Joys of Caravanning

Trip to Europe No.5.  2008.

 

Outfit 2005 Kia Sorento XS and 2005 Elddis Crusader Storm. 

This is the biggest trip we have tackled so far,  3 months and 9 Countries. Tunnel to France, through Belgium to Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Czech Republic, + days trips to Slovenia and Luxemburg. 

When we mentioned it to two couples, friends we met in 2005 and last year, they came back days later and asked if they could join us on the trip.  They all said they have always wanted to do these countries but did not want to tackle them alone.  So it was arranged to do the trip all as I had already planned on the ACSI programme on my computer and to meet up at Jodl in Ossiach, Austria during May.  Later on you will read of our adventures, two caravans and a motorhome 6 people and of course Millie the Westie. 

For this trip we had to change our Car Insurance to the Caravan Club as the existing one would only cover the car for 62 days in the premium and wanted to charge us over £100 more for the extra 31 days.  The Caravan Club covers for 6 months and the cost was cheaper than our original too.  Added to this our European Breakdown cover had to be looked into and after shopping around for a good price with full cover we settled with the German club ADAC at 98.70 Euro's.  For Breakdown Cover for a caravan over, I believe 7.5 metres in length, none of the UK Breakdown clubs would cover .  That left the CC or the CC&C Club which charges were over £200 for our 8 metre caravan and the car.   For more details of ADAC Cover see my page Caravan organizations. 

We crossed by Eurotunnel on 26th March catching the 3.35 am train. The cost of the round trip on the tunnel £172. from the Caravan Club.   This year we stocked up with some Camping Cheques for a couple of sites which, at the moment, do not take the ACSI Card and where we particularly want to stop.  Would not bother again with Camping Cheques as the sites that do take them are very few and far between in the countries we like to visit. We bought one cheque home with us which we never used.

Site No. 1.

PRUMTAL CAMPING,***** Oberweis, Nr. Bitburg, GERMANY. http://www.pruemtal.de/  ACSI CC Taken. Listed CC Europe 2.  For more info on this site see in the last two trips

This site is becoming our first site every trip now, we always enjoy it and find it a lovely area to start our holiday in.    We have got to know the owner and staff which makes it feel very much at home especially as we always book the same pitch down by the river.  Arrived a bit earlier this year 11.06 am, even though driving through snow on the Eifel hills.  A little snow on site still and quite cold but not in the caravan.  We wonder how the 2 5 kilo Gas BP Lite bottles will last us this year.  All other years we have not used 2 whole bottles but this trip is a month longer and we are needing it for extra heat at the moment.  

                      A Wintery Eifel.                                            Vianden in Luxemburg. 

Site 2.

TERRASSENCAMPING HERBOLZHEIM,**** Herbolzheim, Baden Wurttermberg, Black Forest, GERMANY. www.laue-camp.de

Site situated on outskirts of the village next to the public swimming pool.  Owner very friendly and helpful,  WiFi available at a reasonable cost in the van.  Nice area within easy reach of the city of Freiburg a lovely city to explore which I believe you now need a Umwelt Plakkette to enter the centre by car.

On the way from Oberweis we made a wrong turn and instead of staying in Germany ventured  to Luxemburg City and ended up in France due to John not wanting to turn back and re-trace our steps.  Well perhaps we should have done as on this Sunday morning someone decided to leave a pile of metal  on the inside lane of the Motorway.  John swerved to avoid it the car missed but not the caravan, we did not feel anything, but could see lots of cars on the hard shoulder with punctures.  We decided to drive to the first lay by and just as we were driving in a Police car overtook us on the right hand side, shouted you have a puncture in French and zoomed striaght off.  We took a very poor view of this, no offer of help or anything.  Luckily, being a twin axle, it just cut one of the tyres and an hour later John had changed it for the spare and we were on our way.  No help at as we had in Germany when we broke down twice in 2006.  Could not get out of France quick enough. All this problem on a Toll road too costing 11.20 euros.  Next day our first duty was to take the wheel to the local tyre garage in Herbolzheim

Shopping was good in Herbolzheim there was an Edeka virtually at the end of the road that sells everything you need in the food and drink line. 

