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-Joyful Experience-

  • Camping Sites I: London and France

    Now staying in campsites may not have crossed my mind unless for my wife. The thing about camping is that, it is less expensive and you basically pay for what you use. For example, you will pay for your tent, your car or caravan, the number of campers, internet, usually they come up to about 20-30 pounds per night, depending on the popularity of the campsites. This is considerably cheaper has compared to paying so much for the hotel stay which could bulk up to about 100-150 pounds per night. In our case, we bought a 4 man family tent (I think it is luxurious for us), sleeping bags, warm clothes and accessories which amounted to about 450 pounds in total from Decathalon and Go outdoors. Well, the good thing is we get to keep our tent and go easy on our expenses for our hotel stays. In total, we spend about 3,700 pounds for our month trip across 4 countries. Staying in a campsite was economically sound and for a change, nearer to nature and fun!!

    There are few good informational campsites websites that you may consider. They are uk campsites and ACSI eurocamping. They have all the key information on the operating period, cost, location, condition, facilities and services of the campsites. While researching for campsites, I was amazed at some of the available glamping campsites (luxury camping in france) which are as good as luxury hotels but they are based closer to nature.

    There are different types of camping sites. Some are suited for caravans more than tents, some near the city and some nearer to nature. Some offer tents (not a literal tent but like a room with three beds and power point), some offer nice double rooms to stay too. If you are fortunate, you could even consider staying in a tree house! =) it sounds fun right? We wanted to try it but it was not available during our intended period of stay.

    In London, we stayed at the Lee Valley Camping and Caravan site. It was situated next to the Lee Valley Regional Park and Golf course. So there, you are. It’s a win-win place if you play golf! =). This site was closer to the Edmonton Green tube station and that makes life easy if you are traveling by the tube to any parts of London. We love this place because they have a nice beautiful pitch for your tents and it makes lying down more comfortable. Their toilets are clean, with warm showers and have sufficient washing machines and dryers. They also have a children playground within the campsite. Unfortunately, other than the small store within the campsite, the nearest shops are near Edmonton Green Tube Station or there is a retail market nearby with IKEA and TESCO, if you could google for them, you should be able to find them. You could pay for internet use and it is coverage is well connected within the campsite. If I recall, a 3 day pass was the best deal.

    Next we move to Paris, where we stayed at caravanning des 4 vents which was about 15mins drive from Disneyland Paris. This was another beautiful campsite to stay. They had beautiful hedges to demark different pitches and they have dedicated and water supply too. They offered free internet use but restricted within the reception office. Make sure you have sufficient power as there are no power ports other than next to your pitch. In Europe, you will definitely need a convertor for your plug points. It was nice of the owner of this campsite to lend us her spare ones. We eventually purchased a multi-purpose convertor which cost about 15 euro (felt like a rip-off at the Milan campsite). However, we felt that the toilet was too airy. Especially, the shower was fitted with a fountain spray, which means that even though you are having a warm shower the mist formed will be cool. I think you know what I mean! And the lights get switched off at 12am. So you will have to work in the dark! =S. This campsite is also out of the main roads, away off some village and some roads are without street lights too!. So do not expect any TESCO or IKEA!! You could chance upon some nice bakeries but you must be prepared to go the distance. Oh bakeries.. I miss them!! =( ..having tasted the best croissants, éclair and breads in France and Switzerland... have totally changed my world of butter and bread.

    Next, we headed to Belvedere del’ Obiou. Now, I can’t emphasis how important that operating hours of the campsite is crucial. From Paris, it was about 612 km drive for 6 ½ hours via Route Napolean !!. With stops in between, we were on the road for about 8 hours at least. Apparently, they close their reception office at 10pm and we reached the campsite at 10:15pm!! Just 15 mins, and yes we were stranded at the gates of this campsites. Nobody answered to our call. We didn’t want to search for any other hotels nearby as they all seemed close at that time and the route was challenging. Imagine all of us ‘camping’ in our car, Peugeot 307 for the night. It was about 6 deg and windy. So we used our sleeping bags in the car!! Haha.. Grace carried Elias and I carried Eva in our sleeping bags. We tried to lower the car seats as much as we could. That was really an unforgettable experience! =S.

    Well this time, we wanted to treat ourselves slightly better. They had some available rooms to stay and we got that for 72 euros per night. It comes with breakfast. This campsite is a great location near the French Alps. If you enjoy the Alps and the nature around it, this is definitely one place you should go. You get beautiful scenery and you could even head to many of their outdoor expeditions. Some expeditions include Cave-exploring (Les grottes de Choranche), bridge walking (Passerelles himalayennes du Monteynard), Cable cars (Telepherique de Grenoble Bastille), Bunjee Jumping (Saut a l elastique). This campsite has nice private pitches, heated outdoor pool, children’s play area.

    After our time with the Alps, we headed towards the beach at Cote de Azur in the south east coast of France, specifically St Tropez. They had some nice glamping sites, (kon tiki – riveria villages). This are really the cool places to rest and relax, if you want to enjoy abit of luxury camping. This time we stayed at Campeole la croix du sud. This was quite a tough campsite for us. The ground was really hard and to make things worse. Say hello to mozzies!! My son got it worst. I guess this is to be expected since we are by the beach and the weather was so tropical about 26 deg. The toilets and washing facilities were normal. However, the internet was very expensive; it was about 3 euros for one hour! =S. The best part of this campsite, is its location to the beach and shopping areas – the world of fashion and design!

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TRAVEL BLOG

Vijay Ramalingam and Grace Chew were born and married in Singapore, and blessed with two lovely kids. We have always enjoyed traveling and have made numerous travels individually and together as a family. After mid-career, we decided to have a change in our professional lives. We wanted to see the world, experience and appreciate different cultures and make new friends across the globe. We wanted to discover new things and share ideas. We then quit our civil service professional career, sold away all our possessions and packed our life in a suitcase. Just then, Vijay has been blessed to do his postgraduate studies in Sheffield, UK. We are now enjoying the changes in our life!. Read more...

TRAVEL LOG

Our first euro trip. We started from Sheffield UK and visited London, France, Italy, Switzerland over a 4 week period. Specifically in France, we visited Paris, disneyland Paris, French Alps, St tropez. In Italy, we visted Milan, Rome which includes tour around vatican city and colosseum. We also visted Venice. We then headed towards Switzerland, where we visted the zurich zoo and the glass blowing in Glasi Hergiswill. While still exploring some nice scenic routes, jogging routes, places to relax and eat.

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