EuroTour 1979

Tour of France-Switzerland-Germany-Belgium

In late 1978 we decided on a tour of Europe - taking in as many countries as possible in two weeks.

Most of the party of six had never been outside UK before and none of us had organised a trip overseas. A colleague in the OS office in Hailfax had been on a successful family campervan holiday the previous year - so the planning started.

Ready to go! - food stocks (some very strange stuff here!) for the holiday.

Who was on board?

We started planning the trip in late 1978 with the two of us, our brothers and my cousin David Lomas - we had been camping and walking in North Wales the previous summer - so this was the next step up. In the end David could not make it and the final team was Gerald, Stephen and Martin Crowther, Chris Murray and Keith & Helen Murray.

We drew up an itinerary and a plan of costs. We tried to split the charges appropriately between "workers" and "students" (who got a 33% discount!)

%holiday costings%
Tour plan & costings

The 1979 Itinerary

Overnight Date Arrived Visits
Deal, England 21 July for ferry
Reims, France 22 July via Boulogne & Cambrai
Mâcon, France 23 July via Dijon
Arles, France 24 July Arena, Roman Theatre, Avignon, Pont du Gard
Aix Les Bains, France 27 July via Apt, Sisteron, Grenoble
Interlaken, Switzerland 28 July via Aigle, Gstaad & visit to Grindelwald by train
Neckargemund, Germany 30 July via Basel, Freiberg & visit to Heidelberg
Köln, Germany 01 Aug via autobahn
Brugges, Belgium 02 Aug via Liege

The Tour & Highlights

On picking up the campervan at Dick Lane in Bradford we discovered it had no fuel and a bald tyre. Fixed, we loaded our luggage, tent and food and set off from Halifax down the M1 towards London and the North Circular and then across to Canterbury and Deal. We took three days to reach Arles in Provence.
On reaching Macon the change in culture and environment became more apparent. The temperature also went up here and other changes were noticed such as the type of toilets.

The reason we took a lot of food was not just our pioneering spirit but we did not want to spend a lot of time shopping, at least until we reached Arles and keep costs down. Also most of the crew had never experimented beyond the traditional English menu. We gradually started to introduce local produce into the meals and by the time we reached Germany we had our first evening meal out (a pizza in a pub in Neckargemund).

The Arles area is rich in history with many Roman features, mostly well preserved, as well as the Popes Palace in Avignon. The move through Haute Provence and into the mountains was another highlight with cool refreshing lakes at Aix les Bains and Lac Leman as we entered Switzerland.

The neatness of the Swiss urban and rural terrain contrasted with that of the rustic French. We reached Grindelwald by train and it was a different world again overlooked by precipitous snow capped mountains such as the Eiger. Here the weather changed following an overnight thunderstorm; we then moved up into Germany by the River Neckar.

A visit to the castle and the pizza set us up for the trip up the autobahn to Koln and a short visit to the city and packing in an underground car park - where the van just fitted and the barrier spoke to us - in German of course. Across to Belgium and Brugges for our last night and another meal out and then the trip to the ferry at Ostende the following day before the long trio back to Halifax late on the Friday night.

%Camping City% %Aix les Bains%
Receipt from Arles campsite Receipt from Aix les Bains campsite

Campsite Locations

This is a list of the campsite we used on the trip:

Deal %address tbc% 1 night
Reims %address tbc% 1 night
Mâcon %address tbc% 1 night
Arles Camping City, 67 Route de Crau, 13200, Arles 3 night
Aix Les Bains Camping International du Sierroz,Boulevard Robert Barrier, 73100, Aix les Bains 1 night
Interlaken The Tent Village, Gsteigstrasse 58, 3800 Interlaken 2 night
Neckargemund Camping an der Friedensbrücke,Falltorstraße 4, 69151, Neckargemund 2 night
Köln Berger Campingplatz,Uferstraße 71, 50996, Köln 1 night
Brugges %address tbc% 1 night


Start: 21 July 1979
End: 04 Aug 1979

References & Links:

Date Title
20140517 Arles - Wikipedia entry

Updated KJM 04 June 2014