RV Roadtrip From Peniscola to Cannes
Our visit to Peniscola was entirely too short and I was a bit envious of the retirees spending the whole season there. But, time was of the essence and we were still racing the Schengen visa so onward and upward!
Setting off, our first stop would be back in France. We wanted to avoid Barcelona again, protests due to the separatist movement could potentially add hours to our journey and we weren’t keen on getting caught up in any of that. With that in mind, we piloted the rig towards Camping les Casteillets. Actually we were headed towards a different campsite but the roads were undergoing construction and getting there in our camping car was completely impossible. It was quite the confusing affair as we exited the highway and plodded along resulting in a difficult u-turn. We weren’t alone though, a Swiss couple towing a caravan ended up in the same predicament. One thing to note, there is a very skinny road down into Camping les Casteillets. You will make it, it will be fine, but only one car can travel at time so use caution. Again, slowly but with great enthusiasm!
After the chaos and crowds of some of the camping in Spain, Camping les Casteillets was really nice! There was the Swiss caravan and just a couple of other campers in camping cars and staying in the cabins. Unfortunately the chill didn’t translate to Sebastian and he nearly caused a serious accident to a gent on his bike and the little yorkie accompanying him. Mortified (us), Sebastian spent the rest of the time on a very short lead.
Not really looking forward to Aix En Provence, this was still our next destination. Our friends had been completely underwhelmed by their vist and so we had pretty low expectations. As it turns out, location, location, location.
While the larger towns in the region probably do leave much to be desired, the small villages were very quaint and were quite nice to visit. We found the camping at Camping Le Devancon in the village of Peynier to be very enjoyable, though again, it was quite a skinny road getting to the campsite.
The camping was a little distance from the village but there were nice wooded trails to get us into the village center. One of the days we walked in was market day and there were nice fruits, vegetables and flowers on offer. There was also a Chinese family selling spring rolls, wontons and other foods. I sampled a few and was quite delighted with the results. Chinese food in rural France, who knew!
The local butcher had a decent selection of other food and wine so we were able to easily provision fo the couple of days we were there. The local patisserie was on a bit of holiday but someone in the village was making a daily journey to keep everyone flush with baguettes. I imagine we could have easily gotten in on the order if we were the bread eating types.
Up next was Cannes and the infamous French Riviera. Our destination was Camping Les Cigales on the very edge of Cannes. From here walking and a bus and train would get us easy access to Nice, Monaco, and any of the other spot on the Riviera as well. Piloting the camping car to those destinations was just asking for trouble!
The camping was quite nice and the location was excellent. We also met a British couple that had recently spent time in Croatia and we were able to swap stories and gain valuable intel about our future prospects and potential pitfalls (like not getting a ticket for the toll roads and paying a massive fine – we make sure to always get a receipt as a result).
Next up was an enjoyable stroll along the French Riviera, just enjoying being. It really is a beautiful part of the world. We stopped at a small stand selling french fries, wine and beer for an afternoon cocktail and a bit of baking in the sun.
The next day was Nice and here we made a grave mistake. From the camping it was a 40 minute bus ride, not altogether unpleasant, we rather enjoyed a bit of site seeing from the frequently stopping bus. Sebastian was tucked in his bag and it was interesting and I wasn’t the one driving the narrow route. The bus ride took us to the train station where we quickly figure out the ticket machine and hopped the next train to Nice. And then the mistake.
The immediate neighborhood at the Nice station was a little more rough that we were expecting but in retrospect wasn’t too bad, just unexpected. We were hungry and it was past lunch time and there were some schwarma/kebap/gyro shops but we opted to keep walking to the beach in the hopes we would find something there on offer. And thus began the downward spiral.
Yes, there were restaurants open. Yes, they served mostly the same food. Yes, it was all horrifically overpriced and mostly not gluten free. No, we could not get over our frugal nature to just give in and pay 15 Euros each for a bad tourist meal. Moods darkened and we couldn’t fully enjoy being in Nice. Hungry and cranky we didn’t get anything to eat until the late afternoon, which is way too late for Shani! And the kicker is we stopped at one of the schwarma shops by the train station (and ate on the train headed back to the camping)! Lesson learned, choose a restaurant before food crash occurs!
One of the last things we needed to deal with in Cannes was getting Sebastian his EU pet passport. Essentially this continues the official paperwork trail we started in the States proving he is disease free and has continued his rabies and other vaccinations uninterrupted. We also needed to get confirmation that the second microchip inserted in Abu Dhabi complied with EU standards. We found an awesome vet within walking distance of the camping and without much hassle we had his passport in hand should we need it down the road.
Stay tuned as we head to Monaco for the day, head into Italy for a visit to Venice and finally exit the Schengen for a visa reset in Croatia.