A visitor from home.
We had been looking forward to enjoying France and Toulouse for a few weeks and a to a visit from Susan, our eldest daughter. Everything started out really well, but France should prove to be our biggest ordeal so far.
Susan arrived tiredly at Toulouse Airport, after some delays, so we rushed to find a parking lot to spend the night. The next day we drove to a trailer park in Gruissan, which was by the beach. Susan’s wish was to just relax, so the first day we were just chilling by the beach. It turned out that there was a big Beach Rugby tournament that weekend and therefore there were both a funfair and live DJs. That was actually a really nice change from our otherwise quiet trip. We ended up being the owners of everything from stuffed animals to a soft gun, after 2 nights in the funfair
Visiting a vineyard.
We went further into the French countryside and came across a beautiful vineyard called Chateau Grand Moulin. Here we went for a tour to see the huge vineyards and taste the wine. Of course, we also had to buy a few bottles. Nice, summer-like, and a hint of sparkle at the tongue.
The plan was, that we would drive further into the countryside, but after a short visit to a shopping center, a disaster awaited us! Someone had broken into the camper and had stolen everything of value. Computers, cameras, hard drives, etc. were gone. Along with everything from extra suitcases to perfumes. Our home looked like a battlefield and the door was broken.
We were shocked, furious, and crying. Our most essential possessions for our journey were gone. We were in a foreign country and had no idea how to deal with that. We called the police, who asked us to drive to the nearest police station, which we did. There we spent 4 hours with some rather indifferent police officers, who did not speak English and who simply asked us to write down what had been stolen. This did not help our frustration. It was not just a car that had been broken into, but our home that had been emptied.
A nice french woman.
Fortunately, Laurie sat in the waiting room and initially offered to help translate. Her mother was an Englishman and therefore she also spoke English. She ended up being our support for the next few hours. She explained to us that the French police were not so efficient and, as a rule, they thought people like us was trouble. The gendarmes, on the other hand, were the ones who were efficient. It turned out that her friend was married to the head of the Gendarmerie and with our permission she was allowed to pass the report of the police to him. Outside of the local police, of course.
Another nice french woman.
During our entire visit to the police, Susan had been guarding the unlocked camper and had talked to another French lady named Rose. When we left the police, we realized that Laurie and Rose had actually been the only accommodating Frenchmen we had met during our stay.
Now we had to clean up the camper, look at the damage, and find out if more had been stolen than we could see immediately. Much more was stolen. Small, but important things gifted to us from friends and family. Memory cards, an old extra phone, and more. The extra keys to the car were also stolen, which created a lot of panics. Now it was also not possible for us to leave the car without fear of it being stolen. It was terrible!
That night we slept in a parking lot in front of a DIY market with a lot of video surveillance.
The next day, we decided to drive to a big mall in the evening to get something to eat. The day was spent talking to insurance companies and assessing the damage to the car. We parked the camper among many other cars and we had repaired one lock at the door, so we were relatively safe. We rushed to eat some extremely good burgers and headed out to the parking lot again. Here we saw a van parked up close by the camper and when they saw us, they quickly jumped into the van and drove off at high speed. At that moment it became clear to us that a GPS tracker had been put on the camper and that we had just prevented our home from completely disappearing. It was unbearable!!
We hardly slept that night and the next day we agreed that mother and daughter should go to Toulouse to have some fun before Susan had to go home to Denmark again. Meanwhile, Malthe spent time trying to figure out where we could get a change of lock on the camper. However, without luck. It was not at all as easy as expected.
Toulouse was nothing special. Probably mostly because a black cloud hung over us. We had read that there was a market in town, but when we reached it, it consisted solely of about 10 sad stalls with sunglasses and scarves. Fortunately, there was a delicious sushi restaurant nearby and sushi can always lighten your mood. After a few hours in Toulouse, Malthe picked us up again. We found a place to spend the night near the airport because Susan would take a flight early in the morning.
Change of plans.
When we had said goodbye to Susan, we decided to set the course for Germany. Actually, the plan had been Italy, but we did not speak the language and if we were to make any hope of having the locks changed and the door repaired, we had to be able to communicate. And we were definitely done with France! It took us many hours on the highway to get to Germany, but when we finally stood at the first rest stop where they spoke a familiar language, we immediately felt more secure.
Read what happened then here.
– Text: Eva. Adding, captures and photo editing: Malthe