Showing posts from August, 2009
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Trip Map

You can now view a map of the trip taken. Here it is so far.

View European Vacation 2 in a larger map

Day #27 'Home at Last'

Second time through the whole coming back scenario proved much smoother than last time (thankfully). We checked Storm in with no problems this time and then proceeded to check the car and van in. We were over an hour early and expected quite a delay. No fear of that! There was a train leaving with room still on it so they shipped us out straight away. Hooray!!!
Were very happy to see the White Cliffs Of Dover when we arrived back on comfortable soil. It really felt like we were coming home this time. The drive home was much smoother than our scary ride out of UK just a few weeks ago. What a holiday! We have seen and experienced so much that I think it will take us quite some time to fully understand the extent to which we are blessed! Good to be Home!

Day #26

Got Storms needles and tick treatment done nice and early this morning, then spent the rest of the day relaxing. Checked out of the caravan park and went to find somewhere to park for tonight (to save some money). We found a good spot near the terminal (the old waiting area) and set up. We then decided to see if we could find a truck stop with facilities. We moved to one nearby and stayed for a couple of hours before being told that only trucks were allowed…. So we went back to plan A and slept in the van at the old waiting area. Sweet dreams all—home tomorrow!

Day #25 Calias - take 2

...Got into Calais and booked into the same caravan as last time we were here. It only cost 20euros a night so a real bargain. The vets are closed this afternoon so we will take Storm for shots tomorrow and head home on Tuesday... all going to plan. We went for a stroll around Calais and the boys went for a swim at the beach before buying some French Fries and heading back to the van for some R & R.

Day #24 ‘The Journey Home begins’

We set off at 12:00 today, after a morning of relaxation and packing up the van yet again. Not much longer now and we will be back in sweet England. It’s been a wonderful holiday but we’re all ready to head back now.
We made it more than half way today and are stopped for a nights’ sleep about 5 hours from Calais. Will be an early start tomorrow so we can try to get Storms’ vaccinations done in the afternoon. We are hoping to be able to head off through the tunnel on Monday instead of Friday, so her needles (for her pet’s passport) need to be done soon. Here’s hoping!..

Kerry did the unthinkable and put the caravan cables on a little too low this time. Matt was not a happy camper when we discovered that the wires were crushed again and he did another repair job on them to get us home ...oops!

Day #23 ‘Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen’…Germany

This morning we hit Lindau for a little while to visit the Zeppelin Museum.

We went for a walk around the lake this afternoon, picking wild blackberries as we went. The lake was beautiful as the daylight started to disappear. Matt and Kerry sat watching the yachts coming in to moor for the night - and planning their next BIG adventure (after the boys graduate highschool). Ah, to be on the open seas! – island hopping, seasonal work…mmm, sure sounds good! Obviously, we have a way of making our dreams into reality…so watch this space!!! Just hope we can inspire some other people along our journey and show them that they should follow their dreams and make them into reality too. Life is there to be lived and is definitely not a spectators sport!

Day #22 ‘Germany….again we meet’

Today we had the task of finding a caravan park somewhere in the Lindau area around Lake Constance. Last time we were here (back in April) we stayed on the opposite side of this massive lake in Constance itself (Konstanz).
After about 1 ½ hours from when we left the rest stop we found ‘Gohren am Bodensee’ – almost directly across from Konstanz. It’s a massive caravan park that backs directly onto the lake and has heaps for the kids to do; petting zoo; trampolines; playground; mini golf; and, of course, swimming and water sports in the lake. There’s even a little doggy bath for dogs so Stormy got to have a nice refreshing bath/shower…ahhh, lucky girl! Best of all: it’s only €29 per night.
Went to LIDL (like aldi) for some food supplies this afternoon. We were reminded that last time we were in Germany we had trouble using VISA cards. It seems that here, in Germany, many shops do not allow the use of VISA cards in their machines. It’s cash or Maestro only. A big pain in the back side. Luc…

Day #21 ‘Venice to Constance, Germany…the road trip continues’

We hung around the caravan park until check-out time of 12:00 today. The rest and relaxation was nice after our big day in Venice yesterday. Then, after check-out it was back on the road and off to Germany (Deutchland). The lights on the van are all working properly now so Matt can overtake without aggravating other drivers.
The drive out of Italy was fairly simple. We had set ourselves a detour of Innsbrooke, Austria, so we had somewhere to stretch our legs. This took us off the main highway which made the rest of the days’ drive ‘interesting’. The road from Innsbrooke was quite windy. Quite interesting when you have up to 9% inclines and declines, along with windy roads, plus a caravan on the back. We followed a couple of campervans a fair leg of the way. They were taking it just as careful as us.
We hit an almost-major travel snag when we got into Germany. The highway was meant to merge with another motorway (according to the navigator) to help us on our way to lake Constance. Proble…

Day #20 ‘Venice…the city of water’