                Edeka Fruit + Veg Department.                                Hausach.

                            On Pitch.                                               View over Site.

Site No. 3.

NATTERSEE CAMPING,***** Natters and Mutters, Nr Innsbruck. AUSTRIA. www.nattersee.com  ACSI CC Accepted from 2010.     Listed CC Europe 2.

This is a very nice site the dodgy approach has all now been changed and all new offices and Toilet and Shower Block built at the new entrance.  New pitches sited at the back of the new block with services and wonderful view of the mountains.

Another advantage for those travelling to and from Italy and Garda is this site is situated very near the begining of the Brenner Motorway.  On the narrowish road from Innsbruck there are a few tight bends on the way to the village of Natters.  We were confronted by a large lorry coming towards us and forcing us into the kerb (which in Austria can be of very rough stone) and we found when we arrived at the site office we had a flat tyre on the caravan, with an inch hole in it.  Another new tyre had to be bought.  Second on this trip already.  We decided to keep the new spare in the car now as it is very difficult to get it out from under the van in its proper carrier.  The van has small wheels + the motormover which makes it very awkward to get at.

The restaurant at this site is excellent overlooking the man made Nattersee, which was dug when the present owners Father started the site some year ago. The owner and staff in the office could not do enough for you and wanted John to leave the changing of the tyre till the next day, when their handyman would help, but it was so difficult to site the van so John decided to change it staight away.  

Next morning Philippe in the office rang a tyre company in Innsbruckand arranged for us to take the wheel in which they changed the tyre while we waited.  WiFi  5 euros for 24 hours unlimited use and good reception in the van.

Places to visit are virtually the same as from Kranbitten so see info on that in  our 2nd and 4th trip.

   

              Vignette Sign in Austria.                            Entrance to Arlberg Tunnel.

         Beautiful view en route in Tyrol.                             View from Van Window. 

                            View next day.                                  Restaurant across Nattersee.

                   Inside Site Restaurant.                       View of the Zugspitz from Fern Pass. 

Site No.4. 

SAN FRANCESCO, Desenzano del Garda.  Camping Cheques Accepted. Listed CC Europe 2.

This is our second time at this site which is in a perfect situation on the shores of Lake Garda.  To get a pitch big enough we had to pay a supplement on top of the Camping Cheque price.  It was worth it, as you will see from the photo's, we had a wonderful view.   The restaurant here is very good and the Toilets, Showers and Laundry are too.   Luckily the weather is a lot better down here.

For places to visit see 2005 and 2007 Trips.  

                                                             Views of the Site.

                            Sirmone from the Site.                                        Sirmone.

Site No. 5.

CAMPEGGIO VILLAGGIO SAN GIUSTO, Limite sull Arno, nr Florence.  http://www.campingsangiusto.it/  ACSI CC Taken. Listed CC Europe 2.  

This site is very handy for visiting Florence, Siena and San Gimignano and is situated right up in the hills.   It seems to take an age to get there from the main road but well worth it.  The restaurant serves typical Tuscan Food and is all home cooked.  The owners family all eat in the restaurant in the evening too which gives it a nice atmosphere. The Toilets and Showers are a bit basic but clean. 

This is where we arranged to meet one of the couples who are joining us later to visit Eastern Europe. as they have never been to Tuscany before.   It was nice to have company for a change and to re-visit some of the area we have always enjoyed before.  The town of Empoli which is just off the Fi-Pi-Li (this is what the Italians call the road leading from Florence to Pisa and then Livorna it is the A11.) is a small town with a huge shopping centre with all the big stores in so anything can be bought there.  This is just a few miles from the site.               

 

                                  

                                             Two Views in San Gimignano. 

                            Duomo Siena.                                                 On Site.

Site No. 6.

EUROPA** Passignano sul Trasimeno, Umbria, Italy.                          CAMPSITE NOW CLOSED.

Well here we are again for the 4th time.  Well it is a very nice area the site is very relaxed and at the time of year we are there April it is not busy and tends to be like a CC CL.  It was nice to visit it with our friends and show them this area.  

                       In a Cafe in Assisi.                                   Houses in Back Street, Assisi. 

