Currently traveling

Europe take 2

Suddenly 15 degrees feels like the tropics, trying to keep cool for a change!
Currently traveling
  • Day31

    Selce, Croatia

    May 10, 2018 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    GPS threw a wobbly on me whilst trying to find a site in Crikvenica, and as I was struggling to find a place to stop and reset, I kept going along the coast as I recognised another name on the street signs. These coastal towns, be they Italy France Spain etc all seem to have at one time to have slid down their respective hills untill they are all bunched up beside the sea, along with their roads that get squished into single lane one way streets. Europeans are of course masters in the use of the hazard warning light which overrides all rules of the road and indeed common sense, as used by the driver in front of me who uses it at a junction on a pedestrian crossing on a one way street, classic.I'll just wait till you get your messages shall I? Already witnessed a classic piece of Croatian driving today when an impatient driver overtook me on a winding mountain road only to immediately indicate he is turning once in front of me, but the trump card(s) go to the two motorcycles overtaking him as he overtook me. My stomach is already in my mouth looking down at the sheer drop to the sea. Still all is forgiven arriving at the camp, it lived up to it's reputation, it is beautiful.Read more

  • Day28

    Postojnska Jama (caves) Slovenia

    May 7, 2018 in Slovenia ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    It is in the title. Basically I can let the photos do the talking.The caves are 23km long, a little electric train takes you underground for 2km and then you walk for about 1and a half km. Extremely well maintained and lit, although they do put the lights of for effect for a short time and then you know what complete and utter darkness is. Three levels to the caves created over millions of years by an underground river constantly doubling back on itself. The final stop at a huge cavern where the river still runs was the showstopper, with millions of gallons of water crashing down and the mist full of the smell of coal. I wonder if Jules Verne had the benefit of this experience before penning "Journey to the centre of the earth". Now do staligmites go up or down?oh yes up, it's the tites that come down.Read more

  • Day27

    Ljubljana

    May 6, 2018 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

    Not entirely sure how I feel about this city, it is certainly the smallest capital I have ever been to. Today is flea market day along the side of the river Ljubljanka. There are plenty of statues of Christ on the cross, just in case you are down to your last one, and a great collection of up to date vinyl LP records, mostly British bands and artists but everything from Metallica to Samantha Fox. It is a real cafe society here and all the streets along the river are full of people having breakfast, coffee and cigarettes. The city itself has its moments in a kind of shabby chic sort of way, there are certainly plenty of photographers here who think so. I stop at a roadside cafe, as it is the only place not full of smokers, and order a local style meal of beef sausages and pancakes, a couple of beers help it go along. A tour guide with her pack of tourists pull up along side and the guide starts explaining the menu to them and gesturing to me by way of example, she is talking in Slovenian and I think roughly what she is saying is "look at stupid British tourist eating sausages made from dog food" or thereabouts.Everone laughs and moves on(they don't order any food).
    I don't want to put in too many gripes in the blog, but this is the most I have had to pay for a Vignette, a local road toll, 30 euro for seven days, and because of its location I may have to cross Slovenia more than twice, oh and 2.50 euro per person per night tourist tax, do they not realise that tourists are visiting of their own free will to spend money in their shabby chic city.
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  • Day26

    Ljubljana

    May 5, 2018 in Slovenia ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

    Followed my GPS according to a site suggestion in my compendium of campervan sites and it took me to a horrible concrete yard surrounded by wire fencing. It looked as if it would have Alsatians on the prowl in the evening (to keep you in). Next stop by accident around the corner and not in the book, the Laguna park, rather nice, 5km from the city, good cycle distance nice facilities, that'll do...nicely. Took the scenic route here, and what route wouldn't be, the countryside is incredible green and fertile, trees cover virtually all of the hills/mountains surface all the way to the top and in doing so gives the landscape the appearance of a soft organic matter, rather than hard unyeilding stone and rock.Strangely the tree cover forms into pyramid shapes..I wonder if the Pharos of the tree people lie beneath? Another natural oddity is that in pic 3 of stripping a tall straight pine tree leaving just the top 2 metres growing then hanging hoops of branches below, oh and then stick a flag on top, saw a lot of these. Another very common site is the mini-chapel in every town and village, some no bigger than your average garden shed, the chapel that is not the village,but very ornate, this was often coupled with a life size recreation of the crucifixion complete with Mary beneath, often at a road junction or near a bus stop, Jesus!Read more

  • Day25

    Mala Nedeljao

    May 4, 2018 in Slovenia ⋅ 🌧 63 °F

    Basically have gone off grid here, this is on the northern edge of Slovenia wine territory, and the country side is green lush and beautiful. Starting to see the percentage sign appear on road signs, not something VM (Van Morrison) likes to see. My old Ford was known as rancid before as the T has come of Transit, but I am feeling more comfortable with the vehicle as we knock up the countries. Those of you astute enough to see the sidestep into Slovenia will realise my trip is "bust" There a number of reasons, the simplest is that I have found more to do than I expected in many of my stops, the weather has been phenomenal, so I have not been inclined to rush, and thirdly I have been declined insurance for Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro, all of which I have to pass through on my intended route. Initially I thought I might take a risk and push through these countries, but as I have gone on and the difficulties I have encountered on the roads in some of the more affluent countries I have decided against it this time.Besides I am meeting up with Isabella in Split in two and a half weeks and it would just be a rush now.
    The spa and hot springs at the Bioterme are extremely relaxing and high quality. There is a park just for campervans, which at 8 euros a night is great value as it gives you 30 percent discount on entry. You connect the electricity yourself and pay in coins, 50cents for a kWh, my machine won't take the euros I got in Hungary, but two previous travellers have left credit on their meters...ah-ha not for long. First picture is one of my campmates, and I thought I was the oldest rocker in town. Picture two is quite literally the calm before the storm, and what a beauty it was, continuous lightning strikes for a couple of hours (pity I can't download a video) tropical rain and hailstones. The last two again literally the morning after, don't think I'm going up that road!
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  • Day23

