TRAVELS WITHOUT HETTY

             66° 33″ NORTHThere are wonderful menus onboard but last nights duck left me cold .. yuk … no other word personifies my feeling on the subject of the duck .. note to self “look at the evening fare at breakfast and make alternative arrangements ”

Another game of Rummikub with Dean and Pauline when someone rushed through the top deck and excitedly said to us that Miss Aurora was forming .. coats on .. camera grabbed and off to deck 3

I couldn’t see it with naked eye but an expert told me what to look for .. a grey curtain .. which isn’t cloud as you can see the stars through it .. The camera picked it up .. sees more that we do .. very out of focus with the boats motion but I got the photo 


Awakened by the Captains tannoy informing us of the crossing of the Arctic Circle … Didn’t have time to dress but took a bad photo with IPhone out of the cabin window


Get dressed quickly as the next activity was to wave at the sister ship sailing south 


A late breakfast at 9am as we are out at lunchtime to go Bodø for a look at the Maelstrom/Saltstraumen by bus ( Yes it’s turned into a coach trip) or as I said after yesterday’s route march I wish I was old enough to catch the bus Today I am that person as I ache from head to foot with the damp wet weather .. Funnily enough today is gorgeous sun shine …magical dawn over the mountainous islands which are scattered about every where .. mostly tiny with just one house/ shack on the waters edge 


Next on the upper deck King Neptune was baptising passengers in the crossing the Arctic Circle ceremony ..as J says “No ones pouring ice down my back ” so we hovered at the back of the people taking part 

Part two to follow later ..

“OUR OWN DOMAIN”

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My son DanielP1030064 has built Me, Him and Hetty our own blog site with our own domain !  Click here and use our follow button on the new site   .. NEW BLOG SITE

At the moment I haven’t the first idea what I’m doing but it will keep me out of mischief for a while ..

I’ve even got a widget for my Google map of sleepy spots in Europe and the UK layer are being started …and a page for easy camper van friendly recipes

I don’t think the blog will be all about Hetty’s adventures as we are having one soon without Hetty.. The mail boat to the Arctic Circle to try to get a view of the Northern Lights which has been on our wish list ..Thinking we would go up to The Outer Hebrides in Hetty to see them J ended up in hospital with a balance problem and driving so far isn’t recommended  . We will fly to Bergen in Norway and board MS THE RICHARD WITH  The mail boat /ferry   for a 12 day adventure and lots of fish …

I hope you will like our new blog site pretty much the same as this one ..We just hope it will be easier for photos with Daniel being our own web developer  with all the know how..

 

 

PART THREE OF A MINI ADVENTURE 

STARRY STARRY NIGHT

Perseids shower

A dull day with an empty beach untill mid afternoon HE went off sailing .. To return 5 hours later ..I read ..not a sitting out day ..nothing much to report .. Didnt see anyone I knew ..took a few photos ..but that night HE got me out of bed to see the shooting stars ..brilliant …a star party on the the beach ..good tunes and shooting stars


A great night was had by one and all at the Squib Prize giving dinner and without any headache / hangover we packed Hetty up ..Thanked our carpark owner for turning a blind eye to our forbidden over night sleep on his land ..

imagefortunately we have known Griff for 20 years on and off ..and yes the carpark attendant has tried to shift us many times in the past to no avail so I think the blind eye is easier ..saying this we don’t abuse the situation and do buy a weekly parking ticket ..Sadly I can’t add the GPS as its not a valid sleepy spot …Emptied loo at the public toilets by the golf club ..as we use bio washing liquid instead of loo blue its perfectly acceptable.
A very quiet drive to Conwy I suppose as it was Saturday traffic would be heading to the beach not away from it..We had decided to spend the night ..arrived and our parking spot at the marina was occupied by a campervan who even had his leccy wire into the boat park..plugged in..I’m assuming he had a boat as well…if not how cheeky …J went to the pub in the marina to ask if it would be ok to park in their car park ..Yes was the answer as it didn’t belong to them but the Marina so in we went..found a quiet corner…We have eaten in the pub..The Mulberry Inn and had the worst food ever so decided never to darken their doors again..even slated em on trip adviser. My review on trip adviser    but a refurbishment has been done..complete makeover ..looking good and I don’t hold grudges long ..After a walk to the beach we did eat there and all was well this time ..image

The area around Conwy Marina is a bird sanctury ..an estuary at low tide full of birds and flowers ..boats  wending their way up to the harbour and the weather was perfect if a little cloudy

MINE !!!
Old Conwy
Wild
Beeeeezzzzzzz

Now off to the Wirrel.. The reason being we needed to find a sleepy spot for an upcoming sailing event ..West Kirby was the destination .. We found a couple of places to park up ..one by a church hall in Newton GPS COORDS 53.368284 -3.154147 and another in a pub car park ..The Cottage Loaf  GPS COORDS 53.351516 -3.130882 We asked the landlord and he confirmed we could stay over night if we part took of his hospitality .. perfectly willing to do that ..Another place we had been told was a good over nighter was Wallesy Beach near to New Brighton GPS COORDS 53.434792 -3.073518 Perfect spot

Wallesey Beach

Looking to Wales

After a wonderful sunset and a very quiet night parked up on the prom ..we woke to a scorcher of a day

Dogs a plenty

Families out for the day

 

Next stop Crosby beach on Mersey side to have another look at the Gormley Art Instalation “Another Place”

What’s he waiting for ? Ahhhhhhhhh the tide
Buried


An insight into the creation of this work of art came from a fellow blogger .. I’m sure he wouldn’t be offended if I shared his thoughts on  Another Place by Antony Gormley

“PART TWO OF A MINI ADVENTURE”

Headed out of Porth Neigwl earlyHistory of the RAF base at Porth y Neigwl

A family are sleeping on the roof of their car in a tent next to us..you’ve gotta laugh at these resourceful people ..  Last year there were two of the surfers who pegged a tent into the Tarmac next to their car ..I think I’d have put my gear in the tent and slept in the car as I used to do back in the early 80’s in my 2CV ..back seat at home and a single mattress thrown in with Great Dane and pot noodles ..off to the lakes …those were the days …

DO I HAVE TO SLEEP UP THERE ?

A dull day with soft rain ..The chaps out sailing are lost from view in the mist ..Our first sighting of them was on their return to the moorings after two back to back races ..John and Toby are lying 7 th over all and the hope is they may be able to manage a 5th if their luck holds …A girly chatting day as I caught up on friends news ..We know lots of ppl here as a lot of Burwain SC members headed down to Abersoch in the summer months with their children ..Now retired have houses ..caravans and mobile homes in Abersoch ..spending a lot of the year here ..

SO FAR OFF SHORE 


A HOME COMING


Bear  Grylls has an island in the bay and turned up to pick up some friends from the beach in his super duper rib ..it’s even got wheels to drive up onto the beach ..most impressive but a point was made by club members as he drove off into the mist he had children on board without life jackets on and as Chief Scout one would have thought he would adhere to the safety rules ..A supper was held in South Carnarvon Yacht Club after sailing with a Spanish theme ..sadly even though the food is delicious weight watcher portions were provided …still hungry John and myself went back to Hetty and Ham and mustard sandwiches were devoured ..and so to bed to fight another day here in The Soch

BEAR GRILLS COMING TO PICK UP HIS GUESTS
LOOK CHIEF SCOUT ..NO LIFE JACKETS


Perhaps a little retail therapy ..Abersoch has some fine shops and with the weather being inclement perhaps the crowds of people have gone off somewhere else because they are not on the beach

A MINI ADVENTURE 

Squib Week in Abersoch seems to be an annual event for us ..He goes sailing with Toby Taylor and I chill usually having driven my Smart4two down in convoy to give us more scope for a bit of wild camping and convenience for John to get to SCYC (South Carnarvonshire Yacht Club) as we camp about 5 miles out… not this year ..exhausted ..I think too much partying (Johns post birthday event )and child minding has blown my energy ..so we hired a small car in Pwhelli after driving here in Hetty on Thursday ..but their insurance won’t cover me to drive it as I’m TOO OLD ..screams ….but I don’t care one way or the other .. I love being here on the beach at Porth Neigwl with the surfers ..


The drive seemed so stress free after the up and up and narrow streets of our last Europe tour …even the main Street in Abersoch held no fear with all the holiday people parking up in ludicrous places ..The sunset as we parked up was another belter …and so to bed after a shop bought pizza and caulslaw ..yum yum ..
What a good nights sleep ..so quiet .. No cars whizzing about or drunks walking down the road noisily and the Hymer bed is so much more comfy than ours at home .. Heaven is wild camping ..Friday came and Toby picked J up to go back to Pwhelli to pick up the hire car and then back again to sail the boat over after launching A good breeze got them back to Abersoch in quick sticks ..meanwhile made a curry and I read a whole book ..lovely ..
HETTY’S sleepyspot 

 Classic Hymer arrived .. A big one ..It was Tim and Donna with whom I’d had a conversation with on the classic Hymer Facebook group just the day before ..had a chat and a glass or two .. Next day we had more Hymer people turn up who actually knew us from this blog ..fame at last ..WOW Wall to wall sun shine John had the morning off so a walk on the beach was the order of the day .. Just a couple of people on at 9am .. Perfect ..until the runners started ..a 75 mile race from Pwhelli and back round the Llyn peninsular .. Hells bells I feel tired just writing about it .. We walked for a couple of hours and off he went sailing whilst I sat out to read another book .. OUCH I forgot I hadn’t worn shorts for years .. NO sunscreen on my knees ..a little red to say the least .. He laughed … Good thing I had after sun lotion … Still hummingly hot today .. and very stinging and red … Soft jeans are worn …
The day started with a cool wind with cloud but now it’s sunny again but no sitting out without a towel over my very sore knees … Lots of surfers here today 

Making a move tomorrow down to Abersoch ..He needs to take the hire car back ..a 8am meet with Toby to take Him back to Pwhelli .. Me I’m having to socialise again ..sighs …up to the car park for the day at SCYC for the late afternoon race and supper in the club .. At least I may get some Wyfy to publish my blog with photos ..fingers crossed ..I complain massively about low or slow Wyfy in Europe well this complaint is about NON NIL Wyfy in Wales ..

THE BEST OF THE ADVENTURE

THE STATISTICS OF THE COST OF FEB/JUNE IN A MOTORHOME

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This adventure has been much more expensive than the last few as factors such as Hetty maintenance ..Medical treatment..Ferries and lots of bugger the expence outings etc.

NOW A ROUND UP OF THE VERY BEST BITS..

