Well our time in France for this year is over but we will be back. I was going to recap our year but if you have got to this article, you have probably already read about most of this year. In 2022 we spent 7 months touring France and almost two months in Spain (Barcelona), Belgium and Luxembourg. We will continue exploring the south of France when we return in 2023. This was the start of our Western Europe travels. Last year we repositioned from Central/Eastern Europe to France. Given the status of that part of the world at the moment, our timing was very good. We regret not having visited Ukraine before the war started.
As you would expect in France, our sights spanned the centuries from Roman ruins to modern day Harlem Globetrotters and everything in between. The in between included a lot of war time history in Brittany and Normandy. These were two regions that we had always intended to visit and had not managed to see until this year. We enjoyed visiting with various friends in Barcelona and Belgium. I must say that before we left on this tour of Europe, we had more friends and family members say that they would come and visit us than have actually turned up.
Not everything was great this year. Between June and July we were in 4 major heat waves in France with the temperatures reaching 43°C (109°F). I HATE the heat. The year ended with problems with our car, e-bike and RV but since we haven’t really had to do much maintenance on them so far, we can’t complain. With the exception of the clothes dryer, all of our major problems were resolved in the last couple of weeks before we flew home.
Our biggest surprise was probably the size of France. Over the previous 2 ½ years we had cycled from the Adriatic Sea in Italy, north through part of Slovenia. We continued north through Austria to Salzburg and then cycled along the Danube into Vienna and continued to Bratislava in Slovakia. We were on our way along the Danube to Budapest in Hungary when Covid stopped us so we cycled through a big part of Czechia instead. During Covid we covered the entire Istrian peninsula in Croatia and continued a short way down the Adriatic Coast. The reason that I am revisiting all this is because Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed trying to make one contiguous path across Central and Eastern Europe. Thanks to Covid we had a few legs that dead ended on the path but it was still contiguous. We thought that we would continue this in France. We had no idea that all the countries we had spent a few years cycling through would fit inside France, or at least our cycle route would. We cycled 3,000 km in Europe this year but couldn’t join up our various legs. We are a little disappointed that we don’t have the time to create a single continuous loop through France. We do have multiple legs more than 1,000 km but it just isn’t the same as a single contiguous path. Obviously it isn’t terrible important, but it was nice to have something to aim for when we went out cycling.
Our RV is currently enjoying the winter right beside the Mediterranean Sea in Marseille, France. When we return we will head back to Montpellier and then explore the southern coast of France over to Italy. After that, who knows, probably Germany.
For those who are interested, here are some of the statistics from this year and previous years. All costs are Canadian dollars. Currently 1 CAD is .74 US and .71 Euro.
We arrived in Europe on March 2 and left our RV in Marseille on Nov 22 for 265 days camping. Campgrounds averaged us less than $30/night for a total of $7,000.
Mike drove 20,000 km this year with 5k in the RV and 15k in the Lincoln. Fuel cost us $8,000. Interestingly the RV, while towing the car, used $1 of fuel for every 1 km driven. Early in 2023 we will have driven 100,000 km in Europe between the RV and the Lincoln.
Cycling was interesting. We have been tracking our rides since mid-2019 with 3,000 km added this year. Part way through 2022 Mike and I passed the 10,000 km mark, all in three years.
We never track our food costs. Since we eat out when we are in Canada, we probably save on food while we are travelling. Food tends to be less expensive in much of Europe particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. This leaves the fuel and camping as our major costs for 2022 at $15,000. Obviously there are additional costs like $1/day for propane, maintenance on the Lincoln but fuel for the RV and camping are the big ticket items. That said, we did have some extraordinary maintenance costs on the Lincoln this year. Mike drove too quickly over a sleeping policeman (speed bump) and broke the front left spring on the Lincoln. While fixing that, it became apparent that a number of other components also had to be replaced on the Lincoln. The total bill came to $5,000. Who knows what it would have been in Canada? A Lincoln is a foreign car in Europe so it is virtually impossible to get a competitive quote.
2017 – 2022:
Total Nights – 1,389 Campground cost – $31,364, Avg camp/night $22.58 Total Km – 95,719, Total Fuel cost – $34,789
2017 – 2022 Total Nights
|Croatia (our home during covid)
|Norway (2019 w/o RV)
|Bosnia & Herzegovina
|Finland and Russia
|Iceland (no RV)
Total nights in Europe: 1,389