                                         Views in lovely hill top town of Pienza in Tuscany.

                                            En route to Austria the Border.

                          

Site No. 7.

JODL CAMPING, Alt Ossiach, Ossiachersee, Karnten, AUSTRIA.

Well we left the Kirks and Millie in Umbria they were going to visit Florence Garda and Innsbruck and we to Ossiach to put down our steady's for 5 weeks till the Kirks come back there and the other couple who are doing Easter Europe with us.  A week later we had an urgent phone call from the UK to say one of Johns sisters is ill in hospital and has weeks to live.  We talked it over and decided that John would fly back to the UK to see her, but before we got the arrangements sorted another phone call came to say she had died.  That put the trip home on hold till the funeral 2 weeks later.  John flew out from Klagenfurt on the Tuesday, attended the funeral on the Wednesday and flew back on the Thursday with our daughter who decided to come and stay for a week.  Before John went the Kirks came down from Innsbruck early, which was nice for me to have company.  The Lloyds arrived the day before John got back so quite a lot of Brits on Site.      

                            View from by the Cafe.                            Plan of Camping Area.

 

          Bands in May Day Parade.

                                                        Villach Old Town. 

          Top of the Goldeck Pass view of Italy.                                  Weisensee.

    Landskron Castle overlooking the Ossiachersee.        Klopeinersee  near Volkermarkt.             

On Sunday 25th May the trio of vans left Ossiach for Vienna.   Site No. 8.

 

WIEN WEST, Vienna.  http://www.wiencamping.at/   In 2008 this was an ACSI CC Site but not in the scheme now.  Listed in CC Europe 2. You can get 10% discount in both low and high season on productiion of your CCI Card.

The pitches here are quite small but we were able to pitch ok with the large van. They are all hard standings.  Toilets and Showers were excellent.  Office staff very Helpful and friendly. 

The site is situated in the suburbs of Vienna a bus to the Train/Tube station leaves from virtually outside the site in a few minutes you are there to catch the Tube into the Centre of the city or three or so stops down the line is the Schonbrunn Palace station.   The station to get off at in the City is the Opera outside of which you can catch the open top bus to do the city tour which is excellent.

Go to the Sacher Hotel for a coffee first and spoil yourself with a piece of Sacher Torte.  This is where the Torte was first made.  St Martin's Cathdral is a must to visit, and the Hofburg Palace of which the Spanish Riding School is nearby.  The concert in the Schonbrunn Palace Orangery is to be recommended in an evening.  Music by Stauss and Mozart.  Tickets for this can be bought outside the Opera House.   

  

                Schonbrunn Palace.                                              Opera Vienna. 

                       Sacher Hotel.                                                 Sacher Torte.

   

            The Palace from Summer House              Concert in the Orangery at the Palace. 

It was decided by all three couples that from now on we would travel in convoy even though we all had our Sat Navs set we thought it common sense to stop together in case one outfit had any problems.  Before we left one site we would choose a venue to stop for coffee and then lunch if necessary.  We also planned to travel no more than 200 miles between each site all of which were in the itinary .

Site No. 9. 

HALLER CAMPING, ** Budapest, HUNGARY. www.hallercamping.hu  ACSI CC Accepted. 

Before arriving at this site and all the other sites in Easter Europe I emailed ahead to make sure they could accomodate 3 outfits and not once were we refused.  This site is situated right in the City of Budapest but is quite a large grassy field (like an oasis in the dessert.) There must have been a hosital very near by as during the day quite a lot of sirens were heard.  But all was quiet and peacefull at nights.  There was no organised siteing of caravans and people had parked right on top of one another at all angles but it did not seem to matter everyone was happy including us. 

To get into the city centre we only had to go outside the gate and catch a tram which was brilliant.  WiFi was available for free, as was use of washing machines, including washing powder and tumble dryer.  Showers and Toilets were a bit basic but usable. 

The sightseeing buses were an ideal way to see the whole city but took 3 hours which was a long time.

     Parked at Austria/Hungary Border                         Parliament Building Budapest. 

         Budapest Sightseeing Buses.                                  View over Budapest. 