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MOST EXCITING ROAD …GROSSGLOCKNER PASS AUSTRIA

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BEST EVENT AT FATTORIA LA VIALLA TUSCANY

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BEST FOOD IN MARZAMEMI SICILY

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BEST WILD CAMPING AT THE AZURE WINDOW GOZO IN THE MALTESE ISLANDS

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SECOND BEST WILD CAMPING  AT THE AUSTRIAN /GERMAN SIDE OF THE GROSSGLOCKNER PASS

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HIMSELF AT MELLIEHA BAY HOTEL SAILING IN THE MALTA OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

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MOST WANTED TO SEE ..PALAZZO ADRIANA ..LOCATION OF “CINEMA PARADISO”AND A JOURNEY OF UPS AND DOWNS  ACROSS INLAND SICILY

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AQUA ALTA BOOK SHOP IN VENICE

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A COUPLE OF MEGA SUNSETS IN GOZO

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AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST A MASSIVE WELCOME SMILE FROM MISS RUBY ON OUR ARRIVAL HOME

 

“HOME “

After a massive booze shop in the hypermarket Calaise off back to Dunkirk for the 12 midnight ferry which we didn’t have any intention of taking.. We had heard if one books the cheapest time then turn up early you will be able to get any earlier ferry

 if there’s room… we payed €46 for the midnight and got the 10pm which was €69 .. and then were treated to the VIP lounge

 for free by a lovely young steward who took a liking to us .. Any future cross channel travel will be done in this style .. Coffee Pastries juice and a comfy chair .. and of cause we lapped it up .. A good parking spot was found easily via searchforsites.co.uk on the Dover prom .. Free till 9am .. Only a little noise when other campervans moved off for their early morning crossing .. Up with the lark and on the road before 8am .. Unheard off for us .. Off to Lincoln for a supper with our lovely friends Mick n Jackie and a sleep over at The Railway Inn Thorpe on the Hill which incidently is next to Lincoln Model yacht club .. Yes you’ve guessed HE went to join the sailors for a thrash ( not ) no wind but lots of cake …

Now we have never seen the Humber Bridge so to continue our Travels with Hetty UK style off we go .. A dull day to say the least but again we haven’t travelled through North Lincolnshire before .. Lots to see .. We found a good little parking for a future adventure at a lock by a pub

  which would have ticked all the boxes for an overnight stop but we had to get on and over the bridge

  
We tried to find a sleep spot under the bridge but the parking was difficult and another spot was found by another canal some where near Selby .. Still dull and dreary the next morning

So we are home and cold .. He says its me but I know it’s COLD ..

Next Blog is our expenditure .. As we roll along I keep an account of every thing we spent .. This trip will NOT be in budget but hey ho we only live once …..

“BEACH LIFE”

PLAGE DE DUNKIRK

This is the beach the British soldiers were rescued from in WW11 …so peaceful now ..A lovely place to end our adventures in Europe ..The sand is flat and hard ..used for land yachting at low tide ..sea fishing ..kite boarding ..horse riding and dog walking although dogs are not allowed on the beach but who bothers with rules in France ..We loved it here ..hopefully to return soon ..

I think J wants one ..

Well He’s happy .its not J ..His physique is much better ……again taking photos of strangers

The Dunes where the Germans had the gun inplacements …

The Port of Dunkirk in the distance …

Sea fishing

Gun inplacements German

Schoolies being taught land yachting..

“MOULLES N BEACH”

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We didn’t know Dunkirk was such a lovely spot ..just had a good walk to stretch our legs ..Moulles and frittes on the prom ..that’ll do nicely for today ..

Sailing along very gently

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Beach huts!!!

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Whose that …

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Not  much breeze ….

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Sea walk …exercise …

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Still going …

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“WARM BEER”

By J
Today we set off for the sea side ..buckets and spades at the ready… The forecast is for an improvement from the recent wet and miserable weather. At breakfast we discovered the fridge was thawing …no problem it’s happened before so I cleaned the jets and our journey would get it cold again from the alternator . Our route took us past a Lidl for some provisions and then through lots of Belgium as we headed north.
Susan hates Belgium …All due to our previous trip in torrential wet weather and constant motorways on the rush home. Today she was pleasantly surprised by some lovely countryside ..Nice villages and interesting houses. All helped by the improving weather. We drove over many cobbles…concrete roads plus some less rattly ones . We also noted lots of places selling cheap fags and tobacco just before passing into France again … Part of this area is famous for the Paris to Rubeux cycle race mainly over cobbles ..from today’s drive they have our sympathy …I can imagine it’s not very good for your piles😂.
On our arrival at Bray Dunes we located the spot used by Jason & Julie of ourtour.co.uk  and had a pleasant walk in the dunes before lunch …then we discovered the fridge was not cold so I dismantled it again and during this process was tapped on the shoulder by a local policeman (please move on your not allowed to park here). He handed me a printed sheet with instructions on what was and was not allowed. imageThe parking restrictions change 3 times during the year for our location and its nearby alternative we are too late as it ended in April..it’s not ourtours.co.uk fault as they were here in January at the start of another of their adventures and parking for camping cars was allowed ..
I reassembled the fridge ..We looked at his paper checked out the possibilities and decided to move to a free parking aire just west of Dunkirk about 10 km away as the suggested alternative in a car park in Bray Dunes was not very attractive.
On arrival at the Aire we smiled …Set up Hetty and said this looks very good and “will do nicely”GPS 51.053513 2.414916
The fridge is still not working on battery ..The fuses have now been checked …gas burner cleaned again …Not cold beer drunk whilst reading in the bright sunshine on our deck chairs and fingers crossed that the fridge with wine and beer will be cold tomorrow.
This new site is close to the sea off the road and quiet so as we are not parked under any trees and in bright sunshine we may be here a few days. Tomorrow a walk along the prom towards Town beckons .image

“HETTY REPELLED BOARDERS”

By J
Today we made a late decision to move on towards the Channel for some sea ,sand and hopefully some sun. Hetty’s tanks where emptied and water filled at the free aire we have stayed at for the last 2 nights 49.0453 4.03473. A nice quiet place near the canal on the Marne.
The satnav was programmed and off we went at about midday. The weather was overcast and chilly about 20c so with all windows shut and Susan with my fleece wrapped around her toes off we went.
The weather continued fairly similarly for the next hour. Then the sun started to break through and the light actually became worse to drive in due to a glaring haze. S started with a headache and my eyes where hurting so we pulled off at about 14:30 into a likely parking place and I dozed off for a snooze. At 15:00 the church clock chimed would be an inadequate description it was bloody noisy. I dozed off again but 1/2 an hour later it happened again and I realised we would not be able to sleep here tonight as we had thought.
Off we went to our original location by a lake at Valenciennes image50.34995 3.50501 There was the any space available so I patiently waited for a car to move and parked . S started our evening meal and I went for a stroll to check if anything better was available.
When I returned a Spanish Motorhome parked nearby had decided to move and ripped his kitchen window off on the back corner of Hetty. S was not happy( you can probably visualise crossed arms and tapping of foot)
Hetty had only received a minor scuff but the Spaniard was seriously damaged (Armada style repairs where commenced ) with a little assistance from me and lots of gaffer tape his window was reassembled but would never open again but hopefully not fall off.
Dinner simmering imagebut S not anymore . Beer was broken out the spaniard apologised and limped off into the sunset with the sound of thunder like big guns on the horizon

“IL PLUER A PLENTY”

Its been raining for nearly a week and our nights sleep is disturbed by the rattle of the rain on our tin can ..Hetty …we’ve now moved away from any sleepy spot with trees as that’s  

  worse ..pine cones dropping on us as the rain or the wind becomes stronger ..Not only nuts but the drops collected in said trees crash our sleep ..Now its just continuous patter patter …Saying all this regarding lack of sleep we did catch up the night before last and slept till 11.10 am ..A read at 4am must have sent us off again to catch up on the last few nights lost sleep..The thought now is ear plugs and a sleep mask for early sunrise ..Well dawn as we haven’t seen sun the for days..
Our sleepy spot for the last two days has been on the Marne Canal at the Champagne village of Mareuil-sur-Ay GPS 49.0453 4.03473 which seems closed ..Yes Closed.. Not a drop of Champagne to be had ..Not a bar or wine cave open..There’s a Burger van in shocking pink which turns up on the canal bank at around 6pm but that it ..
The Laird of the Manor has the most well kept gardens and Chateaux making the village look in need of a lick of paint…

My wifi limit has just run out ..Mr McD here I come …no photo today ..boo hoo !!!

“WHAT A FIND.. NANCY”

I didn’t think I was going to be interested in any thing north of Alsace till we got to the coast . ..It rains every time we hit Northern France  and subsequently I couldn’t wait to get going .and I hate Belgium..So still in France HE said what about NANCY …What about Nancy I said …Lets go …ok ..and off we sped yet again over hill and dale ..Up and up but their hairpin are not a patch on Austria’s ..We had a GPS 48.703918 6.176597 for an Aire de camping car ..just a pay €3.50 for 24 hrs ..As you can see from my photos the day didn’t improve and the rain got us on our way back to HettyP1020153and a miles walk into town ..what a surprise ..Nancy is fabulous P1020156

Entrance to Nancy old town..pretty fine Eh!P1020158

Sausage anyoneP1020164

Entrance to the main Square de Stanislas…P1020167

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Charity bike ride …I photo bomb this lot ..They will be saying when they show the slides ..”Whose that”

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Cafe society …main square

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One for the ladies …I love taking photos of strangers ..weird or what ??

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Just sitting with a glass or two…P1020187

Buildings of interest ..P1020193

Bike repair shop …very interesting ..5 people fully employed ..

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I could live down there …P1020196

On our way back to the Aire de Camping car …Got a bit lost but we are here now ..Wondering what to have for supper .

