Friday, 13 October 2017

Moving North from East Dean

On Sunday after a nice week with Kerry & Cheryl and the girls which finished with a cocktail party where all the men mixed their favourite cocktails, usually with much more alcohol than would be recommended. Unfortunately as we were driving next day Steve was stuck with flavoured water and tonic. Well I suppose that is a cocktail of sorts but Judy was able to partake in moderation, and enjoyed the concoctions immensely,.

After the usual chores we set off at about 11h15 heading for Derby but via Rugby to drop of of a Tyre monitoring system we had sold to another “Funster” from our Motorhome Fun Club.

We arrived at our destination, the Derby Velodrome at about 18h30 after a very nice drive without too much traffic being a Sunday. Steve had found a good place for an overnight stop a few miles away but we thought it was good to find our destination first. The car park of the Velodrome was enormous and doubled as a Park& Ride so we asked at reception whether we could park overnight. After explaining why, they were very nice and said it was no problem.

Now, why would we be heading for a Velodrome?  Well, our friend, Ray Root who is in our Country Dancing club is an amazingly fit cyclist who had decided to attempt to break the World Record for the highest distance covered on a bike in one hour by an 80 year old! Well we couldn’t miss supporting him in that, could we, so we planned our trip around being there on the day.

Unfortunately he didn’t quite break the record but the official time keepers said with a better

Ray Root's World Record AttemptRay Root's World Record Attempt

technique he would stand a very good chance. It turned out that it was only the third time he had ridden on a velodrome track which is a very difficult technique requiring a great deal of practice.
It turned out that the British team was there and were very impressed and lent him a pair of their super wheels and a special suit and other bits to help him on the ride.

His distance was 35.6 km which was almost equal to the 2015 record of 35.772 which he would have beaten except he hit one of the foam lane markers which caught in his wheel losing about 1.5 minutes. The 2015 record was recently broken in late September 2017 with a distance of 39km. So Ray’s first attempt was amazing.

One Small Guy in a Very Large TrackOne Small Guy in a Very Large Track

After a celebration meal  with all the family and supporters we headed for the parking place we had found in our database which turned out the be very nice by a rushing river and a pub in a 1000 year old ancient monastery in the grounds of Darley Abbey. So a leisurely beer was most welcome.

Still heading north as we had planned a rendezvous with our eldest son Nik & family, in the morning we headed for a motorhome dealer just north of Hull who had a special fanlight with extractor fan we wanted, in stock and did a great deal for us £40 cheaper than elsewhere.

From there we headed towards York which we have not visited in about thirty years when we

went there when the boys were small, we found a pub about seven miles out which let

The Shambles YorkThe Shambles York

motorhomes park in their car park. A scheme called “Brit Stops”. They did good beer and had a nice restaurant so no need to cook after the

York MinsterYork Minster

long drive. The landlady was very nice and said we could stay a second night so we could visit York for the day. The bus to York stopped almost outside the pub which was very convenient. We had a great day finishing with a two hour free walking tour of the city. We had a super guide who gave a good tour and politely refused to accept any tips. The pub had a special “Steak Night” that evening so very welcome after a lot of walking in the city.

We were meeting Nik at the Falkirk wheel just west of Edinburgh on Saturday lunch time so found another Brit Stop at a farm shop in south Lanarkshire near Biggar which is where we are now unfortunately with high wind and torrential rain hammering on the roof. But we are very cosy in our super insulated new to us motorhome.

Till next time ……..

Monday, 2 October 2017

Autumn Trip October 2017

After a hectic few weeks which included fitting loads of goodies to the new Motorhome; “Jemima” the Hymer, sadly selling our old leVoyageur which will be very much missed and sorting the house out we got away early on Friday 29th September.

The ferry was booked for the 05h30 crossing on Sunday the 1st October, this time from  Dieppe to Newhaven as we were going to Kerry’s house in East Dean near Eastbourne first. The crossing costs a bit more because it is four hours but that is probably paid for by the 200 miles driving saved up to Calais then from Dover to Eastbourne.

The traffic was not too bad so we had a good drive making our usual fuel stop Super “U” at Bonny-sur-Loire where having filled up with fuel we parked up for the night at 23h30 so 11.5 hours and 640km today. N 47.56863 E 2.83359.

We had a nice quiet night and left at 07h45 on Saturday morning so as to get a few miles in before the Saturday shoppers came out. Although with only 300km to go we had no need to rush but this next stretch was mainly on smaller N-roads via Orléans, Évreux, Rouen to Dieppe so we arrived at the Dieppe ferry port at about 17h00. DFDS wanted double the price for the earlier ferry so there was no point as we would not land till about 23h00 a bit late to arrive in the UK. P1070569Especially as we had arranged to meet another member of our motorhome club “Motorhome Fun”, near Newhaven  on Sunday morning, as we were buying a spare cassette for our on-board toilet from him. We saw on our map a good parking spot a few miles outside Dieppe  so we headed there via a massive Auchan super store where we filled up with fuel and LPG. The parking spot had a lovely view over the small seaside village of Pourville-sur-Mer which looks a nice spot and perhaps worth a visit another time we come this way.

As our sailing time was 5h30 in the morning, we had to check-in by 4h30 so we set our alarms for 3h30 and luckily woke up ok and were on our way by 3h45 and at the ferry by 4h15. Check-in and loading was straightforward with a bit of a security check in the toilet/shower room and the very large rear locker. The ferry was very nice, absolutely spotless with beautiful highly polished wooden floors and nice large reclining seats which were very welcome for the four hour crossing. There was also free Wi-Fi which helped us catch up on emails before settling down to sleep through the crossing. The Motorhomes had been loaded at the front so  we were soon unloaded and through security. Being just a small freight port the facilities were not as swish as Dover just an old  long shed to drive through and answer a few questions from the policeman then away. Lenny had texted as to where we should meet him just a few miles west at Saltdean so after a quick chat and exchange of money and goods we arrived at Kerry & Cheryl’s house in time for a late breakfast of Croissant’s we had brought with us and a very welcome cup of coffee.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Albufeira to the End of the World and Back

Thursday 26th January, we sadly left our lovely parking spot quite early  because the forecast predicted rain mid morning and we may have struggled to drive up the steep slope out if it was wet.

Fred & Chris had texted to say they were at an Aire in Amaco de Pera just twelve km away so weIMG_4299 headed there arriving at 09:30 we parked just behind them then the heavens opened and it continued raining all day and all night apart from a brief spell when we all decided to walk round the town, but we inevitably got wet when it started again after about half an hour. Unfortunately the quick fix to the leaking fanlight had not worked and we found another small drip.So Steve will have to get up on the roof again with his sealant gun when it all dries out.
We were really glad we had left the previous parking place because I think we would have been stuck there for a few days while the steep mud road dried out.

