JANUARY 2014 – HAPPY NEW YEAR or BUON ANNO – From Sicily.
Wednesday 1st January:
Well can you believe we are still here in Sicily and Punta Braccetta, Camping Luminoso. And what great weather to start the New Year…..but not a good start for me as again you can see I am so far behind with my ‘dog blog’, where does the time go. We had a bit of a late start today as we were all up late celebrating the new year with some of the friends we have made here on the site. A few of the Italians cooked for us pasta, meats, and vegetables, followed by cakes and all with wine…..so hence the late start today. the weather is lovely and sunny, blue sky and warm enough for our mum and dad to wear shorts and t-shirts. We had a good walk along the long beach and the some serious digging me with a stone and Winnie with a stick. A late lunch then more partying with our friends, Rob and Sue, Claudio and Lisy. Claudio loves me and Winnie and Winnie now recognises his voice….I think she is picking up Italian!
Thursday 2nd January – Tuesday 14th January
Still at Camping Luminoso, but what a busy 2 weeks it has been. We have had our usual walks along long beach, walked in the woods, cycled to Marina Di Ragusa and Punta Secca – this is us infront of the house they use for the series ‘Montalbano”- it’s about an Italian detective and based on the stories written by Andrea Camilleri, my mum has read all the books…. had my dads birthday on the 6th and my dad went flying with his friend Rob – they went to a small airfield at Marina Di Modica, just along the coast and flew in a Techam….my dad came and found us walking on the beach and did a rather low fly by, if I can put a video on here you can watch it!
Wednesday 15th January:
A sad day for us today as we are leaving Luminoso after being here a total of 7 weeks. We have made some good friends and had great days on the beach. I have to say my sister is proving to be very sociable and lots of the regular dog walkers on the beach now know her, as she does insist on droping her stick, ball, random piece of wood at their feet to be thrown for her….and surprisingly enough, even though some of the people she chooses don’t like dogs, they will still throw her the stick, ball or random piece of wood…I myself, being a quiet old bear have also made some friends, mostly people who want to fuss me, especially a very nice man from Austria, who I go and see every day, he doesn’t speak English, but I do understand that he loves me…I will miss him. My mum as usual, cried as she said good bye to every one, my dad just kept busy…he was sad too, as for all of this time Camping Luminioso has been our home and these people our friends and neighbours….but hey, Greece…here we come. So we leave and head for Ikea….yes Ikea near Catania, to get a few bits for our van, then ‘Camping La Timpa International’ at Acireale further up the east coast. What a total contrast to Luminoso…down a really windy road to get there and a really tight fit on to the site which is situated on top of a very steep cliff over looking the sea, and only 2 others staying. But it was very exciting for me and Winnie, new sniffs and grass, something we haven’t seen for a while. Our mum and dad decided, as this was to be our last night in Sicily, they would have a meal in the campsite restaurant. It opened at 8pm, usually time when t is over for us….so a late meal. They arrived to find it totally empty eventhough the tables were laid for at least 80. My dad felt quite sorry for them and wondered how they ever managed to make any money….that was until 9.30pm when a group of 15 came in, followed by another group of 20, then 2 lots of 4…..so a very busy night and it was only Tuesday….Welcome to Italy…
Thursday 16th January:
Morning routine and off for a walk in the village, a nice little fishing port and lots of ‘stuff’ for me and Winnie to eat off the floor, bits of fish, food and goodness knows what, but as usual our mum and are keeping a careful eye on us…..boring. By the way, its a lovely sunny day, blue sky and 17c. Now my mum is quite particular in what she feeds us, some may say ‘fussy’ so the fact that there doesn’t seem to be too much in the way of natural dog food in Italy has made her do some research and she has found a food made in ‘Malta’ that is sold near here, so off we go to the ZooClub, a pet shop….we are totally relying on ‘Katie’ our sat nav, so hold on to your hats. We did find the shop without too much bother, only a couple of very narrow roads that ‘Katie’ tried to take us down, my dad ignored her, she got a bit huffy, but we found it. So fully loaded with lovely food we head for Messina and the port. No waiting and we are on, then we are off, after a lovely smooth crossing of 20 minutes we are now on main land Italy. We head for a camperstop about ..and hour away, only to find…its not there….so we then drive on to the next camperstop, only to find….its not there…so on to the next camp site, its in the ACSI book, so it should be ok…..wrong. We arrive having driven down a rather bumpy muddy track, no one around, the wind blowing all of the netting for the sun shades around, 2 dogs barking…imagine the theme tune from ‘the Good, The Bad and the Ugly’ and you have a good picture of the place. Needless to say…we didn’t stay. So now time is moving on, the next campsite is 3 hours away, by then it will be late, we drive on in the hope we may find a place by the beach or a lay by to stop in……just as we were giving up we spot them, the familiar row of white motorhome roofs, at last…but how did they get there. We try several different approaches, and then have to resort to the Iphone and ‘maps’. There it is, on the beach, what a welcome site as we approach….home for the night!
