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Photo of me at Land's End, Cornwall

Here, there, everywhere and some other places too …

Summary of the trip...

Trip summaries

2013-05-29 at 21.04.23

2013-05-30 at 08.28.26

and finally the trip is over...

Lincoln Farm Park is one of our favourite sites and is reasonably convenient as a stop over point when travelling down to the south coast for travelling abroad.
2013-05-24 at 08.40.10

I have said it often throughout this blog that pleasant helpful staff very often define the quality of the site and here it is no exception.

It is truly self contained with a well stocked shop, an excellent pub within 2 minutes walk serving very good food and facilities you just couldn't fault.

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We have been coming here for several years and always look forward to it.

On this occasion it was very much a stopover as the following day it was a long drive to Ellesmere Port to prepare to store the van and have it looked at by Barry Jones, a mechanic who makes sure all the bits do as they are supposed to.

While we have been away our car has been in storage and Barry, kindly, had it charged up and ready for action. We collected it and drove both vehicles to another favourite location, The Caravan Club location at Chester Fairoaks (53.257230 -2.886266).

This is always a popular site and we make sure to book well in advance. The Caravan Club has, over the years, managed to achieve a level of consistency throughout their sites and that is one of their great strengths; you always know what you are going to get and they are to be commended for that. Sandy was on duty when we arrived and could not have been more helpful. The pitches are very generous in size so there is plenty of room for the van and a car which was great for us as we had to swap over lots of cloths and equipment which was coming back home with us.
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Chester Fairoaks also happens to be just beside one of the best outlet Malls in the UK so everything is on hand just a few minutes walk away from the site.

A one night stay over, lots of packing and unpacking, tidying and then its time to return the van to Barry who will service it and return it to storage ready for the next trip.

Then its off to the Docks and the boat back to the Isle of Man.

A departing shot from the Ferry to the Isle of Man. The iconic Liver building with its Liver Birds atop and a special guest appearance of a seagull!


The End of the World is nigh….

I always wanted to write a piece with a heading like that but in this case there is a modicum of truth about it. This is a story that needs a bit of background.
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For most of the past two months we have been travelling with our good friends Loretta and Gianni Carbone. We parted company in Alsace as they have a special date in Paris and we are headed homewards. Originally we intended our group to be three couples the third being Pam and Geoff Masden from Doncaster. However earlier this year they made a decision to buy a new motorhome and, as fate would have it, they have to wait until October to collect it. Still they have been tracking us all the way and we chat regularly on Skype when the WiFi is strong enough.

When we settled on our return date Geoff suggested that we meet up for a meal en route to our destination, Liverpool. Our first stopover was to be Lincoln Farm Park in Oxfordshire and we thought that should be the meeting place. Then Geoff discovered that the dealership where he is getting his new van has a branch near Lincoln Farm and suggested we might like to stop off and have a look at what their new acquisition looks like. He sent me the coordinates and it was just 20 miles from our base.

It was great to meet up with them again and we truly enjoyed the conducted tour around their new vehicle. They are so excited and geared up for a lot of fun in the months and years to come.
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When the inspection concluded we asked if there was a decent restaurant in the area and we were directed to The Langley Hall Inn just a quarter of a mile up the road. Turned out to be quite a find.

Mark Jenkins is the owner and nothing was too much trouble for him. The food was top notch and the welcome was ambiance was just excellent. To add to all of this he has a little campsite in the back garden. It's a CL for the Camping and Caravan Club so for those of you who like to discover interesting new places this one is thoroughly recommended. To be precise the coordinates are 51.482219, -1.303682.

So what has all this got to do with the end of the world? Well, The Langley Hall Inn is situated in a little village called….Worlds End!

A fabulous stop over and then it was time to make our way to Lincoln Farm Park.


The Eurotunnel...