    Siofok (Lake Balaton)

    May 2, 2018 in Hungary ⋅ ⛅ 84 °F

    Stopped here quite early as driving felt like it was a waste of a day, so hot and sunny, it shouldn't be spent on the road, that's what grey wet days are for. Ideally just wanted to find a spot on the side of the lake (shouldn't be a problem it's 50 miles long!) Found Aranypart camping which had a lot of free spaces and at less than 15euros a night inc. electricity, WiFi and tourist tax, very reasonable.The camp has a swimming pool, although the lake is great to swim in 200m out and I can still stand up, apparently only 12m at its deepest.The grocery shop is not very well stocked, although it does have a surplus of two of the main food groups, sugar and caffeine.
    Went cycling a bit down the coast, burgers,beer and bums (lap dancing), happy I found this place, swim in the lake afternoon then a Zumba session on the public square nearby. Did better than Prague, but still no takers, a few bemused onlookers thinking the were watching the village idiot. I have accidentally come up with a new move which outranks the cucaracha in Rumba, mine is Los mosquitos, It involves a lot of clapping hands, stamping your feet and slapping yourself!
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  • Day22

    Ave Natura

    May 1, 2018 in Hungary ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

    What a great find this camp was, on the outskirts of the city 20 minutes by bus, but it lived up to its name. All the facilities are there, just a bit more natural than on a commercial site.The owner Marta and her son were charming and so helpful. On my final day I had a very pleasant and relaxing trip in a chair lift to the highest point in the city, sunny and warm after the morning's brief thunderstorm, and the air fresh with Laburnum, sycamore and Ash. (sorry for the constipated look in the photo, it is just me squinting at the sun). The lift had an unexpected side effect in that the increased height popped my (deaf) ear, which really cheered me up, you might say I have gratitude for a better attitude due to altitude! Whilst at the camp I met a lovely couple from the UK but living and working in Budapest. In a time when young people can be seen as selfie obsessed Facebook generation I was impressed by Harriet and Peter as a couple who have a genuine connection with natural values and the real life. I wish them well.Read more

  • Day21

    Budapest by night

    April 30, 2018 in Hungary ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

    Bit of a theme going on here. The Parliament building looks even more incredible by night, although I'm sure you must be getting a bit tired of buildings by now, it's worthy of an entry. The most poignant off all though, has to be the last picture, part of a sculpture in bronze of sixty pairs of shoes in the style worn in the forties.Hungary suffered terribly at the hands of both German fascists and Russian communists during the second world war and after but ironically this work represents mass murder by Hungarian Nazis. It is difficult enough to imagine the killing of 60people, but 3500 persons were killed, including 800Jews, who were told to remove their shoes then were shot into the Danube to float away. The simplicity of the sculpture is emotionally devastating, and took me to a time when I was 17and saw for the first time on "The World at War" piles of spectacles and false limbs outside the gas chambers at Aushwitz.Read more

  • Day19

    From Buda to Pest

    April 28, 2018 in Hungary ⋅ ☀️ 77 °F

    Spent the night in Buda and the day on Pest (West and East basically) Very full day sightseeing, then heading to The famous hot spas. An incredible place with large outside pools, where it reached 29 degrees (spa 27) and numerous indoor hot spas, sauna and steam rooms, finished with a spell of aqua aerobics. Went into a freezing cold plunge pool after the sauna and now I'm deaf in my right ear, hopefully it will clear. Watched four old guys (my age) playing some excellent ping pong, they were fab, and funny, the fab four in fact what a laugh! Made my way down the main thoroughfare passed the Museum of Terror, the laughs just keep coming. Someone had hung an Iron curtain outside, perhaps it was Winston? Made it to the Iguana Mexican as recommended, I'm so happy to get a seat the lizard is leaping out of my head!Read more

  • Day18

    Budapest

    April 27, 2018 in Hungary ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    Sun is out again, 25 degrees after yesterday's cold wet snap.Crossed into Hungary early this morning after purchasing my vignette (road tax for visitors) 25 Euros for 10 days, I think I will suggest to the Hungarian government that they spend some of it on the roads! It is difficult enough navigating in a foreign language without having to constantly swerve about on the motorway avoiding holes! First stop was memento park on the way in, a reminder of the time when Hungary was a communist state, got to hand it to the government, they could have destroyed all evidence of the Russian art rather than display it in a park, mind you the remains of Stalin's statue(his boots) is a bit of a finger to the Ruskies. Better watch what I am saying you never know who is Lenin over your shoulder.Read more