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Our Travel Adventures

Welcome to the Adventures of Larry and Connie Farquhar.

Week 3 - 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure

England-Week-1-2-of-7 Our First Night in the Campervan
Week 3 Travel Route

Rental Campervan

Sunlight Campervan

When I started researching this adventure, I was looking to rent a campervan. This type of travel has its pros and cons. 

Pros: A rental camper allows us the freedom to go where we want, on our own schedule. It is easier to have everything with you, without lugging suitcases around. We can choose to eat in the camper or go out for a meal. I like having a variety of snacks and "road food" available at all times. The cost of the rental camper and campgrounds is less than renting a car and getting hotels each night. We don't need to look for a bathroom, as we're carrying it with us.

Cons: We have to plan our own route and places to visit. We need to periodically take time from traveling for fuel and grocery shopping (we actually enjoy the experience of shopping in other countries). Meals aren't prepared for us (unless we eat out) and we need to do dishes and clean house (no maid service).

We ended up renting our campervan from McRent, located near London. The cost was about $5225 (USD) for 6-weeks. This comes out to around $125.50 (USD) a day. Of course, we need to pay for our own diesel fuel. Diesel has been around $7.50 (USD) a gallon. In the past week, we've driven 680 miles and have spent around $200 (USD) for diesel. This "Sunlight" van is built pretty well and is on a Fiat Ducato chassis. The small diesel engine with automatic transmission is working just fine.

We choose a smaller "campervan" on this trip, as the small "motorhome" we rented a couple years ago in France was a hair too large. The van has been much easier to park and maneuver on the small roads. The van is less than 6 meters (18 feet) long, no wider than a regular van, and is diesel. We rented a van that sleeps 2, but they gave us the same van with a pop-top that also sleeps another 2-3 people. We just don't use the pop-top. It has a self-contained wet bathroom (shower is in the same room as the toilet). However, don't use the shower. We use the nicer ones in the campgrounds (campsites). The van has propane 2-burner stove, water heater and heater. The small refrigerator runs on 12volts and is big enough for a few days' food and drinks. It's compact, but we've learned to get around just fine in it (although we've both hit our heads a few times).

Unfortunately, there have been a few minor issues with this rental van. 1) We can't get the propane hot water heater to light. We've left it on for 12 hours and it still won't light. 2) The kitchen sink sporadically won't turn on. It takes 7 - 10 tries to finally get this faucet to work (maybe). We have water and the bathroom faucet works fine. 3) The gas stove won't stay lit. We can get the hobs to light by pressing in the control knob, but they won't stay lit when letting go of the knob. Our work-around is to use a brick on it! We place the brick on the knob to hold the button down. Walla! The hob now stays lit! Unfortunately this work around limits us to only using one burner. Inconvenient, but not impossible to use (as long as we don't need the heater). European campsites have clean-up stations where we can wash the dishes.

London, England

Lee Valley Park
First meal in the van.

August 25, 2023 - After picking up the van, we spent one night at Lee Valley Park in Edmonton. This allowed us to go the store and pickup groceries. $43 for 1 night (USD) included showers, electric and wifi. It was a little learning curve to get used to driving on the left side of the road, in a right-hand drive van. I've driven on the left side in several countries. It just takes a day to get used to it again. Of course, city traffic didn't make it any easier.

Salisbury, England

Stonehenge Camping and Glamping

August 26, 2023 - Our next stop was near the historic (and famous) Stonehenge. We stayed at the Stonehenge Camping and Glamping for 2 nights. $61 for 2 nights (USD) included showers, electric and wifi. The campsite (in the US, we call them campgrounds) was nice. Nothing spectacular, but it met all our needs. We drove by Stonehenge several times while in the area. There was always a traffic jam as we drove by, with everyone taking photos. We didn't spend the $60+ dollars to get out and walk up close to the stones. We've been here before and seeing them from a short distance was fine with us.

The second evening, we drove to a nearby Pub, The Bell Inn. Connie chose this restaurant because it was in the village of Wylye. (Back in our Geocaching days, our team name was Wyle E.) We had to start off our English trip with a beer, cider, fish & chips, and chicken Parmesan. Wonderful atmosphere in a very cute town. We spent the day driving around quite a bit, taking in the beautiful countryside and small villages. Of course, driving was still a little challenge, but the van handled it all very well.

