s the furthest we’ve ever driven in one trip in any camper van.
And we didn’t get toed back.
We did however get stuck in the sand once with some brittle tarmac underneath. Luckily a kind German man, Wolfgang helped save the day and we never needed to call our breakdown cover.
If you missed our first week’s adventure, then you’ll want to catch with my Part 1 blog post or my YouTube video here. A video gives you a better ideas of our journey, but it was still fun to capture some of my favourite shots for the blog.
So after last week, we then headed towards the sun in the Vendée, which I can reflect back now and tell you that this area was my favourite part of the holiday.
Above is where we caught a ferry to reach the area of Dune de Pilat. This saved well over an hour to our journey towards Bordeaux. Yes, it cost 30 euros, but we would’ve have to pay more in petrol and peages.
I think we made the best decision, and it was scenic route. And after a couple of undocumented nights in an Aire at La Porge, we then made our way to the Mediterranean.
What added insult to injury were that most of the beaches were dog-free zones.
In fact, we pulled up to a beach car park that would’ve cost 15 euros (just for parking) and again, dogs were prohibited. But we then found a campsite (camping l’espiguette) on the same beach that said otherwise.
Finding this campsite was the best part of our 2nd week. It had access directly to the beach, it was affordable, well equipped with toilets, showers and the most well stocked shops (above) I’ve ever seen. Even a boulangerie that never seemed to run out of baguettes.
Then, to give ourselves plenty of comfortable time to catch a ferry from Calais (bearing in mind, we were on the opposite side of France), we travelled north two days before our departure date.
Yes, it was a bit crazy to drive for 12 hours. We took it in turns, but this gave us plenty of time to explore Dunkirk (Dunkerque) before setting off.
If you’re interested in war history, then this is a must to visit.Not only does Dunkerque have German World War II concrete bunkers (now heavily graffitied, or covered in broken mirror), but some were originally built for the Napoleonic war. They were utilised and enhanced.
And if you walk in to the dunes, you’ll find almost a village of them (below) all tucked away and easily accessible. Most of them are obviously being used for rough sleeping.
After our full day in Dunkerque, we snuggled up in the van (it was very British weather) and decided to use a bit of mobile data and watch a BBC documentary on YouTube about what really happened.
Also, wild camping on the seafront didn’t seem to be an issue. There weren’t any signs saying not to and a handful of motorhomes had done the same.
But dog friendly on the beach, it was not. I say that, but no one adhered to it.
So, if you want to watch our full journey, then here’s our YouTube videos in two parts. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll try to answer as soon as I can.
Here’s to more journeys in our DIY Mercedes Vito camper van!