I am always interested at the views expressed by fellow motorhomers on the multitude of methods for getting from European countries back to the UK.
2013-05-23 at 09.43.03

My choice is always the Eurotunnel for a whole variety of reasons. Firstly, living on the Isle of Man I get more than my fair share of opportunities to travel by ferry and invariably I will always pick the quickest. That has largely got to do with Dougal as, very often, he has to remain in the car or Motorhome while we cross. However when it comes to France I have no hesitation in using the Eurotunnel as it takes 34 minutes, has a very efficient "get on and get off" routine and, at either end, you simply drive off and are immediately onto a motorway heading in your direction.
2013-05-23 at 09.47.53

A word here about the Caravan Club. They have a very efficient booking service and I wouldn't go past them. I have two very minor irritations. When you call you have to sit through endless recorded messages telling you that they don't make recommendations and, essentially, you are on your "ownsome" when it comes to making a decision. Then you press 1 and hear another statement about something else. Surely by now they could have a button for "If you have heard all this before" press 9! Just a thought. My other niggle is that the confirmatory emails get sent out overnight and not, as in every other case, immediately.

Still its a valuable service and reliable.

Leaving from La Bien Assise it is no more than a 15 minute drive to get to the terminal where pet owners need to keep an eagle eye for the office you have to report to before you can check in. Then it is the simplest of processes to load up by driving onto the train and waiting for it to leave.

At the other end it is the opposite, drive off and away you go. I usually pass the time by going back and having a lie down on my bed, listen to some music and, sometimes, have a sleep.

And finally, off we go.


On to Calais...

I knew what I was letting myself in for with a drive from the Champagne region to Calais. A total of 230 miles but I have to say it was very comfortable on the autoroutes and on arriving at the campsite in Guines there was a deep air of satisfaction.
2013-05-22 at 13.12.38

Le Bien Assie campsite is a very popular one with us. It is where we always start our travels in France and similarly it is the site we always finish up on.

This time the weather was a lot more pleasant than the opening day of our trip and the site had filled up, mostly with GB motorhomes and caravans. We decided to stay 2 nights so that we could do our crossing and drive up through England on Sunday morning, much less traffic.

One of the great things about this trip is the number of times we experienced very pleasant and unexpected surprises. It transpired we weren't finished in that regard as we prepared to quit France for the Eurotunnel.

More on this in the next post.

Heading North...

Leaving Equishiem was sad for us as we were saying good bye to Loretta and Gianni as they were heading off to Paris for more exploration. We were completing our travels by heading northwards to Calais stopping on the way in the Champagne region.
2013-05-20 at 08.02.52

One little task was to get Dougal seen by the vet as the regulations for bringing a pet back home from France are fairly strict and essentially you have to have a vet certify that he is fit to travel and to check for things like ticks and worms. This is followed by an entry in his passport for production at the departure point, in our case, Eurotunnel on Sunday morning. The rules are strict and rightly so.

Happy to report that Dougal passed with flying colours and, although he didn't like it he nonetheless managed to swallow the little pill he had to take after his tenth spit out! A determined little man.

From then on it was a long haul to a site in the Champagne region. The site is part of the Yellow Group and is called, Yelloh! Village en Champagne and if you are interested in having a peep the coordinates for Google Earth are 48.571850, 4.847970.
2013-05-20 at 08.06.14

Its a pleasant site which seems to major on static homes with pitches for motorhomes scattered around.
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It is a site that is clearly a holiday centre for families but for motorhomes it is obviously a stopover point going north or south. And a good one it is too. Its located neat to a lake which has its own man made beach

A nice restaurant with delightful staff and the food was excellent. I am writing this at 8:30am on Friday, May 17, 2013 and they are opened for breakfast so it will be Cafe au lait, Croissants and an Omelette! Well, I have a long drive ahead of me.

I had a chance to chat with the restaurant owner, a charming lady called Julie Chamerois who works hard to present a professional restaurant and certainly does a good job.

Cream of Asparagus, good friends and Jimmy Bock…

2013-05-17 at 23.01.20
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 was special. Very special.

Actually, it all started a year ago when Nancy and I were travelling through Alsace on our way back to the Isle of Man following our motorhome trip to France and Switzerland. We had met a couple en route and, as usually happens, we exchanged opinions on the places we had been to and the sites we had visited. We mentioned that we intended travelling through Alsace and, in particular, visiting Colmar. I had never been but my late parents used to visit some friends and often enthused about it.
2013-05-17 at 23.09.38

The couple suggested that we go to Equishiem and mentioned Camping des Trois Chateaux as a well placed campsite. We took their advice and spent a few days in what is a very enchanting region of France.