We arrived at camp nice and early this morning after what turned out to be just under one hours’ drive from where we slept last night. In Rome we were given a booklet on ‘Camping & Villages Network Italia’. The caravan there is part of this group and the booklet gives us a 10% discount at any one of the parks within the group. Consequently, we are staying at ‘Della Serenissima’ in Oriago, a short bus ride from Venizia (Venice).
We have been having some trouble with one of the rear caravan lights ever since Matt backed it into a fence in Spain. Matt and Kerry already bought a new pair of covers and replaced the broken one in Spain, but the lighting on the van appears to be bodgy and problems have reared their heads more and more since we ran over the cable. While Matt was re-wiring the lights (successfully this time) a ‘lovely’ French lady (very loooose term…lol) decided to chat him up. She picked up his screwdriver and pointed to herself. When Matt said, innocently, that she could …

Day #19 ‘Roma to Venice…road trip’

Spent the morning relaxing today at ‘Happy’ camping. Matt and Kerry enjoyed 2 cappucinos in the restaurant while on the internet updating the blog and facebook. Had major caffeine buzz afterwards. Zane and Darian played in the pool (next to eh restaurant) while Matt and Kerry soaked in the Italian Brew. Darian played in the little pool with his new friend Poppi (a little girl he met here at the caravan park). After blogging Kerry jumped in the pool with the boys.

Zane says that the caravan park is so good it deserves a new rating of 6 – totally off the richter scale (our normal scale only goes to 5). Kerry agreed. It is such a great place for R & R. Quite sad to leave this little piece of Rome. Daz gave Poppi’s parents our email address. They are from the UK and are such a lovely family, doing the travel thing as well.

Next, we are headed off towards Venice (Venizia). We had stopped about one hour away from Venice in a truck stop for the night. Good night all!

Day #18 ‘History…uncovered: The Pompeii Journey’

WOW! WOW! WOW! This doesn’t even begin to describe what we saw today!
We set off from camp early by car in the direction of Pompeii. In a little over 2 hours (by motor way) we were there. Matt had ‘fun’ driving amongst the locals. They drive like lunatics here! Cars meandered all over the place, often taking up more than just their own lane…and apparently their indicators do not work…mmm. The boys and Kerry had a good laugh when he decided to start cursing at one driver, pretending to be a local as he threw his hands in the air and muttered unintelligible words…lol. Definitely good for a giggle: not the side of Matty we are accustomed to. VERY FUNNY!

It was really eerie to drive past what we assumed (correctly) was Mt Versuvious…brrr. Then we had to stop for an ATM. Apparently they don’t use them much here. The pink book said quite specifically that card could not be used at the ruins so we decided to be safe and get cash out first. We ended up in what could only be called ‘the seedy si…

Day #17 'Sisteen Chappel...ahhh'

Today was a day of truly inspiring detail. They say: 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do' so we clad ourselves in sensible weather for this crazy heat and hit the streets again for some of Romes beautiful architectural wonders...First Stop: 'The museum at the Vatican'...WOW!!! Matt stayed outside with Storm, who is feeling a little sore after yesterday's walk-around, and Kerry, Zane and Darian ventured into the museum. The Sisteen Chappel is something that could never be justly described with words. We stood there, totally dumb-struck, as we stared at the magnificent work of this one room. So many artists' hands have gone into the construction of this room, including Michaelangelo (of course), his master, Raphaelo's master...and so many others. To stand before the 'Last Supper' was like nothing else. Kerry had to wipe a tear away to see the magnificent detail that lay in this age-old telling of the greatest love of all....AMAZING!!! We wandered throu…

Matt and Kerry's 10 tips for eating out in Italy

01. Find a nice little Italian Restaurant off the main street for optimum charm
02. Ask if they allow your dog inside (if travelling with your pet)- it does happen
03. Order Proichetto Pizza - very authentic Italian
04. Order spaghetti - of course
05. Cut pizza up, then use your hands to eat it like the Italians do...when in Rome!
06. Share a long piece of spaghetti, stop when you get to the middle for a kiss
07. Order the boys a nice bowl of spaghetti each and giggle as they try to be polite
08. Make sure children have napkin tucked in to avoid
09. Tip the waiter generously ... smiles all around
10. Enjoy ... you are in Rome!!!

We chose to eat at 'Caffe e Pasticceria U. GuilianiRicercatezze dal 1897'

Day #16 ‘Rome…part #1’

We got up nice and early this morning (after listening to roaring trucks all night long at the truck stop). Only a half an hour from where we slept last night was the first caravan park in our vanning guide book. After inquiring about the cost we decided to stay there for a couple of nights. It is called ‘Happy Village & Camping Roma’ and is costing us €52 a night (not bad for Rome). It is an amazing park. The boys instantly gave it a rating 5 out of 5 (probably because it has a massive pool that is open until 10 at night...yeah!). We set up camp and headed for the courtesy bus that took us to Prima Porta train station (not far from the park).
We decided to do as our guide book from Matt’s mum and dad suggested: we bought 4 ‘Daily Travel’ tickets for €4 each (no charge for Storm). So, for only €16 the five of us had unlimited travel on the trains, buses and trams (not that we saw any trams). Not too shabby! This gave us a chance to see so much more of Rome than we could have on foo…

Day #15 ‘Leaning Tower of Pizza (oops, food on the brain)…Pisa’

This morning we set off into the centre of Pisa (Pise to the Italians) again…in search once more for the ‘Campo dei Miracoli’ (Field of Miracles): home to The Leaning Tower, The Cathedral and The Baptistry of Pisa. The walkway alongside the historical square was littered with tourists and souvenir stalls in a long line all the way to the tower. The architectural accident that is The Leaning Tower of Pise was quite a sight again. We took crazy pics (as you do) of us with the tower again, this time by day. There weren’t so many hawkers around at this time of day so it was nice to be able to enjoy the sights without having goods shoved in front of you and being harassed by their sellers…ahhh.