Friday 17th January:
So ‘wild camping’ they call this…and it was ok. My mum was a bit nervous…having heard stories of being gassed in your van at night…or front doors being forced open….but we are all here and all ok, phew. Off along the beach for our morning walk then back to the van to move on. As we arrived back at our van, our neighbour, a nice friendly German chap with not much hair, started telling us about a problem he had with his van. Seemed he had been feeding a wild mouse who had now found its way into his camper and was terrorising him at night, running over him in his bed and eating his food, trouble was he couldn’t find it, it wasn’t a big van either…he said he was off to buy a mouse trap! We head off to ‘Camping Kokus village”, omd, no way are we staying here. It is open, but looks totally deserted, so we turn around and head off to the beach for lunch then off again to ‘Camping Punta Alice’ www.puntalice.it at Ciro Marina. As we arrive at the site my dad says ‘so this is where they all are’…only 5 vans, but its clean and tidy and nice. We set up camp and head for the beach. The weather is’nt brilliant…by that I mean, clear blue skies, but it’s not raining.
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th January:
We came for one night and stayed for 3, not unusual it has to be said. A nice spot, good walks in the woods, which make a change from the beach, a public pool accross the road 25m and very clean and tidy, a nice promanade along the sea front, not too many stray dogs and the usual local shops. But it must be so different in the season. Everything is half open, in need of a clean and tidy, hedges need to be trimmed and a general tidy up of rubbish. Along the beach nearly all of the beach cafes and restaurants have just been left as if the last person out just shut the door. The chairs have blown over, the sun roofs have been ripped by the wind and blow away and generally it all looks a bit of a mess…but unfortunately it is the same all along the coast in Italy and Sicily….a shame. We have been told to expect worse in Greece, but we will see…..
Monday 20th January:
Usual morning routine but walking in the woods which we have enjoyed. It has been ok here and 10 euros a night for 3 nights, so not bad, including electricity, showers and Wifi. Off we head now for the village of Alberobello…..if you don’t want to see any more facts then look away now…, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Trulli houses. The Trulli houses were made up of stone and just stacked together, no cement was used, this was so they were ready to be taken down quickly before the tax man arrived, as all property owned by the locals was taxed…nice idea. My mum and dad heard about this village when they were watching a cooking programme with Gino, the Italian Chef, he was travelling around to places in Italy, he visited this village, as when he was a child, he thought the Smurffs lived here….no, honestly he did. When he was here though it was summer and bright blue skies, today for us it is raining and 7c. time. My mum is worried that we are going to make her nervous of other dogs, but poor thing has already been bitten once on this trip. Have to say I am getting used to having her around…We had a look around the local shops and visited a wine shop, we were allowed in and even given some treats…now as I mentioned earlier, we have now stocked up on new food, well it is really nice and we both like it, but…it gives Winnie terrible wind…and yes you have guessed it…in the shop too, my dad was so embaressed in case the lady thought it was him…! We also had a lucky escape in the evening on our regular walk, it was dark, we were walking up through the houses when 2 dogs ran at us, luckily my mum and dad had torches with them and shone them straight in their eyes…they eventually backed off, a little bit scary for us all.
Tuesday 21st January:
We stayed over night at Alberobello Area Sosta almost in the village. One of the few places we have found that is handy enough to walk into town. A nice town, worth a visit, we had quite a lot of attention from the locals and too much attention from the local dogs….they are not nice here and we had another lucky escape, well Winnie did, as she was charged by a Beagle, my dad picked her up just in time. Well it was the coldest it has been so far, 7c and raining, so after our walk we were off and heading for Brindisi and the ferry to Patras, Greece. There was no need to book in advance so we arrived at the ferry port and booked our crossing. We booked a cabin and destination Igumenitsa on the main land, with the intention of driving to the Peloponneses and Patra, however, it was the same price to cross to Igumenitsa (8 hours on the ferry) as it was to stay on for a further 7 hours to Patra. But, my mum is not keen on ferries especially in the dark so my dad parked our van on deck ready to get off at the first stop…we would see how my mum was and also me and Winnie as it is a long crossing without a break…… We arrived on the ferry and were told that me and Winnie had to go to the ‘on board kennels’, my mum and dad were not happy to say the least, especially when we were taken to see them, talk about rust buckets, they were disgusting to put it mildly…..my dad told the Pursor in no uncertain terms……’MY DOGS ARE NOT KENNEL DOGS AND WILL BE STAYING IN OUR CABIN”….me and Winnie were behind him all the time giving him our full support! As it turned out, the crossing was not too bad, although my mum did feel sick and me and Winnie could not perform on the deck, so we stayed on till Patra….boy did we need the facilities by the time we arrived…we found a patch of grass on the port, which it seems all aother dogs had used too….relief.
