Joined March 2019 Message
  • Day43

    Dubrovnik

    May 13, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    So as we’ve arrived in good time, and found a parking spot, we get straight on with a walk into the old city. Our first error is taking the pushchair not realising how many hundreds or steps and cobbled streets there will be in an ‘old city’ (!!!). Second error is not bringing the rain cover for said pushchair, as the heavens open.

    It really is an amazing place, teaming with history, as we walk through the old streets, now filled with cafes, gelaterias, the odd Irish pub and fancy shops. We get some great views on day one, but decide to head on to find a place to stay. We see a sign for the ‘best view of the town’ so decide it would be a good idea to carry the pushchair up another hundred or so steps, to find what is definitely not the best view in town (error 3).

    It is only on return to our motorhome that our fourth and final error is revealed. Thinking we’ve bagged a bargain 10euro parking space, we find those couple of hours have just cost us 38euro, about 2 nights accommodation in other words! Obviously following some choice words from Nic, some begging from me to the parking man, we pay and get on our way.

    Luckily we find a lovely campsite, set just on the hillside south of Dubrovnik with a lovely walk down to a beach, and a little boat that takes you straight to the city walls and back throughout the day.

    We jump on the boat the following day, which in itself is excitement enough for the children (and luckily, as they don’t find the amazing buildings steeped with history quite as enthralling), and we pass by war torn resorts, before entering Dubrovnik with a great panoramic view.

    At this point, if either of us had ever watched Game or Thrones, we’d be writing about all the sets and locations that we saw, but as we’ve never seen an episode, we can just say that it is very beautiful, the views are amazing from all around the city walls, and with the backpack this time, we enjoy Dubrovnik in glorious sunshine (with only a few threats of rain!). We definitely see the Kings Landing, and must look the age of GOT fans as get asked where a few other locations are, but cannot help.

    We do stop and wait in the centre for slightly too long as a large group of school children gather and are arranged, for what we thought might be a concert or at least a little sing-song, we understand they are here to celebrate 600 years of Orlando, but after much faffing and gearing up by who we thought was the choir master, they all just disperse and we are left wondering why we stood there so long.

    We also get some stunning views down into the city walls from above as we climb a little further, and Amelia finds a wall she can use as a slide (and put holes in her best trousers!).

    We head back to site on the boat, find some orange and lime trees to collect some fruit from and on our final night in Croatia experience the gustiest and noisiest night in the van yet with wind and rain lashing down until the early hours.

    As it is now our final day, we had hoped to do three island tour on a bigger boat, but the weather didn’t look great for being on an island or a boat, so the friendly campsite owner recommended a lovely restaurant down the coast where they cook food under ashes so we head out for our last Croatian meal, and we’re not disappointed. The little place in the middle of nowhere has surprisingly more English customers than anywhere else we’d been, and as well as amazing food, a whole lot of meat and a delish chocolate soufflé, we are also treated to a car show as 50 Tesla’s arrive for lunch as part of their organised Tesla tour. They do however block the motorhome into the car park, so we kill time with a little walk while we wait for them to finish lunch and let us out! We had to wait about an hour and a half, which was fine as we were not in a massive hurry for the ferry. But Nic did not want to get stuck behind all 50 of them and as we usually had some sort of tail back (as a lot of Moho’s do) he decides he wants a “Tesla Tail”. We get out pretty much in the middle of the pack, much to Nic’s delight and the Tesla’s horror! They have plenty of horse power to overtake, but some pretty bad driving from some of them it must be said!

    We head back to the ferry, grab a takeaway pizza and board for our overnight sailing to Bari, Italy. Amelia made a little nest in her bed with her soft toys and helped Coen make his too, and was extremely excited to sleep in a cabin. The sailing, luckily, was smooth and the only disturbance was when Coen fell out of bed in the middle of the night with a big bangs and a yell!! Nic barely stirs, I jump out of my top bunk and try to find a screaming child in total pitch blackness like some kind of crystal maze challenge.

    So now, viva Italia....
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  • Day42

    Oberik...rain, rain go away!

    May 12, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Our European insurance does not cover us to drive mainland to Dubrovnik as there is stretch of about 10km of Bosnia that separates Croatia (which we didn’t even notice when we looked at the map at home!!). We decide to get a small ferry out to a little island and we really want to visit the sandy beach on a further out island just north of Dubrovnik but the grey and very wet weather means it will not be too enjoyable.

    We find a pretty little spot to camp but the rain is pretty relentless so we barely make it out of the Moho. A very quick pit stop here before the final drive down to Dubrovnik.

