It was Tuesday, May 7, 2013 and a bright and early start for us as we began the return part of our journey.
It has been eventful so far with new discoveries and the odd disappointment thrown in for good measure. Still isn’t that what this thing is all about? New discoveries, new friends and constantly adding new cultures and experiences to our respective lists.
We said our farewells to Dave and Jasmin and started out on what was to prove to be a demanding but stunning trip northwards. A total of 160 miles and passing through three different countries: Croatia Slovenia and finally intoAustria which was a new experience for all of us.
The picture shows the precise route:
We had earmarked an interesting looking site just outside the town of Villach in southern Austria. It is called Seecamping Berghof which is a truly beautiful location. Once again a site where the staff seemed, genuinely, glad to see you and where being helpful is so much nicer than the other thing!
The site has its own live webcam so have a peep for yourself. Click here.
Well, there is an early start tomorrow for Munich and a fun day is anticipated as it is Ms Nancy’s birthday. Let me leave you with the view from our pitch…Picture taken just 20 paces from the front door. Bliss.
In our last offering we were singing the praises of Camping Miramare close to Venice. A super site where nothing is too much trouble. However I have , a word of warning. Mosquitoes. It would appear that we are a tasty bunch as several families of the bugs celebrated May day by dining out on us! Loretta suffered more than the rest of us but we all have our memories.
There will be more about that from Nancy.
There is a magic about Venice and we tried to capture as much as we could in pictures which I hope you enjoy. We had all been there before but not as motorhomers and, in my case, Nancy and I had been here with Ji Hye Lee for Christmas in 2010. At that time there was rain, there were high tides and as a result St. Mark’s Square was under 2 feet of water. Still we all ended up with new wellies and lovely memories. This time it was so different and the heat was the main hurdle, heat that seems to attract even more mosquitoes. A word here about Dougal. He was a star. Totally out of his comfort zone he seemed to enjoy the ferry to St. Mark’s and ambled around the place accepting the admiration of countless passers by.
The pictures below are of a typical “street scene” as a Gondolier negotiates a sharp turn into another “street”. The other is of the famous Bridge of Sighs which, historically, ran between the Court House and the Prison where it is said condemned prisoners got their final view of Venice before meeting their fate. Hence the name of the bridge.
We have now been on the road for46 days. We've had rain, snow, sleet, mud and hail - but despite the dramatic weather, it has been wonderful. Most recently we've traveled a larger portion of Italy than we've done previously - it was captivating. We will return. Our last site in Italy was a campsite Frank found called Miramare near Venice - which I have to say was beautiful. Although we all suffered a bit due to Mosquitoes, (mostly poor Loretta, who is highly allergic) but we were able to take a water bus into Venice for a lovely, but exhausting day. Learn more about this site on Frank's prior post.
Slovenia. I am not sure I can explain what, if any, preconceived notions I had about this country. Geographically, I knew it was one of many small European countries, but if you had asked me to locate it on a blank map I doubt if I'd have come anywhere near its actual location. All that said, I was happily surprised to discover a beautiful country with rolling hills, well maintained roadways and friendly people. Now onto the campsite.
Firstly, let me say we have only seen one camp in Slovenia so it would hardly be fair to discount the whole of the country based upon a single experience. From that disclaimer you can probably tell I wasn't very impressed with Camping Adria, located in Ankaran, Slovenia. As we pulled into the camp we were struck by the number of seemingly, permanent residents. These "campers" had odd higgily-piggily set-ups that were quite unattractive, and seemed thrown together using any sort of disparate building supplies. It is conceivable that these dwellings were not the owners full-time homes, and may have actually been their holiday homes - if that is the case, it would be just...sad. The second impression was of an inordinate number of dogs, most quite large and a few seemed identifiable as Pit-bull or Rottweilers. Bearing in mind we share our lives with a very cuddly and soft Shih Tzu, this was alarming. I immediately told Frank we needed to keep Dougal on a lead to avoid his potential dismemberment. Seriously, there were large groups of these types of dogs EVERYWHERE. Our friends, Loretta and Gianni were just as dismayed, Loretta was once attacked on a campsite by a large dog so understandably was very uncomfortable.
So, I recall talking with Loretta and I mentioned unless there is a dog show nearby, there was no excuse for a campsite allowing so many large, and potentially dangerous dogs on a public site. Guess what? Yeah, there was a dog show, and apparently, a world championship. Okay...now onto the better news. The restaurant and views of the Adriatic. Both impressive, and they served very refreshing Mojitos too! All in all, we would not return to the campsite, but it was somewhat redeemed by the outstanding views and nice meal. The next day we were off bright and early to Croatia. This was our second trip to the country, but first to this part of this oddly shaped, but beautiful country. Frank had found a website that showed a lovely looking campsite on an island called, Krk. We have learned the websites that tout their own campsites are usually discovered to be not just as nice as their photos and descriptions would have you believe. Camping Pila, in Punat falls into that category.
Yes, it has its beauties; on the shore of a sheltered harbour and with a nice paved seaside path that goes quite a distance and to the large marina. Sadly the campsite is in dire need of upkeep and repair; weeds are high in spots, and shrubs could do with a trim. The market was described as being a full, and well stocked sort of place - but it too was found to be lacking when Frank and Gianni tried to buy supplies for a cookout. And again we saw disturbingly permanent looking camp-dwellings near us which could only be described as eyesores. However, with the disappointments we had a few nice surprises in the form of several walkable or cycle-able, cafes, pubs and restaurants. The harbour, although the view from our "premium" pitches is somewhat obscured by a high sea wall, is pretty, with ships and small sailing yachts gliding past constantly. All said, we are happy as the weather is warm (albeit a bit rainy at the moment) and we have the company of our good friends nearby. We plan on staying a week and happily are expecting Loretta and Gianni's son, David and his wife to join us for a couple of days! Should be very enjoyable!
Keeping the best till last. The view from our pitch at Camping Pila.