Travel Itinerary and Reviews Part 10 – Schlüchtern, Belling, Luxembourg and Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer

We crammed some more alpacas into the last two weeks, and even added a dog, 2 cats and 4 chickens to the mix. They are unfortunately not literally crammed into the van with us. Instead we spent 5 days with them on their farm in Germany.

After leaving the Czech Republic last week, we returned to Germany for a long weekend to do a wonderful house sit on a farm. As we were in central Europe, we then headed into Luxembourg for a few nights before we headed back into France, driving south to the coast.

Highlights and Lowlights

Highlights

  • We got the great opportunity to spend a long weekend on a farm, minding 10 alpacas, 2 cats, 4 chickens and a dog. Very random and very fun
  • We’re heading towards some warmer weather. Its good to get some sun on the bones
  • Being back beside the sea is so refreshing. It really just hits different

Lowlights

  • I have to readjust to the sun and the brightness it brings – I was exhausted and headachy for 2 days
  • We had to buy new tyres for the van which were really expensive winter tyres and it took visits to 3 different mechanics to get them

Below, I have listed some of the extra facilities available at the campsites we’ve stayed at. Each campsite also had the basics – toilets, showers, sinks for dish washing (a god send as we don’t have running hot water), laundry facilities, bins, grey water disposal, chemical toilets and fresh water.

Snoozy Schlüchtern

Campsite Campingplatz Hutten-Heiligenborn
Cost – €15 per night for two people including electricity. Showers were at an extra cost of .50c
Facilities – No extra facilities
Accessibility score – 2 / 5

See here for further detail on my accessibility scoring system.

We needed a stopover spot and Schlüchtern provided that. We had a house sit organised for the Wednesday and we had 2 days of work to do so we picked this spot for its cheap price and close proximity to our next stay.

A white van is parked in a corner grass pitch, surrounded by trees in different shades of brown, yellow and green.
Our pitch in Campingplatz Hutten-Heiligenborn

We got a pitch right next to the bathrooms, sinks and bins so from that point of view, it was pretty accessible. However the steps in and out of their bathrooms were dreadful. I love vintage vibes but these were a bit much for a public space. A strip of white paint would have made them 10 times better.

The bathroom steps at Campingplatz Hutten-Heiligenborn

Things to see and do – we did nothing! We literally worked for 2 days and then left. It was in the middle of the German countryside so there were many nice walks and a cute local town to explore if you had the time.

The Best time in Belling

This stop was a much anticipated one for us. We had this house sit organised since August I think! It was a chance to spend time on a farm with 10 alpacas, 4 chickens, 2 cats and a dog. It was in the middle of the German countryside, in a tiny village called Belling.

Apart from looking after the animals and doing some local walks, we did very little else. I mean, they provided so much entertainment and fun, we didn’t need much more! Alpacas are curious but nervous creatures. They were always interested in us but never wanted to get too close – see below pic! We made good use of the full kitchen though. I made some jam, my birthday cake and homemade pizza. The Driver treated me to a birthday lasagne too – it was divine!

Aoife is standing facing a herd of alpacas who are various shades of brown, white, black and grey. They are in a grassy green field. Aoife is wearing a blue top, green leggings, black welly boots and a black cap
Our Alpaca family in Belling

Lovely Luxembourg

Campsite Camping Schützwiese
Cost – €23.50 per night for two people including electricity
Facilities – wi-fi at reception
Accessibility score – 2 / 5

Another working stop; we spent 4 nights here including 2 days of work. We also had a day of relaxing and chilling around the van which we really needed after the busy weekend.

The number 42 is spray painted onto the ground.. The ground is concrete and meets the edge of a grassy pitch at the top of the image
The pitch numbers at Camping Camping Schützwiese

It was OK from an accessibility perspective. It was a small site so it was easy to navigate. Once again, the bathrooms didn’t have a sign on the outside, but they did have good signs inside. They also had a big low contrast step right outside the door, which was a bit hard to navigate. The pitch numbers were pretty good though.

Things to see and do – Luxembourg city is beautiful, with lots of shopping, places to eat and inner city walks. We went to the casemates park for a wander, which was beautiful to see. We then went to dean&david for a delicious lunch.

Wild Camping in France

Campsite Here
Cost – Free
Facilities – none
Accessibility score – 3/5

After we left Luxembourg, we headed back into France, on our way down south. This spot was nice for one night. It was essentially a car park beside a hotel and a lake. We arrived at night, and then left early the following day so we didn’t spent much time there.

Accessibility for wild camping is interesting. On one hand, its very accessible as we spent so much time in and around the van, we don’t need much from our environment. On the other hand, you can be in the middle of nowhere, with no one around; so if there was an emergency, or you needed to get out in a hurry, it could be a bit more problematic. This was a car park, so the ground was totally flat and we had it more or less, all to ourselves.

Sunny Saint Maries-de-la-Mer

Campsite Camping Paradis La Brise de Camargue
Cost – €21.25 per night including electricity
Facilities – pool, snack bar, onsite shop (all closed due to low season) and beach access
Accessibility score – 3 / 5

After 8 hours in the van, driving south, we finally arrived at the coast. By the time we arrived, we were only fit for bed after such a long day. Its so beautiful down here. Blue skies, beaches, waves, and a quiet campsite. It has access directly to the beach and a cycle track. The town is a 10 minute walk away too. We hope to go an explore that this evening.

An image of Aoife's feet in black swim shoes, looking out onto the sea. The sea is bright blue and the sky is blue also.
Post – swim pic at our local beach

We got a map at reception, the whole site was signposted and the staff were really friendly and helpful. There wasn’t much else to speak of though so it’s grand regarding accessibility. Its pretty well laid out so its easy to navigate.

Things to see and do – We couldn’t resist a cycle by the sea to take in the views and visit the wild flamingos. We left our campsite and cycled 10km to Lighthouse Gacholle and back again. We then had a glorious swim in the med! In November!

A herd of flamingos are standing in a small lake surrounded by grass and trees
The local flamingos in Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer

I feel like this last fortnight has been a bit quieter than the last few, and it definitely gives a different perspective to vanlife – apart from the alpaca farm, we really did very little. I think a couple of weeks like this are ok though, I definitely need to take the foot of the peddle every now and then to recharge. We’ve covered a lot of road miles as well, so that doesn’t allow for much exploring. We’re heading to Andorra and Spain over the next two weeks so we will hopefully get a bit more time to enjoy our surroundings.

Thanks for reading! Aoife, x


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