The town is simply beautiful and so full of atmosphere and I hope the earlier pictures give an indication of that. On our first stroll into Equishiem we passed a very pretty restaurant called Caveau Heuhaus (see picture). We decided to stop and have dinner and we sat outside. During the meal piano music started to drift through the air from inside the restaurant and we were very impressed because it was 60s and 70s classics and we knew every one. We passed on our compliments to the lady who was looking after our table and she told us that the pianist was from the area, retired and played for them once or twice a week. Turned out he was quite famous having been Chuck Berry's piano player for some 25 years.
2013-05-17 at 23.24.122013-05-17 at 23.19.31

When we returned last Sunday we made a bee line for the restaurant to see if he was still around. There we met the same waitress and she confirmed the pianist was still playing and would be on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. As Wednesday was to be our last night with Loretta and Gianni we booked a table.
2013-05-17 at 23.43.24

What happened last Wednesday was utterly fantastic. The food was wonderful and there was an abundance of asparagus dishes, the local speciality. We all settled for the cream of asparagus soup which was to die for. Different main courses followed and then on came Jimmy Bock. For the next two hours he captivated the diners and within no time at all people were up dancing and singing along. From piano playing to singing to harmonica playing and occasionally doing all three at the same time, honestly, it was simply fabulous and made for the most incredible night.

As we ambled back to the campsite the four of us chatted and agreed that it was truly a night to remember.

Google Jimmy Bock and see there are a number of Youtube videos.

If you ever find yourself in Alsace, check out the restaurant and if you get a chance to see Jimmy Bock grab it with both hands. As a piano player myself I have never seen anything quite like it. He is fantastic.

And finally...


And so to Alsace...

2013-05-16 at 21.01.08
On Sunday, May 12, 2013 we had a reasonably early start as we left Camping Waldpark Hohenstadt en route to Alsace. This was our second time in the little town of Equishiem and we were really quite excited to be going back. I suppose returning to the scene of a prior enjoyable experience can be a bit risky as very often it doesn't measure up but, truthfully, I will never tire of Alsace. It is an incredibly beautiful part of the world and hopefully the pictures here will give you a bit of an idea of what it is like.

2013-05-16 at 21.10.00
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First of all, a few words about the campsite. It is called Camping des Trois Chateaux and it is a municipal site. It is not the best campsite you will ever stay at but it is certainly adequate and the facilities are impeccable. It seems to be a favourite stopping off point for German and Dutch people but the occasional GB can be spotted.

One of the features of this part of the world is the presence of storks. Just a few hundred meters from the campsite there is a stork farm and, apart from that, they seem to travel quite freely in the area as their nests can be seen on roof tops in the town and equishiem. Don't be surprised if one or two turn up on your doorstep in the campsite as they tend to visit regularly in search of the odd hand out from kindly travellers!
2013-05-17 at 08.39.38

The town of Equishiem is known as “The cradle of the Alsatian vineyard” and for good reason. Local vineyards stretch for miles and many independent wine producers have their cellars in the little streets of the town. The blue building in the picture entitled “The Equishiem style” is one such example.


Thoughts about Rapido...

There are many forums online where motorhomers gather and exchange tips, tricks and stories of their trials and tribulations. Unquestionably they are a source of good advice and get you out of little scrapes here and there. I can certainly point to a number of things about this trip which were helped by going on line and posing a question.

Again, driving in convoy with another couple is comforting as there is always someone there if anything goes wrong. So it is with us on this trip. Inevitably we have had things go wrong where the principle of two heads being better than one saved the day.

There was the time at the beginning of the trip when, mysteriously, the heat stopped working and simply wouldn't start. We tried every trick we could think of but to no avail so we went to bed early and decided we would seek out an engineer in the morning. That was the night it snowed!

The next morning the system mysteriously reset it self and hasn't been a problem since.
2013-05-15 at 09.00.11

Arriving in Alsace from Germany we discovered that the water had stopped running through the system. Nothing when you turned on any tap, no flushing in the toilet and no shower.

