So, we leave the Chateau in Bonnac la Côte behind and wave goodbye to toilet doors that I can rest my knees on. We now head further South towards Carcassonne. We first saw Carcassonne travelling back from our 2016 trip. We stopped at an Aire and there it was looking like some far off Disney castle. As we munched on our lunch of bread and wine (that’s a lie, I was driving there was no wine consumed) we both said to each other, “We’ll visit that one day”. Actually Mandy instructed me that I would one day take her there!
Here we were 2 years later heading to that far off Disney castle in a town called Carcassonne. All I knew about it at the time is that it’s a Citadel inside a Citadel, and I didn’t actually know what a Citadel was (or even if there is one inside another?), but I was about to see one inside another one!
After a good night’s sleep we’re heading towards the A20 to Limoges, from there it’s about a 5 hour drive. We normally do 2 hours maximum in one hit before stopping off at an Aire, we’ll occasionally stretch this to 3 hours.
On the journey we go through a few tolls (peage in French). Before we went on holiday be purchased a Liber-T tag and this worked perfectly every time. This means we don’t really need to stop at the tolls, there’s a lane that allows you to pass through at 30kph, if you’re brave you don’t even cover the brake and approach it as if it isn’t there, hoping it will open.
At one point on the journey we were using viaMichelin’s sat nav, but ended up having to stop using it as it took us off the autoroute into some small village and almost into a school car park! I have no idea why it did this, but we then started using CoPilot, this allows you to enter the size of you caravan and tries to avoid smaller roads.
With this unexplained detour we were running low on diesel and I don’t like getting anywhere near empty! Anyway, I drove and drove hoping we’d find a fuel station, in the end I resorted to the Car sat nav, found a POI of a fuel station on the way and noticed it was 34 miles away. The car said I had 60 miles of fuel left, easy.
The roads were very hilly, up and down, up and down, the diesel left in my tank was taking a hammering. Miles to fuel; 20, left in tank; 25. So I’d done 14 miles and used 35 miles worth of fuel. Gulp! Eventually we made it back onto an “A” road. On the A road it read 14 miles to fuel and 20 miles in tank. I’m not going to make it! I started wondering where exactly I was, how I was going to contact the recovery services in France. OMG I have never been so light on the gas pedal.
Sat nav said service station was 10 miles away, fuel gauge had stopped telling me how many miles I had left and was just say “Get zee fuel #dumbkopf, crazy caravanning swine” (it’s a German car)
Honestly, I have never been so panicked! I was sweating, my mouth was dry and I stopped telling Mandy how much fuel we had left, I might have even started whistling (this is, apparently what I do when I’m pretending not to be stress and thereby letting everyone know how stressed I am!). We eventually made the fuel station. The rest of the journey I filled up every time I reached half a tank. With the caravan on the back the fuel economy obviously dips!
So, fuel drama over with, toll booths negotiated we arrived at the site, but not before a slight sat nav lack of confidence on our behalf. About 3 miles from the site the sat nav took us down a single track road. By this time my nerves were shot to pieces, I had visions of me having to do a 3 point turn with an 8 meter caravan and a 5 meter car, oh come on haven’t I suffered enough?
I needn’t have worried, it lead us the right way. My last job was to reverse onto our pitch as the mover had broken. This too was stressful, as the pitches were close together, but with some reversing and forwarding with my eyes closed we managed it. Yeah go Team CaravanVlogger !
We were staying at Camping A l’Ombre des Oliviers http://www.alombredesoliviers.com/en/ which is about 5 miles away from the citadel at Carcassonne, which by the way is an absolute must see. In part 3 I’ll show you around the place (Carcassonne that is). For now, sleep was on the cards, at least for a couple of hours!