A Travellerspoint blog

June 2022

Awaycation France - Day 2

Up firstly at 0530. Reggie widdle time when on holiday! At home he sleeps until after 0700! He barked and hopefully didn't wake up to many people. He has a pathological dislike for pigeons.

Back to sleep. 0730 he wanted his breakfast!!! 0815 he wanted a tom/poo. So then we were all up. We collected our bread order and had breakfast. By the time we had tidied away everything to make it "ship shape and Bristol fashion" as my Dad used to say it was nigh on 1000.

The site had emptied quickly. All fellow campers from 10 to 12 gone.

We set off. Again preferring to pay the A26 toll to get the 400kms to the next stopover. Two stops so far for Reggie breaks. Has lunch at an Aire near Troyes.

It has been raining since early morning. Miserable but we are travelling and are watertight!

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The next stop should be Flavigny, a Beaux Village. Won't be fun in the rain. But we aborted as the rain got harder. The forecast shows that this will last throughout the area until the early hours.

Resetting the Satnav showed an arrival time of 1909, or after reception had closed. As we bombed down the A6 Claire called ahead and they gave us the barrier code. So we could pick a pitch and let them know in the morning. With that relief we stopped at the Carrefour in Beaune and bought stuff for dinner and breakfast.

We arrived at the site at 1949. The code worked and we rocked up to pitch 91 in the rain. After dinner we will walk Reggie and maybe have an early night. We have stuff like wine tasting tomorrow.

Salad for dinner. Kronenbourg beer and Gris de Périgord cheese.... Followed by tartelette pommes...

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Posted by InvictaMoto 18:43 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Day 1

On the Road

With Suki almost packed the night before it was almost just us and Reggie to load aboard. It was already sunny when we left a few minutes after 8am.

The journey to the shuttle check-in took 9 minutes. At first it wouldn't take our ticket and we were directed to Pet Check-In where they do Reggie's checks and issue the travel "hanger" to go on the interior mirror. Even though we have a large box behind the driving cab we still have the mirror.

Once checked in we went for a coffee and a loo break. The queues for coffee were long and our train was called for loading. We sailed through UK passport control and then we're directed to security to check our lpg was off

A mere formalité and we were queuing to get on the 0950 train. We were quite near the front of the train with only a coach and a couple of other vehicles in front.

The train was 15 minutes late leaving. Not unusual in our experience.

On arrival in France our first stop was Picard in Coquelles to get a pack of "Dogador" for Reggie. The ridiculous ban on us importing meat and dairy products to the EU means we can't take his usual food. A one kg tub lasts three days. The fridge and freezer in Suki aren't big enough for a 15 day break anyway. We bought one Dogador. If he eats it okay we can search out another Picard.

Next stop was nearby Auchun to get supplies for us. Bread, butter, milk (also banned!) and some meat and cheese for a lunch stop.

Once on the road we decided to take the A26 we needed to go carefully as we approached the toll booth. The Emovis tag beeped and we were through the barrier. Phew.

We decided to stop at the Aire de Rély for lunch. By now it was well after 1400. A coffee from the café and we ate the baguette and roast porc. Very nice to eat French bread again. So fresh.

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Back on the A26 I upped the pace to 100kph to keep ahead of the trucks that seem to be about that speed. The exit toll booth north of Péronne bipped with plenty of room to spare... About half a metre from the barrier!!!

As we were on the way down. The radio chimed in. Very loud. We set it to the wavelength for the Ohrex and had voice instructions! Perhaps the cable inside the dash is enough?

On arrival around 4pm we found that reception was closed. A note said find a pitch and come back at 5pm to check-in. We had booked a pitch with an electric hook-up. Could we find one. Could we buggery. Loads of free pitches. None with leccy. It looked like a free for all! Or as the Pub Landlord says of French organisation - chaos.

We were about to give up as 5pm arrived. They gave us pitch 13. The hookup was between 11 and 10. It needed both our electricity cables stretched to the max to reach the point. Pitch 10 had a tent on it not using the electric!