Gianni, who knows a bit about these things joined me and the manual and we tried to logically get to the bottom of it. The fuse was ok, we tried the "turning it off and turning it on again" routine over and over again but it stubbornly refused to perform. We concluded it must be the pump so that took the problem beyond our reach. I went down to reception to enquire if there was any local engineer who might help but I got a blank expression and a card indicating a garage about 40 miles away. We tried to phone this place and all we got was music and nothing else. Their Web site wasn't any better.

Then we noticed on the back of the Rapido Manual a telephone number so we took pot luck and tried it. Straight away we got through to Rapido and a helpful lady responded favourably to my initial, "Parlez vous Anglais?". I told her my dilemma and wondered if there were any Rapido dealers in the area, after all it is a French company. She then asked me if I was driving a UK model and I said that I was. At that she transferred me to another department where I was greeted to a english sounding gentleman called Anthony. Straightaway he asked me for details of the problem and then asked me for my telephone number so he could call me back.

He had located a suitable dealership some 30 miles away but for some reason they were closed all day Monday and despite several phone calls there was no response. I was very pleasantly surprised at his attentiveness and, in truth, it sounded very comforting to know that help was on hand. He gave me the address and the directions to the dealership and suggested I go up there first thing Tuesday morning and he would pursue them till he got a reply. Well, that is exactly what we did. We left at about 8:30 and drove slowly to a small down near Strasbourg called Benfeld. Along the way the phone rang and it was Anthony telling me that he had spoken to the dealership, they were expecting me and he wished me luck.

When we arrived the receptionist spoke perfect English and informed the service manager that we had arrived. He accompanied me to the van where I explained as best I could what the problem was. He drove the van into the workshop and I joined Nancy and Dougal in the little lounge area. We assumed it would be hours and so we started to think about exploring the local town and having some lunch.

Within 15 minutes the service manager returned with a big smile on his face and gave me a thumbs up. They had found the problem. An electrical connection somewhere under the sink area had become corroded and had finally broken off. A few minutes and it was repaired and the Vinny Van was as good as new. The garage was CLC Alsace Route National 83 Direction Colmar 67230 Benfeld. The whole repair cost me €17!

When I go back to the site I called Anthony to thank him for his efforts and was interested to find out a bit more. He is Anthony Pfaff and works in technical support especially for the export market. He is based in France and I have to say he reminded me of the long gone days when customer service really meant something and when nothing was too much trouble. I counted 7 calls he made to me during a period of just under 48 hours. So a very big thank you to Anthony and also to Rapido for providing such a service.

Crossing Germany...

Today is Saturday, May 11, 2013 and we promised ourselves a reasonably early start as we head beyond Munich towards Alsace. In keeping with the previous 24 hours it poured and so packing up, never an experience to savour, became downright arduous. In fairness to Camping Harass our memories will be clouded by the awful weather but, it has to be said, the location is pretty special. Like so many sites these days, Harass has a "run down" feel to it but maybe I should be a bit more circumspect as torrential rain seldom makes anywhere look good. I would go back if I was in the area and that has to be the real test.
2013-05-15 at 09.32.21

Because Alsace is over 300 miles away we are stopping off en route at a site called Camping Waldpark Hohenstadt. It is located just off the autobahn west of Munich and I had a good feeling about it following a telephone call to ensure availability. The owners are a delightful couple, Axel and Heike Rohm. In my phone call I found Heike to be so helpful and clearly willing to go that extra bit to ensure you are satisfied with her service. Interestingly she confirmed something we have noticed throughout this trip, namely, helpful and attentive staff are invariably a good indicator of the quality of the campsite.
2013-05-15 at 09.14.46

When we arrived we were not disappointed. This is a rural site with no real views but the pitches were well looked after and the toilet facilities are exceptional. There is an onsite Italian restaurant and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours unwinding after a long drive. Speaking of which, we fully expected that it would be a reasonably comfortable journey, all motorway except for about 4 miles. What we got was a pain. The longest and largest road works I have ever seen. I am sure the construction, of what will be a superb new autobahn, lasted for about 40 miles and although my German is pretty non existent even I could read that it is scheduled to be completed late in 2015! So, there is a road to avoid for a while.