Site No. 10.

AUTOCAMPING NERESNICA, (ZVOLEN).   Not Listed now and we would not recommend this site,  and only stopped one night.   Then went on to the site below:-      

Site No.11.

ATC LIPTOVSKY, Trnovec, SLOVAKIA.   No ACSI CC as there are no sites taking the card in Slovakia and Poland as yet.  Listed on the ACSI DVD or on www.eurocampings.co.uk/en/europe   This is where you can see the full list of ACSI inspected sites throughout all of Europe over 8,000 of them. 

After the last site this is completely different.  A wide open area in the countryside overlooking a huge lake. There are no marked pitches but plenty of EHU's and a few porcelain sinks with water dotted about.  Toilet and Showers excellent.

The day after we arrived here a Brit couple we met on the site in Budapest from Suffolk arrived we had a BBQ that night all together.  Next day we all went outt ogether sightseeing.

This area is in the Tetra Mountains and scenery is wonderful, the roads are good too.  Places to visit are  Lovaca, pretty little old town and Dobsinska Ice Caves.  While in Levoca we stopped at a cafe for tea and there was a group of Slovaks  in national dress in there too and they decided to sing for us it was a lovely experience.

                                 Border.                                         Goody a shop we recognise.  

                          Start of the Tetras.                                              Coffee Stop 

                               Levoca                                              Singers in the Cafe. 

                       View of Trio on Site.                                                 Eight Brits in Slovakia.

Site No. 12.

CAMPING KORONA, Gaj, Krakow, POLAND. www.camping-korona.com.pl Listed ACSI on website www.eurocampings.co.uk

The situation of this site on the left hand side of the motorway from Slovakia to Krakow.   Office is at the gate just off the service road of M/way then there is a long drive down to the pitches where you are in the countryside no road noise or anything.  Short grass, un-marked pitches with hookups.  WiFi in the van with hire of a router it was quite expensive so we shared with the Brit couple from Suffolk who had arrived here the day before us this time. 

Places to visit, the first for our reason being here, is Auschwitz, Krakow and the Salt Mines at Danilowicza.

           Map on Van is getting well Covered.                               The four Brit Outfits. 

     

                      Making use of the WiFi                                Millie enjoying Poland. 

                      Entrance to Auschitz                                           View in the Camp.

                                                      Views of Birkenhau. 

                              Bunks                                                            Toilets

                    Church in Saltmine.                                       Stairs in Mine. 

Site No. 13.

CAMPING HANA, Veverska Bityska, Brno, CZECH REPUBLIC http://www.campinghana.com/  Listed in ACSI http://www.eurocampings.co.uk/ 

Thank goodness to be on some decent roads the roads in Poland were apalling even the Motorways were only half in working order.

This site was a one night for us on our way to Praag but if we had had the time we would have liked to explore Brno and the area it looked very nice. Not a huge site owners very friendly.  Free WiFi.  Visitors  90% Dutch.

                                Czech Border.                                       Camping Hana.

Site No. 14.

TRIO CAMP,*** Ustecka, PRAAG. www.triocamp.com  ACSI CC Accepted. Listed CC Europe 2.

We were recomended to this site by the couple we met from Suffolk who stayed here on their way down to Hungary.   The owners were very helpful the site grass un-hedged with EHU's At the back of us were little wooden type tents that slept 2.   We settled in and it was lovely and quiet but a few hours later all hell let loose when a bus load of Polish teenage students arrived.  Boys took up residence in the wooden tents, the girls in huts down the road opposite us.  The site owner put a tape down the back of all the caravans to keep the students from walking through and assured us that silence would reign after 10.30 pm. and it did which did surprise us.

To get into Prague we walked into the village caught a bus to the Metro station and then into the City.  Very good and of course all Free to over 60's if you are European same as in Budapest. 

 Use of WiFi free in the Office. Restaurant on site, Toilets and Showers OK but not brilliant.

                          Charles Bridge.                                     Prague Cathedral.

   

                        View of the Cathedral.                                     Astronomical Clock.

                      Wensleslas Square.                                        Attractive Building.

Site No.15.

