My daughter had just moved house and half term was upon her, so I valiantly offered to take her two children, aged 8 and 10 off her hands for a few days. After brief discussion ensued and a trip to France, to go camping as a well-priced option, was decided on.
I didn’t let on, but I’d never been camping, ever. In fact I’d avoided it as a schoolgirl and Girl Guide, and when friends suggested it way back when, I had flatly refused. Still there’s nothing like your grandchildren’s greatest desire (this week anyway) to make a Granny change her mind.
I consulted a few brochures and was very pleasantly surprised, whilst tents are available, most campsites these days seem to awash with all kinds of accommodation: mobile homes, wooden lodges or chalets, even simple apartments. So a two bedroom mobile home was booked, despite the moans for an actual tent. A grandmother who has seen luxury on a campsite was not going to turn her back on it!
It must be said that even the tents come equipped with far more than I’d imagined and our choice of mobile home had pretty much everything we’d got at home – microwave, TV, spacious fridge-freezer, the works really. And very nice furniture too, all matching as my granddaughter pointed out. Unlike home possibly being the unspoken words.
I spent quite a while deciding on just which campsite to pick, we wanted most of the amenities on hand as hours in the car each day doesn’t appeal. And having got to France I wanted to relax a bit. So swimming, sports, entertainment and a restaurant were needed, and do you know, there was a good choice, several places ticking all the boxes. We eventually chose Camping les Deux Fontaines, Raguenès, Finistère, Brittany South, France. The pools and slides were a definite plus for the grandchildren and even more exciting for me, was the beach, just 15 minutes’ walk from the site. And just a few kilometres drive away, Pont Aven where Paul Gaugin lived. It is a well- known fact that Granny ‘does’ art, so a few hours at an exhibition or museum would be tolerated. And of course the wonderful Brittany crepes would work as a bribe!
Before departure, daughter and I made some lengthy lists of what to take. And the joy of taking the car then became obvious, short of leaving the children behind, I really could take almost everything we wanted. Books and games just in case, cricket bat, laptops, even favourite DVDs. My sturdy swimsuit and the sewn up towel arrangement for changing on the beach, it takes a suitcase by itself, however modesty and dignity are preserved. A sharp knife and veg peeler, some audio books for the journey, my twenty year old phrase book in the glove compartment and yes, the phone chargers with adapters are not forgotten. I read up on driving in Europe, filled up the jalopy and we were ready for the off.
We had an uneventful journey, lots of stops on the way to try French motorway services, they are infinitley better than the UK and arrived all in one piece. Amazing. The little darlings were very impressed and I felt seriously pleased with myself. Brunehilda, my trusty satnav and valued companion had done her stuff admirably although I must confess to buying the relevant maps too, just in case she had a hissy fit once out of the UK. They were not needed which is just as well, navigation not being a strong point!
Everything was as promised in the Comfort plus 2 bed deck, in fact it would’ve slept 6, with 2 in the living area, so we had plenty of space. The shower and loo were just fine, compact and manageable, with extra facilities off the twin bedroom. Marvellous! The kitchen was nicely equipped, with a useful fridge freezer: wine and ice cream quickly installed. In fact we spent almost no time inside at all, even on the one overcast we headed for the beach and messed about with sweatshirts on. The evening entertainment was good hearted fun, not the height of sophistication, but a kids’ disco and karaoke made us smile! Perhaps my favourite moment was when two sleepy faces, tucked up in bed, smiled and said ‘We love camping, Gran!’ And thinking about it, I rather like it too, lots of outdoors, lots of time together and heaps of fun. Job done!
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Canvas Holidays for camping trips to Europe.
This article was written for Silver Travel Advisor by a grandmother who prefers to remain anonymous!