And so into Germany...

2013-05-10 at 17.48.38
Our time spent in Seecamping Berghof in Austria was spectacular and varied. From the last blog entry you can see the link to the site webcam displaying the incredible views across the lake. We spent two nights there and on the first day we piled into Gianni's van and headed off down the road to Italy! Yes, we were that close and we had received a glowing report about a restaurant in Tarvisio which, it must be said, lived up to its reputation.

But while on the subject of food we came across something quite unexpected while at the campsite in Austria. On our first night we decided to try out the onsite restaurant and, as we have come to expect recently, the staff were just the best, welcoming us and being helpful in every way.
2013-05-10 at 17.49.38

The food was quite good too and the experience was one we would have been keen to recommend but for one little thing. It appears the laws in Austria on smoking in public places such as restaurants are not just as strict in other countries. As we dined some other customers sitting relatively close by were smoking and we found it quite uncomfortable. Somebody once said that tolerance levels reduced in direct proportion to your age. They certainly knew what they were talking about! We chatted to one of the staff about it and discovered that there are, in fact, laws in Austria probably similar to what we are now used to but they just are not enforced. Seems restaurants do provide facilities for smokers but the area is not clearly defined. Pity because it was the only thing I could fault the site with.
2013-05-10 at 17.50.27

They had a fabulous feature in their sanitary block. There are individual bathrooms which contain a toilet and shower and you can secure one of these for the duration of your stay and for that time it is all yours. They were as good as any 5 star hotel. An excellent feature.

Like so many sites on this trip we were sad to leave but that feeling gave way very quickly to one of sheer awe as we drove northwards through the alps. I could use words like "stunning" and "incredible" and they still would not do justice to the views. I can honestly say in my motorhoming experience I have never seen anything like it and that goes for the rest of us on this trip. I hope some of the pictures here can give you just a little idea of what it is like.
2013-05-10 at 17.51.12

Our destination was to be another lakeside site some miles into Germany. Panorama Camping Harras, the coordinates are 47.839930, 12.373960, if you want to have a peek in Google Earth. Today was Thursday, May 09, 2013 which is Ms Nancy's birthday. However, it also happened to be Father's day in Germany so lots of families had clearly decided that Camping Harras would be a good place give the old man a night out! The result was something similar to putting a quart into a pint pot. Still the weather was good, the food was good and, as we say in Ireland, "the craic was good". That was yesterday.
2013-05-10 at 17.52.57

Today it is Friday, May 10, 2013 and the heavens have opened. I have never seen so many fathers high tailing it out of one place so quickly. We are staying put until tomorrow when we will move on en route to Alsace. We expect to be there by Sunday.

By the way, a special thank you to Nancy for all of today’s pictures. What a way to spend your birthday!

One final thought about yesterday's trip through Austria into Germany. As you know by now we are four people (and Dougal) travelling in two motorhomes. Gianni and Loretta Carbone are experiencing the same views and sensations so it was interesting to compare notes last night when we got settled into Camping Harras. So in her own words:
2013-05-10 at 17.30.46
Gianni and myself had a most memorable, first experience of Austria, when driving with our travelling buddies, Frank, Nancy and Dougal, as we headed northwards towards Munich yesterday.

The views on route were truly spectacular.  Mile after mile of dramatic mountain peaks, capped with snow and smothered in evergreen pine forests of various description.  All dotted with wooden, colourful Austrian style houses.
Then to eclipse even that, we stopped for lunch at we believe, the most incredible MOTORWAY service station stop-off.  Honestly, the quality of food, drink and goodies to buy, could not be bettered, even in a 5 star hotel in Hawaii or Monte Carlo.  The traditional costumed staff, only added to the fairy tale effect.

The final cherry on the cake, was where it was situated, in a valley, surrounded by stunning, dramatic, snow peaked mountains.  The name of the place was LANDZEIT autobahn-restaurant and if you are ever passing that way in the future, do not miss this Hansel and Gretel experience. The coordinates of the place are 47.247710, 13.425140.

And finally, that fairy tale castle again:


And then its Austria...

