Croatia, Italy, France.
Trip Start Apr 10, 2007
7Trip End Oct 08, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The continuing travelogue of the Guerins in Europe.
This six month holiday is most definitely a life changing event. Irreplacable time with our children at a very special age; and wonderful experiences together. No work, Federation tasks, home chores. Of course we miss our home and our friends - but we are coping none-the-less.
Croatia was outstanding but I can honestly say that we were often nearly entangled in accidents as out of control vehicles screeched past our moving accomodation with microns to spare. Our last experiences in Croatia were outstanding: the walled city of Dubrovnik is a must (it even had a fabulous english bookshop) restored impeccably after shocking purposeless heavy bombing in 1991; and the aquamarine waters of the Plitvice Lakes forming tufa cascades and waterfalls in a stunning bear-filled national park
Next came Italy; a welcome return as we had spent a two month holiday here in 2000. Like most tourists, we had previously only explored Venice but this time we camped across the lagoon and caught ferries into the canalled city. The surrounding countryside is waterlogged and criss-crossed with canals. Wonderful Venice: Dylan loved the gondolas and Macayle loved the masks! We meandered across northern Italy and stumbled on Ferrara almost by accident avoiding a thunderstorm. What a highlight: a wonderful walled city with the best ever, moat-surrounded Castello (Estense Castle), filled with exquisite frescos. It is also overrun with bicycles so we could ride anywhere we wanted. Next to the campsite was the La Note Bianca festival with bands, face painting, stalls and fireworks, attended by every mobile person within 200 miles. We nearly decided to stay forever.
From Ferrara we drove to aesthetical Tuscany; free-camped at the Rapolala Termes hot health spas where the kids spent so much time that they almost dissolved. Next on to medieval Siena with its spectacular Duomo (cathedral) and annual pagaent and bare backed horse race, the Il Palio, bringing mobs from everywhere. We were lucky to arrive late and smack bang in the middle of the bun-struggle with the only camping ground available closed for repairs! In desparation we set up camp in a service station but after dinner lost our nerve and bailed out to search the nearby villages for a better option only to follow the GPS for miles up chilling hillside laneways to arrive at a site at 11pm. What a disaster but typical of this holiday - we looked out of our window in the morning to the vista typically seen on the cover page of a Tuscan holiday guidebook
We then snuck into Umbria and stayed on the shore of Lago (Lake) Tarsimeno in a five star camping ground with kids clubs, 24 hour entertainment and another great view. It was disappointing that we couldn't stay for the annual Blues Festival but we still all loved the place; hardly venturing outside the grounds.
I challenged a hill-climb record getting to our last camping ground in Italy just east of Genova and can honestly say I never want to drive up something like that again - even in a funicular - how Camilla copes is beyond me. This time we avoided the Cinque Terre as motorhome holidays revolve around camping and taking public transport into towns and last we were here was on the train so much easier. The coast road in Croatia was frightening but so were the crosswinds that rolled Tito the 3 X 2.5 X 8M motorhome as we sped along the A12 and A10 roller coaster along the Italian and French Riviera. It feels disgusting with bridge-tunnel-bridge-tunnel etc. as you exit a tunnel and are hit by the wind.
France. I romantically proposed that it would be easy for me to show Camilla Monaco as I had driven here decades ago but this time we accidently entered what must have been the dregs from the May Grand Prix and just as the GPS maps for France disabled themselves and sat in PDA world laughing at us for the next disasterous six hours as we tryed to find our way out (I am certain we went through Barcelona during this egression) and finished up exhausted in a nice little hillside town in Provence
We are presently exploring southern Provence (the A380 just flew over me on final) and about to leave for Spain. More in the next (and possible the last overseas) blog next month.
David and Camilla
(Please look at the kid's blog for more photos and stories).