We paid €2 each to go inside the Cathedral. It was absolutely beautiful! The architecture of these buildings is amazing. So much thought and creativity under one roof…truly inspiring!
Once back at camp Zane, Darian and Kerry went for a quick swim at the beach across the road from the park while Matt …

Day #14 ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa…by night’

We woke to the sounds of bottle bins being emptied this morning…so much for a lay in. The sun is shining in all it’s glory already – another beautiful day…
…Had a lovely swim a few kilometres up the beach, in the main part of Camparosso. The water was icy cold and clear blue. Stormy girl (reluctantly) had a swim too. It was another rock beach, so quite hard on the feet, but still lovely. We went for a stroll around the local shops – can’t believe the low price of alcohol here (didn’t buy any though). One litre of Bacardi was €12 – AMAZING! The local drops here are sold in many novelty bottles in shapes of many things and the straws were about 1 metre in length…funny! We drooled over massive bags of freshly dried pasta and bought Zane and Darian a massive twisted lolly pop each: very happy boys! We all had a big giggle at the massive jar of Nutella being sold in the shop. It would have been about 4 litres in volume and was on sale for €26. Wow!
When we went to check out we got…

Day #13 ‘Lock tight…mmm’

After breakfast this morning we took our coffee and hot chocolate outside to watch the views of Monaco. As we went to lock the caravan we discovered that some creton had broken our lock last night by jimmying something inside it. We thought we heard a noise at the door last night but put it down to Zane’s restless sleeping. Guess the noise was not what we had thought. NOT NICE! Now we have to somehow find somewhere to purchase a new lock today (in a country where we don’t speak the language…arghh)…..
….We drove into Italy and took the scariest ride imaginable, with a caravan, down to the beachside caravan park. The park is called ‘Helios’ and is at Camporosso. It is really dingy with very nosy locals. One lady does not seem at all happy about the owners squeezing us in – she continually points at our van and car, puts her hands in the air, and has a whinge to her neighbours (in Italian). First impressions of Italy – NOT GOOD! The housing here is packed close like sardines and…

Day #12 ‘The key to an expensive holiday’

First thing on the agenda today: find a Citroen Service Centre somewhere around Nines. A massive line of car service centres from nearly all makes of vehicles lined the roadway…we were just started to wonder if there was everything but what we were looking for when, Ta Da! There it was, up on the right…Citroen!
The workers were really helpful and 1 ½ hours and €170 later we were up and running again. As it turns out, our ignition bit the dust and we needed a new one. We wonder if this was caused by us using the spare key in the ignition and then using the original one again…won’t be doing that again! The boys were so beautifully behaved as we waited in the showroom. Not one complaint from either of them. We were so pleased that we decided a treat was needed as a reward so we bought them some take away at a fast food shop up the road. Thank you our wonderful boys!
After a couple of hours driving we found a lovely detour at Cannes (as in the Cannes Film Festival). Ferrari and Por…

Day #11 Next stop...somewhere between Sitges and Monaco'

We have just finished packing up the van for the next leg of our journey. Time to hit the pool before another few hours driving today. We are off in the direction of Monaco/Nice next. Will probably be in a truck stop somewhere between them tonight. Hope the sun settles down a little. Don't like our chances there though as we are getting closer to Italy all the time...sure is a 'Summer Holiday'. Have been listening to 'Mama Mia' this morning and had a little teary when heard 'our last summer'...we've been to all those places mentioned....goose bumps!!!.... will catch up on blog when we next get internet...going to try to get a new headset for computer so we can skype again...fingers crossed!............. be continued

Day #10 'Sitges...beach bums!'

Last night was interesting! We tried to sleep in the stinking heat with all the windows open...but the lot in this caravan park don't seem to know what sleep is. They partied into the morning. All around us was the sound of loud music and laughter. Once lot decided to start their loud douf douf music at 3am...hello??? The last caravan park had a 'no music' policy...definatey prefer their quiet style of

This morning we enjoyed a hot brekky in the van (not just the food - it's hot here already) then hit the pool as soon as it opened at 10:00. The people here don't seem to believe in covering up so the boys got some funny looks in their 50+spf rash shirts - have they not heard of skin cancer here yet??? HELLO!!! We have found the locals can actually be quite obnoxious...laughing at foreigners for the way they dress and speak...not nice!!!

When the pool closed we had some lunch and a small rest before heading off the find the beach of Sitges. We …