StanleyOur son had emailed an image of “Flat Stanley” which was a school project for our grandson Finlay. We are supposed to take photos of us with “Flat Stanley” at landmarks as we find them so “Flat Stanley” could travel the world. We had passed a photo shop the previous day while walking in the rain so we took the image file on a memory stick to get it printed out before heading off to our next stop which was “The End of the World”

Friday 27th January we left the Aire in Amaco de Pera at noon and arrived at Sagres which is20170127_154703 called the End of the World. It is the furthest point south and west of the European mainland and in the time of Christopher Columbus it was thought that to sail south or west from this point would be certain death as, because the world was flat you would inevitably fall off the edge. That is until Columbus took a chance and ended up discovering America. (Please correct us if our history is wrong!)
20170127_154838Like Lands End in the UK, Sagres was a very windy place but after a spot of lunch we braved the wind and walked to the fort at the end. Unfortunately because of the weather the fort was closed for safety but the lady at the pay booth took a picture of us with Stanley against the sign which unfortunately says Europe starts here rather than this is the end of the world.
This Judy at the entrance to the fort again holding Stanley absolutely freezing in the biting wind.

There was plenty of parking for Motorhomes but the wind would haveIMG_4303 made it a very rocky night and we would not have been able to put the Satellite Dish up to get the internet so we headed back to Lagos where we had seen a very large area with motorhomes on it next to the Sports Stadium. It had space for about ten motorhomes with electric if they wanted it but a huge area outside which could have lost about a hundred.
Steve did a scan before putting the dish up and found that there was free open Wi-Fi as well which was very fast. The cost was €3 which a nice man collected in the morning. The only disadvantage is that it is on the outskirts of Lagos so a bit far to walk, but another year when we have sorted out a scooter and it will be a great place to stop for exploring Lagos.

Sean who Steve had been chatting to at Manta Rota Aire emailed to say he had received a supply of special Satellite Boxes which would enable us to get a few more channels than just Sky News while travelling in Europe so we headed back there to pick one up. Unfortunately after taking the system apart Steve found he didn’t have the the right cable with him to connect it up as the one that came with it had the wrong plugs for our system.
The following morning Chris & Fred turned up and found a space next to us. Over a cup of coffee we explained what Steve was doing and the lack of the correct cable so Fred offered to take Steve into the next town on his motor scooter, it was about twelve miles away and had a large shopping mall. Unfortunately every cable except the one we wanted was in stock but another pointer to the need for the extra mobility of a scooter.
That afternoon Steve was able to get on the roof in the sun and put a bit more sealant round the roof light, let’s hope.
Fred did a barbecue that evening then they came into our van and introduced us to a new card game, which was great fun.

The next morning Chris knocked to say that Fred was very poorly, not the wine the previous evening, but it appears that he had been bitten by an insect, a sand fly perhaps as we were next to the beach, but it affects him quite badly. We decide we would all stay put till he was better just in case she needed any help.
Tuesday 31st January Fred was well enough to drive but still not right so we moved to Vila Real which was a much bigger town with more facilities but the Aire there had a couple of spaces but they were too muddy from all the rain so we drove back to a wild camping spot we had stayed on a couple of weeks back.

Wednesday 1st February Fred was much better this morning and they had decided to drive into Spain towards Seville but we wanted to go inland to Alcoutim which we had read was very nice so we said our farewells to probably meet up again along the way.

Till Next Time….

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Monte Gordo to Albufeira

IMG_7578

 

After three nights on our nice beach,
Prai do Cabeco and a couple of walks into the small town of Monte Gordo, we had been wild camping for five days so needed to empty our waste and fill with water and Auto Gas for the heating and cooking, we had been using quite  lot as it was cold morning and evening. So we moved just eight km west to an Aire de Camping Car or Aire de Service as they call them in Portugal.

        
Wild Camping at Prai do Cabeco                 

At this point we should give credit to a couple who write a Blog called “OurBumble.com” who have published their database of the nice places to stop and Wild Camping Spots they have found on their travels all round Europe. Steve managed to import them all into our Autoroute map so it is very easy to hop from place to place as they have included all the GPS coordinates and a description.

16th January 2017 Manta Rota Aire
Manta Rota Aire was quite large with about 100 motorhomes of all sizes and very few free spaces. Steve was about to reverse into the first space we came across, when a German motorhome IMG_7580pulled right up behind us then refused point blank to reverse back just a little when Judy went to ask, she then thought world war three was about to start when Steve stormed back to “have a word”. But it was obvious that the few brain cells the poor fellow had between his ears were struggling enough and to expect a reversing manoeuvre would probably cause total failure. So Steve just drove on to another space which somebody had just luckily driven out of, which as it turned out was a better spot.
Apart from being crowded the aire was quite good, €4.50 a night which included dumping and water and free Wi-Fi, very slow because so many were using it but adequate for emails. Electric was available for €2.50 for eight hours which we had a couple of nights to boost the batteries and reduce the gas usage for heating and fridge.
The little village of Manta Rota seemed to be mainly empty holiday homes but it had a couple of restaurants a Pharmacy, hardware shop and a good supermarket which sold us an excellent 5lt box of red wine for €6.
While walking round Steve spotted that a GB van had the same DIY satellite internet setup as us so went to chat to the the guy who turned out to be Sean who Steve had been chatting to on the MotorhomeFun forum. He was actually  a professional Satellite  TV installer and gave Steve a few tips on how to set the dish up a bit quicker as we move from place to place. Portugal is right on the edge of the Satellite footprint so spot-on alignment is essential.
Wdnesday morning we felt three days was enough in what seemed to be a village of motorhomes so we packed up quickly and got ready to leave. This is the first air we have been on with an automatic barrier and charging system so as there was a queue at the dumping and water point Steve went and paid as we would usually do then filled up before arriving at the exit barrier which refused to open with our validated ticket. It seems that with the automatic system 24hours means 24 hours so we had to pay for another day just to get out through the barrier. Lesson learned and only €4,50 luckily.