Wednesday 22nd January;
ITALY – GREECE;
Patras Port, Peloponnese, Greece 6950 miles from Taw Green, England, UK.
Drove straight to our first Greek campsite ‘Camping Ionian Beach’, 50Km for Patras and the one everyone heads for. Very nice and clean, a pitch on the beach side and 16c…..bring it on.
Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th;
Camping Ionian Beach, to enjoy the sun, relax from our crossing, catch up on washing and meet new friends. Yes we have met up with some new friends who we will be travelling with, Adrian and Victoria and their young daughter Edith who are from Exmouth, Devon….I know, a bit close to home as it seems most people we meet are. We had a day out at killini, parked on the port and had a good walk, then my mum and dad had lunch.
Our fist impressions of Greece have been mixed. Much cleaner than Italy, the Greeks are more friendly than the Italians…..but….and this upsets us all…the way they keep their dogs, or ‘don’t keep them’ my mum would say. More dead dogs at the side of the road and mostly kept as guard dogs and boy can they sound vicious. All in the gardens, tied to trees with a kennel for shelter if they are lucky…..and lots of strays….very upsetting, boy are me and Winnie lucky.
Monday 27th January;
At this time of year in Greece, there aren’t many campsites open, so most of our stays will be on what are called ‘Camperstops’. We have a book called ‘Motorhome guide Camperstop Europe’ which has all the stops in. These are places where ‘free or wild camping’ are tolerated, but usually out of season, so we will be ok. Most of the campsites don’t open till May, so it could be interesting as we will have to find places to fill up with fesh water, empty out our dirty water….and well that toilet business….my dad does that. So first Camperstop – Katakolo Harbour. We plugged into the electricity used for the boats and should pay €5 per night, but the harbour chappy couldn’t be bothered to write out on invoice…that is exactly what he said. So we are there setting up with our new friends from Exmouth and a local chap comes along and ask if we would like to order any food for the next day…we did, and he brought it along in the morning…nice chap.
Tuesday 28th January;
Moving on to our next camperstop at Zacharo, next to a lake, well thats what the book said, we didn’t like it so moved on to another one at Zacharo on the beach, but stray dogs around and it was disused and didn’t feel nice, so onto number 3 and hope its ok as it getting late…Kakovatos. The actual camper stop was ok but a bit isolated, so we decided to park at what was left of the beach carpark, it had been washed away by the sea but was next to a Taverna so we all felt safe. However, there was a dog near by tied to a tree with only a wheely bin turned on its side as shelter. It was in the open, no houses near by and all alone,he barked and barked, but poor chap…it rained and thundered most of the night. He was big and looked vicious but my mum when to see him in the morning to check he was ok, and he wagged his tail when he saw her, so she took him some food…he was so happy..poor thing…again, how lucky are we.
Wednesday 29th January:
Had a coffee in the local Taverna this morning after our walk along the beach, then onto next stop Agia Kykriaki on a harbour side. Met up with our friends from Exmouth and also a camper from the Netherlands. More beach walks but not so far as there are stray dogs here and also local vicious ones. It is making my mum and dad nervous as they are worried we will be attacked as we were in Sicily. However, the 3 local dogs are fine, once I have given them my dig bark, they back off…and there were 2 puppies, my mum said they were cute, but most probably had fleas and goodness know what else…any way, my big bark was so big it made them fall over..oops!
Thursday 30th January:
We headed off today to a place my dad spotted on the map. A place with a cave “Nestora Cave’ on a lagoon near Pilos. Well it was a bit tricky getting down to the lagoon, a narrow road, olive trees wing mirror to wing mirror, but it was worth it. A big lagoon, lots of white sand, clean sea but…..oh, another dirty beach…what a shame. It was so quiet, no one around and it was sunny. We walked up to the cave on the cliff, a steep climb, lots of goats around, in fact we could smell them before we could see them! I managed to get to the top, but some place were so steep, I have to admit I needed a leg up. In fact when we got to the top, i had to eat lots of grass as you do, then was sick…my mum worries so much, she thought I was going to die and how would they carry me back down and what would Winnie do with out me…..she does go on.