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We then adjourned to the bar. Met up with a helpful other British camper from our walk around the site looking for a pitch. Had a beer 🍻 and a chat

Dinner was pizza. It came from a machine operated by a company called Pizzi. It takes 30 seconds to deliver a cold pizza and three minutes for a cooked one. Amazingly it was really nice!

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We ate outside and as rain was forecast we packed away the tables, chairs, mat and the awning. By then it was time to set up the bed, take Reggie for his last widdle and then settle down for the night.

Posted by InvictaMoto 10:48 Archived in France Comments (0)

Awaycation France - One Day to go

So today the new mirror arrived around 3.45pm. I was in the van and off the Fairways at Dymchurch to get it fitted. It was a good job I didn't try it myself as it was more than the ten minute job it looked like.

The one they sent looks like a longer arm than the one they took off. It went on with loads of fiddling with the wiring. The biggest problem is that the original mirror also contains the radio aerial! The new pattern part doesn't. This means that the radio is dead. At least the cd player will work.

What this means is that the Ohrex Satnav can't give us voice directions at it uses FM radio to transmit!!! Bowlocks. Another problem came to light. Even though all the left indicators work, there's error on the the instrument panel. It's not major, more a pain in the butt.

At least I can see perfectly now and feel confident about driving in France with traffic passing on that side.

We have been packing stuff in the van ready for the "off" tomorrow morning. Even though the train is at 9.50am we are going to leave a out 8am to get through check-in and the pet check-in for Reggie. With luck we might get an earlier train....

To get around the no-talky Ohrex I have a Bluetooth Cube speaker that also has a wired sound connection. All I need is to get hold of a longer jack to jack lead for it. In testing it worked fine if not a little loud. But siting it on dash is difficult with the short lead I currently have. Hopefully I can get one soon at the hypermarket.

Posted by InvictaMoto 20:56 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Two Days to go

With two days to go before we are due to be on the Shuttle at 0950 there are a lot of things to do.

We are at the mercy of DPD to deliver the new mirror assembly tomorrow early enough to get our neighbour John to fit it in the garage in Dymchurch. I could probably do it myself but I want it done properly. Fingers crossed it arrives early!

Besides that we have been packing stuff into it, clothes etc. We have canned food that we are allowed to take to France. Of course we have Reggie's dog food to load up too.

The chances are if the mirror arrives that Suki might be away for part of the day. Worst case scenario is that we have to have it fitted on Wednesday morning and delay the Shuttle. Until tomorrow I won't know what to do. If it arrives in time we are in clover. Otherwise I'll have to call Eurotunnel to get the crossing put back.

Posted by InvictaMoto 11:50 Archived in England Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Five Days to go

What could possibly go wrong?

On the positive side we collected Suki from the storage compound at Daleacres in West Hythe. We went to Sainsbury's and filled the fuel tank with a 5p off voucher.

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Then the negative cropped up. On the way back I was on the left of the road on the A20. A log sticking out of the hedge broke the left mirror. Not just the indicator, but the whole thing.

I have taped it up. Checking local dealers and there is no chance of fixing it before we go to France. So we have two weeks of taped up mirror. To say I am angry is putting it mildly. Maybe try a dealers in France?

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Another positive or rather two is that both Abbeywell Vets in Folkestone and the Vets in Abbeville have emailed to say that the AHC is ready to collect on Monday and that our appointment for Reggie to be wormed prior to our return to UK is confirmed.

Things can only get better?

Oh. And Reggie's "Lost by Hermes" bed arrived. Plastic sack it came in was torn but otherwise it seems okay..This one is for the MoHo.

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I have ordered a new mirror unit from eBay and it should arrive Tuesday. Getting it fitted might be a problem though.

Posted by InvictaMoto 14:24 Archived in England Comments (0)

Ohrex Satnav Upgrade

What a palaver!!

I took a backup of the folders on the Satnav last night and saved them to the laptop. There is only one main folder called NAVI.