Well ..that puts Nancy to bed ..Whats next ..I want to go to Agincourt ..info re: The battle of Agincourt

‘A WALK IN THE BLACK FOREST”

After another peaceful sleep in the carpark at Oberammagau but our need to empty the facilities was getting nearer ..Not worrying too much I went on line as I was still on vodafone network to our very helpful website searchforsites.co.uk which came up with an empty only spot …Ok HE said lets go ..In other countries such as Spain n Italy there are these facilities at Motorway service stations but we have yet to see one in Germany ..This secret sneaky emptying and rubbish dumps up a mountain at 3600 ft was at a Ski villageP1020122 by the look of it and in by the back door went us..Where we found water..an empty service point and bins ..P1020114For any one struggling to find a spot like this its at GPS 47.427671 10.94166..P1020123and onwards we trot a little lighter to a place called HORN on the shore of Lake Constance on the Swiss side..P1020145

Horn …well a bird and a sailboat behind its post …
The drive continued through what we thought to be the high alpine meadows..but even as we dropped down to another valley we were still at 3000 ft..Green lush flower strewn with cows and Ski lifts ..Gamish Partenkirken was one of them and John says its one of the venues for Ski Sunday ont telly ..The sky was over cast with a hint of rain in the air but as we wandered on it became apparent there was a storm brewing ..our excuse to pull off the road in a carpark ..where a nice chap gave us his 24 hour parking ticket so we stayed ..This village was Buhl am AlpseeP1020126.JPG and the carpark was for tourists going to the lake down below ..No tourists tonight as the heavens opened and the rain came down ..not that we cared we had Fray Bentos Steak n Kid pie ..Mushy peas and Oven roasted potato wedges which is the only solution for a wet Monday night
Just an aside …..The German road signs tickle our infantile sense of humour with Ausfhart which means exit and Einfhart meaning enter …But when we saw a sign to Wesslewang via Wank …well need I say more….
I was getting a little bored with Germany until realising we are just a cat spit away from the Black Forest route …info re: Black Forest Regroup and got my mojo working again ..A TUNE IS CALLED FOR  all together La la la la  singing “A walk in the Black Forest “ A tune from the 60’s ..Horst Jankowski

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John found a new hat ……In Triburg…..P1020150.jpgLots of cuckoo clocks ..one the size of a house ..We originally park up for the night opposite this clock but as it cuckoo’d every 15 mins decided to move on .. I wanted to buy my Ruby one but ….Lets start for a decent one at €200…This is the town that had American as the language of the info leaflet …No English ?? But as my cousin twice removed has informed me ..This part of Germany was occupied by the U S of A forces back in the late 40’s post WW2 ..Now I understand but I am still going on about it to John ..

An overnight stay was a hillside carpark with a river to one side and very quiet ..Only us in it but seemed safe enough ..well Im here to tell the tale ..Didn’t see a axe murderer …Its just  outside Triberg GPS 48.13596 8.25298..

Wonderful scenery ..lots of trees ..yawns ..Yes Ok its nice but all to clean for me..not even a dead rabbit on the roads …Give me the Mediterranean countries every time and as we crossed the border into France I breathed a sigh of relief ..I don’t know why but I won’t be back any time soon ..We are now in Alsace ..France and going to do the wine trail tomorrow up to Severin …Then where ???

 

 

“MOTHER OF INVENTION”

Settling down in our sleepy spot GPS 47.169152 12.812717 (thank to Joanne n Craig for this wild camping position )P1020003in the valley below Grossglockner Pass watching the last of the cars ..Bicycles and Motor cycles come over and out through the barriers now unmanned as the last entry was at 19-15..an hour before sunset and with 45 minutes to complete the ride of their lives ..Darkness fell and we settled in for the night only to hear the roar of powerful engines ..In the fading light the noise was coming from what looked like four of the big Lotus sports cars heading through the out barrier the wrong way and off they roared up and up and up ..Breaking the law but lets hope not their necks …Hope they made it over ..and the Police weren’t waiting at the other side ..We believe two young men from the UK where killed a couple of years back ..Too fast perhaps but off the edge they went ..down into the valley ..
Our planned route from here was to go to Salzburg as it was close ..J having been there in his Robin Reliant in the early 70’s …Brave soul ..Konigssee is on this route so off we went to have a look at what I assumed would be a similar lake to Castiglioni del Lago in Italy..quiet n peacefull…But NO !!! Its Bank Holiday Weekend here in Germany as well as Austria and the car park which is a motorhome overnight stay was like FA Cup Final day at Wembley ..Cars and people as far as the eye could see ..OK we said “Let have a walk and a look at the Lake “..31c..phew …Midday sun..typical of us ..The place was like Bowness in the Lakes on our own August Bank HolidayP1020023 ..Packed ..Sighs ..Past the Tat shops and the long queues for the boat rides up the lake J saw a chalet up and up ..I didn’t have the will to argue with him so off we went up and up ….me lagging …with the pretence of taking photos of the view and the hedgerow flowers ..puff.. pant ..and up again Surprise Surprise ..A beer garden with my name on a pint of lager in the now filling breeze with a lovely view over the massing crowds to Eagles Nest.. The country retreat of Herr Hitler ..High on the top of the far mountain P1020036..and a chat about our next destination ..We try not to hit cities at weekends but some time forget to look what day it is ..Now we realised not only will it be weekend in Salzburg but a Bank holiday as well ..”Not doing that “John says …Thats fine by me as I hate the hassle of city tourism ..its park up.. miles out.. get a bus or a train ..walk for miles to find said bus or train ..Do your city tour ..and walk for miles to find your way back to bus n train ..Phew I feel exhausted just writing about it ..
New route planned ..We will continue along the German Alpine route to Lake Constance ..lots of little place to see and hopefully wild camping places ..Road closed signs to our next destination of Reit Im Winkl..its over another pass and I wondered if the access was still snow bound ..John said NO… Cruising off until we found what looked like a wild camping place ..after a U turn and a double back to a Ski lift car park.. HM already in there ..What luck ..Just keep your eyes peeled and a sleepy spot will be yours GPS 47…798088 12.590017 a place called Maximmianshute in Burgan ..”€4 till 10 am the following morning then pay more ” The Farmers wife said as the thunder started rolling around the mountains and clouds of rain formed ..No BBQ tonight .. A magical fried onion n garlic ..spicy sausage..cooked new potatoes and a tin of beans concoction all in one pan was invented ..Now called Flash Bang Cassoulet..Slept even with the rain pounding Hetty

The route led us to Oberammagau.. A place I heard off in my childhood being brought up a Baptist ..My Mother told us of The PASSION PLAYS performed here every 10 years which was a religious promise by the village in 1634 ..Wonderful views driving down the valleys of green and cows ..Sunny day again and after the rain of the night before clear as a bell ..A parking place was found €7-50 without services as against €25 in the campsite with 40 other big campervans who are on a classic BMW rally ..Early 70’s cars ..and as you know by now we are a two loo cassette family ..A change was made and a promise to find a dumping spot tomorrow ..
Oberammagau is as expected ..Lovely chalet style houses P1020042..Some painted with nursery rhyme characters.. some with religious scenes ..Lots of wood carving shops selling icons and toys .. and A Christmas shop ..Now I know where the Manchester / German Christmas market comes from..Not that I have ever been ..Not my cup of tea ..Crowds I hate em ..but here its lovely ..We actually went in until I got a bit carried away and thought to buy some baubles ..at which point John shunted me out ..
A band was playing somewhere.. So off we popped to have a butchers ..Wow a load of young men in Lederhosen P1020047..Feathers in Tyrollean hats ..Drumming and marching down the main street ..May I say from a ladies point of view the Bavarian males don’t have a lot going for them in the looks department ..but hey ho ..Their Mothers must love em …The Youths marched into the main square and lo and behold a Beerfest was taking place ..Girls in national costume..P1020074 An Umpah band ..What a treat ..We sat down at the outdoor table and a couple of Steins of Lager were plonked in front of us by a lovely waitress in her outfitP1020059 and the band struck up ..Next came the dancers ..Yes !!! It was a slap a my thigh event ..Traditional folk dance ..P1020084Thats why the guys wear leather ‘’Chuckles .. 2 pints later we walked back to Hetty for our long promised BBQ
Where tomorrow who knows …

“GROSSGLOCKNER PASS”

P1010896A peaceful night in our free sleepy spot GPS 46.66756 13.035925 with another cuckoo giving it death ..Now we know where all the UK’s cuckcoo’s are..in Italy …There seemed to be lot of immigrants working in this small backwood village ..getting on with life
Very early start and up and up over the Plockenpas ..Hairpin bends and Hetty did em well …Over the top and rock climbers to watch as we had our breakfastP1010928 …On to Dollach where is we could see the fun beginning with a group of classic Morgans P1010943waiting to go for the climb up the Grossglocken pass.. The Romans started this road but it lay hidden until 1930 when a bunch of engineers discovered it and decided to create an alpine pass ..Its a 30 miles drive …There was the Munich Chapter of the Hells Angels preparing ..and lots of cyclists P1010930..I wondered at the mentality ..its a 7000 ft climb and more ..
We could see the pass I said shall we do it now or wait …He said lets do it …so off to the Toll booth and parted with €35 and got a brochure and a window sticker to say we had done it ..cant put it on as yet …
There are not enough superlative to describe this adventure …up and up ..more hairpins …more up and and when you thought you were up there was more up and up ..Porsch ..Lotus ..Spider with the driver togged out like the Stig from Top Gear and Hetty P1010955..all these beefy cars doing the drive as it was a bank holiday for Germany and Austria ..P1010979

 

 

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As we came down the other side it was a tad hair raising as Hetty had to assume 1st and 2nd gear ..braking with the engine to save her brakes ..or so John said ..but a safe landing and only seeing one motorbike in the wall ..The area at the bottom was a magical valley of spring flowersP1020002 so we said “Ok lets stay here “and we did …
..

“CHANGE OF PLAN”


Venice done …our plan was to go to down to Split in Croatia and back via Lake Bled Slovenia…This route could have been done but at break neck speed …So….We are now up in the mountains at Cavazzo Carnico with the Cornic Alps one side and the Julian Alps the other side ..in front Gailtaler Alpen ..sort of surrounded by mountains in an Alpine village with touquoise lakes near by …  We are on our way to The Grossglockner High Alpine Pass in Austria Link to Grossglockner Pass ..People say a once in a lifetime trip ..we will see….just hope the weather holds out ..if not we have the time to wait …

Our last day in Venice was a meander .. A couple of Titians He opted not to go to the Doges Palace ..There’s only so much canvas one can ooh n aar over …So much more pleasing to the eye than the modern art of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Link to Collection of the Mondays outing …A couple drew my eye ..of cause The Salvador Dali’s… She owned two…..The rest ..Pollock and his school leave me yawning …quote of the day “I can do them “..but back to yesterday   A tub of Grom ice cream …and a thunderstorm ..I hate thunderstorms ..The ferry back to Punta Sabionni was a bit of a bun fight I got squashed by the Mother Union and battled em off with mi shawl …phew … Don’t mess with me … 

John say the holiday aspect to this trip in now over and we are back to our normal travels …no more restaurants ..and large museum fees ..tonight’s sleepy spot by a mountain stream is free …Tomorrow lots of up an up and hairpin bends..eeeeeek!