Friday 31st January;
Ok I am so far behind I am just going to add dates and places then fill it in later..
Today Lagoon near Pilos still.
Saturday 1st – Tuesday 4th Feb:
popped into to Pilos town on the way to Finikounda and ‘Camping Finikes’. Not a very nice site but it didn’t help that it had been raining. It felt dark and overgrown, no dryers for our wet clothes. Walked into town it was ok. Would we stay here again…sorry Rod…No.
Wednesday 5th & Thurdsay 6th Feb:
On to a small town of Koroni, very nice but steep narrow streets so we parked in to car park at the top of town and walked down. Drove onto ‘Petalidi’ and stayed in a camperstop on the harbour with 4 other vans, for 2 nights. Met a stray dog who loved Winnie…another one…she does seem to attract them. Nice walk in to town and even found a pet shop!
Friday 7th – Friday 14th Feb:
Kalamata Marina; A nice spot in the Marina with electricity and water. We hired a car for 5 days as well so did a bit of site seeing. I really like the car so it was great for me, I was first in every day. My mum had her first Greek hair cut, and it actually looked ok…she said it was the cheapest haircut she had ever had €10. We had days out to Messinia (we walked up a mountain and it rained and thundered so we came down rather sharpish), Sparta, where the Spartans came from ( tough people, we met a lady who had set up a new petrol garage and she told us she was from the Spartan line, we didn’t mess with her or her dog). We had meals out, met lots of locala on the beach with their dogs, went to the shops, swam…a nice place.
Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th Feb:
On along the coast to the ‘Caves of Diros’ and a camperstop on the beach. Didn’t like it much so moved onto ‘Porto Kagio’, the nearly tip of the first finger of the Peloponnese. You would not believe the road to get here…literally along the beach. A car park belonging to the Taverna, a lovely spot. No other dogs or people, so me and Winnie couls run and bark and dig. Mum and dad had a meal in the taverna all local food and as with Greece out of season, they don’t have a menu they will just tell you the food they have in and ask what you would like. Had a kayak around the bay, but the sea was actually quite rough, Winnie didn’t like it as she sits at the front and was getting splashed, so we had to turn back.
Monday 17th Feb:
Moved on to a camperstop on the harbour at Katronas, lovely spot. Clean beach and clear blue sea. Had lunch and a swim and moved onto Kameres, another beach stop with 2 other vans. A quiet spot again, no barking dogs tonight…lovely.
Tuesday 18th – 20th Feb:
Onto campsite at Gythio and stayed for a few days to catch up with chores, and for me and Winnie to walk and swim, usual story. One thing about our trip so far, in Sicily and Greece we are out of season, which means mostly we have the places to ourselves, the sites are quiet and the towns are full of locals, no tourists. The people we have seen have been the same people who are following the same route. My mum went to yoga tonight…yes yoga, with a our friend from Exmouth, Victoria…but it was in Greek and some English…she said it hurt even in Greek! The weather for the last few weeks has been good, 18-20c most days. We like Greece, but we really don’t like the way they look after their dogs. Along the beach here we found 2 puppies, they wanted to follow us but also would follow any one who walked past them….they were lucky though as one was picked up by some locals in a van and the other was adopted by a local man who was working near the area the puppies were found….Not all of the dogs are nice though, my dad went out for a cycle and on the way home was chased by a very vicious dog, who, if it had got hold of my dads leg would have made a mess…my dad said he cycled ‘very fast’…
Friday 21st Feb:
continued along the coast and past and old ship wreck, then onto Kokkinia, another beach stop with our friends form Exmouth and another couple we met. Not a very nice beach but as there was so much wood on the beach we had a bonfire…
Saturday 22nd Feb:
Onto a port at Piltra for coffee and lunch, a nice spot with good Tavernas and a capmsite that was closed. Headed off to the port opposite the Island of Elafonisos, stayed the night ready to cross the next day. A lovley beach this side and it looks just as good on the Island.