Secondly, this morning, I downloaded the massive 6.6gb RAR file from the link Ohrex send in an email with instructions in a PDF.

Simples. After 6 hours I finally managed to get one RAR downloaded, but only after multiple failures when it was part way through.

Then I connected the Satnav by the supplied USB cable. It's USB-mini and luckily they supply a cable. Everything I have now is either micro, USB-A or USB-C.

Only then once the RAR file is downloaded and unzipped (7-zip) can you format the satnav drive! Yes format.

Once formatted then use Windows to copy the NAVI folder from the unzipped folder to the satnav. Copying at 2 to 3 mb/sec means that over 7gb unzipped will take a while.

Much easier with the TomTom where you connect and let if check for upgrades....

It took way over an hour to copy from the laptop to the unit.

Once it had finished I disconnected it, switched it off and on and saw that of course all my favourites and history had been deleted. It would after formatting the drive!

I sent Ohrex a message on Messenger from their FB page. I got a quick reply to copy the SAVE folder from inside the NAVI folder from the backup to the unit.

I turned it off and on. The history appeared but favourites was still blank. I did the old switch it off and on routine and the favourites link lit up. Phew. It means I don't need to enter the co-ords again!!

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Now I have done it once it is simple enough. It's just the download that could be the breaker!

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:05 Archived in England Tagged ohrex_satnav ohrex Comments (0)

Staycation West Country 2022

We always like to go away for our wedding anniversary and for many years our destination was to Spain. We have also used the timeshare that I bought off a friend of a friend in 1993. We have had some good trips away and have used it to go to Florida and Arizona as well as France.

So now that we have a motorhome we may try and combine the timeshare and the motorhome into a few trips. I have quite a few years I have "banked" with (RCI) that we need to use. Due to covid we have already had to pay the annual maintenance and haven't been able to go! I am also £180 in charges in credit. Maybe that is something for 2023?

Anyway, back to Staycation West Country. Plans are being formed to go away and stay at a couple of sites in Somerset. Land of apples and cider. Plus Cheddar cheese. I have booked two sites in Somerset already to take us up to and over the wedding anniversary weekend.

Now I need to extend the time away to make it worthwhile. Where next?

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:18 Archived in England Tagged staycation caravan_club staycation_west_country camc Comments (0)

Awaycation France - More Purchases!

After the fortnight away in Devon and the campsite to and from we decided that the folding camping chairs we had and have used for years are simply not comfortable enough!

So we bought new ones. https://www.justkampers.com/ft0060-kampa-dometic-sunset-xl-high-back-chair.html This was the cheapest we could get them even with added postage.

We don't have any decent camping shops locally or within reasonable driving distance and so have to use mail order.

Claire also wanted to add a little privacy when we are parked up on a site and maybe have the awning out. So we saw that lots of other MoHo people had windbreaks and so we had a look around and decided on this one. Like everything Vango who make the tent we used for years, buy their stuff from China. No longer "Made in Britain" for a UK company. https://www.charlies.co.uk/vango-family-windbreak-sky-blue.html

Another purchase was a mat. It's made of recycled and woven plastic. it's to put out under the awning and as it is plastic is it waterproof. It will give Reggie somewhere to sit or lie when he is tied up to the van when on site. https://www.habitat.co.uk/product/9605437

On top of that I have joined a couple of groups that support motorhome or camping-car parking in France and Europe. Most importantly was Crit'Air sticker arrived from the French Government. This entitles road users to enter the main cities, including Paris (not that I want to in a MoHo!) and other clean air areas. The main route to avoid Paris on the non-toll route to the West takes you through Rouen. Although you don't really go all that near the the city centre, there will be a clean air zone from September 1st for all vehicles. I filled in the application form as best I could and sent off the scans of the UK V5 log book. They then check your answers and give you the appropriate sticker based on your logbook! Including postage is about €4.60! Not the rip-off £15 a day that the clown i London charges.

Crit'Air bans polluting vehicles when necessary. The London ULEZ allows them in as long as the owner/driver pays. How does that improve the air we breathe?

