Bunking Off in September Sunshine
This story happened on: 03/10/2015
We recently returned from a short break in the Norfolk Broads and I’m still grinning at the memory of it. So why was this trip better than the last one we made in our van to Dorset in August, or for that matter, better than any of the trips we made this year?
For a start this one could loosely be classed as a ‘tour’, spending our time travelling between campsites. We’ve now become quite adept at securing our belongings, raising the steadies and it’s chocks away in no time at all. Driving the van is much less stressful. It’s a very different experience from our first trip to Ludlow last October (despite having much more kit!).
Furthermore, our welcome at the Ferry Meadows Caravan Club campsite in Peterborough AND at the Norfolk Broads Caravan Club campsite in Ludham could not have been friendlier. As soon as we had our lunch, we were off exploring on a recommended walk by the warden. Usually before we depart, I do a search for potential walks and bike rides. I hadn’t bothered to download the cycling maps but recognised them on the walls, interestingly presented, in the information kiosk on site. An added extra touch were the additional laminated copies you could borrow; it wasn’t just the maps though, there were laminated bus timetables, routes for walking etc. etc. And of course, you can’t forget just how clean the facilities are. I’ve yet to stay on a Club site that hasn’t met its exacting standards.
Despite the Ludham site being very busy on our arrival, it didn’t really matter where you pitched because you just cannot escape the HUGE. BLUE. SKIES. If you are lucky, those big, blue skies can turn into starry, starry nights. Combine this with the lack of light pollution that you get in Brum, and the constellations were A-MAZ-ING.
I clearly remember my friend Pam describing her school summer holiday, boating on the Broads in the 1970s. It sounded so magical, I campaigned for a family break there… without success. Last week we walked along the Broads, we cycled around the Broads and we boated on the Broads. Throw in a visit to Blickling Hall and gardens (National Trust), a delicious cream tea, before meandering through woodland and more formal grounds and we had conjured up the same magic.
We couldn’t help but play the ‘If…’ game. “If you were choosing a boat to holiday in, which one would it be?” “If you were choosing a waterside cottage, which one would it be?” There are some beautiful properties next to the water in Wroxham and lots of seats from which to simply watch the boats go by. I found myself humming “Messing about on the river”. It’s hardly surprising, there are over a thousand boats and wherries of different sizes sailing up and down the rivers and broads. Even better, everyone on them is really happy!
Despite the flatness, walking along the riverbank wasn’t boring. On the contrary; with the breeze rustling the reeds, you can hardly hear the noise of engines chugging along at a very sedate four miles an hour. All you see are either sails zigzagging their way around meanders or, be surprised by legless holiday makers drifting through the rushes (on top of the hidden boats).
Another first this trip was not rushing straight off home, as soon as we packed up. Instead, we headed a few miles east to the coastline, parked up and went for another walk. Finally, my first paddle of the year.
So reflecting on this holiday as we were driving home, what had made it so special? Then it finally dawned on me; it was all of the above and some…all of our short breaks and longer holidays had been during the school holidays. After thirty five years in teaching M is now fully retired; we are free to spend some of our weekdays bunking off and enjoying ourselves. RESULT!!!
Where in the world is your magical place? If you have any lovely campsite experiences either at home or abroad, please share. I am sure there are lots of people new to camping, whether in tents, vans or caravans, who would appreciate a recommendation.
Sorry no photos - they were too big to up-load here BUT if you want to visit my blog breakingthemouldblog.com, you can view them there and read more about some of our first trips away.