Sunday 23rd – Tuesday 25th Feb:
The Island of Elafonisos, with out friends Adrian, Victoria and Edith from Exmouth. Only a small island and everyone know we have arrived…honestly it is that small…as stop for coffee and then we drive to the far side of the Island ( a 10 minute drive) and park up, right near the long sandy beach…and we have it all to our selves. It is so quiet and dark at night it makes a change, but I am not scared. We have walks, swims, digging, Adrian goes Kite surfing, we go to a local Taverna – my dad had a whole Squid…a truley lovely spot…and there is a campsite here, but as with most, they don’t open till Easter or May 1st…
Wednesday 26th Feb:
My dad dropped us off along the road in to town and we walked in with my mum ready to catch the ferry back to the main land. Bought supplies from the local shop then on the ferry and onto Monevasia…the Gibralta of Greece. Styaed on the harbour and plugged into the electricty points used for the boats. Walked out on to the Island and into the old town.
Thursday 27th Feb:
The new town is nice here and we walked in the morning, bought a few cakes and posted to my Gran (they arrived in one piece by the way and before the postcard we sent at the same time). Onto Plaka on the coast and along a very interesting and at times very narrow raod, especially through a town called “Kosma”…breathe in. Plaka wasn’t very nice so we only stayed the night then moved on….
Friday 28th Feb- Sunday 2nd March.
Up the coast now and stopped at several camperstops but we didn’t like them. One in particual, not very clean and 5 street dogs..my mum felt sorry for them, they weren’t aggressive and just wanted to be with us…so she took them some food, but they didn’t want it just fussing…that upset my mum even more…poor things…I suppose we are very lucky especially when we get fed and fussed and sleep on the bed…! So we carried on driving to Nafplio, a lovely town on the coast and look, we are staying at anothe harbour…for the last few nights since we left Gythio it hasn’t cost anyhting to camp. We found by chance that there is a festival going on here so we decided to stay and our friends from Exmouth came to join us. Good walks along the coast, up to the castle…but street dogs around. They did come and check us out and followed us around town the first night then ignored us after that….
Monday 3rd & Tuesday 4th March
Drove on to ‘Iria Beach’ campsite. It had rained last night and the campsite when we arrived was very wet, to say the least…my dad had to try and find a place that was dry…not a very nice site, but we stayed for 2 nights. But, as I have been telling you, the Greeks are not very good at looking after their animals. My mum and dad were talking to some fellow travellers and a tiny puppy just turned up….someone had just driven onto the campsite and dumped it….shocking, how lucky are me and Winnie. Any way, after tears and lots of fussing and help from our fellow travellers a home was found for the puppy in Athens…
Wednesday 5th March:
The site at Iria Beach is too muddy, so we drive back to Nafpolio. Did boring chores, took clothes to Laundrette, cleaned van, but did have a good walk along the foot path.
Thursday 6th March:
A lovley sunny day again. 18c a walk in the sunshine, mum and dad went to the museum where they have a suit of armour form the Spartan army, the only complete suit there is. Moved onto Epidaurous to meet friends and see some more ruins with a Theatre, gymnasium and sports ground, where the Greeks used to train. We set up camp with the 3 campers, shared food, me and Winnie joined in and we all styed up late.
Friday 7th & Saturday 8th March:
We all went our separate ways and planned to meet up in a week or so at Olympius. We went on to Poros, and walked around the town and took the ferry. Not bad walking here but not off road and the usual homeless dogs. Whilst on the ferry we met a lady who runs the ‘Poros animal welfare society’, she told us how bad the Greeks are to their animals, she was from England and had set up the charity with a friend, as they wanted to help the animals…..she had been there for 30 years…
Monday 24th & Tuesday 25th March:
GREECE – ITALY;
9819 miles from Taw Green, South Tawton:
Tuesday 1st April:
ITALY – SLOVENIA:
Wednesday 2nd April:
Monday 14th April:
We left the campsite at Rovinj after a walk and swim on the beach, it has been a nice place with some good walks and a lovely campsite…would we stay here again…yes. On to Motovun along the country roads. The area we are heading to is famous for its Truffles and it turns out the camperstop is owned by the ‘Hotel Kastel’, up a very steep climb of steps. But my mum is very excited as the hotel have said they could arrange a ‘guide’ to take us out ‘truffle hunting’, so me and Winnie could find truffles in the wild. It is the season for the ‘black truffle’ at the moment, but in September is the ‘white truffle’ season, which are more rare and expensive…so we could be back then to earn our keep!
Tuesday 15th April;
CROATIA – SLOVENIA:
10451 miles from Taw Green, South Tawton;
We stayed at the camperstop last night at Motovun, our last stop in Croatia, as we move on today to meet our Exmouth friends in Putj, at a Thermal campsite in Slovenia. A lovely morning, 18c and not too hot for our morning walk along the river, our last walk in Croatia.