If you need one use the link above. There are loads of scammers that Google prioritises over the official Government site.

They are numbered 1 to 5. On any day they can restrict access to Paris to certain numbers. 1 being the least polluting and 5 the highest. There is also a really polluting group of vehicles that don't get a sticker and are banned all the time! I was amazed the Suki got a 2.

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All that was left was to check the height for the Road Lords satnav app and also for the Ohrex onboard satnav. Luckily the builder's rule I have is 3m long. From The top of the tv aerial to the ground is 2900mm. A little more than it says on the Majestic site at 2820mm. That 80mm difference is over 3 inches in our measurements!

Oh. Plus I bought some mosquito repellant candles. Can't be too careful where these little b'stards are concerned.

Meanwhile Claire has bought more mundane things. A mattress protector to out over the cushions when the bed is made up, and some sheets. Expecting it to be warm in France. This week at home it's been mid to high 20's and only dropping to 16° at night. The weather in France and Spain much hotter and drier.

To be honest. I am happy with it dry and sunny and around 20 °C!!!

Posted by InvictaMoto 11:05 Archived in England Comments (0)

Suki Storage Sorted!

Since we bought Suki, she has either been on the driveway and locked up (with steering bars etc to make it more difficult to steal) or we have been away in her.

If the thief wants your vehicle bad enough he will have it away. All you can do it slow them down or make it so that it is easier to go and steal someone else's!

We had thought of storing her when we aren't using her at a local (alleged) safe site or maybe at JC Leisure where we bought her and where she has been holidaying for three weeks recently.

Instead, we dropped into the local Camping and Motorhome Club site about a mile from home and arranged for her to stay there until November 7th. We can go and release her from captivity whenever we want. I'll take her tomorrow and she will be there until the 27th June or so. Then we'll load her up for the France trip.

:)

Posted by InvictaMoto 13:09 Archived in England Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Les Beaux Villages

One of the places we have always liked to visit when on holidays in France.

So I have been Googling away to locate those near our planned track around France.

https://www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/fr/nos-villages/beynac-et-cazenac/
https://www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/fr/nos-villages/flavigny-sur-ozerain/
https://www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/fr/nos-villages/parfondeval/
https://www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/fr/nos-villages/chateauneuf/
https://www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/fr/nos-villages/semur-en-brionnais/
https://www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/fr/nos-villages/salers/

We can't visit all of them but need to check out the individual web site and see what looks best. Plus to see whether there is any camping-car parking within walking distance of the village. So far there has been some successes but a few of these might get the chop due to the inability to park and walk to them.

Each of these is in the area where we will be going or along the route between one campsite and the next.

Fingers crossed.

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:04 Archived in France Comments (0)

Suki is back!

A little dirty after the trip to Devon and she has been sitting where I left her in Rye for the best part of three weeks.

She drove really nicely and I was soon back in the swing. The new spare key works perfectly. It's good to have two complete sets of keys. You never know when you will need them!

Being a 2013 model Peugeot she is fitted with a radio and CD player. Our favourite radio stations seem to be on DAB now. I doubt it's worth the expense of changing it for something more modern.

I have grown bored with BBC Radio 2 out out and have no time for their 1, 3 or 4.

So we shall see what it can pickup that's not BBC's output.

As well as a clean inside and out we need to get diesel. With it going up almost daily I think we need to tank up.

Nice to have her home.

Posted by InvictaMoto 12:18 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Awaycation France - Planning Started

It's just twenty days until we set off for France and our first ever MoHo adventure across the channel.

With the price of fuel going up and up we will need to compensate by eating more frugally and that means in the van or cooking in it. Fewer lunches in restaurants and more visits to the likes of Carrefour and Auchun for produce. It will probably be a good thing as far as food goes to stick more closely to our Slimming World plan!

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We have to collect the animal health paperwork up from the Vet's in Folkestone on the Monday before we travel but that should be a mere formality.