    As aways as we head south down this coast, the drive is picturesque with tall cliffs and mountains to the left and bright turquoise sea to the right, and then as we skirt around Bosnia, views of sea and islands on both sides, passing through little seaside and mountain side towns, views of Bosnia in the distance and some stunning panoramas.

    We need to check out which ferry to take to Italy so our first stop is the ferry port where we buy tickets to Bari, which allow us to spend 2-3 days in Dubrovnik itself.

    After a very stressful drive into the old town to finds car park, we find a spot and decide to take a walk straight away, the children are now besides themselves at having been contained in car seats for too long (we definitely didn’t make the right decision here, read on to find out why!!)....
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  • Day39

    Birthday celebrations at Sibernik

    May 9, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    We make good time south, as always since we left the UK the drives are picturesque, with mountain views leading to sea views...and make it to a lovely campsite set on a beach that had been recommended.

    It’s a beautiful site, we can park just a few metres from the beach, the play park and the swimming pool. More crystal clear sea, rocky beaches and a promenade that runs around much of the ‘island’ (this part is still connected to land so is more of a peninsula).

    As the sun shines on our first morning, we find the beach littered with sea urchin shells, some still with their shiny black spikes on. At first, I’m a little nervous about the children touching them, until I see little girl walking along collecting them into piles with her bare hands!! Still I don’t want Coen to face plant into one, so we are a little wary.

    It is also Coens birthday on our 2nd day here, so we’re glad the sun is shining, and we celebrate with ice cream!! The children enjoy playing in the great play parks, and we meet some other English to swap travel tips and stories with.
    After lunch is ‘mussel time’. Nic has spotted some along the promenade and had promised Amelia after the earlier catch that we’d find and cook some for her. He has to avoid grabbing sea urchins disguised amongst the mussels, but gets a good batch, at least a starters-worth that we take back to prepare.

    We have a birthday BBQ for coen with mussels to start and more ice cream to finish, and watch a beautiful sunset (and get eaten by mossies!).

    The children test out the pool (in wetsuits), which some British H&S officers would have a field day in, and we take a nice (Amelia prob wouldn’t use nice..a bit of bribery just about got her there and back) walk along the promenade to see a huge pirate ship.

    Lots of fun had here, but time to move south as we weave our way towards Dubrovnik...
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  • Day39

    Rainy Plitvice NP

    May 9, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    We arrive in the rain to the next National Park - these are the ones everyone talks about, but we can see it’s going to be a speedy tour through the park as the weather sets in for the day. The walks here typically are all stated to be longer than we’ve done before too, we choose the shortest 3- 4 hr walk and set off with everything waterproof that we’ve bought, and Coen in backpack.

    We get a couple of boat trips on this tour, extra excitement for the children and a welcome break from walking for Amelia. As soon as we leave the boat, Amelia asks if it’s time to get on the train..I don’t have the heart to tell her we’ve still got the entire 3 hour walk ahead, so the answer is ‘almost’!!

    As the path winds round the lake through some forest, we step onto the boardwalk and are thankful to have the backpack for Coen - a beautiful path but no railings - the path barely interrupts nature, but definitely adds an element of risk of a wet, slippery day. We walk over the wide falls, rivers and lakes for the rest of the walk until we climb back up to the cliff side. It starts with low falls that meander through the marshy grasses, and after following the sign for ‘the big waterfall’ we round the corner and are met with a breathtaking view of a giant waterfall - and thankfully an open space with no water below us where we can relax and not worry about anyone falling in the water for a minute. This fall is mammoth in height and makes us all feel quite small!!

    The path then climbs up high to give beautiful views over the many falls below, and Amelia now desperate to find the land train is pleased when we hear the sound of cars, meaning we must be close. We finish the walk, all soaked through to our underwear (except Nic who seems to be the only one who has bought a proper raincoat on our trip!) and ready for a rest...we bribe Amelia up the final hill with he promise of an ice cream, Coen and I get a bonus site of hundreds of tiny field mice as he takes a trip off the path and the ground literally comes alive with them.

    We decide to make some headway south as the weather is still rainy, so cook a quick pasta pot for kids and hit the road. As we almost have an empty fuel tank, we quickly head to the only fuel station only to find it closed! Lucky a local helps point us in the direction of the next town and we make it on fumes, and set off for an island due south.
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    Trevor Langford

    I’m pleased you liked it here, such a shame the weather was so bad.

    6/27/19Reply
     
  • Day38

    Waterfalls aplenty - Krka NP

    May 8, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    First trip inland for Croatia - we pull up to the first National Park, check out the campsite and make a sharp exit (more of a building site with a kind of sewerage smell) but we’ll find somewhere else later...