Friday 18th April:
Left Putj this morning heading for Lendava and camping ‘Terme Lendava’. My mum says it’s meant to be nice and the thermal water will help my dad’s back. We are looking forward to it…..but OMD, what a shocker when we turned up….we drive up to the camp gates to get in only to see…..nuddy Germans, uh oh, my mum and dad won’t be prepared for this! They don’t do nuddy. Any way…it seems that there are a few pitches on the site that you don’t have to be nuddy on, so of course we park there, and looking in to it further, nuddiness is only acceptable from 11am-8pm…why? My mum seems facinated by the nuddys going about their business, standing around talking, washing the dishes, sunbathing, cleaning their vans, she says it reminds her of ‘Carry on Camping’! And something else we have learnt on this trip is that nuddy bathing is called ‘FKK” an organisation started by a group of Germans, who want to be nuddy…any way, we don’t really like the site and are the only GB’ers here. We have lots of people coming to do ‘walk bys’ to check out our number plates and in the hope of seeing a rare species…’The Nuddy GB’er”!
Saturday 19th April:
SLOVENIA – AUSTRIA
left ‘Kamp Terme Lendava’ before 11am, Slovenia and drove into Austria, no border control…and set up at out new camp site within a few hours. ‘Camping- Stellplatz familie Markowitsch’ near a small town called ‘Bad Radkersburg’. It was a good find by my dad, as the site we were heading for was really busy, he had seen the sign for the site, so we gave it a try. Just a field on a farm, but a lovely field with good facilites, a restaurant and their own wine, all local food and a family run facility…and a big grass field for me and Winnie to run in. From what we have seen of Austria so far, it is lovely and clean and tidy. They like their dogs and walk them, so far none tied to trees in their gardens. There are lots of walking and cycle paths every where and generally people being active. We had a nice walk along some paths and through the woods, but…it has been raining….not so warm either at 13c.
Sunday 20th April – Happy Easter or Vesele velikonocne praznike from Slovenia!
AUSTRIA – SLOVENIA
Ok, so you can see I have missed a huge bit of my dog blog….I know I am so behind, but it’s my dads fault…he keeps hogging the lap top to make video films of our travels….of which I will be putting on here at sometime….Any way, as you can see we are in Slovenia now, we were in Austria this morning and Croatia last week…it’s all been so mad for me and Winnie…..I am having serious trouble translating all these ‘weemails’ I am getting…we are now ‘pes’ here in Slovenia, ‘pas’ in Croatia and ‘hund’ in Austria….I don’t know if we are coming or going….
This morning we left Austria and arrived at a campsite here in Slovenia, near Maribor in the North East, called ‘Camping Kekec’ a nice spot at the bottom of a ski centre, with the ski slope just behind us. We had a good walk today in the green grass, something we have missed with all our beach resorts and we saw…..a Salamander, a black and yellow one….and they can be poisonous…There was a lot going on here, people nordic walking, and down hill mountainbiking, looks like there had been a competition, lots of muddy, wet chaps and bikes…
Monday 21st April:
Easter Monday and a Bankholiday here too…
Well, the plan today had been, usual morning routine then a walk and off to the next site, but nothing happens to plan, so we are here again tonight. A quiet site and only 3 of us for this evening. We went off for our walk this morning, a dull start to the day and we couldn’t see the top of the mountain. We started our walk up the foot path through the woods only to find lots and I mean, lots of walkers…regular walkers like us, nordic walkers, dog walkers and also lots and lots of downhill moutainbikers. My mum and dad said it was a nice change to see so many active people…well we walked up the mountain to the top of a ski slope and walked straight down…well we did, but Winnie ran here and there and back there, and over there and when we got back to the van she wanted to play ball…she is truely mental…Oh yes and early this morning we heard lots of ‘explosions’, my dad asked the nice man who runs the site what it was…well it seems it is an Easter tradition to make ‘water bombs’ from the local water – it has Sulphur in it – put it in a bottle, paper in the top cover with drum, light it and stand back…it seems the young chap who owns the site, did this about 5 years ago, but made the bomb “too strong”…his own words…it blew off the tops of three of his fingers and made a whole in the top of his leg…give me Easter Eggs any day!
Tuesday 22nd – Friday 25th April:
Moved on today and back to ‘Camping Putj’, bit busier than last time which meant me and Winnie couldn’t run around like we did before, but good walks, swimming for my mum and dad, my mum even went to the gym!