“MOVING DAY”

By John
We have decided to save a little money as we have been splashing it about a bit recently with entry fees and lunches out in Venice. The campsite we are on is expensive and even more so due to German holidays adding a premium to rate as well. As we have now completed our mammoth washing pile so after 3 days we are free to move.
We are going to the field nearly next door although still more than we like to pay is over 10 Euros a day cheaper. All our equipment was packed away last night and after breakfast we emptied our wastes and washed out our tanks and drove next door.
I set out our table and chairs plugged into the power and we are ready for another day in Venice. So off to the Vaporetto and we have decided to visit A book shop not your ordinary book shop but one that displays books in Boats and Baths to try to reduce the damage when Venice floodsP1010783

This is apparently not totally succesful as they are using damp books as stepping stones and stair cases. The book shop took a bit of locating but was very interesting once we arrived. S took lots of photos and we then strolled off only to find we had been very close to the shop the other day.
Beer and lunch(Pizza) was taken in the square just in front of the amazing facade of the hospital.P1010787 We watch water taxis and gondoliers depositing rich people and listen to some choirs in uniforms and strange toga style clothing singing in the square ( we assume there may be a choral competition taking place).
After a lazy lunch we caught the vaporetto to the cemetery Island and had a very interesting but warm stroll amongst the graves and family mausoleums. We observed some plainer crosses in regimented lines and thought they may be WW2 or WW1 soldiers but then found they where actually Nuns graves.

P1010829On the return Vaporetto from Cemetery to St Marks the waterbus followed a different route to any we had previously taken, to the cruise liners terminal and back down the main (Large) canal very interesting. S took many photos BUT wordpress is being a nightmare to upload ..
Having now gained experience of Venetians vaporetto boarding style we managed to get prime outside seats for the return to Punta Sabbione.
After our stroll to the new Aire we felt the need for more beer and sat in the evening sun and chatted with a Brit who had moved to Canada 30 years ago having been driven out of the UK by Maggy Thatchers policies. He had been welcomed into Canada to work as a toolmaker and later had set up a successful business. He and his second wife had travelled across the Atlantic via a cruise (about £1000 each for 18 days) and then hired a camper in Germany and was taking a leisurely trip around Europe. He had not tried any Wild camping in Europe and we gave him some pointers and links to several web sites plus good places to visit for the rest of his trip.
Tomorrow rain is forecast and we are having a maintenance morning toe nail trimming etc and we plan a late afternoon and evening in Venice.

WORD PRESS AND SLOW WYFI

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I have to add my photos uploaded to face book as the wordpress photo system again has let me down  

 We arrived here 4 days ago after an awful thunder storm .John a migraine attack ..and thanks to who ever said to drink an ice cold glass of water to relieve the eye flashes ..It worked and off we went into Venice ..Again as last time the wrong way ..but we turned before the police turn us and off to the Lido Di Jesolo area at Punta Sabbioni and Miramar camping ..which had put up prices because of the German school holidays to €39 ..The most expensive camp site ever ..We move today to one next door at €20 per night

We tried a FaceTime call to Daniel on his birthday only to have the call cut by lightning …I hate Thunder Storms with a vengence…But the sun shone again on the Friday ..We had decided to take it easy in our wanderings and use our 7 day Vaperetto / water bus pass  but again that didn’t happen and after two days one at  San Marco’s and area ..walking as far as the hospital and its glorious facade ..Saturday a boat trip in the blazing heat to Burano ..then Murano for my birthday present of another Troll bead for my bangle ..and a lovely birthday lunch at B Resturant ..worth a visit just to view the floor ..tiny glass picture in the stone flags ..by the time we returned our feet didn’t know us ..

Today we head for the Cemetery on Isola San di Michele as we have heard its a place to see …so off we go ..and a look at the book shop ” Aqua Alta ” which has its stock on boat to save them from the flooding

LUNCH AT LA VIALLA

Our treat today is lunch at this very special farm up in the Tuscan Hills LA VIALLA at about 1000ft above sea level ..12-30 for a 1pm lunch and yes there is a place to park a camper van over night ..P1010667

Wandering up hill we came across the farm yard with some people sitting out having coffee and were welcomed by one of the staff who told us to have a look around if we wanted before going up the hill to the farmstead where Aperitifs would be served pre lunch ..P1010620

The produce to buy and to have shipped home is all made here ..The wood ovens for the biscuits and breads ..P1010621The sauce makers busy at work P1010623

The girls packing up orders to send to UK or I should think any where in the world ..if an order is over £75 its free shipping and this amount is very easily achieved ..
I first came across this place thanks to my Daughter in Law who gave us a hamper last Christmas …The food outlet is so well managed and publicised it would be rude not to buy the wine , olive oil and honey..we stopped at that ..until He saw the honey and I saw the pasta ..hey ho ..P1010624

The start of proceedings was outdoor sampling of all the sparkling wines with canapés of salamis .. olives.. cheeses.. pizza nibbles “Hic”P1010635

As its not the height of the season with lots of sun and rain had been predicted we were invite into the farmhouse which was set outwit red checked table clothes for around 50 people ..mostly from Germany ..our table companions were Fritz and Petra from AustriaP1010651
with Johan and Maria for The Netherlands both couples spoke the most perfect English so it was a very chatty meal ..We started off with pate ..a new ricotta ..insulata ..peperoni..something with artichokes on it ..P1010647.JPG

Second was Pappardelle with an olive and capperi sauceP1010641.JPG

That was followed by Lamb roasted in rosemary and garlic ..P1010645.JPGJohn didn’t have this as he hates Lamb..but it was served with lots of toasty potatoes and carrots( He had that instead)
Followed by Crostini con Marmellata ..Cantucei e Viallini and coffee
During this feast there were four wines..two bottle red and two white ..and pudding wine called Vinsanto and a Grappa (Italian Brandy) served ..Double “HIC”Im so glad we had Hetty in the MH park as driving would have been very dangerous ..my motto is Don’t go up that road were all the drunk came down at about 5pm ..most did drive!!!!
Now to order our swag ..a case of cloudy unfiltered spumoni for Daniel who birthday it is on 19th May …baby pasta for Ruby and a bottle of new pressed olive oil for Lauren
For us is one case of red ..one of white..a pasta I like a lot called Pici ..I can’t find it in the UK ..One bottle olive oil and honey setting me back around £200..Well we are only here once and as John likes to say there aren’t any pockets in shrouds ..P1010654.jpg

Me looking lost in the wine cellar ..just ordering my swagP1010661.jpg

Farm yard friends P1010659.jpg

MORE MONEY THAN SENSE

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Fun today as we headed back to Castiglione del Lago this massive and I mean massive MH..The size of a single decker bus Motor Home drove into the paid for parking bays ..moved about a bit ..No he wasn’t happy with the pitch ..so off he went ..As did we when my chicken curry was ready in the slow cooker which was on free leccy thnx to the very nice French man..Off we went to our other free parking spot we had used two years ago..Down the narrow street nearly touching the windowsills of houses only to find the German single decker is here ..taking up 4 of the 7 pitches ..How he got down the road I will never know ..Why ?… Because at the other place the trees obscured the signal to his satellite dish and he wanted to watch the News he said !!!!!

“WHAT A NICE MAN”

A french guy in a camper van has just given us his ticket for free parking with leccy ..He had 6 hours left on it ..Now we are parked up in Castiglione Del Lago ..On the lake side with a curry bubbling away in my slow cooker ..well it would be rude not to make the most of free leccy ..This area is layed out for camper vans on the lake side John says there is space with electricity for 36 vans and another 30 without power GPS 43.123585 12.050433..but only three here now ..Italians are back to work

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Yesterdays visit and overnight stop in Montepuliciano GPS 43.096059 11.788025 was a great success ..the carpark for camper vans easy to find with not a narrow street to be driven up ..€10 for 24 hours and well worth it as we were in a quiet area and managed to get a good nights sleep P1010563

its took a while and a German and John to puzzle out the machine …J looking bewilderedP1010564

It was then walking trainers on and up and up again to the top of the town featured as the square in the film NEW MOON   part of the Twilight Series P1010588

It’s not as hard a climb as some Italian villages are ..with lots of stops to enjoy the view and not too much puffing and panting ..Fabulous food and wine shops to pop in to for a free tasting session ..they are never free as out we came with a jar of topping for brochette at an outstanding cost of €12..But as we say we are only here once ..Twice at the lake as were here two years ago at a great parking place about 10 Km to the north Thnx to J&J of OUR TOUR fame..GPS 43.18408 12.02396 Then there was free leccy and camping ..this time the electricity isn’t there and there was a sign in Italian we think saying only 1 hours parking but we ignored it and stayed over night anyway ..NOT moved on ..P1010596

The well in the mail square plus an old Etruscan sitting on the steps P1010560Perfect Tuscan scenery even though the clouds kept coming and going …

Tomorrow we are off for a lunch and overnight at Fattoria la Vialla …This place is from where Lauren and Daniel had our Italian food hamper sent fro Christmas last year..The food and wine were so good we decided to make a call here and have lunch at the farm house ..see the next blog for all the story

“TRAFFIC AND A NO GO “

Today we decided to leave Sicily
By John

Having no success logging onto the ferry web booking site I decided to head for the ferry terminal at Palermo ( susan said that they did not run ) but I programmed in the ferry terminal as the map said they did…

The journey went quite well until the police closed the road in the middle of Palermo on our route. So turn left and we hit the one way system then it became chaos lots of twists and turns wth Susan frequently saying not enough room to proceed. With parked/abandoned cars plus fruit and veg stalls everywhere. We managed to squeeze through lots of impossible gaps silly car and moped manoeuvres and suicidal pedestrians, finally we managed to find the main road again. Then at the ferry terminal gates we were waved past to another entrance which we could not find. In frustration I abandoned Hetty Italian style potentially blocking several vehicles and legged it to a visible port security guard he gave me directions, but when I drove in he said directions only by foot, but pointed out somewhere to park..
In the GNV office I was told the ferry had left and the next was on Sunday. Back to Hetty apologised to Susan for not believing her …and set off for Termini Imerese ..where they said ferries ran most days.Then the fun started on the road… a dustbin wagon was coming the other way stopping and blocking the opposite side of the road every 20m or so with no opportunity for it to be passed . Our outward bound lane was being frequently blocked by cars and mopeds trying to force a way into the immobile lane. Eventually traffic freed up and we found the motorway and calm prevailed again.

