The Caravan whines

Going from England to France with a caravan takes a long time. If you are a wine lover the time it takes to get there, despite the whines of your kids in the back, is thoroughly worth the wines you will enjoy upon arrival. >From your home town you will probably have a long slog driving to get to a channel port for the ferry, or the tunnel crossing. Once the other side of the channel everybody drives on the wrong side of the road, which is a bit tricky at first but sort of comfortable after a while.

Your English front-seat passenger will be very nervous at first as well. As it's often only the kids who speak French, many English families have to rely almost entirely on 11/15 year olds to translate the road signs, menus and caravan-site instructions to their parents, usually after a long whine from the kids. "Are we nearly there? Why do I have to do all the talking?" and many others.

You may wish to tour the vineyards and taste your way around the Loire valley at your leisure. It's easy if you have a caravan, a decent map of caravan-sites and Chateaux in the Loire valley, and a wine guide. Your hope is that perhaps you can find something to do for the younger family, whilst slipping away with your wife for a day's wine tasting and sightseeing. If you have a caravan this is possible.

You can unhitch your car in your temporary "home" at a caravan-site near your favourite chateau, preferably one which has lots of activities for juveniles, and take your wife out for the day and the real purpose of the visit. On your eventual return in the evening, having sampled several vintages, your kids will probably not whine. They have possibly come across a couple of French children who they have been having fun with all day, been invited back for coffee with their parents and maybe had their first beer. As the caravan is next door to yours it would seem churlish not to accept the invitation to dinner with the parents, so you take one of your bottles of Loire wine with you. A few hours later you may wonder where the children have disappeared to, so you stand up, perhaps a little groggily, to find out. Ah! Yes! They found a bottle of Loire wine too and are sleeping it off in your caravan.

Your new French friends have told you about a couple of little known vineyards off the beaten track and have marked them on the map for you, along with the location of the nearest caravan-site. You agree to rendezvous at that place the following day in the evening and go to the obscure chateaux together the next. Naturally the kids whine in the morning.

It's their first proper hangover. Because the wine and food the day before were good, you have no hangover, and any whines go over your head. Another week of this and you may even start to learn a bit of French for when the kids are too hung-over to read the road signs. Interested in caravans and motor homes? Try this link for more of the same .

By: Barry Hooper

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