Here’s my little Euro road trip from early summer 2018:
- 19 days
- 7 countries (France, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Slovenia)
- 4300 km driven.
- 17 border crossings or customs areas.
- 5 days of kayaking.
- 1 night slept in car.
- 1 night slept in hotel.
- 3 nights slept on a floor.
- 5 nights spent under canvas.
- €154 in tolls (approx), including Swiss and Austrian vignettes
- About 6 fills of diesel or so.
The idea behind the trip was simple enough. That I would drive over to Slovenia with the 3 kayaks of myself, Dave, and John; with any camping gear as necessary for the stay, while I got to visit a few of my people en route.
The journey down to the ferry was uneventful. I had attempted to travel lighter than usual, while still having enough to camp and paddle in relative comfort, as well as living out of bags for the duration of the trip. I managed to get a clear view out of the back window, which turned out to be most useful for autoroute and autobahn driving! On the ferry over, we had a basic cabin – turned out to be the last one available when I booked. I got a little shock when I heard the Captain giving us an arrival time in Roscoff, as I had thought I had booked to Cherbourg. After a quick sanity check and double-check, I realised that yes I had indeed booked to Roscoff, but had booked the return via Cherbourg. The slow sprint across France was warm, pretty, and relatively uneventful as French road trips go, getting to the last unserviced Aire before Mulhouse by midnight, for a slightly uncomfortable sleep in the car for that night – and a promise to use a hotel to sleep in on the way back instead of the car – especially as there were no cheaper cabins left available on the boat on the way back so reserved seats were the order of the return ferry trip.
I dropped Lily off at her brother’s in Zurich, as well as getting to meet him for the first time in over a decade. Meeting the kittehs there as well was good! After a night there, I transferred to the nearby town where my Aunt and family live at their home near Zurich. It was good to spend some time there, as it was my first time seeing them at home in Switzerland. I got a bit of a shock at the prices of things out there, but it was an incentive to see about Swiss employment! After a visit to the Rheinfalls with the aunt and family I got back on the road to Slovenia. En route across Germany I got a quick cup of tea with Flo’s wife Vita and clarified some arrangements for my future visit there again later in the trip. So I continued my trip down to Bovec.
In Bovec, I spent two nights with Dan and gang in the little AirB’n’B studio apartment above the bar beside the little Mercator, getting the Koritnica paddled on the next day. I then transplanted to Kamp Toni for the imminent arrival of the two lads from home, who were flying to Venice and driving up the Soča river valley.
We spent 4 days of paddling the gems of the Soča river getting Serpenica 1 and 2 done a few times as well as a great run on the Koritnica, but the levels were dropping all of the time and it was a pity that the Bunker run was too low to do properly. We also got a a lovely little sightseeing trip to the Soča source and up to the top of the Vršič pass.
After the lads left to fly from Milan, I had another two nights of chilling with the Dan group again. I then drove to Flo’s place for two nights of visiting, after Flo’s recent return from his transalp cycling 400km from Austria to the Adriatic. There was an interesting and amusing trip to Ikea and a building of a shoe cabinet (kudos to the Ikea engineers for improving their furniture assembly to be almost tool-less) for the stairwell. The local church fete was pretty cool as well!
Then came a very long day of driving, from near Munich at 06.30, via an hour for food in Zurich at 09.30, and making it to our Ibis hotel in Le Mans for 19.00 before the thunderstorms hit. There were temperatures of 35.5C seen en route, and we were thankful for the aircon in the Q7. It’s not often that one can drive a full tank of fuel of that size from top to bottom with relatively normal driving..
The next day was a visit to Mont St Michel, a personal favourite of mine. Always good to see the Abbeye, though past the start of July there are definitely more and more people visiting, and it does feel a little cramped when rubbing shoulders all of the time on the narrow streets.
The ferry was late leaving, for whatever reason Irish Ferries didn’t start loading cars until after the sailing time, and we were 80 minutes late casting off, but yet arrived on time in Rosslare the next morning. Tip for those that are using reserved seats, bring a Thermarest and a light sleeping bag and you may be able to use the floor space if there are not too many people in the reserved seating area. At least the aircon works to keep that area feeling fresh..
A lovely trip, much needed relaxation, huge distances driven in comfort, some fun memories, some fond memories, and a desire to do it all again next year!