Arriving at the port we initially struggled to find the ferry offices..we could see the big ferry was in. The one we saw in Genoa in 2014 ..La Splendid by name but these GNV ferries are NOT splendid ..a bit rough around the edges but they get you there …Locating the office by asking a local pizza restaurant chef I was able to book passage for tonight with cabin. Queueing to board starts at 23:30 for departure at 02:00 for a we think 14 hour trip. We have parked had a beer and are now in the pizza restaurant for some food before we pack our bags for the ferry….Returned to the ferry to start queuing only to find the boat is broken and not moving till Tuesday. I was told the alternative was to go back to Palermo to catch the midnight ferry to Genoa or tomorrow evening to Naples. I asked for a refund as we will decide after a few beers and a sleep …where to go next…Found a sleepy spot in a carpark near to the terminal 37.98749, 13.70147

 

“LAVA N CLOUD !”

A circuit of Mt Etna was on the cards ..The route up to the Lava flow of 2002 passing through such towns as Randazzo.. Bronte Lord Nelson and Bronte and Adrano

The peak of Mt Etna is covered in snow and very pretty in today’s sunshine the clinging mist of yesterday washed away by last nights downpour ..That’s another story as HE slept through it but ever been in a tin box with rain so hard it sounded like its was dinting the roof of Hetty ..I DIDNT sleep through it !!!!.Our next port of call was to be Palazzo Adriano ..The location in the film “Cinama Paradiso ” which was somewhat adventurous at 250k but after getting a bit lost which is not completely lost ..John decide enough was enough and headed for the free motorway ..back to Catania and into the hills again on a decent road ..and a decision made and the belly button of Sicily is our next destination and an over night stop in Enna but before arriving we had shower gel incontinuance due to height from sea level to 3000 ft ..hair pin bends and second gear ..Up and Up and Up over such bad road surfaces …the fire extinguisher bounced off the wall taking with it the fixture for the rubbish bin and then the hanging rail in the wardrobe fell off dumping all the clothes on the floor ..yup rough roads !!!

Italian drivers
These people don’t hit you but come very close — be aggressive and go for it or you will still be at the Juction waiting for some one to let you out ..and it’s not gonna happen !!!!

ENNA Info on Enna

Hair pin bends up to 3000ft ..but what a lovely unspoilt non tourist town ..so high it makes your ears whistle …I took a lot of what I thought as interesting photo ..off down an ally to take a pic of an unused ancient church and WOLLOP a bird as big as an Albertros shat on me from a great  hight ….covered …what a mess …need a washing machine for all my clothes ..even camera case got it

Back to Hetty to a New moon before the cloud came down ..giving us a form of fog but it’s clouds ..can’t see your hand in front of you but we are cosy in Hetty on the parking area next to the Castle Lombardio ..and Tomorrow is Palazzo Adriana and Cinama Paradiso

Photos will arrive on this post when internet is not playing at silly so and so..sighs ..the Bain of my life slow uploads

“JUST ANOTHER PILE”

A short journey to Giardini Naxos. By John 

This morning we departed Jonio Camping at Catania leaving several campervans lusting over our superb pitch where we stayed for the last 2 days. We emptied Hetty’s tanks paid and departed. €15 per night ..I had plumbed into the sat nav our next location to allow us to visit Taormina as we where frustrated by super expensive parking last time we were here in 2014.As we trundled on our way having taken the non toll road we passed through lots of towns with a superb view of Etna ..some causing Susan to clench her buttocks ( not that it made Hetty any slimmer) due to narrow roads and typical Italian parking ( in the UK it would be called abandoning). As it was Saturday there was quite a lot of poorly parked/abandoned vehicles plus quite a few kamikaze cyclists. So lots of clenching was done by Susan. She called it sphincter exercise …

Taormina from the town square 


Arriving in Giardini Naxos but we could not get to our chosen camp site which was Eden Park but we could see it . So I took a roundabout route and dived into a different one (before we located Eden which was our first choice )but this one called Parking Lagani looks very clean and tidy and is €15 so Ok and is only 50m from from Eden we later discovered.

After our lunch and a chat with one of the site people for information about bus times we walked to the bus terminal bought our tickets €3 each and where whisked away by our chariot. I am very impressed with the way he drove us to Taormina negotiating the narrow roads and very twisty roads with many 180 deg bends and abandoned cars with aplomb and an occasional gentle honk .Arriving at our destination we strolled up and up to reach the target of the Greco Teatro… very impressively perched at the top of a hill surrounded by luxurious hotels ,Restaurants, The town and many tat shops and lookylooky men .


I enjoyed wandering around the impressive archeological site ,Susan’s comment was just another pile of stones 🙅🏻.She is not an archeological person ..says it leaves her cold ..

Following our walk around the Greek edifice we strolled into town which was also very nice when we moved away from the main tourist route .We had Tea and Cannolo for afternoon tea and strolled back down the hill to catch our bus back down to sea level …Taormina is about 400m above the sea (no danger of global warming flooding here).Now we are relaxing with a strong vodka and tonic and planning tomorrow’s adventure but via the toll road this time. 

Cannolo bottom right hand …The sweet pastry which killed the mafia boss in The Godfather

View from the top ..

“BLOSSOM DEARY”

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Some time John comes out with one-liners which mostly go over my head and I give him a look “What are you on about”..This one..Blossom Deary entered my understanding instantly as the perfume from the central reservation invaded my sensors “JASMINE”There are bushes of jasmine planted on the duel carriageway giving off their exotic perfume in the heat of the midday sun as we wander up the east coast from our overnight sleepy spot in Syracuse GPS 37.066072 15.291403 now the free parking spot for two German ladies in a younger Hymer than our Hetty who we met on the beach at Noto marina a few days back ..they are delighted to get a free parking spot ..

I thought our destination was Giardini Naxos for our trip up to Taormina today but John has found this campsite just north of Catania called Campo Jonio and having all the facilities we require .Loo emptying Water filling Washing machines and our own pitch overlooking the volcanic coast on the Ionion Sea cheap in these part at only €15..GPS 37.53180 15.12024 with Mt Etna to the west snow and cloud capped today …She’s quiet at the moment and I can’t see any smoke but in the 17th C the Catania area was completely  wiped out with the worst eruption in her life .There have been plenty more but only minor ones some seen by Emma in Gozo who complains bitterly about volcanic ash on her washing

 

“BIRTHDAY+WEDDING ANNIVERSARY OUTING”

A peaceful nights sleep at our little harbour near Ognina GPS 36.979548 15.258044 and an easy drive to Syracuse ..Is it because we have been here before ?..It didnt seem so easy an entry into the city last time ..Found our carpark of choice empty ..park any where €24 per day ..ouch …J spies a couple of older vans nearer the harbour …magic ..it’s free there so one of the hippy boys in the old campervans told him so off we go ..that was easy ..this was probably due to our arrival being late in the afternoon at the end of an Italian public holiday and  workers where out of town ..All sorted ready for a beer and supper of smoked salmon fillets ,new potatoes and fresh green beans ..and we are on Ortygia Island, The ancient part of the city of Syracuse ready for our next outing of our celebrations tomorrow which is Star Wars Day ..May 4th and my birthday and our wedding anniversary ..

Ognina harbour 


Hetty and John on the harbour in Syracuse …

Syracuse is one of my favourite cities ..it’s easy with its traffic free narrow lanes and ancient buildings now restored to their full glory ..The Piazza Duomo with its Roman Catholic Cathedral in a  golden Baroque veneer built on the original Greek Temple and converted into a church so it’s told,  by St Paul….it’s Greek pillars still part of the main wall ..Small cafes fill the edge of the square ..but not for us as it HOT and for our lunch we need a little shade  ..we are wanderers ..down every interesting alley looking for nothing in particular we came across a Carravagio in a little church.. painted after the artist left Malta in 1608. See link  Painting we found ..

Piazza Duomo


Eventually we decided to have lunch and found a shaded courtyard with sun awnings to keep us cool ..Trattoria Kalliope A sea food starter for me ..John A Sicilian platter ..he’s more daring than me with food ..next a pasta dish for me ..fishy again ..and squid for John …a cheap half litre of cold white wine ..€55.Another wander looking a designer clothes on our way back to Hetty ..a relaxe and a read and that’s about it ..lovely cards from family and a chat with Miss Ruby on FaceTime who sang Happy Birthday to me ..lovely day 

“TWO LOO HETTY”

Wild campers need to go to a campsite every 3 days or so to empty the cassette loo and washing water ..but not us ..Hetty has two loos..We can go 7 days with out an emptying facility ..The bike rack is the carrier of said cassette either full or empty .If pushed J can open a sewer drain to empty contents but as yet in all our travels he has only been called back to his job as site manager drainage and that was in The Mar Menors a couple of years back but if push came to shoove he would be very capable of such a task…here endeth the lavatorial blog 

We seem to have spent so far on this trip €750 on ferries       €342 on diesel     €58 on tolls.      And € 120 on a return flight home ..making a whopping €1280 since 29th February to May2nd for transport to and from home which if my calculator is correct is around €20 per day ..plus a taxi at £50 to take us back to Manchester airport..I am amazed as I thought it would pan out at much more than this ..

Hetty is now wandering up the coast to Syracuse after leaving the beach sleepy spot at Marina de Noto GPS 36.853102 15. 112105 for my birthday party and has returned to one of our favourite over night camp in place on the fishing quay at Ognina GPS 36.97484 15.25935 we found this spot by accident or should I say getting lost two years back .. Some may wonder why I add the GPS coordinates ..It’s for the other people wandering Europe in campervans looking for a recommended sleepy spot ..                                                               

“3 NETWORK DOESN’T LIKE MALTA”

I’ve got a little behind with my blogging ..seemingly  3 network isn’t compatible with the  Maltese Islands and having left Emma’s fast wifi in Kercem for our night at the Azure Window …After waving a fond farewell to family the consensus of option was to do the sleep over we have wanted to do ever since we saw a campervan down at the Azure Window 


…TRAFFIC CHAOS.   Johns input…

We needed to do a Lidl shop to replenish Hettys store cupboards so we set off through Victoria only to find that the roadworks had moved causing traffic chaos . I need to explain about Gozatan road works. They start and stop without warning ..one minute it’s OK.. the next thing two plastic bollards appear and away they go digging. When things get really bad they put a traffic warden out to direct traffic and stop people moving the bollards to get to their homes ..never more than two are used. This usually means more chaos as he is usually on his phone and taking no notice of the poor motorist. As a driver you need to know your way around as sometimes the only way to go is to drive in the wrong direction to a different village then travel to a second village and then come back in to Victoria about 100m from your starting point. So on this occasion our diversion was minor but all traffic was on a narrow road ..no-one had prevented  cars parking so it had become a chicane ..All was going well but slowly until a tourist coach drove past a safe passing place and pulled up adjacent to a parked car and only mopeds could now get past. Being quite large Hetty was stimied so we had to reverse downhill not easy with a car up your Jacksy ..Lots of honking but we slowly reversed 5 to 6 car lengths back to allow the ignorant coach driver to continue his journey ..
A little later than planned we arrived at Lidl topped up Hettys supplies and started back only to find that the traffic wardens had responded to the chaos by closing another road ..Three villages later we arrived at the correct road and set off for the Azure window for the long awaited sleepover GPS 36.052296 14.190076.     Here endeth Johns input …..

