A year on the road

      17 Comments on A year on the road

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.

Us a year 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.

Mike

17 thoughts on “A year on the road

  1. Lee Hayes

    Happy Anniversary to you both. You’re doing something that most people only ever dream about, so well done for making it happen.
    The memories you are making will be with you forever, and the fact that you’re still talking to each other is a triumph of your relationship!
    Keep enjoying your big adventure, hopefully we’ll be able to meet up again somewhere soon.

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Cheers Lee. Yes it would be great to catch up with you and Wendy again, let’s make it happen!

  2. Stu

    And it’s been entertaining, enlightening and fun to hear what you’ve been up to. Here’s to another year of epic adventures x

    Reply
  3. Lesley Eddington

    Happy 1st Vanniversary………groan,groan – can I get away with that one? I take my hat off to both of you – what a wonderful adventure you’re on. We have both loved reading your blog and gazing at the wonderful views and quirky monuments you have come across. Interesting to see different areas of countries that we’ve been to and given us ideas for other places we’d like to visit. I’m not sure Dave and I would still be on speaking terms after all that time together so well done for that too. Take care, Luv Lesley (and Dave) xx

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      You’d love this lifestyle! The last year has flown by, we are so lucky to be able to do this. Glad you are enjoying Mike’s blog updates. We have been to so many lovely places that the ‘tourist’ just doesn’t see and have met some great people. Looking forward to hearing about your travel adventures later this year! x

  4. Martin Griffiths

    Slightly late to the game following you both on your travels. Enjoying your regular updates and insights into areas not normally written about. What an adventure and looking forward to the inevitable book and BBC series upon your return.

    Reply
  5. Lin

    WOW, what an exciting year you both have had…. We have enjoyed keeping up with you on your blogs so keep them up…
    And amazingly we thought you would have driven more than 13K miles too. May get Dave to do it yet… Ha Ha..
    All the best for the next year.
    Xx

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Some lesser known countries are on the agenda over the next year – if you are in Europe over the next year let us know and we might be able to divert a little! Shame we were a few weeks behind you in Porto. Carol x

  6. Simon Thomson

    I hope, like us that your first year continues as enjoyable and exciting into your second, third and fourth years 🙂

    There is a certain ‘Je n’ce quoi’ in finally ridding yourselves of those final shackles. Congrats 🙂

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Thanks, Simon! Not sure if our paths will cross again during 2018 but we do enjoy reading about your travels. Hope you are both back on the road before too long. Carol x

  7. Ged & Jeanette McCarthy

    Wow wow wow, what an absolutely brilliant blog, we are about 12-18 months away from doing exactly what you are doing, and just like when you started we have no experience of driving a motorhome or a caravan …… But one thing is for sure we can’t wait to get used to driving one, and after reading the whole of your blog continually for about 4hrs it has just wetted our appetite even more.
    I am now a fully signed up member of your tour and can’t wait to receive coming updates of your journey.
    Take care, very best of luck to you both.
    Keep living your dream.
    Ged & Jeanette

    Reply
    1. Mike Post author

      Thanks for your feedback, comments like this make writing the blog really worthwhile! Glad to hear you’re getting closer to hitting the road and living your dream, it’s a fantastic way to see the world. If you have any questions then feel free to message us via the link on the blog. Also check out some of the ‘blogs we follow’ links – ourtour.co.uk has tons of really useful information. Cheers, and take care. Mike

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