19th January 2017 Praia do Trafal near Quarteira
IMG_7583Again from the Bumbles list we chose a beach near Quarteira which is the buildings you can see along the beach in the picture to the right.
We walked into Quarteira a couple of times, which has a really nice promenade, very clean and a fish market at the end about 2.5 km. We bought a large Sea Bass about half a kilo for €6 (great price) which the nice man said he would fillet  for us. Well at the end there were two tiny fillets about 100 gram each which upset Judy a bit as she could have done it much better, but then we would have all the scraps to get rid of and the smell in the van. However after Judy had cooked them they were fantastic Very much to be repeated.
On our walk back we saw a restaurant advertising an English Sunday lunch so on Sunday decided that would be very nice, so took a leisurely stroll along the prom. As we arrived nearly to the restaurant an American couple stopped us as they heard us speaking English and asked where the Sausage Festival was which we didn’t know. But we got chatting and it turned out that they were full timing in a caravan in the USA but spent about six months a year in Europe. But their caravan was a 35ft Airstream which is a very iconic retro US design and with the truck they towed it with it totalled 52 feet which is nearly 16 metres! Not for the narrow tracks of Europe. They were heading for the same restaurant so we had lunch with them and all got on famously. The Roast dinner of Roast beef or chicken with Yorkshire pudding and all the vegetables that we had was excellent. Their names were Lance & Trish Harris, they had rented an apartment in Albufeira for three months and were just out for the day but we exchanged emails as they were planning on a holiday on the Midi Canal in France in July just a few miles from our house so we said we would try to meet up when they were there.
IMG_7606When we got back to the van this little chap was pecking around for worms just outside the van, We think it is a Hooper like the ones we see in France. But they are not usually as fearless as this one, he was completely unconcerned about how close we were to him.


 

Monday 23rd January 2017 Praia de Arrifes near Albufeira.
We had been on this beach for four days so it was getting time to empty again, while out walking we had seen a very large Aire de Camping Car about a mile away so packed up and drove there to see if they would let us dump. No problem the lady said and opened the gate for us, no auto barrier this time. We emptied our waste but some French vans were messing about trying to fill all their tanks up with water as the it was metered, just €2 for 100 litres! We still had half a tank of water and couldn’t really be bothered to wait for the French to finish so gave up and left with a thank-you to the lady at the gate.
Steve had looked up another of Bumbles great places near Albufeira so weIMG_7644 drove there just 31 km this time and again a really nice place,next to a very secluded beach with a beach bar which was closed for the winter. This part of the coast was very different to the miles of sand we had been used to. Steep sandstone cliffs worn into fantastic shapes by the sea. If you look carefully to the big rock in the sea in the picture here you can see a hole right through. There were many like this. it was fascinating looking at the shapes when we walked along the top of the cliffs. 
We emailed Lance & Trish to say we had moved round near Albuferia and they replied suggesting we meet for dinner that evening and they could pick us up as they had a car. We had a very nice meal and all just. seemed to click so it will be good to meet up again in July. When they dropped us back at our van they were very impressed and I think a little surprised at the quality of our European Motorhome. Meeting them has started us wondering whether we should do another tour of the USA, but ship our motorhome there this time which would make it far more fun than with the badly designed hire one we had before.
On Tuesday we got our bikes out and rode into Albufeira. a little apprehensive of our return journey as we descended  a very steep hill at the start. Yes a scooter will certainly make our exploring much easier. The old part of Albuferia apart from being very hilly  was a maze of little alleyways looking very much like some of the hill towns in Morocco but from the number of bars & nightclubs a very noisy place in the season.
The forecast is for rain tomorrow Thursday so we will leave early as the road out is a bit steep and could become muddy which would not be good for a 4 ton front wheel drive motorhome. Fred & Chris have sent a text to say they are about twenty miles to the west on their way back so we will try to meet up to hear about the places they have found.

Till next time….

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Christmas Eve till the New Year

Christmas Eve evening was spent with the Dutch at the site next door where Chris & Fred were staying, mountains of food but no entertainment at all which was a bit of a disappointment. Then Christmas Lunch was at the “Rovers Return” in Bernidorm with the Funsters from the MotorhomeFun.co.uk group to which we belong. We had a very good meal traditional Christmas dinner with crackers and paper hats then a long walk along the Prom in the warm sunshine.

Everything we could find was booked up for New Years Eve so we all decided to walk into town where they had set up a sound stage and see the New Year in with the Spanish which was great fun and we were drinking bubbly and eating nibbles and bopping on the beach till about 2am.

Benidorm is a great place with an abundance of very cheap eating places and Chinese nick-nack shops where you can buy almost anything. We usually stock up on cheap everyday watches and Judy even managed this year to get an eye test and new glasses at the Benidorm branch of Specsavers! But seventeen days was enough and we were ready to move off a day earlier than we had booked. But had another great meal with the Funsters dining club the day before we left. Which topped of our time there.nicely.

We also had met up with friends Ann & Colin and Tammy & Bob all who lived near us in the South of France and were wintering in Benidorm.

On the 4th January we moved 90 km south to a Camper Stop at la Marina near Guadamar hoping to watch the “Three Kings” parade which is on Twelfth Night but we had a ride there on our bikes during the day and decided it was too dangerous to ride there along the main road in the dark to see the parade. We are seriously thinking now of swapping our bikes for a small motor scooter which will enable us to explore a little further afield than walking or on our small folding bikes allows.

On the way back from our ride we stopped at a supermarket and bumped in to Darren & Lyn, “Dazlin” from the Funsters club who we had met in Morocco three years ago when they had just started “Fulltiming” in their motorhome. After about half an hour chatting in the car park we decided to meet for coffee the next day so in the morning we checked out of the Camper Stop and dove to their Dad’s holiday home where they were staying just a mile up the road.
Well, cofee became lunch then afternoon tea and we left them at gone five too late to find anywhere so just parked in the street for the night which was fine and we woke to the market setting up on the street just outside next morning.

Saturday 7th January 2017 - After a couple of hours walking round the market with Judy buying a couple of Jumpers for a Euro each and a big bag of olives we set off for Benijofar about 30km away where we had been told about a fantastic Fish & Chip restaurant that we must try. Yes it was a fantastic lunch which required an hours walk round the town before we could comfortably drive on.
We didn’t have far to drive, just about 15 km to a wild camping spot that Anne & Colin had texted us about at la Mata. It was nice, a flat grass area outside a Cemetery so no noisy neighbours! in a country park with a beautiful lake and walks all around. N 38.01912, W 0.66491. We took a walk in to la Mata where we had stayed last year, because a lady we met in Benidorm Market had said it had been devastated by storms, but the part where we had stayed was fine except most of it had been built on, so we were glad we were at the country park. We had hoped to meet up with some Painting friends of Judy just along the road at Torrevieja but received a text to say that they had other commitments.

Sunday 8th January 2017 - We drove a bit further today to a beach near Aguilas where friends had said they had spent a few nice days, that was a 204km drive. It was a nice place and we stayed a couple of nights but have since heard that the Police had cleared all the Campers off the three parking places by the beach there. Such a shame that some people stay so long and outstay their welcome spoiling it for the majority.   N 37.38001, W 1.62688.

