2024 – A Year Later…

A whole year without venturing outside the UK, unheard of for us! The past 12 months have been spent looking out for the three nonagenarians – Penny’s Mum, Dad and Auntie (92, 95 & 99 yrs ) and Mike getting a Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis and associated ongoing treatment. This was interspersed with Jessie our collie dying in August, then Dad having a stroke and Auntie moving to a care home in December.

With everything a bit more stable now, we have escaped for a month to France in our camper. We’ve no particular plan in mind other than choosing the warmest places where we can explore on our bikes and take in the scenery and fresh air.

RIP Jessie


On 3 April 2024 we set off through Le Tunnel and drove directly to the Champagne region. We chose a village called Trepail on a hilltop surrounded by vineyards for our first stop. It was chilly but sunny and a walk amongst the vines showed they were still dormant.


Using the Ventusky App we discovered that the Alsace region was forecast to have exceptionally warm weather over the next few days, so we headed there and found a campsite at Obernai which was perfect – flat, mountains in the distance, secluded pitches, hot showers, friendly staff, just outside an historic village with cycle routes abound through vineyards, all for €20 a night. Perfect.

The warmer weather had enticed the vines to shoot and the blossom to burst, fields of daisies and long thick grass was everywhere.

Cycling along the wine route took us through small ancient villages with brightly coloured houses and windows decorated for Easter aux Hansel and Gretal.

Unlike other regions in France, the wines are named after the grape variety – Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewürztraminer – Penny’s favourite.

The Alsace region, bordering Germany in the east where the Rhein is the frontier, has been annexed by Germany several times over the past few centuries. It was part of Germany during WWII, during which time the Jewish population was despatched to the safety of southwest France. We met an 84 year old man, formerly the Mayor of a village we cycled through, who spent the first 5 years of his life in the cellar of his home, where his family hid from the Nazis.


We took the train from our campsite village Obernai to Strasbourg where the modern buildings of the European Parliament sit on the outskirts of an otherwise ancient city.


A pretty town south of Obernai – we took the train to get there.

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