The Bell Inn
Sights from driving around
Sights from driving around
Stonehenge
The Bell Inn
Sights from driving around
Sights from driving around
Dinner
The Bell Inn
Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Bath, England

Stoney Littleton Long Barrow
Bath Caravan Park

August 28, 2023 - Our next stop was a 45-mile drive to spend a couple nights at the Bath Caravan Park. $72 (USD) for 2 nights, included showers, electric, and wifi. Although it was only a 45-mile drive, it took us several hours. We made a slight detour to visit Castle Combe. We didn't know what to expect. We just saw it on the map and headed for this "castle". We parked and walked the same direction as the crowds. Oops!  This isn't a "castle" as we know it. It's just a very scenic little town. No worries. We still enjoyed the walk and viewing this scenic location. 

We then detoured to visit Stoney Littleton Long Barrow. This historic site is a Neolithic chambered tomb. Dating from about 3500 BC. Wow! That was an experience. Watch the attached video and you'll see what I mean! I wasn't sure we were on the right road, or any road. But we ended up getting to the parking area just fine and made the short hike uphill to view these burial tombs. They are over 5500 years old! Visitors could go in and investigate the chambers, but we didn't feel comfortable crawling around. Pretty interesting, and a scenic drive, although a bit stressful.

The campsite was satisfactory for our short stay. The next day, we found our way into downtown Bath to visit the Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths. This abbey was originally founded in the 7th century but has been rebuilt and expanded over the centuries. The old town square in Bath is pretty neat. It was full of tourists, and free guided tours of historic Bath. We also had downloaded several self-guided walking tours of Bath. We did our share of walking. I even rented a scooter for one long walk, as I was tuckered out. Connie kept on hoofing it. We had lunch at the historic Sally Lunns, famous for her Bunns.

Sally Lunn Museum and House
Sally Lunn Museum and House
Sally Lunn Museum and House
Sally Lunn Museum and House
Sally Lunn Museum and House
Sally Lunn Museum and House
Sally Lunn Museum and House

Ross-on-Wye, England

River Wye Caravan and Camping Park

Augst 30, 2023 - Next on our driving itinerary was to spend the night at the River Wye Caravan and Camping Park. $36 (USD) for 1 night, including electric and wifi. Showers were an extra pound ($1.20 USD).  The campsite was small and nothing spectacular, other than it being on the river Wye. It looked popular for those on holiday and wanting to play on the river.

On the way there, we made couple detours. First off was a detour to Gloucester Cathedral. This cathedral was founded in year 679. Talk about an old church! We visited here, partially because of the very beautiful and historic cathedral, and partly because many scenes in the Harry Potter movies were filmed here. We coughed up $16 (USD) to take a guided tour. LOTS of information about the cathedral and its history. It's pretty amazing to see structures-built thousands of years ago. This abbey was originally founded in the 7th century but has been rebuilt and expanded over the centuries. We did see many of the locations that Harry Potter was filmed at.

We then headed to the town of Stratford Upon Avon to view the birthplace and childhood home of William Shakespear. Our eldest daughter Leslie is a Shakespear freak, being a high-school English teacher. Since we were nearby, we had to stop by and get her a souvenir. We enjoyed walking around the town square and having a cup of tea. Then it was back on the road for our nights stop, almost directly on the border of England and Wales. But this wasn't the end of our excitement for the day - you'll need to watch the video to see what else happened on the road.

Shakespear's Birth House
Traffic Jam
Near Shakespear's House
Shakespear's Birth House
Near Shakespear's House
Shakespear's House
Traffic Jam
Near Shakespear's House

Swansea, Wales

Swansea Marina Tourer Park

August 31, 2023 - Our final stop for this first week of our driving phase was in Swansea, Wales. We spent one night at the Swansea Marina Tourer Park. $39 (USD) for 1 night, included showers, electricity, and wifi. This was located at the marina in downtown Swansea. The campsite was great but getting there made us drive through town. But it wasn't bad. The marina had small boat locks for the boats to transfer from the safe harbor into the sea. Since it was raining and in the middle of town, we didn't do much here, other than catching up on some chores. But this was our first stop in Wales! This is a new country for us!

Location (Map)

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Week 4 - 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure
Week 2 - 2023 "Lands" Epic Adventure

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Thursday, 18 April 2024