The van is currently in Rye at JC where they have been sorting out the missing spare keys. As I was in Czech for a week at the end of last month it seemed a good idea to let them have it and keep it on their secure parking lot until we are ready. Of course, we need to get it and clean it, inside and out, and then try to get the scratches off the side windows. Scratches caused by untrimmed roadside bushes and trees! Hopefully the stuff that was recommended by other MoHo owners will work and make it look more presentable.

I have also uprated the satnav/gps capability by installing the Road Lords navigation app. It is programmable for the dimensions of the vehicle and unlike the Ohrex we currently have it doesn't assume we are in a lorry. They can be used together when we need assistance.

Dog food? We are still unable to meat or meat products into the EU. We have the same food safety standards but there you go. But you can take fish! So we have ordered fish mince from Romney Raw to see if Reggie will eat it. If he does we can take enough to get him by for a day or two. Then we can buy some French raw mince from a frozen food chain called Picard. That's what he really did after retiring from the bridge of the Enterprise?

The first stop will be the Picard and then we head down to Peronne to the south of Arras. I was going to try and save money where possible and try to avoid toll motorways. But I think for the first day we need to suck it up and take the A26 and A1 to nearby the town and then come off. With the Emovis tag fitted in the windscreen we should be able to progress without having to mess with manual booths and credit cards or cash.

We have only one night at the site there before we head down into Burgundy and the campsite at Santenay. Two nights there in the heart of the Montrachet vineyards.

Recently I have downloaded a few apps and have signed up for a couple of camping systems. we might not actually use them on this trip to stay overnight, but France Passion also has places where you can park up and camp overnight, if need be, in exchange for buying produce etc. These might prove useful when budgeting for meals as stops along the route.

So that's it so far. The countdown began when the calendar clicked over into June.

Posted by InvictaMoto 22:41 Archived in France Comments (0)

Czech Trip 2022 - TomTom Hell

When the TomTom fails you every day...

I ended up direct messaging TomTom on Twitter as they seem to have shut off the link where you can log a ticket. They also seem to think that a public forum is the best way to resolve problems their customers and users are having. I also posed the problem there and have not seen a reply from anyone yet.

In response to Twitter, they suggested I reset the 410 from the menu in the settings area. I have done this. This meant I had to login again, and enter the basic setup, language and re-link to my phone. The maps and the included routes were still there. I need to make a few changes to the settings because when I disconnect from the laptop it shuts down.

So I need to get out on a ride and see if the problem exists or whether it has been fixed doing the reset. Any TomTom Rider experts out there?

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:05 Archived in Germany Tagged czech_trip_2022 Comments (0)

Czech Trip 2022 - Day 8

Bastogne and Home....

The last day started with breakfast at Carpini and then we packed and left. We had paid on arrival and so with reception unmanned we simply packed the bikes and left. I had re-arranged some of my luggage to make sure that the snow globes were in the top box and surrounded by clothes. I also wrapped each one in a clean sock.

Leaving Carpini

Leaving Carpini

We set off for Bastogne. Phil at the front and me at the rear. It took about 55 minutes to get there and we parked up in the special bays for motorcycle. All you need is our own padlock or a disc lock like I used.

Moto Lockers at the Museum

Moto Lockers at the Museum

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It was then that Giles couldn't find his wallet. he had everything out and it was nowhere to be seen. The last time we had paid for anything was the restaurant about 10pm the night before when we all paid €22 for our pizzas and beers. He called the hotel and they had a look in the room and couldn't find it. He decided to ride back and meet us later. I lent him the €30 in cash I had in case it was lost and he needed petrol. We said we'd go in the museum and meet him in Dinant that was to be our lunch stop. Off he went back to the hotel to check for himself.

Phil and I took the audio tour of the museum. I took a few photos. Al they ask is that flash is turned off. Easy enough to do on the phone. The audio tour introduces you to four characters and as you progress through the museum, they provide commentary and details of their live. Two are local, a boy and a teacher, the others are a US soldier in the 101st Airborne and the last a Wehrmacht officer.