Saturday 26th – Sunday 27th:
off to a village today and a small campsite “Camping Kamnik’ in guess where…..yes Kamnik, the only ones there. Walked into town and tourist information, only to find the campsite is actually ‘closed’! However, the owner did let us stay and openend the showers especially for us. Good local walks along the river and up the mountains, but….and we have found this all over Slovenia…there are lots and lots of fallen trees, and really big ones too. It seems there was an ice storm in February, the ice was heavy on the trees which caused them to fall and break off, they were all over the hillside and roads and are only now being cleared…some of the footpaths have been closed. On Sunday we met the owner, my dad was talking to him and he asked if we were ‘English’ of course my dad said yes of course, then he asked, ‘were we speaking English or were we real English’?! We then had a great walk and found snow…yes snow and I rolled and rolled…we walked up to the highest pasture plateau in Slovenia.
Monday 28th April – Sunday 4th May;
left today on to Bled to meet our friends form Exmouth, we have missed them, Edith with Mum Victoria and dad Adrian. We eventually arrived in Bled very late after firstly visiting the ‘Franka Partisan Hospital’ up a very narrow road, in a deep and steep valley, along a narrow stream. It was used to treat soliders in the second world war. But because it was so secret, they had to blindfold and carry the injured soliders to it. if you could have seen it you would realise what a task this was, even I had difficulty walking up there and they have made platforms since…We then drove on to Bled on a road that should have taken us about 1.30hrs, only to find it was closed…well to cut a long story short, we had a major deviation that took us along a road that was ‘closed’! not the first time on this trip I have to say…Bled is lovely, great walks, great lake so good swimming for me and Winnie and my mum did lots of ‘nordic walking’…she’s trying to get fit again.
today we drove up the valley towards Bohinjsko and ‘camping Zlatrog’…but it was closed and looked derelict…typical, but, we asked if we could stay..it was ok and later we were joined by another van and 2 campers and tents…no water, no electricity but on the side of the lake and …yes, more swimming…
Tuesday 6th – Wednesday 7th:
lovely sunny day, walked up to a very high waterfall then back for lunch and of course, swimming in between. Back down the valley to ‘camping Danica’, we managed to find a pitch right on the edge of the river. Again, good walks in the mountains and more nordic walks for my mum and Winnie. We tried to get to the top of the mounatin walk but could’nt get through due to all the fallen trees.
Thursday 8th – Friday 9th;
SLOVENIA – AUSTRIA
Next country Austira and a camp site near a lake. Camp ‘Kalkgruber’ on lake ‘Ossiacher’, just over the boarder in the area of Karten. The weather is amazing and hot, so much so I had to lie in the shade and too hot for me to walk, in the 30’s. However, the campsite seems cheap until you come to pay….plus tax, plus litter charge…seems this is the case for Austria.
Saturday 10th – Sunday 11th:
We didn’t get far today, the next campsite along as it was directly on the lake and our fist Kayak since Greece, it was great. I love Kayaking. On Sunday we had a long walk up the mountains and got back to the van just in time…what a storm, heavy rain, thunder and lightening, needless to say I didn’t go out for my ‘beforebed time wee’. My mum is still into the nordic walking and hse been going out with Winnie up the mountains. It’s very popular here as in Slovenia.
Next stop ‘camp Seewiese’ near Lienz, the campsite has only opened today and there is only one other van here, so we have the place to ourselves, so me and Winnie can run and bark and play…and good walks here again. We are getting fitter again, but, the weather is getting colder…
1123 miles from home and only 9c…again, not far today as we drove down to the village of Lienz and ‘Camping Karten” just outside town…a cold and windy day, but great views of the mountains and snow. Our next plan was to travel to Germay via the Grosglockner pass, but each day the wetaher has been bad and the pass has been closed…perhaps next time…I hear there are lots of Marmites….at least I think that’s what they are called, those small furry things…make high pitch sounds…I like to chase them..
AUSTRIA – GERMANY
Ok, so we can’t go over the Grosglockner pass because of the snow, so we head for Kitszbuhl, only to find snow on the roads, poor visibilty, 0c and road detours due to landslides…..but eventually we reach Germany and ‘Memminger’ and a camper stop, or as they say here ‘stellplatz’.
Thursday 15th – Sunday 18th May:
Off to ‘Lake Titisee” in the Black Forest, my mum laughed at this name….to meet our friends from Wales and Exmouth again, at ‘Camp Sandbanks’ again on a lake. To cold to swim or kayak, but we walked and cycled, my mum and her friends Rach and Victoria got up early each day for nordic walks…she must be getting serious..
