Belgium ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช(Bruges)

Euro trip 2019 is underway!

We departed home on Thursday evening after work. An overnight ‘stealth’ camp that evening at Dover saw us up early enough to get a 6.45am ferry to Calais.

This put us way ahead of schedule where we arrived at our first destination, Bruges, just over an hour later. Both Mandy and I were really tired when we pitched up at the campsite, so the intention was to chill for the rest of the day knowing we were ahead of schedule. Judging by how tired I felt, this seemed like a distinct possibility.

However, after some lunch and a short nap we headed into the city. Wow! What a beautiful place.

I can certainly see what all the fuss is about. It’s an eclectic mix with waterways, ornate buildings and windmills bringing together the best of what Europe has to offer. We spent the afternoon wandering the streets with a stop at one of the numerous quaint restaurants. I sampled a cool cherry beer which went down really well after the walk, so this was swiftly followed by a strawberry beer… Long story short, 17,000+ steps later (according to my smart watch), we arrived back at the campervan. Truly knackered, but it was a brilliant first day.

Cycling selfie

We learnt a valuable lesson on last years holiday to the continent that we would have been far better taking our bicycles, than the storage box. Other countries seem to encourage cycling with there own lanes and free bike parks. Bruges Drivers of cars have lots of respect for the cyclist, quiet probably because they cycle themselves. So the second day we used our bicycles to reduce the strain which gave us a little more energy to explore.

We could have done with longer at Bruges, but I fear that this is going to be a common feeling as we move from location to location over the next month.

Camping Memling te Bruges http://www.brugescamping.be/nl/home
32 euros per night (2 nights 31 May and 1 June)

2019 Euro Trip

The month of May was a strange one. At the start it seemed like our Euro holiday in June was approaching with ample time to get everything sorted. A service on the van two weeks before we departed proved to be more expensive due to the fact a few minor issues needed addressing, but the cost bumped it up more from a labour point, than parts required.

The Bank holiday weekend prior was spent camping with friends, my sister (Ness), and nephew Oscar, and to be honest it was brilliant. So we weren’t surprised that our second holiday to the continent in as many years came rushing up on us. I must say we didn’t think that last years holiday to France, Italy and Switzerland could be beaten. How wrong could we be!

The links below will take you to dedicated destinations we visited, or the ‘Full Trip Chronologically’ will see all of the posts from start to finish. I hope you enjoy, and are inspired to follow in our footsteps.

Sunroof mood lights


the Westfalia conversions are a very well thought out camper, and after owning mine for 5 years I have address many of the things that I have not been happy with. That said the sunroof has been an optional extra that i can see no good use for. In the winter it is the only part of the van that gets condensation to the point it wets the front seats and continually needs to be wiped dry. In the height of summer the sun can become rather irritating whilst driving around midday, which may sound a little ungrateful, but its not a pleasant feeling when its hot. Similarly, in the summer when the sun starts to rise early its surprising how much light enters the van through the sunroof waking us earlier than we would like. So its taken a while to get round to sorting out a solution, but I’ve finally done it.

As with any fabrication its always a compromise, and its made more difficult if trying to do it sympathetically. What I mean by this is to try and keep the modifications fully reversible by not drilling holes or screwing into the existing structures in case I want to revert back to OEM. With this modification I chose to take out four of the twenty or so self tapping screws that hold the bottom part of the sunroof frame to the roof, and substitute these for longer ones that would hold the cover in place. The base material for the cover would be 3mm hardwood ply as this was light, thin and strong.

I created a template and carefully cut the wood using coping saw .

The four self tapping screws were dabbed with paint and the board was offered in place whilst the paint was still wet. This provided me with an accurate location of each hole I needed to drill to secure in place. I varnished the board to seal the wood and stop it warping when in place. This would also provide a good base to glue the other materials to.

Above you can see two lengths of aluminum which would support the structure from below when fitted, and four circles for the mood lights. I could have just made a basic cover to block out the daylight, but I thought I would go the extra mile and make it more of a feature by adding the lights.

Here I used tracing paper to create three templates I would be using to cut the grey rubber mat I would be bonding to the surface of the board. This would give it more of a factory finish along with providing a little insulation.

Two of the three grey foam elements in place. Just gluing the aluminum bars

Above you can see two of the three grey foam elements in place, and below the third and final piece being held down by weights as the contact adhesive sets.

Third and final foam element in the center of the board being held down by weights as glue sets

Other than the wiring that needed to be extended towards the rear of the van so that the light switch was next to my other mood lighting switch, the process was just a little fiddly / time consuming rather than complicated. Most of the items inside the cupboards needed to be removed to run the cables to the rear, along with the fridge, but it was worth it in the end.

Gallery below shows the finished article.

Fotheringhay castle

We had put our names forward to this camping event last year as it was arranged by a small friendly local group that we had camped with before. However, as the date approached were a bit concerned that it may be a little too close to our Euro Trip to be able to commit. However, the weather was looking good for the Saturday, the venue looked great, and it would be a nice social gathering before we departed on our main holiday to Croatia a few days later.

The weekend was made all the more special due to the fact we were camping with relatives. Our pitches were in a peaceful field next to the river, which provided entertainment for those that fancied a swim. My paddle board proved a great viewing platform to see the local church a mile or so up stream



My nephew, Oscar showed a natural talent for paddle boarding, and I can see him taking this up on a regular basis. The two night camp over included plenty of alcohol and some great food so all in all a great success.

We left the campsite just after midday and went for a Sunday meal at the local village pub called The Falcoln with close friends Kev and Lorrain. What a great Bank Holiday!

https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/northamptonshire/oundle/castle-farm-cottage/

TWIZY REAR SPOILER โ€“ PART 2

This post really picks up from the initial development in Part 1. The reason for creating a seperate post and not adding to the first is because I chose a different design due to the materials used, and the physical limits they have. The bodywork / cladding of the Twizy is made of formed plastic. This was my anchor point for the rear wing i am fabricating. As you can imagine the material flexes as it was only ever designed to offer cladding, style and aerodynamics. As a standard Twizy, it’s smooth shape would offer next to no wind resistance at the rear, and there would be no need to have to anchor the rear bodywork to the main structure other than a few self tapping screws and locating lugs. So, introducing a whole load of additional components to the rear cowling was only ever going to increase the stresses imposed on it, and I felt that the extra weight would be a major contributor to its failure.

So I adapted my strategy based on the above, and chose a slightly less radical approach. I had done most of the hard work last year in creating the upper aerofoil element, and connecting bracket. Items were also fabricated for the full on “F1” style side foils and lower wing.

Matching up and building bottom fixings

So my compromise was for the fitment of the upper wing, along with some small side elements. I made these out of some thin aluminum sheet. This was carefully cut after a template was made, drilled, folded where necessary, etch primed and painted, before epoxy gluing, and pop riveting together.

Aluminum parts cut and folded
Matching up the components and testing the drill holes with the rivets
Etch primer applied to make a key for the top coat paint
Folded profile

As you can probably imagine, even though the components were relatively small, this was not a particularly quick process. That said, I feel it was all worth it in the end. The following photos show the final product once painted, bonded to the bodywork and fixed to the car.

I will conclude this by saying that this may or may not be the final product. It’s more discreet than the full on F1 Twizy spoiler, but it would still be nice to have been able to have gone down that route. I feel that this is really a matter of materials and the structure they offer. With Carbon Fibre this could have been easily achieved, but I am happy to have been able to make my Twizy a little more unique with this compromise. ๐Ÿ™‚