Tuesday 10th January 2017 – we left early as we had another long drive ahead but the forecast was overcast so a good day to drive. We arrived at the Camper Stop at Mijas near Fuengirola after 368 km. this is just the car park of a Resturant attached to a riding stables but the owner allows Motorhomes for five euros a night and provides water and dumping facilities. – N 36.53232, W 4.63888. The main advantage is that it is walking distance from an Iceland Supermarket for good back bacon and English Tea and cheese and a large Lidl for other supplies but also a huge shopping mall with all the top clothes shops and January is Sale Time with massive reductions. So we were buying our years supply of tee shirts etc. at just two euros  each along with many other bargains.

Thursday 12th January 2017 – Another long drove this time to arrive in Portugal where we are heading this year. Exactly 400 km took us to a beach near Castro Marim just inside Portugal. We had downloaded a database of stopping places from some Motorhome Bloggers the Bumbles which we could use on our Autoroute mapping system and BeachyInPortugal1this was one of the first ones in Portugal and very nice it is too. Three large parking areas near the beach with about fifty campers.
We are told that the police patrol regularly and as long as all gear is stowed in the vans at night and they do not see washing hanging out they are happy and everybody is respecting that. Mainly Dutch & German some of whom come every year and have been here since October. There are no facilities but that is fine for us to just stop and relax in the sun.for a few days. We have walked into the little town a couple of times and Judy now has to buy some more sun cream because she is getting a bit low with all the sunbathing she has been doing. Steve has had to work on the Satellite system a bit because we are getting near the edge of the footprint but managed it so can now connect and send this instalment of our blog.
We are not real bloggers though so this is just a diary of our trips that we share with those interested in our travels and for us to have a simple permanent record. Till next time which will probable be in about a week, hope the cold and snow in the UK is not too bad for you all or France does not have too much rain.
Some of our comments above may make you wonder why we are staying in the p[laces we do. We hate sites, parked just a few feet from the next camper within fences without views. The beaches and parking spots we stay in are large and with plenty of space between us. Most of the time we do not need facilities we can go four or five days before we need to empty our waste or fill with water. Sometimes we will pay for a site or a special Air de Camping Car which has the services we need occasionally and for this we expect to pay and are happy to do so. What we look for really is quiet spots in the mountains or by the sea where we can park up spend the day walking or just admiring the views.  The beach we are at at the moment, the campers are parked well away from each other and the space for locals to park near the beach has been left clear so as not to spoil their enjoyment. Space perhaps for a hundred cars but perhaps only about five a day visit at weekends. In the season of course the campers will not be here.  
Till next time.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

December 2016 Jemima the Hymer takes off.

Yes Judy has given the ”new” motorhome a name ”Smiley” first sprang to mind because it appears to have a big smile on the front but a friend is already using that name so Judy said as we were going along; Jemima would be nice. So Jemima it is and little did we know that she would be needing web feet like Jemima Puddle Duck very soon!

Well after six months getting Jemima registered in France we finally managed it with only a week before we were due to set off for our winter trip.Steve had been busy during that time fitting all the gadgets we would need;.Solar Panels with a special controller that would switch the fridge on to battery when the sun was producing enough electricity, he converted the satellite dish to get the internet as well as TV and fitted the special aerial so we can park outside places like McD’s to pick up their free Wi-Fi while travelling. Plus all the other little things that make life simpler on the road like twelve volt sockets so we can charge our tablets and the computer on the dash that records our journey and the dash-cam to record the road ahead. Liquid soap dispenser and tooth brush holder in the bathroom etc.

Wednesday 14th December 2016
We hoped to get away before lunch but packing all the last bits-n-bobs as always takes far longer than expected and we finally got away at 6pm. After filling up with fuel we arrived at Jonquera in Spain at just passed 8pm which was a shame as we needed to buy a new side marker lamp which had blown and we thought the truck stop there would stock them but it closed at 8pm so we parked up in the large car park for the Escudos supermarket with about twenty other campers. Unfortunately we were not able to dine at the WOK-U in Figueras which is our favourite and usually marks the start of our holiday, perhaps on the way back.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday 15th, to 17th December 2016
The Truck Stop didn’t open till 10am so we had a leisurely start, but unfortunately they didn’t have the exact light we needed which is a sealed LED unit so we will have to order it from the UK or Germany when we return if we can’t  find it while away.

The petrol station opposite the Truck Stop did LPG so we took the opportunity to fill up while there.

The journey south was uneventful except for torrential rain and we found a few more new roads had been built which cut out some of the slow bits. Thursday night was spent in the lorry parking area of a petrol station near Peniscola, quite safe and quiet.

We arrived in l’Abir a few miles north of Benidorm at about 3pm and had a walk around then decided to move to a street near a Japanese buffet restaurant so we could have the meal we missed on Wednesday, it was nice, but not as nice as the WOK-U but we waddled out at about 10:30pm and had to walk around for half an hour  until we felt a little less full to go to bed.

On Saturday we moved to Benidorm but were not booked in to our site till Sunday so parked in the street to spend the night which is fine out of season. We took the opportunity in the afternoon to walk around Villasol, the site we were booked into to find a pitch for tomorrow, hopefully two together as Fred & Chris were due to meet us in a couple of days time.
Late afternoon and all night, the heavens opened and our road became a river, it looked as if Jemima would need her namesake’s web feet.

Sunday 18th December 2016 till Christmas eve.
Sunday morning it stopped raining long enough for us to move into the site but soon started again and continued on and off till Tuesday morning when the sun came out. Fred & Chris arrived about midday and managed to get the pitch next to us but after lunch took a look at their booking form and found that the site were charging them 30% more that us because they did not pre-book.
They checked at the site next door who had space and were actually cheaper than we were paying so they quite rightly moved there. we had looked at that site but they don’t take bookings so it is difficult  to not know there will be a place.

During the rain we found a small drip from one of our roof lights so the sun on Tuesday afternoon gave Steve the opportunity to get on to the roof to investigate. The sealant appeared to be applied very badly so Steve did a better job but the whole roof-light will need to be removed when we get home to be sure it is done properly because just a little dampness in the fabric of the motorhome can be a disaster and cause real problems later on.

The sun continued shining all week which is what we are here for. We have booked a Christmas Dinner with the Funsters which is our motorhome group and many of them over-winter here in Benidorm so it should be a good afternoon with them all, we hope . So we will probably be very busy enjoying ourselves so will not be updating this blog till we get on the move again in the New Year.