Morning at the Azure is quiet enough until the buses arrive disgorging tourists which is our cue to leave and head for the ferry to Malta ,A little bumpy to say the least but it’s only a 20 minute  crossing and a whopping €32.55 , The ferry company don’t charge to get you to Gozo but make sure you haven’t spent up to get away again ..no other way off the island Hetty was charged at commercial rate double to a car which is € 16-55 but who cares as its only once in a life time we will take her to the Maltese Islands 

Melleiha Bay is our next port of call for a little light lunch before heading for Valletta and the ferry to Sicily ..This stop over is MH friendly GPS 35.974291 14.349784 and a good over night sleepy spot ..Now to get into Valletta in the rush hour but all is calm and easy ..good old sat nav ..an over night sleepy spot was found in the small carpark of Virtu Ferry terminal and the security guard couldn’t see any problem with us being here as he wasn’t  opening the gates untill 4am which is the time we set our alarm for loading at 4-30  to departure at 6-30 to Pozzallo..The ferry is a massive cataraman full to the gunnels with commercial vehicles , School outings,Tourist day trippers to Sicily ..Amusingly a tour guide tried on my return from the loo to herd me into line so I can’t have the unkept look of a traveller about me as yet ..sniffs at ones clothes… 

Our exit from the terminal in Pozzallo was done with the ease of the well travelled as this is our sixth time in this super seaside town in the last couple of years adventures where we found an off road area on a beach full of none occupied properties of the very rich ..this sleepy spot is only recommended out of season before the owners arrive GPS 36.714886 14.81032 

Our next destination is Mazememi where we promised ourselves if we ever came back this way we would eat at one of the restaurants in the square of this ancient harbour village ..as its now the start to our birthday and wedding anniversary on the 4th May (two weeks indulgence) and we’re not on a penny pinching budget as we were on our trip here in 2014 


The restaurant chosen was Taverna La Cialoma ..Sun shades ..Gerainiums in massive pots..White linen tablecloths ..  Mediterainean blue painter chairs ..Crystal glasses and very yummy young hipster Italian male waiting on ..Tee Hee ..very pleasing to the eye ..our meal of choice was a pasta with shrimp and artichoke with a glass of Grillo ..Superb ..proberbly the best Italian food I have ever tasted .Marzamemi

The Italians have a bank holiday on Monday and the village in getting busy which is our cue to toddle off to pastures new after I shopped at the veggie van and was ripped off ..but hey ho live n learn .. Following our nose eastwards we have come across a tiny MH friendly free of charge beach GPS 36.853102 15.112105 south of Avola  

 

“HETTY ON THE ROAD AGAIN”

We’re back here on the Maltese Island of Gozo after a tiring trip from UK ,Managed to wake at 3-30 am worrying if all was prepared for our off ,Enough cat food to last ,15 packs of 12,Big cat litter,Cat nuts..Done.. Switched Leccy off to every appliance  Done …Stuffed as much as I can into my hand luggage ..Done.. Now to ring the taxi to pick us up at 4pm for the airport ,But NO ,Can we get hold of either of our choice of taxi,No, One seems to be defunct and the other went to answer machine ,Minor panic so John drove to the taxi office and booked ..An early pick up as the firm do school runs and had to be back ..1pm pick up ..2pm arrived at Terminal 3 ..We had considered going by bus and train but then bottled out ,Too much hassle ..A little lunch in the Italian in Terminal 3 was most acceptable then the delay ,Plane running late ,A good book is a godsend and the fun started ..At 7pm gate 55 was announced ..off every body strolled queued for an hour , Another announcement will all at gate 55 go now to gate 48 , All the priority booked passengers were obviously at the front of the queue at gate 55..oh boy can they run as the back of the queue was first at the gate 48..How we laughed as Me and Him were now 5th in order in the line , barge , elbow ..push me over if you dare priority passengers ..The admin gate girl sorted the priority people out ..sweaty ,red face ,puffing with their run, into another line .We are let through after these people who have been told to enter the plane by the front door as have we ..priority are waiting in the cold drizzle at the steps ..cleaners haven’t finished so for all Priority ..Extra money spent we all got on at the same time some colder than others ..Ohhow we laughed ..Non event flight, No delay at passport control ,Now to find the jeep left for our use in the carpark ,Same place as we left it last time , How easy is that, Thanks to Dave and Min Williams for that ..Made it for the 2am ferry at the north of the island, A little more bumpy than usual as its a force 7/8 in the channel between Malta and Gozo 20 minutes later we head for Kercem and our bed .The dog wants to share it and wakens us four times with licks.

HETTY COLLECTION DAY 

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BY JOHN

Collected by Dave this morning and off we go. On my arrival at the garage I was told that Hetty was in the storage compound and after paying (which was not as expensive as I had expected  (170 Euros) I would be helped to wash here .This was because Malta can suffer from rains with a southerly wind locally called BLOOD RAIN. This is when the rain cleans dust raised in Africa from the atmosphere and is very messy.

So I jumped into their recovery vehicle and was taken about 3 Kms to the yard and was introduced to the junkyard dog who was very friendly (But I bet its different after dark when the gate is locked) . Hetty was very much like a camouflaged vehicle from “desert storm” when I first saw her. After a quick power wash the worst was removed and I went on the roof to carefully wash off the brown skin on the solar panel and roof lights ,Power washing the rest and rinsing  clean. We had to clean her again to remove the run marks(now more like a red/brown slime). She is now looking ok but will need a proper wash sometime soon to get the shine back.

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The drive back to our Daughters house was uneventful and much quieter as the knock \grumble seems to have gone…but as she doesn’t get to 60Mph on Gozo and Malta it is near impossible to hear anything and  will not notice the full effect until we get on to roads in Sicily allowing higher speeds

Even with the coating on the solar panel all batteries are full . So Hetty will now have her water tank filled and a trip to Lidl to restock beer wine and of course food and we will be ready for our first night.

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE

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Emma mulling over a new project ..Lap dog ..Sunshine suites John

 

 

“HETTY IN HOSPITAL”

WHEEL BEARINGS

Hetty is in camper van hospital on Gozo and we are back in Barrowford after rocking and rolling across Gozo ferry ..across Malta ..the back way to the airport to fly back for childminding and cat sitting over the Easter School holidays

Hetty’s problem started with what J called a knocking …or was it just a noise ..He said he thought it was a wheel bearing which after the Gozo mafia had taken him and Hetty to a mechanic it was confirmed The garage is some where in Xaghra

Things you didn’t know about Xaghra A hill town above Marsalforn The Blackpool of Gozo Not really Blackpool ..No amusement park..

Arrangments were made to order the bearing and have the mechanic collect Hetty from her sleepy spot in Kercem outside Emma’s house (for the new reader of my blog Emma is our Daughter who has chosen Gozo along with her husband who works in Europe as her home and education of her sons  around twelve years ago )

This is the view from Emma’s house looking towards Victoria and the Citadel Lovely Victoria (Rabat) A view I never tire of in all the many times I have visited ..

 

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Monday was a day of cubs …we had to pick the boys up from scout campP1000956

after their easter outing of an over nighter in a field at the back of the carpark in Dwejra at The Azure Window …an amazing place to camp out ..although to the boys its just camp Azure Window P1000962.jpg

Picked up two very tired ,very dirty boys as the sun was setting P1000966.jpg

 

The mechanic couldn’t start until after our return to UK so John decided to take the keys for Hetty to the mechanic in Xaghra …Wont take long John said but he didn’t hit the streets of Xaghra the way he knew …We drove round that town for an hour …Could he find the garage NO …Would he ask NO ..I became quite embarrassed as we went into the square for the 10th time where old men drinking coffee in the cafe stared at these nutters in a Maruti jeep obviously lost …In the end we went back to Victoria ..took the road into Marsalforn and out to Xaghra ..Up the hill and found the garage first time …Handed the keys over .Now to wait for the job to be done ..Without an estimate ..but hey ho the job has to be done and its only money …

Headed for the airport ..First the ferry to Malta ..Then a drive across country to the airport and yes we got lost ..Entering the airport from the backside ..but arriving with time to spare for our Treat curtsy of Emma .The VIP lounge had been booked for us ..free lunch with wine free ,wifi ,news papers and comfy sofas

Now home

 

 

 

 

“TWO PROCESSION DAY”

P1000828.JPGDawn from Hetty over Fontana P1000836.jpgSt George’s Risen Christ procession Easter SundayP1000867.jpgNext stop The Cathedral in Victoria for the next Risen Christ procession ..The way down from the Citadel is very steep and the priest carrying must be pretty strong as they carry the statue , wood base ..marble dais down thirty steps then down the steep streets to Independence Sq..we watched with baited breath for a wobble but again they held their statue without incident Info re:Gozo n Victoria P1000883.jpgAfter watching for a while we bombed of in the Maruti jeep to Marsalforn via the salt pans some dating back as far as Roman P1000898.JPGHarbour at MalsafornP1000902.JPG

Colourful local boats and this 50 footer who sneaked past us into the bay ..P1000927.JPGLunch at Pierre’s the sea front and boat watchingP1000945 A bit of a sunset later in the day at Xlendi

I’m sorry we haven’t much more to say about Hettys travels but she is sitting on her tyres outside the Morgan house in Kercem …Resting ready for the next part of the adventure after we fly back from UK at the end of April…So that goodbye from ME and goodbye from HIM until then when we continue our adventure via Sicily, Tuscany, Venice, Lake Bled Slovenia, Austria and last but not least Germany .. well thats the plan but it could alter as we rather like this flying home and back again ..