2013-05-08 at 21.06.29

It was Tuesday, May 7, 2013 and a bright and early start for us as we began the return part of our journey.

It has been eventful so far with new discoveries and the odd disappointment thrown in for good measure. Still isn’t that what this thing is all about? New discoveries, new friends and constantly adding new cultures and experiences to our respective lists.

We said our farewells to Dave and Jasmin and started out on what was to prove to be a demanding but stunning trip northwards. A total of 160 miles and passing through three different countries: Croatia Slovenia and finally intoAustria which was a new experience for all of us.

The picture shows the precise route:

We had earmarked an interesting looking site just outside the town of Villach in southern Austria. It is called Seecamping Berghof which is a truly beautiful location. Once again a site where the staff seemed, genuinely, glad to see you and where being helpful is so much nicer than the other thing!

The site has its own live webcam so have a peep for yourself.
Click here.

Well, there is an early start tomorrow for Munich and a fun day is anticipated as it is Ms Nancy’s birthday. Let me leave you with the view from our pitch…Picture taken just 20 paces from the front door. Bliss.


The town of Krk and Camping Jezevac...

So, as I write this it is Tuesday, May 7, 2013 and it is time to move on. The homeward route is about to commence.
2013-05-07 at 01.56.53

So some reflections on Camping Jezevac and the overall impression is indeed entirely favourable. The site is fabulous, the location wonderful and the facilities all you could hope for. The only downside was the weather which went from beautiful sunshine on days one and two to intermittent downpours on days three and four. This is May, this is Croatia and the rain is bouncing off the Vinny Van as I write this. Maybe there is something to this global warming stuff.

The stay here has been enhanced by the arrival of Gianni and Loretta's son, David and his charming wife, Jasmine. They are the proud possessors of a VW camper which is supposed to be the smallest camper van on the market. They live, currently, in Germany and travelled down to spend a bit of time with us and they certainly added to the experience.
2013-05-07 at 02.00.02

So let me do my best to show you what this place is like and to say at the outset that we thoroughly recommend it should you ever happen to be in this area at any time. We have made prior reference to our experience at Lake Garda and, by comparison, Jezevac is the model on which sites should be based. From the moment we arrived we were greeted by helpful staff who genuinely appeared to like their jobs and wanted to help.

The pitches were beautifully maintained and the view out to sea and the headlands beyond is simply stunning.

We managed several trips into the town of Krk and it is beautiful, thriving place clearly scoring well above Punat at Camping Pali nearby. The same signs of decline were nowhere evident either on the site itself or in the town which appears to be thriving coming into the tourist season.

The bicycles were in constant use and we managed a fair bit of walking too.
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Dave and Jasmine came up with an idea that proved to be a real winner. Towards the north of the Island which is marginally smaller than our own Isle of Man, is located the Biserujka Cave, which was discovered over 100 years ago and can be accurately dated to the Ice Age. That fact was authenticated by the discovery of bone remnants of the cave bear, Ursula spelaeus. The caves go inward for 100 meters and downward for 13 meters making it an easy yet fascinating visit. Strangely they have come across quite a number of insects never before seen in any part of the world and to date they have so far discovered 28 different types of organisms, and counting.

The name of the cave Biserujka Cave, conjures part of the local legend…The word is Croatian for pearl and stories abound of smugglers and buried contraband which is par for the course for any decent cave these days and this is certainly a decent cave.
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We didn't get to explore any of the boat trips as the weather just made them too unattractive but we made up for it by sampling the fare at both the camp restaurants and they were worth the trip. Some interesting Croatian specialities which were quite delicious and on top of that we managed to Bar B Que successfully for dinner at home for one of the nights.

So you will have gathered the trip was a big success with the only regret centred on the 3 days we spent in Punat, if only we had realised. So the message is clear, if you are travelling this way you could not help but be impressed by Camping Jezevac..

The sadness of leaving such a beautiful location is compensated for by the fact that the four of us are heading off the Island today and northwards into Slovenia and on into Austria.
None of us have ever been in Austria and the route we are taking is the exact one that Dave and Jasmine took on the way down here and they have been singing the praises of the terrain since they got her so lots to look forward to on what is approximately a 160 mile trip.

