Europe in a Motorhome


Book review

Europe in a Motorhome
Europe in a Motorhome

Full marks to the eloquent author Hazel Jackson for her honest account of the family of three’s (herself, her husband and 13-year-old son) year-long mid-life-crisis trip around Europe in their American 33ft Damon Intruder motorhome they dubbed "The Beast". Full marks also for her use of semi-colons, commas and even full stops, but please Ms Jackson, bring back the apostrophe.

Unless you are a nit-picker like me, you will thoroughly enjoy this book which is overall an excellent travelogue. Unfortunately, my enjoyment was tainted by a trait I acquired from a former editor who kept threatening me with a visit from the apostrophe police if I didn’t tidy up my grammar.

Nit-picking aside, I was riveted from page one of hilarious escapades, mistakes, lessons learned and local history as they travelled from their native Hertfordshire, through France, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Sicily and Greece.

Take the time they stopped at Font d’Algar in Spain to view the falls. "It should have been a pleasant afternoon and a great end to our day trip," she writes, "but I had made a few fatal errors at the car park earlier, which would have a miserable effect on us all.

"When we had arrived at the falls, we had pulled into the almost empty car park. As we arrived, a car with a young man ink pulled up next to us. Feeling relaxed and full of bon ami, we smiled at him, and then gaily opened our car boot and threw in our rucksacks, jackets and shoulder bag – for once I didn’t want to carry it. Then as we walked up to the entrance kiosk, we practically accosted three other young men who were walking down to the car park to meet their friend and asked them if the falls were open. ‘Si Si,’ they chimed in unison, looking particularly happy to be asked. What nice young men, thought I! Of course, I might just as well have said to this group of four dodgy looking lads… ‘Were just going for a long walk up to the falls; we’ll be gone for several hours; all our stuff is in the boot – help yourselves why don’t you?’

"Yes, on returning to the car after our wonderful walk, we found the back window smashed in, glass everywhere and everything gone from the boot."

Hazel says that she believes a sense of humour is essential when travelling through Europe; so is plenty of sleep, good walking shoes and in their case a sat-nav system.

The book concludes with an excellent guide to their recommended campsites in each of the countries, though many of these are in the text, along with enough minor tribulations and tips to make the purchase price seem like value for money. The list of recommended sites at the back of the book also provides ideas for getting the most out of the many places the family visited. Whether you are a dreamer or are planning to go motorhoming in Europe yourself, this book will prove a worthy guide.

The book’s ISBN is 1-4120-8141-6 and is available through Amazon.com; Trafford Publishing’s Canada web site www.trafford.com or contact the author direct on h.hdj@binternet.com

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