“FILMSETS AND CHAINS”

GOOD FRIDAY OUTING

Good Friday Day time outing was to a small restaurant at Xmagg ix -Xini P1000513.JPGwhere the film “By the Sea” Angelina Joli produced and starred in with Brad Pitt as her co star ..The film got terrible reviews but the setting is stunning“By the Sea”

After a very hairy drive in the Jeep P1000534.JPGon farm tracks and down a very steep road ( road is an odd word for this track )..There at the bottom is a lovely cove ..P1000530.JPGonly used by locals and people in the know…Tour coaches haven’t a chance but still the parking area filled up as dive schools four wheel drive vehicles came down and dispatched their customers on the pebbled beach ..All the tables were reserved so the wait was long ..but who cares ..Its waiting in the sun ..must admit the boys ..Emma’s sons Aged 10 and 7 got a tad bored P1000524.JPG…but eventually we ordered and it was Moules all round …4 chips and one Barracuda for the youngest..P1000515.JPG

At 5-30 time for the off to Victoria ..just 5 minutes drive to watch the Good Friday Penitent Procession … Barefooted Hooded Chained men walked in procession with the Priests and Parishioners carrying St George’s Church Statues for miles around Victoria … P1000701P1000644P1000632P1000662.jpgP1000672.jpgP1000724.JPGP1000803

St George’s Church lite in purple…interior in black which would be removed after friday’s ceremony P1000809

“ANOTHER DAY ON THE CALYPSO ISLE”

P1000505.JPGThe Xpats in Gozo can organise anything and quickly as J had such a problem with his tooth in Italy Emma organised for a dentist to look at him on arrival here ..and Thursday it was gone ..Xray.. Consultation…Scale and Extraction €110 = £97…
We had rumbling from Miss Hetty’s backend J thought the right hand wheel bearing about to give up the ghost . The Xpat gang sourced a tame mechanic in Xharra ..another small town up and up again above Marsalforn lots of toing and froing …a confirmation of knackered wheel bearing…Thanx again to Emma’s Gozo family..
meanwhile I was child and dog minding ..pegging out washing ..and cooking my carrot and potato curry for supper …need a holiday now ..I find working in a strange kitchen challenging to say the least ..Two nice views from the kitchen of Victoria and the valley P1000504.JPG

Part Two…Johns Blog Re-mechanic and fixings

The bearing is not available until Thursday (the day after we fly home for babysitting..catsitting and allotmenteering duties)
The garage doesn’t know the costs until Monday when the order can be placed on Malta due to local holidays.
I have arranged for Hetty to be collected from my daughters house whilst we are in the UK ..Repaired and returned.
I have still to decide whether to have the LH rear wheel bearing replaced at the same time. I may just get the extra bearing and carry it with us as I can do the job myself if necessary.

“FAMILY LIFE GOZO STYLE”

Tom and Emma have home work …The weather is awful …Gales from the west ..Over cast …and the sand landing on the terrace from the southerly blow on Monday ..Doubled pegged washing on the line …

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HOMEWORK
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IT’S MY SOFA !
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A ROOM WITH A VIEW OVER THE VALLEY TO VICTORIA
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OUR WASHING OUT IN A GALE
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ROOF TOP VIEW OVER FONTANA
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HETTY IN HER PARKING PLACE

“HETTY’S IN GOZO”


Hetty has now crossed to Gozo …A quick ferry ride of 20 minutes and not round the back of Comino as was feared with the gale force winds of the previous day ..

Gozo likes churches ..massive churches ..

  

The photos are all within the first half mile on the road to Victoria from the ferry ..


Lidl called as we entered Victoria …favourite shopping venue for Himself ..even parked like a Maltese ..just park anywhere is the way here ..even stop to have a chat double parked ..Road works are big business in Victoria but don’t worry a worker will move the safety bollards to let you past …there isn’t any way round holes in the road ..only road to Kercem ..No option of another route ..

We arrived in one piece ..Cloudy and hint of blood rain in the air ..Blood rain is the sand from the storm of yesterday coming off the Sahara and landing as rain ..or sludge on every …..Blood rain explained

“HETTYS HOLIDAY”

She’s in a hotel carpark awaiting our return to normality 

Arriving in Malta a day early to be pull out of the line of traffic by the Maltese vet dept wanting to look at the dogs passport  ..how we laughed!!

Then  thrashed it from the ferry terminal just avoiding a head on collision as we forgot to drive on the UK / Malta side of the road .. Whoops 

There is a Maltese MH club who have a few wild sleepy spots .. One happened to be next door to our hotel  in Mallieha Bay ..  Very convenient for a quiet sea view night 

Parked Hetty in the carpark and hit reception only to find we aren’t booked in until the next day .. I think I said to J when he booked “Have you got the dates ” but it didn’t matter as this hotel bends over backwards to accommodate it’s guests www.melliehabayhotel.com

We’ve been here four times .. Twice last year and can’t fault it .. My only problem is the food ..it’s excellent .. In one meal I must eat more that I would eat in a day at home or in Hetty .. Ok you say .. Control yr self … I tried yesterday but the curry lunch was unmissable … Sighs .. It’s grass for me after tomorrow’s full English breakfast 

I will just give you pointers as to the last 4 days here … To much going on to tell the full story of the  2016 IOM Malta Open Invitation event and don’t want to bore you reader who don’t know one end of a radio controlled yacht from the other 

  1. It’s sunny   
  2. The wind was perfect for the sailing   
  3. The WAGs are entertaining  
  4. Just a general good do all round ..  
  5. Monday was another sailing day Dragons this time    Even though the main event finished on Sunday with a prize giving party   

“ONE FROM HIM AND ONE FROM ME”

A thought on Italian dog shit by John
We have noticed that all Italian dogs seem friendly.

Also at night Italians drive to a suitable pooch emptying spot open the car door and let out their

 four legged friend for matters natural. The owners never leave their cars probably for fear of looking like Susan the other day who walked through the town with a very unnatural gait trying to get dog poo off her shoe.

Are Italian dogs therefore trained to be friendly and lure unsuspecting foreigners to tread in their Poo with the Italian owners wetting themselves watching our antics when we tread on the depth charges(land mines) of their pets….

Statement of the day from HIMSELF 

“You wouldn’t have thought there was all that down there now we are up here ”

Driven through a plain at sea level until the town of Comiso ..It seems to be a prerequisite of Sally Sat Nav to take us through the narrowest of cobbled streets …Up hilly lanes packed with cars and abandoned delivery vans ..We wait till the driver shifts the van to the side of the road allowing Hetty through ..We just wait no problem ..We seem to be in the Italian mind set of driving now …No Rush ..

This is a main road ..up and up …and again up the switch back bends …dry stone walls ..goats feeding from the lower branches of the olive trees ..more up to a plateau at around 2000 feet above sea level …and what look like lakes in the sunshine are miles of poly tunnels and green houses ..growing tomatoes corvettes amongst other things we couldn’t determine …then came the Statement of the day …!!!!!

Snow chain signs and viaducts spanning the towns 1000 ft below reminding me of the long legs of the Martian craft in War of the Worlds .. 

 .An amazing feat of engineering considering the lesser roads are poorly maintained pot holed apologise for roads as we found out when nearly disappearing into a massive hole yesterday so deep I thought we were a gonna …this is why we prefer plastic plates …crash bang wallop …every thing on the floor ..good thing the eggs were in a lower cupboard ..

We’re now in Pozallo .. And have been put on an earlier ferry to Malta …

Photo to follow when we get to a decent wifi 

“THE SUN HAS GOT HIS HAT ON “

Marsala to Gela via some Greek Temples Johns blog 
We are working our way south for a ferry early on Wednesday morning to Malta. Trying to fit some sights in on the way.

So a visit to Agrigento seemed reasonable as its famous for the Valley of Temples. After a pleasant quiet night by the side of the carousel for the children we departed Marsala and took the road south with a destination of a free carpark close to the temples. A steady drive through a mixture of fruit trees.. olive trees and vineyards very pleasant but no scent as yet . Then we observed fruit of a different variety Dusky Maidens selling their services to passing lorry drivers or any body who would buy their wares..the first hookers we have seen this trip ..possibly to wet for them to sit by the roadside over the last week or two..

Upon achieving our destination GPS 37.288152 13.582376 we found the carpark to be €5 not free as reported per campervan ( very disappointed ). So the decision made over lunch was that I would take a walk around the area to take photos with Susan’s super camera  

 ..She gets templed out easily after her disappointment at the Pathanon in Athens so the one in France The Theatre in Orange was plenty ..she says it’s a waste of money so I go off to these places by my self 

Upon leaving said carpark after my wander and sneeking a look at the ruins without paying the entrance fee ..Susan paid in €5 to the carpark machine and received change (bonus €1 to the beer fund)

Overnight stops are few between Agrigento and Gela ..We looked at a few ..one €15 with power ..one €10 without so Gela was our last resort for a free overnight stay. I took a wrong turn and we found ourselves on a poor road to avoid a motorway which then presented the biggest and we found deepest puddle you can imagine…we could not straddle it so opted to put one side 🚐 of Hetty gently through the puddle the other on the Tarmac and promptly emptied our crockery all over the floor and turned the shower on…

After cleaning up the mess …nothing broken luckily…We set off for Gela and now we are at 37.074152 14.215723 This is a carpark overlooking the sea and beach Its close to a giant concrete school desk piece of art. Susan was not going to drink today but after our traumas we both deserve one(or even two)

The wind is fairly strong and on Hettys nose and the sun is setting over the sea . It has been the first day without rain so here’s hoping it’s the start of better weather.

“A SUCK IT AND SEE JOURNEY”

Woke to bright sunshine at La Pinela

  and breakfasted off fresh warm bread and Chocolate Croissants .. Before we packed up for an off to Erice the rain started hurling down .. So Erice was out of the question as its in the rain clouds high above us at around 700 m with a 360 panorama.. No point going if you can’t see your hand in front of you .. Mutual agreement is to go up in May on our return to Sicily … Then it was suck it and see route .. Passed Trapani …no where to park near to Center and it was raining .. Continued sauntering along the coast road .. Had a quick gander at the salt pans ..

  Past windmills (No Don Quixote) J said they are for pumping .. and on to and past Masala finding an over nighting spot but the wind piped up so back to Masala .. A car parking spot in the shore full of travellers of the itinerant persuasion with very flash campervans but after an overnight in Rosslare Ireland with tinkers.. their wives and her boyfriend we thought NO !! They have to much fun / fight at 3am .. Moved one carpark down next to the kiddies roundabout / carousel.. Now closed and quiet

37.79601 12.431200

A walk into Masala where the fortified wine comes from .. Dog shit alley .. Well one turd that looked like a leaf and I stood in it .. Spent the next 10 mins walking like a cripple trying to get the poo off … Rubbed mi foot in a sandy base of a tree and on some artificial grass leaving brown stains .. Was it shit or sand

Anyway .. Stop laughing ! …

Masala is ancient and as per normal in Europe the town Center is intact .. Flash clothes shops .. Ladies in full length mink coats .. This was all very lovely till the thunder storm from hell with hail and direct hit lighting … BANG WOLLOP .. I hate storms .. So said shoes wash at the tap had to be postponed …

Italian dogs roam free nor do owners walking their pooch pick up the poo .. DISGUSTING …

“SUNSHINE TODAY “

The song from the 60’s comes to mind re: the weather and mood swings “Hello Mother Hello Father”

About a boy at summer school and its raining then the sun comes out and all is well again It’s the same here..rained continuously all night on the roof of Hetty..