    We head into the park, with short bus ride down the hill alongside the lake. We overhear the man explaining why we can’t swim in the falls today (like in all the pictures we’ve seen)...basically it’s too cold, but his explanation is a little more colourful...explaining if he is wearing a jumper AND a jacket, obviously it’s too cold, people will all warm in the sun and then jump in the cold water and die!!! OK then, no swimming today!

    A lovely boardwalk runs through the forest over the streams, lakes and falls and takes us on a journey through nature’s playground, we see frogs, the most beautiful teal dragonflies, birds and hundreds of fish basking in the sun.

    The waterfalls get more and more spectacular as the path unfolds and we are pleased to be here so early in the season to get uninterrupted views and pictures of this beauty.

    It’s a hot and sunny day so we are thrilled half way round when we realise Amelia has left the only water bottle we bought on the Shuttle bus! Luckily a little further on there are fountains from the natural springs.

    We were so pleasantly surprised by these falls, we didn’t even expect to come to this park thinking we’d just do Plitvice which everyone had told us about, but these falls are amazing.

    We jump back in the shuttle bus and manage to find the water bottle!! And head off to find a campsite for the night...and luckily we find one with animals for entertainment. This time giant rabbits and chickens...
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  • Day32

    Airport bound - Trogir

    May 2, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    We arrive on this cliff-side site just along the road from historic Trogir and are greeted by beautiful views of the Adriatic, dotted with the many Croatian islands that this coast is famous for, and enjoy a lovely BBQ, as Coen is entertained by the planes that fly over a couple of times an hour. Amelia gets a peak at the pool (another cold one though as the forecast for this weekend is not looking good).

    At this point, Sarah needs to make a quick trip home to visit her mum, who has had an operation, so the only alarm of the trip is set to get her to the airport.

    Morning of the flight, we suddenly wake up very quickly when we hear what sounds like rain, but it is more like a waterfall...Amelia has woken up, fallen back to sleep and weeing in her sleep...and somehow has created a fountain that is landing just inches from her brother’s head on the bunk below!! So Nic not only has to entertain the children for the weekend but now also has added laundry to do too ;-)

    Luckily too, we’ve chosen a site on the side of a hill which means every hundred yards or so there are sheer drops to the next level (luckily some are more gentle slopes and there are mainly soft landings!).

    So Nic’s got the children, for a few days, with a cold pool, sheer cliff edges and not great weather, well at least he has Gin!

    Really not much to report - we got the hammock and slack line out a couple of times in between the rain. A brief walk with Amelia on her scooter and Coen in the pushchair to the next village which resulted in a very quick play in the park and a beer for Nic - but no ice cream to be found - still too early in the season to put ice cream in the freezer apparently!!

    Met quite a few other English people for one of the first times being away, funny as most had flown over for a week’s holiday and here we are not remembering what day it is. There are couple of other English full-time motor-homers - one couple had been away for 6 years living the dream!

    Of course the visit here wouldn’t be complete if Coen hadn’t taken Amelia’s scooter and casually glided off the edge of one of those sheer drops down a three foot drop into a lavender bush - a foot either side and the landing would not have been so nice...or smelt so good!

    When I return back to site (after the most expensive 8 minutes in a taxi I’ve ever had!) we decide to take the little taxi boat from the campsite to Trogir, Amelia even got to take control for a while - she loved it! Trogir is a lovely little town with worn cobbles stones which millions of people must have been over. Like many of the old towns we visit, there are so many beautiful churches packed inside the old city walls,

    As we return to the site, the other English motorhomes are planning to find and pick some mussels for the next days lunch, so Nic learns a little about how to do it and more importantly the preparation and then helps gather a small feast with them. So to avoid the sandy crunchiness the the key is, depending on exactly where you find them (no sand in Croatia) is to filter them in fresh water! To be tried later in our trip...

    The children don their wetsuits to test the pool - Coen’s still not convinced even with a wetsuit...’cold!!’. Amelia has finally met some actual English friends that she can talk, so enjoys playtime, another dodgy disco and actual 4 yr old conversation!

    As we leave, we see the site have just completed a new play park, that puts the rusty seesaw to shame, one of those new ones with all the trimmings...to Nic’s total disbelief after being stranded with no play area for 6 days!
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    Alan Bond

    Sounds like Nic had his hands full, glad Coen is ok after his scooter adventure. Lovely photos of lovely people and beautiful places xxx

    5/23/19Reply
     
  • Day30

    The buffet to beat all others - Nin

    April 30, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    Next stop is the biggest campsite yet, probably the largest that we’ll visit...and with two little pairs of legs, it takes an age to get aywhere on this site.