More to follow soon.

How do you choose? The motorhomer's dilemma...

It has often been said that there really are two types of motorhomers. The type who identify a site and simply drive there and stay for the duration of their break or the ones who flit about the place cramming in more mileage and more campsites along the way. We are unmistakably in the second category.

Our feeling is that we want to maximise the experience so there is little point in remaining at a site that doesn't measure up.
2013-05-04 at 09.59.15

Problem is, how do you identify the good ones and the bad ones? The answer is, I haven't found out yet and herein lies a very interesting experience these past few days.

Nancy has covered the experience in Slovenia at Camping Adria but how we arrived at Camping Pali in Punat, Croatia is really strange.

On the Island of KrK, where we are now based there are a number of sites. Half of them are Naturist sites so unless you want your wobbly bits to be exposed to the world you avoid them. We do! Too many bits, too much wobble.

In the remaining three there is one that is away from the sea so we didn't really consider that so it was a straight choice between Camping Pali and Camping Jezevac. After looking at the locations on Google Earth, checking the reviews I came down in favour of Pali, so did Loretta and so did an English gentleman in Slovenia who actually recommended Pali. So far so good.
2013-05-04 at 10.03.36

Camping Pali is in a beautiful location with direct access to the walkway along the sea front leading into the quaint little town of Punat. So what is the problem?

It seems like just about every country in the world is going through the depths of recession and austerity and, in terms of campsites it is becoming more and more apparent that it is badly affecting them. Whether it is because fewer people are turning up or they are just not making ends meet the overall impression is that many sites are going down hill. It was really apparent in the little restaurant on site where the displayed menu bore no resemblance to what was available. The charming waitress explained that this was their first night and that not everything was ready. She was right and although the meal was ok it certainly did not merit the cost which was based on the full menu prices. We didn't complain because she was clearly stressed with all she had to do at once but we felt it was symptomatic of an overall feeling that the entire place was on the decline.

So it was after 3 nights that we got together and decided to talk about it. All our impressions surfaced, the appearance due to the abundance of the uncut grass and the multitude of weeds, the shanty town appearance of some parts of the site and worst of all, the chemical toilet kept getting blocked leaving the surrounding area with an awful smell.

So two minutes into the chat one of us suggested we might try the other site we had considered and within 15 seconds everyone was agreeing and there and then the decision to leave was taken.

Our pitches, which by this time had been laid out with all the gear, tables, chairs, awnings and knick knacks, were cleared and we were ready for departure. All within 45 minutes.
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The other site was 2.8 miles as the crow flies but if the crow was driving a motorhome he would have to follow a windy coastal road for 6 and ½ miles to Camping Jezavac. It is located in the small town of Krk and the difference between the two sites was night and day.

Jezevac is truly beautiful and we got sea front pitches with all the mod cons, well water and electricity. The toilets and showers are excellent and immaculately clean. We will be staying here for a while.

There are not one but two restaurants on the site, a little supermarket and the staff are utterly charming. The site is well laid out and I trust the pictures through out this blog reflect that.

We are about 10 minutes walk from the beautiful town of Krk with boat tours a plenty offering trips from an hour or two up to full day cruises. Perhaps most intriguing is a submarine tour. Watch this space. We have to try that.

This is one of the two restaurants on site serving wood fired pizzas. Looks very inviting.


Venice and onwards...

In our last offering we were singing the praises of Camping Miramare close to Venice. A super site where nothing is too much trouble. However I have , a word of warning. Mosquitoes. It would appear that we are a tasty bunch as several families of the bugs celebrated May day by dining out on us! Loretta suffered more than the rest of us but we all have our memories.
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There will be more about that from Nancy.

There is a magic about Venice and we tried to capture as much as we could in pictures which I hope you enjoy. We had all been there before but not as motorhomers and, in my case, Nancy and I had been here with Ji Hye Lee for Christmas in 2010. At that time there was rain, there were high tides and as a result St. Mark’s Square was under 2 feet of water. Still we all ended up with new wellies and lovely memories. This time it was so different and the heat was the main hurdle, heat that seems to attract even more mosquitoes.

