It’s now exactly one year since we set off on this amazing adventure. Once the removal people had taken away our furniture being put into storage, we left our home and drove to the van on a campsite in Colchester. The next day we drove to the nearby webuyanycar.com office and sold the car before driving the van down to the aire in Canterbury, and the following morning, filled with a mixture of excitement and apprehension, we took the tunnel to Calais and off we went. We’ve done so much in the intervening twelve months that this all seems so, so long ago.
We drove through France quite quickly, as it was out of season and the water tends to be turned off in many of the aires, though we did stop at Oradour-sur-Glane, the town mothballed in 1944. For nearly four months we travelled through Spain and Portugal, and highlights would have to include Valencia’s Las Fallas fiesta, the ‘wild west’ town of El Rocío and the Roman archaeology and museums of Mérida. The drive through the Douro valley to Porto is one of my favourite drives so far, with picturesque views round almost every bend in the road. The food and wine was great all the way through Spain, so it was fitting that San Sebastián was our last stop there.
We drove through southern France to get to Germany, stopping to visit the Pont du Gard on the way. Neither of us knew what to expect in Germany, and we were both surprised at what a beautiful country it is. We both loved the Black Forest, and had a wonderful day when we popped over the border to Strasbourg. The Bavarian Alps were so scenic too. Sadly my Dad passed away in July whilst we were in Germany, so we returned to the UK for his funeral. Back on the road in Germany a couple of weeks later, travelling through the Mosel Valley, we made our way to the former East Germany and spent six wonderful days in Berlin, definitely one of our favourite cities. Heading south we crossed into the Czech Republic, spending a couple of days in Prague, followed by a brief sojourn though Austria where we enjoyed our days out in Vienna and Graz.
We knew nothing about Slovenia before visiting other than photos we’d seen of Lake Bled and the caves. It’s a country the size of Wales but with a population of just over two million people, so there’s the most beautiful countryside wherever you go, and Ljubljana feels more like a provincial town than the country’s capital.
Almost all of Croatia’s campsites close down in October, and as it’s illegal to wild camp we were somewhat restricted in terms of places to stay. I think we both enjoyed Split the most, as it’s a lively city and has one of the best campsites on the outskirts. We also had our best meal out there.
Like many travellers, we developed a bit of a love-hate relationship with Italy, and by the time we left Pompeii we were pleased to be catching the ferry to Greece rather than travelling further south in Italy.
So it’s been a great 12 months. We’ve driven 13,476 miles, or 21,561 kilometres, and overnighted at 192 different places – and we’re both still talking to each other! The readership of this blog has increased quite a lot over the year, and we now have regular followers not just from the UK and Europe, but from all around the world, from the Antipodes to the Americas. The blog has also been great for making friends with fellow motorhomers who are travelling around Europe.
We have another week or so here in Greece before starting our journey north, through Bulgaria and Romania to Hungary, then through Slovakia to Poland and the Baltic States, taking the ferry to Scandinavia so that we’ll be inside the Arctic Circle by midsummer’s day. We’ll have to wait and see where we’ll go from there.