We wish everybody a Very Happy Christmas and a good New Year and hopefully a much friendlier 2017 than 2016 has been since the referendum.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Highland 500 April 2016 day 5, 6 & 7

Day 5 Friday 22nd April

We took a walk on to the beautiful sandy beach this morning, Steve dipped his hand into the water, it was freezing. So no swimming today.

We moved on to the Smoo caves at Durness, the main cave and waterfall cave were open but theP1060163 guide didn’t start tours into the other caves which could only be accessed by boat until 10:30 . So instead we walked upP1060156 the many steps and out to the headland. The inlet from the sea to the caves was really sheltered, no wonder the Vikings found it to use as a safe haven and to repair their boats.

Driving on from the caves the scenery became more dramatic and we were glad we took others advice to drive the route anti-clockwise, half the drive south from Durness was on single track which was not a problem at all as the road was fairly wide and there were many passing places. The glimpses we got of the bays along the route were amazing golden sands which would not be out of place in a Mediteranian setting, except for the temperature, we even had a glorious sunny day. Just after Kylesku the route turned off right (west) to loop round to Lochinver. Narrow single track with many twisty bends and steep hairpins. At one point we met a long “A” class motor home followed by a smaller “C” class, a very tight passing. When we reached the top of the hill where we had first spotted them there was loads of room, if they had hooted to beckon us to come on! anyway the route was challenging but completely doable in a wide “A” class like ours and great fun to drive.

While reading various travel books Judy had marked Achmelvich as having the highest water falls so when we saw the turning off to the right we took it, a sign said “Not suitable for Caravans or Coaches” so we thought it should be ok for us. She must have marked the wrong place because there were no water falls but there was the most glorious beach yet, with not golden sands but pure white silver sand so fine it was almost dust. The road was a dead end with just the beach, a youth hostel and a camp site. On our way out we ran in to the school bus, quite a big vehicle to be using the road, he reversed back a bit and we were able to just get past.

We didn’t stop at Lochinver but were told later that it has a fantastic pie shop, we were heading for a car park near Inchnadamph where we hoped we could park for the night so as to walk up to the “Bone Caves”, ice age caves where they had found Polar Bear remains and evidence of Stone Age occupation. The car park was there level and no “No Overnight Parking” signs so we settled down for the night.

Some guys came walking down the path to a Transit van in the car park and Judy got chatting and it turned out they were Archeologists searching for new caves.

132 km today N58.11556 W4.96671

Day 5 Saturday 23rd April

We woke to rain on the roof which turned to sleet then snow so we sat and read for a bit till about P106023611:30 when the sun came out so we decided to try the hike up to theP1060229 caves. But as a precaution we phoned our son Nik to tell him we were heading up to the caves and would phone again when we returned. We felt quite safe as a Mountain Rescue van had parked about an hour earlier and three people had set off walking without gear so probably a social walk rather than a rescue. The 3km hike to the caves was a bit challenging as we had not been walking for some months but worth it to see the caves. Just a look with our high power torch though, because a full explore would have needed a boiler suit, possibly ropes and quite a bit of crawling through small spaces.

Back at the van and preparing to leave and the Transit appeared again with the Archeologists so we had a good chat with them about the caves.

We headed off south towards Ullapool where we hoped to fill up with LPG and if possible some water as we thought we must be getting low but the tank gauge had stopped working yesterday.

Unfortunately the MOT station with an LPG pump was closed but we filled up with fuel farther along the road but could not get to use their tap as it was next to the car wash which was in use.

The road from Ullapool to Gairloch was pretty but a lot of forest with the occasional glimpse of another fantastic beach. Our wild camping database was showing lots of roadside places toP1060282 overnight but we suddenly spotted an off road picnic spot so pulled off and found it went way off road to the shore of Loch Maree where there was good flat parking with a few motor homes and tents already there. There were also very clean toilets with mains water so we could get some to tide us over.

141 km today N57.68887, W45.54428

Day 6 Sunday 24th April

We woke to a fine morning but decided to have a slow day so watched the London Marathon on P1060255P1060267TV, filled up with a bit more water then had a really nice challenging hike along the lake shore for three hours then a few chores in the van before continuing our trip tomorrow.

 

 

No travel today same coordinates.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Highland 500 April 2016 day 3 & 4

Day 3 Wednesday 20th April

We left our nice parking spot at Loch Fleet for a short drive along to John O’Groats stopping for a20160420_125022 photo of Dunrobin Castle on the way. The iconic John O’ Groats had been transformed since the last time we visited about 5 years ago when it was a dreary run-down place. The council had erected a signpost for photographs, and the run down hotel had been transformed. Unfortunately the lady at the Tourist Information knew nothing about the HL500 and had no maps and unfortunately we find out later, failed to point out the nearby sea stacks which we should have visited.

After lunch and collecting emails from a good Fon WiFi  network nearby we drove just a few miles20160420_175334P1060026 to Dunnet Head which is the most northerly point of mainland Britain where we hoped to get a good sunset and possibly a sight of the Northern Lights, although the cloud cover didn’t bode well for either.P1060017 We did a bit of bird watching, laughing at the pour things trying to land on their nests but being lifted by the up draught at the cliff face. It was bitterly cold with total cloud cover but the UV is really high as you can see from my photochromic glasses which are completely black.
Only 48km travelled today.    N58.67062, W4.67684

 

Day 4 Thursday 21st April

A really nice night by the lighthouse at Dunnet Head with the wind rocking us to sleep, we didn’t stay up till 2am just in case the Northern Lights decided to appear so a holiday in Iceland is probably on the cards, don’t think we can drive though!

We drove along the coast road to Thurso and looked for the Tourist Information where we watched a very interesting film about the Western Highlands and learned about the hand cut flag stones which were marking out the boundaries of many of the fields.

After Thurso the scenery started to change and become more dramatic and long sweeping beaches and azure blue seas started to appear which could have easily been round the Mediterranean except for the temperature!

A few miles later after we passed Doonray power station we turned off towards Strathy point parked and  had a nice walk for a few miles to the lighthouse and back, bracing I think is the polite description. It’s alright for the Scots who seem to live in shirt sleeves in all weathers, but when you live in the South of France, Bracing weather takes a little getting used to. but at least the sun is shining most of the time.P1060092

As we passed from Caithness into Sutherland the buildings were fewer and the countryside changed slightly to more rolling hills but with a backdrop of mountains. Beautiful views of Loch all the way, before our stop for the night just before the Smoo Caves which we will walk to  tomorrow.P1060129

Our parking for the night is beside a small but stunning bay with a clean golden sandy beach. Not swimming weather for us though!

147 km today   N58.54843, W4.67684

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

April 2016 UK Trip

Monday 4th April.