A word here about Dougal. He was a star. Totally out of his comfort zone he seemed to enjoy the ferry to St. Mark’s and ambled around the place accepting the admiration of countless passers by.

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The pictures below are of a typical “street scene” as a Gondolier negotiates a sharp turn into another “street”. The other is of the famous Bridge of Sighs which, historically, ran between the Court House and the Prison where it is said condemned prisoners got their final view of Venice before meeting their fate. Hence the name of the bridge.



We have now been on the road for46 days. We've had rain, snow, sleet, mud and hail - but despite the dramatic weather, it has been wonderful. Most recently we've traveled a larger portion of Italy than we've done previously - it was captivating. We will return. Our last site in Italy was a campsite Frank found called Miramare near Venice - which I have to say was beautiful. Although we all suffered a bit due to Mosquitoes, (mostly poor Loretta, who is highly allergic) but we were able to take a water bus into Venice for a lovely, but exhausting day. Learn more about this site on Frank's prior post.

Slovenia. I am not sure I can explain what, if any, preconceived notions I had about this country. Geographically, I knew it was one of many small European countries, but if you had asked me to locate it on a blank map I doubt if I'd have come anywhere near its actual location. All that said, I was happily surprised to discover a beautiful country with rolling hills, well maintained roadways and friendly people. Now onto the campsite.
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Firstly, let me say we have only seen one camp in Slovenia so it would hardly be fair to discount the whole of the country based upon a single experience. From that disclaimer you can probably tell I wasn't very impressed with Camping Adria, located in Ankaran, Slovenia. As we pulled into the camp we were struck by the number of seemingly, permanent residents. These "campers" had odd higgily-piggily set-ups that were quite unattractive, and seemed thrown together using any sort of disparate building supplies.

It is conceivable that these dwellings were not the owners full-time homes, and may have actually been their holiday homes - if that is the case, it would be just...sad. The second impression was of an inordinate number of dogs, most quite large and a few seemed identifiable as Pit-bull or Rottweilers. Bearing in mind we share our lives with a very cuddly and soft Shih Tzu, this was alarming.

I immediately told Frank we needed to keep Dougal on a lead to avoid his potential dismemberment. Seriously, there were large groups of these types of dogs EVERYWHERE. Our friends, Loretta and Gianni were just as dismayed, Loretta was once attacked on a campsite by a large dog so understandably was very uncomfortable.

So, I recall talking with Loretta and I mentioned unless there is a dog show nearby, there was no excuse for a campsite allowing so many large, and potentially dangerous dogs on a public site. Guess what? Yeah, there was a dog show, and apparently, a world championship. Okay...now onto the better news. The restaurant and views of the Adriatic. Both impressive, and they served very refreshing Mojitos too! All in all, we would not return to the campsite, but it was somewhat redeemed by the outstanding views and nice meal.

The next day we were off bright and early to Croatia. This was our second trip to the country, but first to this part of this oddly shaped, but beautiful country. Frank had found a website that showed a lovely looking campsite on an island called, Krk. We have learned the websites that tout their own campsites are usually discovered to be not just as nice as their photos and descriptions would have you believe. Camping Pila, in Punat falls into that category.
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Yes, it has its beauties; on the shore of a sheltered harbour and with a nice paved seaside path that goes quite a distance and to the large marina. Sadly the campsite is in dire need of upkeep and repair; weeds are high in spots, and shrubs could do with a trim. The market was described as being a full, and well stocked sort of place - but it too was found to be lacking when Frank and Gianni tried to buy supplies for a cookout. And again we saw disturbingly permanent looking camp-dwellings near us which could only be described as eyesores. However, with the disappointments we had a few nice surprises in the form of several walkable or cycle-able, cafes, pubs and restaurants. The harbour, although the view from our "premium" pitches is somewhat obscured by a high sea wall, is pretty, with ships and small sailing yachts gliding past constantly. All said, we are happy as the weather is warm (albeit a bit rainy at the moment) and we have the company of our good friends nearby. We plan on staying a week and happily are expecting Loretta and Gianni's son, David and his wife to join us for a couple of days! Should be very enjoyable!

Keeping the best till last. The view from our pitch at Camping Pila.



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