Monday 19th – Tuesday 20th;
We stayed in the Black Forest but moved on with our friends to another Stellaplatz at ‘Donaueschinger’. All free and lots of flat cycling, they even have a ‘Hunde park’. Really good weather and 40c in the sun…We cycled 12 miles on Monday and 10 miles on Tuesday…well me and Winnie didn’t cycle…my mum and dad did and we relaxed in the trailers…it was great with all the friends too.
GERMANY – HOLLAND
Thursday 22nd May.
HOLLAND – BELGIUM
Thursday 22nd -Monday 26th May
BELGIUM – FRANCE
Monday 26th May
FRANCE – ENGLAND
Wednesday 28th May- Wednesday 16th July
12169 miles travelled
386 hours on the road.
England – Dawlish Warren, Devon to stay with my Gran. Chance for my mum and dad to catch up with things, sort out the house, visit our sheep Thelma, Woolly and Baby and move them to a new home. We visited them several times and they were very happy as the lady who is looking after them has 36 other pet sheep, ranging in age from 6 – 20! We thought our were old at 12 years….We also had chance to have a few walks on Dartmoor which me and Winnie loved, and lots of walks and swims on the beach.
ENGLAND – FRANCE
Wednesday 16th July:
we are on the road again, but as you can see I am so well behind, it’s now getting silly. We had hoped to catch up when we were back in Dawlish Warren but it didn’t happen, so you will have to excuse the rather brief ‘Dog Blog’ as I am going to fill in just dates…..sorry
HOLLAND – BELGIUM
HOLLAND – GERMANY
Saturday 19th – Monday 21st:
GERMANY – DENMARK
Monday 21st – Tuesday 29th:
Denmark has been lovely. Quiet, clean, flat and hot, infact too hot…in the 30’s with all the windows open in the van, too hot to walk, so lots of swimming…I love being back on the road. They are good to thier animals here, not seen one stray cat in sight and all dogs are being walked and ‘poo’ is being picked up, much to my mums pleasure. It is peak season here so it is busy, but not really that busy for us abd we have been able to turn up to campsites without booking. Expensive though…well so my mum and dad say. We went to Copenhagen and had our photo taken with the ‘Mermaid’ the famous one on the entrance to the harbour, but she didn’t have much to say….phoyos to come later.
We drove up through Denmark and into Sweden over the bridges, the second one being the second longest bridge in the world.
Tuesday 29th – Friday 8th August;
We are liking Sweden…clean again, quiet and more hills. Good for walking and some nice places to stay. We stayed on an airfield and were the only ones there, they locked us in for the night, which was great, as me and Winnie could run and bark as much as we liked…my dad was happy too, watching all the aeroplanes and the next day he went with my mum, down into the underground hangar, used in the Cold War, to hide all of their planes. Things were doing ok, but my mum had really bad toothache, we thought she might have to come home, but luckily we found a very good dentist who helped.
Although we had mostly good weather 25c plus, we did have some really bad storms…boy was the thunder and lightening loud. On on occasion we only just made it back to the van before the lightnening struck near by. People were runnung back to their cars and screaming…bit of and over reaction really, I couldn’t scream any way as I had a really big stone in my mouth from the beach!
SWEDEN – NORWAY
Friday 8th – today Sunday 24th August:
Well we thought Sweden was a bit hillier than Denmark, but boy is Norway mountainus…new word. We have travelled up through Norway now and are on the Islands of Lofoten as I write this. They are lovely, lots of place to swim, both sea and fresh water fjords, walks….today we walked up the mountain….I did really well for my age….so I was told, as it was a continual climb to the top…photos to follow. I will be 12 in November…on the 26th to be exact..
We are staying on a campsite at the moment and it is so peaceful, its even quieter than back home in Taw Green, our first in Norway, as Norway has ‘right of public access’ which means you can park any where, as long as its not private, for no longer than 48 hours, so we have been able to stop in some lovely places, just us or perhaps a couple of other vans. We are at the moment at 68′ Latitude, higher than Ice Land and North of the Arctic Circle. We drove over the Arctic Circle and it was cold and bleak, 9c and looked just like Dartmoor in the winter….not sure we are looking forward to coming home this winter….
Tomorrow we are heading back to the main land and then slowly South. I will try and keep you posted, but as it doesn’t get dark till 10.30pm and is light at 4.30am, we’re not in much!
JANUARY 2014 – HAPPY NEW YEAR or BUON ANNO – From Sicily.