We left Najac finally after a hurried packing spree trying to think what we needed after the unavoidable delay as a result of the sad death of Steve's  brother Fred. We intended to leave Sunday evening but managed Monday lunch time instead.

The trip was good trying the western route via Clement Ferand and left of Paris. We have been going via Paris for years but in recent years have had very bad traffic jams even in the middle of the night.We decided to park for the night before the ferry, at City Europe as the ferry car park was probably going to be a no-go area with the new security and the reality was what we had expected.with massive fences from a few miles out of the  docks, We had a quiet night after a bit of shopping at City Europe and parked with a few other motorhomes. We filled up with diesel and emptied our waste tank at the ultra-modern fuel station there, before heading for the ferry.

Steve had arranged to pickup some specialist kit for the Motorhome satellite system at Johns Cross so we arrived at our son’s house near Eastbourne at midday and got a great welcome from two really excited granddaughters then had a few great days with Kerry & Cheryl’s and the girls. Steve also managed to get the satellite internet working with the new control box.

We then headed along the coast to stay with Steve's cousin and  meet up with a few old friends before turning northwards towards Peterborough. We spent he night before the show with more friends who had moved from Kent to near Peterborough then headed for the show,

The weekend was very wet and very, very muddy but all the traders we talked to had a good weekend trade and we had a great time wandering around and buying “stuff” and meeting with fellow motor homers. A strange pastime only understandable to the initiated.

Monday 18th April 1st day of HL500

After filling up and emptying down we left the show ground at about 11am and managed to get off the wet grass without being towed which was a bonus and had a really great run doing 608 km to arrive at Loch Lomond at 20:40 and parked up beside the Loch for supper and a catch-up with emails and this blog. The new bits for the satellite system have worked well and we now have satellite TV and simultaneous satellite internet wherever we are, so no more searching for a rare open Wi-Fi or using a different mobile sim  for each country. Expensive but the OldAgeTravellers are now spending their kids inheritance. Recent events have showed us just how fragile life at our age now is.

Tomorrow we head for Inverness to start the Highlands 500 which is a 500 mile route round the far north west of Scotland reputed to be one of the top 10 drives in the world. We have done the Pacific Highway and the bear Tooth Pass in the USA and were very underwhelmed but are expecting much more of Scotland.

20160419_081741[1]

Parked beside Loch Lomond First night in Scotland for Highland 500 tour

Tuesday 19th Day 2

We left Loch Lomond towards Inverness, passing through Fort William and made a stop at the P1050949Memorial to the British Commandos who trained for their WW2 missions in sight of Ben Nevis.

Travelling along the northern shore of Loch Ness with its deep dark waters we finally arrived at Inverness where we attempted to find some LPG to top up so as to ensure` we had heating during our trip. But the places in our database were no longer there so we headed north towards Wick to another place in the database but they were waiting for a new pump to be installed. On to the next place en-route and success, we managed to fill up so we should be ok for another ten days. As we headed on the snow capped mountains ahead of us suggested that we may be needing the heating.

We continued driving for about an hour till we found a good spot to stop for the night, just off theP1050986 A9 beside Loch Fleet.

For those that haven’t followed our escapades before, we travel with a computer on the dash, running a live map controlled by a GPS receiver and tracking our every movement on the map. The map also has thousands of “Points of interest” POI’s which show on the map as we travel. Some of which are Wild Camping Spots so with only a very minor detour we  can find a pleasant place to stop. We also have poi collections for Supermarket Fuel Stations, Weatherspoon's restaurants, Public water taps and Toilets and many many more which we are` adding to all the time. This map also has a very accurate speedo which can show KPH or MPH.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Croatia Trip September/October 2015 Last Post


Day 33  Sunday 11/10/2015 - 95826 on Speedo

Sunday dawned bright with the promise of being sunny later so we went for a walk to find out whatP1050405 was around us. Basically Carnon the town was one big holiday resort with nearly every house, at least near the beach that we saw being holiday apartments. Walking away from the beach we found the town and public library, which although closed had wi-fi but only ten minutes free which is good, enough to download emails but not enough for uploading the blog. The daily rate was really expensive so we didn’t bother.

There was an enormous Vide-Grenier  (Boot-Sale) in progress so we had a little wander through but as usual nothing was priced so few people were buying. I really can’t understand that, the last one we did with the Hobby-Lobby we priced everything and nearly sold it all. At least it gives a starting point for negotiation and when we were retailers if something wasn’t priced rarely would anybody ask the price.

So we wandered back to the van and on the way found a “FON” wi-fi network to connect to and managed to upload Post 10 to the blog. Hope you received it OK.

Judy wanted to visit an art shop in Montpellier so we decided to move to a parking place Steve had found in the city. TomTom got us close but very tight streets and one ways made it impossible for us to get to it. Looking on Google Earth at home later we could see that it is in fact a large car park with trucks parked in it so there must be a way in if you know the one way streets.

So we found the shop which was an industrial unit but decided this would be best tackled in the car some time. So we set TomTom for home and arrived at about 21:30 so just slept in the van rather than opening up the house.

Stopped at 21:30 - 96039 - 213km today – 11/10/2015 – HOME

Holiday Stats

Total distance = 4,939 Km (3,069 Miles)  averaging about 24 MPG
583 Litres of Diesel at an average of 1.19 per litre
Total Toll costs was €115 not bad considering the two very large sections of toll roads we used to get across big chunks of Italy.
Time Away = 30 nights with 14 Camp sites costing €453 for a total of 26 nights
so an average of €17.42 a night.
Obviously Venice at €53 for one night was high, but not bad really for a day and a half  just a short walk from the city. We could have stayed on a site on the mainland and caught a bus but not nearly as convenient. Without Venice the sites averaged out at just less than €16 per night.

 Below is the complete trace of our route from home and back.

