Day 2 – Cycling into Combourg & a wander around old St Malo

We’re staying just down the road from Combourg – the nearest town to La Chapelle aux Filtzmeens.  In keeping with most towns in this area it is mainly medieval in style with so many ancient buildings.  We kept forgetting to look up though, and probably missed loads of it.

We cycled there!  Into a headwind and uphill most of the way (very grateful for the extra power!)  The next challenge was to make the bikes safe – which we managed to do outside the tourist office – unlike any tourist office we might see at home!  If you look carefully at the picture below you can see our bikes chained up under the tree 🙂

Combourg Tourist Office

There’s a beautiful chateau here, but we tried to visit at 12.30pm, just after they’d closed for an hour and a half.  Then whilst staring through the bars that were keeping us out we noticed the long list of things that weren’t allowed in the chateau – including backpacks.  That was us excluded then!

We went off to cycle round the lake and have our packed lunch by it’s shores, before heading back to the site.  11 1/2 miles complete we were done in and needed to sit with a nice cuppa before even thinking about anymore activity!

At this point Calv announced that he was craving fat chips – yes already!  I said he’d have to make do with a curry, and decided to get on with making it ready for later.

Having finally agreed to go to St Malo old town rather than Dinan we set off (we also gave the SatNav another chance, even though we knew the way, to see if it actually does work – it does!)

We parked outside of the old town because the bridge was closed when we got there, and walked in (by which time the bridge was, of course, open).  When leaving we watched it open to let a few yachts into harbour.  So we wandered in and  spend a good couple of hours walking around the ramparts and the old lanes and alleyways.  I’ve got to be honest, the cathedral with no lighting bar a couple of small electric lamps, is quite possibly one of the loveliest I’ve been in, very tranquil.

St Malo cathedral

Another 3 1/2 miles walked and we really are jiggered now, and hungry.  That’s why we ate a whole French stick with (and before) our curry (as well as rice).  Oops….


  • Found the camera charger (which we thought was lost)
  • Found Calv’s wet jacket (I’d put it in the inside pocket of mine for ‘safe’ keeping – we’ve spent the last 2 days thinking it was lost…)
  • 11 1/2 miles cycled
  • Didn’t get lost once all day….
  • Found the right satellite 1st time – so could get English news


  • Leaving my FitBit behind on charge when we went to St Malo – Calv refused to come back for it!

Weather – overcast (I think we saw the sun for about 5 minutes all day), and cold.  Never mind we trek further south tomorrow when we set off for Talmont St Hilaire which is just south of Les Sables d’Olonne.



7. More. Sleeps…..

It is exactly 7 days to the minute that we will be leaving these shores for our extended adventure around France.  And to remind me Calv has just sent me a few pics of the ferry we’re going on leaving port – what a pair of saddos.




We’ve had so long to plan for this trip, but as ever most of the work can only be done within a couple of weeks of leaving. Continue reading “7. More. Sleeps…..”

Our route around France

I’ve just spent 1/2 hour creating a map with big dots where we’re staying and linked with a wonky red line – being so useless technically though I cannot work out how to insert it into this post….

So I’ll simply list our destinations (boring, I know, but it’s the best I can do in the circumstances – I must watch those tutorials…)

30/5 – Ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo

31/5 – check into 1st site: Domaine du Logis – just a few miles from St Malo (for visiting Mont St Michel)

Mont St Michel

2/6 – 2nd site: Yelloh Le Littoral, Talmont St Hilaire (3 nights)

5/6 – 3rd site: Camping le Canadienne, cap Ferret (West of Bordeaux- 3 nights)

8/6 – 4th site: Camping du Lac, Lourdes (3 nights)

The Sanctuary at Lourdes

11/6 – 5th site: Camping l’Arize, Arieges (2 nights)

13/6 – 6th site: Ma Prairie, Perpignan (4 nights)

17/6 – 7th site, an overnighter: Luberon Parc, Arles

18/6 – 8th site: Esterel Camping, Frejus (10 nights)

28/6 – 9th site, an overnighter: Camping du Lion, Bourg St Andeol

Bourg St Andeol
Gorge at Bourg St Andeol

29/6 – 10th site: Chateau de l’Eperviere, Gigny sur Saone (4 nights)

3/7 – 11th site: Bois de Boulogne, Paris (3 nights)


6/7 – 12th (& last) site: Chateau de Martragny, near Caen (2 nights)

8/7 – Ferry home



The joy of a spontaneous Sunday afternoon…

Today started with a swim, followed by some more sorting out of the van.  Then, having sat out in the sun for an hour or so, we decided to head home.