John said there was a lot of noise around us with scooters,cars and an occasional drunk outside the van .. I hear nothing as I sleep so well when adventuring

Back to the weather SUNSHINE breaks through the black clouds Phew and the temperature rises from 7c to 20c in half hour .. Lovely !!!!

Now to the health of our invalid.. The antibiotics have turned the growling bear back to a pussy cat .. and sanity returns to Hetty Hymer

The over night free carpark on the quay has been at Castellammare del Golfo


 
GPS 38.030861 12.881552

The next place is Vito lol Capo the most northerly tip of Sicily .. Mountainous Craggy landscape Pine forests ..and the sea but once again the sun has disappeared and from 20c it’s fan heater weather

We don’t like campsites but need to do our laundry .. First lot in two weeks .. The campsite we were recommended to is La Pineta GPS 38.17699 12.73408 ..with washing machines wifi and leccy and restaurant ..now the shower room in Hetty looks like a Chinese laundry with stuff drying everywhere .. Pegged out but .. Yes it rained ..

You my lovely reader may throw your hands up in horror at the fact we’ve gone two weeks without a laundry visit but we’ve got a system .. Shower daily .. Deodorant..if cooking wear an apron.. John as well ..eat with your top layer on inside out ..if a spillage happens let said spill dry and pick off residue..then turn right side out .. Look no mess .. Lastly wear black as it doesn’t look mucky !!!!!

“TANTRAMS “

I’ve had a moment .. My idea of an adventure is small roads leading to who knows where … That’s adventuring NOT motorways !! As we bomb on from Palermo on such a duel carriageway MOTORWAY I felt my soul being ripped out .. This yomping on a road bypassing villages isn’t what I signed up for .. It was ok on the toll in The South of France as I knew we were on a mission then   but now we have six days to get to the ferry in Pozallo for our crossing to Malta ..it’s only 180 miles ..@50miles per day even on the back roads is easy ..Ok you say .. I will be coming back again to Sicily in May .. But still I need to see stuff or I might as well take a Saga coach trip .. get my drift .. 

All is calm now We’re back to our bumbling ( quote Joanne n Craig) spent the last 24 hours on a beach at Cala Bianca ( thank to our tour.co.uk for the GPS coordinates) 38.05598 12.84011     

 We are now in Castellammare del Golfo after a massive plundering of the local Lidl   .. Lovely little town with an historic castle dating back to Arab supremacy   
38.03035 12.88132 This sleepy spot is on yet another harbour wall over look what could be a lively bistro and promanade area ..If it’s too noisy we may have to join in . 

  

“TOOTH ACHE AND TRAVEL DONT MIX”

ourtour.co.uk Quote re: Italian driving 

Italian Road Rule 1: All drivers are obliged to use whatever means at their disposal to get in front of the car in front. If there is a gap, you get into it, as long as you think other vehicles can somehow avoid a collision.

Italian Road Rule 2: Once a car has gotten in front of you, no matter how close they came to killing you or scratching your paintwork, you are not allowed to crash into them. Easy……….So true ….

 Johns blog 

These do not mix. My toothache started on the ferry from Genoa to Palermo but as we didn’t dock till 21:00 nothing could be done until the next day. So supper was painkillers and a gargle (or two) with Jamesons (no I did not spit). I managed to sleep till 04:00 then more painkillers and managed a couple more hours at our fish quay sleeping spot before the fishermen started to arrive we where parked among lifted out fishing boats. 

 Susan found a nearby dentist on tinternet so at 10 of we went to find it only to find it was market day on the road out so a diversion was required only to find the only way was through road works along the full length of a narrow St ( much honking of horns but I did not participate) .On arriving at the dentists location We could not find it, but a kindly pharmacist showed me to the door on the ground floor of a block of flats (no signs evident at all).

After about 45 mins I was whisked in to see Her (no English spoken but with Google translate and sign language we managed) . The swelling was so large by now she could do nothing but prescribe Antibiotics . So €20 euro lighter( not bad I thought) I went back to the kindly pharmacist and was supplied with the antibiotics (as big as gob stoppers). By midday parked up at a beach carpark I was feeling much better and the gob stoppers where working well. So in 5 to 6 days it may be a visit to a Maltese dentist for an extraction.

“POOR JOHN”

WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY An abscess has formed and burst on Johns back upper tooth ..he’s not a happy bear !!

On leaving the ferry I found a harbour on my maps.me just 5 minutes away for the terminal ..and hoped there would be a parking spot ..In Sicily no one bats an eyelid if a camping car is parked up ..Poor J is in pain and doing a lot for growling ..Not my fault ..I said he should have had it out as it was playing up pre-adventure …Keep stum Susan ..Advise not appreciated. 

Yes a parking place in between two large fishing boats layed up on the quay is found( 38.152541 13.375875 ) J throws more paracetamol down his throat and heads for bed .. It’s thundering ..and pouring ..In Hetty I sleep the sleep of the dead but J says he heard the fishing boats set out ..I heard nothing .. 

Red marks the sleepy spot but not the weather !!! Cold damps and grey ..

 I have found us a dentist just 1 km away but now we have to get out of this parking / sleepy spot and the market has set up in the very narrow street which was our exit ..more very narrow wing mirror bending streets ..as luck would have it the road works are up and running and just leaving us a 3m bit of road to squeeze through …Its ok J is a superb driver ..its me who panics ..Do you think if I breath in hard it makes a difference ? NO ! But I do …Massive intakes of breath ..and breath ..We manage again not to hit Hettys roof on an over hanging balcony , Scrape her wing mirrors on some parked vehicle ..or be reversed into by a market shopper .

We are now parked up on a mainland road ..Can’t see any “We will tow you away if you park here ” sign 

Google is our best friend at the moment + our handy not very strong little Mifi ..in a biggish place works reasonably well …The best signal so far was miles from any civilisation up in the forest above Frejus ..My thoughts on that are there must be very rich people living in the area .

“A DIFFERENT DRIVER TODAY”

The ferry is large ..Cruise ship large with facilities such as swimming pool ..restaurants ..bars..NO ..nothing only one grubby cafe open..

..All the facilities are CLOSED for the winter season The cabin is comfy and as we alway try to book a 4 berth at the same cost to get extra pillows and blankets off the extra bunks   We were ok with our tea and ginger biscuits ..brought from home … Lovely sunset on entering Palermo 

 I suppose you are wondering as we are on a road trip why take a ferry the length of Italy 

Firstly we have to be in Malta for John sailing event by 16th March 

Secondly we love Sicily and need to spend more time here before heading to Malta 

Thirdly the cost 

Ferry €332                Fuel. €232 …1300km 

                                     Ferry from Italy to Sicily €90

                                     Straits of Messina

                                     4 days driving 

                                     2 campsites/sosta €30

                                     Food en route €30

                                     Perhaps a toll or two. €20

                                                             Total. €402

  

“PAVEMENT POUNDING !!!”

Today’s walk from the Aire de sosta ,whose ticket machine will relieve us of a grand €16 on our departure for 24hr stay in a carpark without a view, but with leccy for our film night which was The Godfather part 1 .. is from Vado Ligure into Savona ..A walk of 5miles (this was revealed on my return) A walk of pavement bashing with an Icy headwind coming off the snow covered peak we had spotted on our marathon Toll road spree…eye watering and nose running wind ..without a hanky sort of cold ..sleeves are handy …Exercise is good for you HE says ….Mine had gone up from a monthly average of 0.72per week to 2.07 per day This is not a walk of culture or beauty but a walk of necessity to Bl***y LIDL After an incident at the tills keeping the queued Italian masses behind us grumbling ..HE went back to the bread section to add the all important sticky ticket of cost ..sighs ..Lesson learned “Get a Sticker”we knew that but forgot ..it’s an Italian thing ..in France n UK they know the price at the till ..Sighs I managed to stagger back with our haul of goodies …Pizza ,Insulata, Calzoni and other carryable yummies ..and an early Off to the port of Genoa on the narrow but very attractive coast road ..Arriving 5 hours early ..

A confusion with the security guards after we had been sent back from the ticket office with our Ref No ..”No” the guard said ..”go back to the ticket office ..you can’t come through with just your booking Ref No ” so back went a very disgruntled John ..Voila …Printed tickets this time ..At least the Security Guard was doing his job and one wonders what the ticket guy was up too???

“FILM NIGHT”

It was a lovely but very expensive(€32) drive along the Toll road to bypass the Cote D’Azur , Canne,Nice and Monte Carlo..All these places would have taken a week to tour but we’re on a  mission to get to Genoa for our ferry to Sicily 

We glimpsed all these famous locations from a distance but the mountain ranges with the snow covered peaks were viewed with awe .. These are the Alps …our chosen route via Grenoble Chambray and south Turin which we declined in favour of a more southerly road as poor Hetty doesn’t have snow tyres .. To much snow for the old girl so the forecast would have it 

Not much to say today only I’ve been fighting with my uploaded photos from my very new LUMIX camera to my blog.. I think they are perhaps to big or to many pixels I will need to speak with Erica to see if she can help 

We had a super FaceTime with Miss Ruby ..lots of kisses so her Daddy’s computer will need a serious  wiping 

A downside to today journey was me witnessing the dumping of our loo at a public Motorhome Sosta (motorway services) an open sewer… DISGUSTING!!!!!

As we’re on our way to Genoa we need to be nearish for tomorrow’s ferry but trying to find a free parking spot for Hetty has been unsuccessful and we’re now in a Sosta de Campingcar @ N44.27777 E8.44098 in Vado Ligure near Savona at another €16 per 24 hrs which includes leccy so Monday night is film night .. 

  Could be Cinema Paradiso or The Godfather J’s choice (driver concession)and a Thai curry …

“BEAUTIFUL MORNING”

Slept like a top again ..Didn’t hear any bears ..Graham Smith suggested we should be carefull as he thought bears and wolves lurked in the forests of the South of France ..There’s no light pollution here ..miles from the nearest town so the stars were glorious ..

 Now a sunny morning ready for our TOLL road ride …and a yummy cooked breakfast for’t lad as he does all the driving and I need to pull my weight  The toll is ok cos J said so and him a Yorkshire man ..He thinks the expense is worth it to clear towns such as Canne ,Nice and Monaco on our route to Italy