CroatiaTripMap

The little yellow Smileys are each of our overnight stops.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Croatia Trip September/October 2015 Post 10

Day 29  Wednesday 07/10/2015 - 94570 on Speedo
A very noisy night with the rain thundering on the roof. We paid and left not happy with the site, they charged four euros more that the price in the ASCI book with the excuse of “Touristic Taxes”, I suppose that’s what you get if you stay on the Croatian Riviera even at the end of the season in the pouring rain!
We set the coordinates in TomTom for the Fortified  Church in Slovenia we were heading for, Steve had established on the internet last night that we didn’t need a Vignette as long as we didn’t go on any motorways while in Slovenia, another traveller had told us a couple of weeks earlier that it was essential and we were lucky not to get fined on the way down. But perhaps he mainly used motorways.
We really needed to get fuel and LPG before leaving Croatia as it was so cheap but the garage we passed just after leaving the site was very tight and it required a “U” turn in the midst of rush hour traffic so Steve thought it best to go on to the next one then suddenly TomTom turned us left on to a small white road on the map which said limited to 12 Tonnes, which is a pretty big vehicle we thought so it should be ok for us. Well it was just big enough for us. We decided to stop and check where TomTom was taking us on Autoroute on the computer we found it was a small road which travelled about fifty miles west parallel with the boarder before looping into Slovenia just a few miles before our intended destination. Pretty sure we wouldn’t find a petrol station so we wouldn’t be able to get cheap fuel nor get rid of our last Croatian Kuna as Slovenia uses the Euro. But the route was indeed quite a bit shorter than the one we would have picked out on the map. The road P1050342turned out to be fine and a very quiet and picturesque drive especially as the autumn colours were appearing.
Turning a corner we saw a deserted dilapidated Portacabin with a”Douane” sign on it, we stopped but there was no movement so we moved on wondering whether we would be thought of as smugglers coming along such a small road but turning another corner we came across a large brightly painted Europe flag then a fairly substantial brick building. The young boarder guard looked at us a bit quizzically, glanced in the back of the van then at our passports and waived us on.
TP1050359he Church we were heading for was at Hrastovlje about ten miles further on unfortunately we arrived at noon and a sign on the gate said it was closed P1050355from 12 till 1 so we had lunch while we waited. About 1:30 we walked up again but it was still closed unfortunately maybe for the season.. But from what we could see it was quite interesting from the outside. There were thick castle like walls about twenty foot high. surrounding a fairly small church. It was a shame we couldn’t see inside though because we had read that there were some terrific frescos inside. Oh well another place to come back to.
Steve set TomTom for a Sosta parking place in Trieste and TomTom again  took us down a tiny road, but we met a bus coming the other way so it must be OK. We drove through a couple of tiny villages and at one point it felt as if we were driving through somebodies garden then suddenly with no ceremony we were in Italy so straight through Slovenia still without finding fuel. So expensive Italian diesel it would have to be.
We  arrived at the Sosta in Trieste quite quickly at about 2:30 and realised that we wanted some rest rather than “doing” another City so set TomTom for Grado which we saw was at the end of a peninsula and would probably have quiet beaches to chill out for a couple of days.
The Sosta was large charging 16 Euro for 24hours with a graduated charge from 4 to 25 hours with all services including electric. But across the road was a very large car park which said P1050363campers 4 Euro for 24 hours but no services except water which we found later. We didn’t need electric so went for the pay-n-display 4 Euros.  They were both council run so a bit strange to have the two and of course the people in the cheaper one were just walking across the road and emptying their WC Cassettes in the other ones facilities. So the only difference was electric and a barrier. We actually didn’t need electric or to empty our waste.
We went for a long walk and found that the whole peninsular was in fact a holiday complex, in the season some form of payment was required for the long stretch of sandy beach with swimming pools and all sorts of other amenities but out of season the gates were open for all to use. With many people running, jogging or just walking along the prom. like us.
 
Stopped at 16:30 - 94723 - 153 km today – Grado Sosta – Grado – 45.67994N, 13.41272E
 
Day 30  Thursday 08/10/2015 - 94723 on Speedo
We woke to a fine morning but the Meteo had said it was going to rain, not a day for the beach so we decided that today would be a motoring day and with about 750 km of Italian roads it would  probably be a good idea to use the Autostrada which previously we had found not too expensive especially when compared with the up and down speed limits which if you adhered to them would drive you nuts and every driver behind you. plus it would take about three days.
We found fuel at an eye watering 1.35 Euro a litre possibly not high by English standards but much higher than we had become used to.
The drive was good in fact mainly dry we did 621km on the motorway and it cost 60.30 Euro so roughly 10cents a km which is similar to the journey on the way down. But oh so much better on the nerves. We had an Aire de Camping car programmed in and it brought us off the motorway perhaps a bit early so we ended up driving right through Nice which has quite a bit of road works so a few circles on on temporary way streets and getting desperately low on fuel. We finally found a Geant supermarket but it had a very tight entrance and a low canopy so we had a bit of fun getting our aerials caught in the canopy but managed with Judy Standing on the table reaching through the roof light to hold our special WiFi  one so it wouldn’t get damaged. The Aire was not there nor were the next two  so we ended up driving quite late with everywhere saying no Camping Cars until we found a layby  high up above St Raphael without a no Camping Car sign. But Judy had a bad night wondering if the Police would be knocking on the door.
 
Stopped at 23:30 - 95476 - 758 km today – Near St Raphael – 43.47426N, 6.57877E
 
Day 31  Friday 09/10/2015
Nobody knocked on the door but we left early to drive to St Raphael and parked at the harbour to have breakfast but the Aire de Camping Car was right in the middle of a busy car park so we moved on towards St Tropez, didn’t like the look of the first few sites then spotted an Aire de Camping Car  just as we P1050394were about to turn round to go back to investigate a couple of sites on the other side of the road we couldn’t pull over to as it was a solid traffic jam. The Aire was supposed to be 13 Euros a night with a credit card machine to pay but it was switched off but the water and electric was left on?  We asked another French Camper and he said Gratuiete No Problem so we stopped there. Looking at Autoroute to see exactly where we were it showed us only a few hundred yards from Port Grimaud where we had visited 25 years ago and had wanted to come back to.
So we had a nice walk around to bring back memories of P1050379our first MotorhomeP1050376 holiday in France.
We were then treated to an air display by the French Aerobatic team practicing over the bay.
We can’t find any internet here so will have to try to send this blog tomorrow.

Stopped at 12:00 - 95530 - 54 km today – Near Port Grimaud – 43.28005N, 6.57877E

Day 32 Saturday 10/10/2015 – 10:30

Although it was a nice day we realised that we still had quite a bit of travelling to do and as we were so near home and Steve had to pay the French taxes by Thursday it would be much easier from home. So we set off aiming for a Camper Stop in our database at le Grand Motte near Montpellier. The drive across country was really nice up and down mountains through wooded areas. Apart from one tiny town TomTom took us through, he did  quite well finding a nice route P1050397until Marseille where he took us up onto a free motorway which took us past all the industrial bit then dumped us in the middle of Marseilles for about two miles of the city but then the Police had closed the overpass we were supposed to be taking which would take us out so we had about an hour of traffic jam and impatient French drivers on a Saturday. One even decided to stop at the side of the road and eat their lunch of unpeeled prawns and salad so the two lanes had to squeeze into one to get past. I know lunch is important to the French but really!!

