This is the start of Andrea and Grant’s trip round Europe in Monty (our Swift Mondial). Basic plan is to go to Greece for a while (ferry via Italy), and come back via the mainland taking some route up from Greece. Not much planned, nothing booked, less to go wrong!
Monday 14 April
Drove to Dover and got the ferry to Calias. Drove inland 20km and stayed at a nice little campsite. Managed 40 mpg!
Set for Reims so Andrea could see her mate at Notre Dam! This was a days driving (taking it easy and stopping for french bread, brie, pate and wine (had to wait till the evening for the wine though!). We managed to get the last space in the aire behind the Information and language centre. Not the most scenic, but free and close to town, and not bad actually! We now realise how big France is as we are only nearly as low as Paris. Some very empty but nice countryside too. For tea we had Bretton style sausage onion garlic and potato, all fried up with olive oil, french bread and wine.
looked around Reims. Very nice city. Notre Dam is very impressive as are some of the other buildings. We made our own pizzas for tea.
Set the sat nav to Basel and drove for a few hours, stopping for coffee, then dinner, and by 2.30 we had covered another 150 miles and stopped in Raon L’Etape, a small town on a river which I knew there was an aire at. What a nice aire! it has 5 grass bays and we are the only people here. The lady in the tourist office didnt know how long we could stay, but a days driving then a days rest and exploring seems a good balance. doing more than an average of 70 miles a day will eat into savings! Picture attached. River is to the right. The weather is cracking and we got the chairs and awning out and basked in the sun, before heading to the cafe for a small beer. The sun got even hotter whilst we were there!
Explore the town and use the free internet in the tourist office, and research Switzerland. Saturday we will set off for the border, but might and try and find the last French aire just before, partly for economy, partly we might find some Swiss, and lastly to give a full day getting in and heading for the Alps.
Head towards Switzerland. Had considered last stop in France in Mulhouse, but made good time so carried on! Stopped at campsite between Luzern and Zug. Swedish suasage,chips and beer in log cabin style bar built into massive traditional Swedish house. Views of the Alps and plenty of snow on top.
Continue South getting pretty high and views are fantastic. We really should have stayed another night around here. It soon becomes obvious we are going to be in cloud going over the top of the alps. Decide to go through Gottard tunnel – 26km. (Bad move should have gone over the top!) When we break out the other side it is all clear, even looking back. Views still stupendous. We make good time and decide to get past Milan as it is Sunday. We end up driving all the way to Cesenatico near Rimini. OK campsite would be too crowded in season!
Head down east coast to Marotta. Not very impressed with Italy so far, but only been on crowded motorways and flat scenery! headed inland 5 miles to campsite, which was probably 1000 feet up. Spectacular storm with massive hail stones. Thought the solar panel would be gone but it was ok.
Aother hop down the east coast, some better scenery today with rolling hills and churches on mountain tops. Went through Ancona for a look, but didnt quite manage to get to the port area. stopped at a nice little “just finished” campsite just short of Porto di Vasto. Not a lot here. Nice crowded caravan park down the road, cant swing a cat between them! If you live on this campsite then your waist measurement can not get beyond 48 inches, because at that point you cant get out to the burger shop!