Once there we decided to go out for a bike ride.  Having checked my sister was actually in we set off – 4 miles later we arrived for a fantastic spontaneous afternoon of drinking.  Very enjoyable it was too 🙂

The bikes made all the uphills and cycling into the wind very easy and we even enjoyed the 3 mile (! – different route) ride home which we had to manage before it got dark (because I couldn’t remember how to turn the lights on…)

Oh well, another great weekend almost over – back to work tomorrow.

Yesterday’s Stats:-

Steps:-                 6,648                                                                                                           Other Exercise:   6 miles cycling

Today’s Stats:-

Steps:- 7,652 (and not quite finished yet…!)                                                               Other Exercise: 40 lengths swimming;   7 miles cycling

Day 1 – Another Rainy Windy Day in France…

Is it the curse of the Philmers or were we just unlucky today?  The day started out fine but by the time we had found the campsite (finally) and were ready to go out, the weather was getting ready to turn (only we didn’t know that when we left, so left without coats, or even a proper warm top in my case..)

Let’s go back to the beginning.  We had a really good crossing, but after a very early night (for which I’m now getting a lot of stick) we were awake by 5.15am.  First off the boat we had to pull over when the SatNav took it’s time to pick up a signal so watched those who knew where they were going sail past us.

We were soon on our way though following the SatNav – which we assumed knew where to take us.  Little did we know it was going in completely the wrong direction and we would have to resort to other methods to find our campsite.  Oh dear 😦

Once we found it though, what a wonderful surprise!  Domaine du Logis is a perfect delight – and when we arrived it was sunny!  It is full of Brits though so sort of feels like we’re at home.


Once set up we set off for Mont St Michel.  (We got lost again on the way…) By the time we arrived it was blowing a hooley!

Once parked we took the free shuttle down to the Mont (it really was too windy to walk all the way), and spent a good few hours exploring.  All as I remembered it and loved it just as much.

A couple of drinks now consumed and I’m about to make us fish finger sandwiches!

Game stats: 1 all (I won Mini-golf, Calv won at pool)

No. of times lost – at least 3

Weather – shocking




First Timer – Let’s get started

This is the post excerpt.

Today I updated my Facebook status:-

Sat here with a glass of cider, in the beautiful sunshine getting excited, and ready, for our upcoming trip – might start work on the blog tonight…!”

So I thought I’d better make a start.

The main reason for starting a blog is our year off travelling around the UK (mostly) in our motorhome in 2017.  Before that (30th May 2016 to be precise) we’re off to France for 5 1/2 weeks.

So I thought I’d get a bit of practice in before next year (bearing in mind I have no idea what I’m doing…)

Currently we’re making sure that everything is in place before we leave.  We’ve spend the past couple of months starting every weekend agreeing that we must get some ‘stuff’ done.  So, here we are with just over 3 weeks to go, and we’ve finally got started!

Okay, so we’ve done a few bits and pieces.  Mainly buying in extra provisions – such as rice and high juice.  Yes, I KNOW they have shops in France but last time we were there we found that it was impossible to find certain items, or when we did they were insanely expensive (for instance, I got a hankering for chocolate spread – no, I don’t know why either – and although we found it, it cost about £4)

Today, Calvin has made a space in the back cupboard to hang a couple of storage containers in – we can keep shoes, loo rolls and other provisions in there.  He’s also modified the bike rack so that we can fit our new bikes on without scratching them.  He really is very useful!

Oh yes, of course, we bought new bikes a few weeks back.  Electric bikes… meaning we can go a little further on them (rather than me always wanting to turn back before Calvin does).  I’d taken a couple of months to finally make the decision to buy.  Calvin decided in 2 minutes flat while I was making a final decision on which bike to buy.  So, we’re looking forward to making good use of them on all those cycle paths & routes in France (particularly in the Pyrenees).

So far we love them (went out for a short 6 mile ride this morning actually before coming over to the van).

Tomorrow we’ll carry on emptying out the cupboards and getting rid of anything that really isn’t needed.  I’ve already filled up 1 cupboard with books, and another with DVDs.

Next week we’ll give the van a good clean, and finalise the modifications to the bike rack.  We will also check if we can get the NOW TV box to work as long as we’ve got WIFI – if anyone knows if this is likely please feel free to share 🙂

Finally I have just 3 weeks left to lose all that weight that I promised I would lose some months ago.  I’ve failed miserably so far, so must try harder!

In my next post I’ll share our route through France.