Out of the city we had another 30 minutes or so of motorway then a really nice drive through the edge of the Camargue. Spotting the lovely white horses and water birds.

We arrived at the camper stop and it was really nice with a 24 hour card payment machine 11.50 Euro for 24 hours with all the necessary services.  Access to tP1050405he miles of sandy beach is about 100 meters away so a nice place for a few days if it is sunny. Except for WiFi which was a really expensive system which needed a card from the office which was closed for the season. Surprisingly, although it was amongst houses there were no “Fon” connections available which is a consortium of providers like SFR & BT throughout Europe, who have thousands of open connections available for subscribers. So another day we are unable to send this blog. Something we  really need to research to find a reasonably priced mobile way of getting  the internet. Although to be fair we have only had a few days when we haven’t been able  to connect. The trouble is really going from country to country which we thought the “FON” system would sort out, this holiday we have only  found one.

Stopped at 17:3- 95826 - 296 km today – le Grand Motte – 43.55146N, 3.99360E

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Croatia Trip September & October 2015 Post 9 - Plitvicka Jezera National Park

Day 26 Sunday 04/10/2015 - 94162 on Speedo left Camp Krka 10:00
After the usual fill-up and empty we paid the nice lady owner of AutoCamp Krka, her name is Davorka, we had a good chat about how she started the camp site. She was a farmer and was getting  tired of milking the cows and making cheese so sold her four cows and with her small savings had enough to buy a little bit of land with a derelict house on it, her husband built the first toilet block then they opened for camping, then as she made a bit of money they converted the upstairs of the house into apartments then bought more and more land 10 or 12 meters at a time.   But, she says “ my house is still not finished”. We really hope she does well as she really has the good attitude to make the place very welcoming. The Krka National Park we enjoyed very much but we were now heading for Plitvic National Park which everybody says is even more amazing. We had researched all the camp sites but decided that Camping Karona which was a bit more expensive because they didn’t give ACSI discount would be easier as they had a shuttle bus to the park from the site so would be the most convenient. The drive was interesting because we started encountering flat fields rather than the constant mountains as we headed away from the sea. Croatia has a large top end then a very thin silver running along the coast broken by the few kilometres of Bosnia which divides the country. But now we started seeing fields with cows and crops growing. A nice different drive.
 
Stopped at 13:00 - 94361 - 199 km today - Camp Korana, Near Plitvic NP - 44.94826N, 15.64801E
 
Day 27  Monday 05/10/2015 - Still 94361 on Speedo 
We got up early and Steve went to the Camp Shop for some bread for sandwiches for the day in Plitvic Lakes.We met the shuttle bus on time at 9 am and arrived at the lakes at about 9:30 bought our tickets and were away on the trail. There were four options A, B, C, & K, “K” said it would take 6 to 8 hours which we thought was pushing it a bit so  opted for the “C” route which was 4 to 6 hours. We had seven hours before we had to catch the coach back so a little bit of leeway.
The trail started just after the ticket office where we came upon a view point overlooking the highest falls, and they were spectacular. Ok as with Krka it will obviously be better in spring with the high levels of water but it was still spectacular.
The trail snaked back and forward on paths made of, what looked like granite cobbles as it descended steeply  into the valley then at the bottom became a board walk made of sawn logs. Taking a right turn  with water rushing all around us even under the boardwalk we found ourselves right in front of the highest waterfall actually in the spray, it was spectacular.
The boardwalk was endless passing lake after lake and waterfall after waterfall, different heights and widths.Quiet and tranquil or fiercely rushing over a drop. The lakes were a P1050238gorgeous azure blue, green absolutely clear with shoals of trout ranging from tiny to about 18P1050260 inches long.
We came to a clearing by a lake with a cafe, toilets and souvenir shop etc. Our route “C” said we should take a boat to the other end of the lake so joined the queue. The boat arrived and it was electric so virtually silent, how great in such a tranquil place. The boat took 100 people and we found ourselves sitting with about 98 Japanese and Chinese people on tours with all their cameras, face masks and selfie sticks, although we can’t complain because we have one of those now, P1050304except it is small and discrete and lives in Steve’s pocket when we are not using it. Apart from the constant jabber from the other passengers who seemed oblivious to the beauty and  tranquillity around them we somehow shut it all out and managed to enjoy the peaceful interlude before disembarking to hit more boardwalks snaking from rushing cascade to impressive waterfall to peaceful pool. Dodging people who would suddenly stop to take yet another photo as they were dodging us doing the same. What did we do when we only had 24 frames on a roll of film?P1050256P1050291
We came to a point where the signs for route “C” pointed towards the land train back to the start and we still had four hours left so we decided to follow the signs for the “K” route, wish we had followed that one from  the start. We came across a number of benches beside a lake so sat to eat our picnic and bottle of wine. Of course the inevitable scroungers arrived within seconds of us opening our rucksacks.
We really had a great day, extending the “C” route by probably another five miles but the sad thing was that Steve forgot to start his “MapMyWalk” GPS tracking app on his phone so we couldn’t see the strange wiggly route or the distance we had walked. But we were both suitably tired and a little stiff as we sat to wait for our bus to arrive at 5 o’clock to take us back to the van. What a fantastic day and certainly the highlight of the holiday so far and the weather was perfect, not too hot but dry and warm. A few hours reading and Steve working on the blog then as we got into bed the rain started
 
Day 28  Tuesday 06/10/2015 - Still 94361 on Speedo
The rain continued throughout the night but stopped while we packed up and did the usual chores. Checked out and set the TomTom  for a possible night stop just before we would get to Slovenia where we had read there was a small fortified church with incredible frescos and art work. The rain continued for the whole day and going over the mountains we were actually in the clouds. With some really steep descents in torrential rain Steve was again  extremely pleased to have the magnetic braking system.
The journey took on a strange disturbing tone as we left the mountains we started seeing many abandoned houses apparently fine except for numerous bullet marks and some badly damaged houses with a new one built on the same plot. We also noticed many graves right beside the road and very many cemetery's nearly full of new shiny black marble graves, quite disturbing and bringing the very recent war only twenty years ago when neighbour was against neighbour into stark focus more than anywhere we had been so far.
We arrived at the campsite we had put into TomTom but it had just closed for the season, so backtracked to another which was open but a little expensive just to park for the night in the rain. We don’t usually book into sites just for the night preferring; Aire de Camping Car, Sosta’s or Stelplats etc. but we have now established that what we heard is in fact true, that parking overnight anywhere other than on a site is illegal in Croatia. I suppose that is fair when their major industry is tourism.
 
Stopped at 17:00 - 94570 - 209 km today - Camp Meoveja – Medveja – 45.27077N, 14.26915E