    We also have the largest aqua park we’ve see too...luckily some of the pools are heated so the kids have a whale of a time - Amelia going up and down the same water slide a million times, Coen running through (and into!) the water jets in the splash park.

    I’m excited that there’s an actual adult volleyball match...unfortunately as the site is so big we don’t make it to the pitch in time and miss it!!

    There is a lovely (man made) sandy beach stretching along the waterfront, although we find the sand is a little mud as suddenly the children’s clothes are no longer clean!!

    By far the best thing about our stop here (and the reason we stay another day) is the buffet!! (Not really the reason but was worth the extra night!). Now I’m not usually a fan, and when Nic spotted it, I was dubious. Luckily, however I didn’t need to worry about the usual buffet ‘dodgy’ food. This was 5-star buffet dining!

    Much to Nic’s joy, there was freshly cooked steaks, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fresh local fish, tuna, mussels, salad and a whole lot more, including wine and beer. Amelia, who loves mussels managed to tuck away 3 plates full which amused nearby tables. We all made the most of the feast to say the least and felt like we didn’t need to eat for a week by the time we left Nin!!
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    Alan Bond

    Looks yummy xxx no mussels here on d'Oleron wrong season but lots of fishy dishes

    5/23/19Reply
     
  • Day28

    Krk Island...rainy but 5 star camp site!

    April 28, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    We drove onto our first island - Krk Island. Croatia so far has surprised us with its scenery - lined with mountains, rolling hills, as beautiful rugged coasts, the most turquoise sea, and little villages lining the coast with pop up stalls selling roasted pigs, lavender oil and truffle oils.

    We choose a campsite with a pool, but as we arrive the weather sets in so we convince Amelia that we’ll swim tomorrow! Luckily making friends with some Slovenian girls distracted her, and both Amelia and Coen enjoying racing up and down on their scooters while we get to enjoy a glass of wine. We see a sign for the disco so head up to find an awkward, but enthusiastic young lad replicating some Euro pop moves to an audience of 6 that was less enthusiastic...Amelia is not impressed so heads back down to find her friends (or make some new ones) whilst we share travel tips with their parents.

    Next morning, we take a walk along the coast, find a bear cave and some beautiful little coves, and although the weather has not heated back up yet, we brave the pool - a lovely infinity pool which is again slightly on the chilly side - we start to gather that Croatia don’t heat their outdoor pools as by the time the season really kicks off, the sun has heated them!

    There’s also an amazing splash park for the children with some little flumes (which Coen seems to only be able to go down with 180 spins and so he plunges down each time head first into the pool!) and they don’t notice the water temp at all.

    Oh and somehow we took a grand total of 3 photos at this stop?!?!

    Heading south...
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    Alan Bond

    Lovely xxx

    5/23/19Reply
     
  • Day24

    Croatia#1 - relaxing in Rovinj...

    April 24, 2019 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    By the time we reach Croatia, we are well and truly ready to stop and relax! We’ve been non-stop so far, there has been so much to do, so many places we wanted to see, but our aim was always to reach the coast and relax...

    First stop, we head to a lovely campsite on the coast at Rovinj, an historic old town with a beautiful and rugged coastline. The sea here is so crystal clear, and the campsite are readying themselves for the season so is deserted, our premium camp spot is practically on the beach and means the children an wander freely from the park to the beach.

    We spend a lovely few days roaming. A big run around the enromous campsite, some spring cleaning for the van, a sunset BBQ and we are feeling refreshed.

    We decide to cycle into the old town of Rovinj, after a few minutes we realise the cycle route is no good for Amelia so hook her bike to the croozer and follow the coastfor a short ride around to the town. Well worth the cycle, such a pretty town with a mix of history, tourism and fun for the kids...we watch a high school volleyball comp for a while, find some local food and find the BEST ice cream we have EVER had! Excited for Italy if this is what Croatia’s Italian influence has to offer!!!

    After a lovely visit we head out to find a supermarket...3km away apparently...unfortunately and for some bizarre reason we rely on my not so well acquired pigeon senses to get here rather than Nics, so what should take 10 mins turns into an hour long cycle in the now pouring rain...a few choice words from Nic, we make it to Lidl’s and head back to camp!

    Another couple of days relaxing, a chance for a SUP, some unsuccessful crabbing, plenty of park time for the kids and a dip in the (just opened) rather chilly pool and we head down the coast to the next stop. Although it would be lovely to travel down the coast stopping at every village and island, we only have 5 months!!
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