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The story of the siege and the resulting US Army relief of the town is told as you progress. There are several dioramas and movies, one in 3D to tell the story. You need to go to see how magnificent this is.

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Giles Whatsapp'd us to say that he was on his way to Dinant and would bypass us on the motorway and that his wallet had gone missing. Presumed someone picked it up and kept it. it had cards and his driving licence but hardly any cash money. I programmed TomTom for Dinant only using TomTom My Drive app. And off we went. I turned off and Phil disappeared from view.

He had stopped to speak to Giles and I hadn't seen him. I got on the N4 northwards and waited at the side of the road. All three of us knew where we were going and so I set off. As it was taking along time to appear on the signposts I pulled into a petrol station and filled up thinking that I could check the map in the top box, when Phil came past and stopped. I paid and we set off. I followed him. We finally made it to the large motorcycle park right on the river. Phil sent a WhatsApp message to Giles to give the location. We had a coffee as we waited.

image-5f09d410-c917-48d6-a1c7-0ba947af2f8a.jpgimage-47f9b929-3e0f-4867-9ea1-57f3adbcc985.jpgimage-82f19c3d-7fb6-4af4-b891-30af67698e48.jpgBritish Classic Stinkwheels on Tour

British Classic Stinkwheels on Tour

Once re-united it was all hands to the pump and don't spare the horses to get to Dunkerque. We were a little late and we were supposed to check-in two hours before sailing. At 4pm. We arrived at 5.14pm and sailed right through and in a matter of minutes onto the ship. We even had a crew member tie the bikes down. Phew!

Queuing

Queuing

Giles in motion

Giles in motion

All strapped down on the DFDS Ferry.

All strapped down on the DFDS Ferry.

Once in Dover we waited for a tug to take an unaccompanied trailer off and then we were off into the Dover evening. The others were staying in a B&B in Folkestone and also wanted fuel, and so as we went past the BP on the A20 near Western Docks I waved then goodbye and went home.

All in all an eventful trip.

The start mileage on the odometer when I rode away on Day 1 was 10077 and on return is is 12298. A total mileage of 2221 miles for the trip.

Lessons learned:

  • Take full textile kit and full length boots as you can't tell what the weather will be like.
  • Try to plan shorter days in the saddle.
  • Check whether the TomTom upgrade that has caused the problems is solved before going away.
  • Take larger scale maps!

And that is it really. Next year the Rally is in Southern Moravia near Znojmo..... :)

Timeline 1st June 2022

Timeline 1st June 2022

Posted by InvictaMoto 23:07 Archived in Belgium Tagged czech_trip_2022 Comments (0)

Czech Trip 2022 - Day 7

Still a bit angry and embarrassed I set off with Phil and Giles on the Romantic Road. Ever northwards.

The first stop was planned to be Nordlingen. A city built inside the crater of a meteor strike millions of years ago. It was easy enough getting in to the centre and we took a coffee break. We had thought about going up the tower to see the extent of the crater. It was closed. Doh.

Then we were off to the next stop, Rothenburg ob der Tauber. We should have done this as a lunch stop on the way east. I had located a motorcycle park in the centre but my TomTom decided to eff up so we couldn't get to it. In end we parked up in one of the car parks just outside the walls.

My first stop was to the Kathe Wohlfarht shop. I wanted to get a snow globe for Claire. We bought one years ago and it broke recently. In the I bought two small ones that I could fit in the luggage.

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We had another coffee and pee for free, then off to do battle with the A6. It's miles and miles of roadworks, miles of trucks...

At one stage after miles of lane splitting we came across an overhead advising of 10kms of "queues". We'd already done around that before the sign!

We stopped again to check the maps and my TomTom decided to work and I led pretty much all the way into Luxembourg right to the hotel in Bascharage. ! The area looks to be made up of new looking buildings and plenty of construction.

Parking a little tight as the Carpini also has a popular pizza House onsite. In the end we parked okay..

Pizzas and beer then bed.

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Posted by InvictaMoto 21:32 Archived in Germany Tagged czech_trip_2022 Comments (0)

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