CAMPINGPLATZ SCHNAITTENBACH, Schnaittenbach, GERMANY. www.schnaittenbach.de   Listed CC Europe 2. 

This is our second time here so see our former visit to the site in 2005.

Well back into Western Europe and we are not sorry though it was a very interesting few weeks and experience none of us hanker to go back. We are only two outfits now the couple in the other caravan left to Prague to go back to Northern Austria and we here to Germany and then Rothenburg.

Site No. 16.

TAUBER IDYLL CAMPING, Rothernburg/Detwang. www.rothenburg.de/tauberidyll  ACSI   Listed www.eurocampings.co.uk  Listed CC Europe 2.

Site very handy for seeing the beautiful old walled town of Rothenburg which should not be missed if visiting in this area.  The village of Detwang is almost joined to the town and a good centre to visit many places on the Romantiche Strasse. 

The site itself is very pleasant, neat and tidy, all short grass and level with EHU the owner of the site and his wife are very helpful and will show you to a pitch.  Toilets, Showers and Laundry facilities are all excellent.  The village Church is well worth a visit. 

                       Tauber Idyll Camping.                                      Detwang Church.

 

                   Fountain and the Apotheke.                               One of the Town Gates. 

                    Town Hall, Market Place.                          Siebers Tower & Kobolzell Gate. 

 

      Restaurant in Master Builders House.                              Another Gate. 

Site No. 17.

CAMPING SUR BRUCKENSCHANKE, Hattenheim, Eltville, Rhine.  Not listed anywhere. www.reingau-campingplatz.de            

This is our third visit here to meet up with our German friends (info in 2005 and 2007 trips)

We did the trip on the cable car to the Niederwald and down on the chair lift then the boat back to Rudesheim all for 10 euros per person.   Our friends moved onto Bernkastel the day before us to meet up again at Oberweis in three days time.  Our German friends took us to Wiesbaden and Mainz.  

       Drosselgasse in Rudesheim.                    Trip boat Asbach going past caravan .                  

                 Cable car to Niederwald.                                 View of Ferry Bingen.  

        The Mouse Tower.in middle of River                            View from Chairlift.  

                Gasthof in Assmannhausen.                                    The Bingen 

                        Mainz Dom.            Museum fur Antike  Schiffart (Roman-Germanic Museum).  

Site No. 18.

PRUMTAL CAMPING.***** Oberweis, Bitburg, GERMANY. http://www.pruemtal-.de/   ACSI CC Accepted.  Listed CC Europe 2. 

Well back again after 3 months of travelling a nice rest before heading to France and the Tunnel to the UK.  Really not ready to go home but all good things must come to an end.  You can read all about this lovely site in the 2007 Trip. The site is busier than it was in March and looks so different with the trees all in leaf.  Had to move the satellite dish to a different position across the road near to the river to get a signal due to growth of the trees.  John made the cable safe by tapeing over it on the road.   Next day the Kirks and Millie arrived to spend the last three days with us. They will then be off to Luxemburg, France and home to UK in another months time.

We visited Luxemburg for the day and did a tour of the Eifel and last shopping at Tooms and Lidl's in Bitburg.  Wine and Liquers plus Food are much cheaper here than in France let alone the UK.  

 10.80 euro's for this trip on the Ferry over the Rhine.                Nearly at Bingen. 

                Castle at Vianden Luxemburg.           How lovely! Would this be allowed in the UK?  

                            All on Site.                          Last chance for a nap on the Thompson's bed.     

Site No. 19.

LA BIEN ASSISE, Guines, FRANCE. www.camping-la-bien-assise.com   ACSI CC Accepted.  Listed  CC Europe 1.

This site is ideal for the night before catching the Tunnel or Boat the next day or stopping for the first night of a holiday.  Pitches are very good size as you will see in the photo below.  Staff that we have met have all been British and most of the Vans on site have been Brits too.  More info on this site in last years trip page.

             On the large Pitch.Guines.                                  Off the train UK..  

Well another wonderful Holiday in Europe a real experience and one to be recommended 6,930 miles in the Car not the longest trip in miles but it was time wise.  We have now learn't which are our favourite Countries and Sites too.  Luckily no health problems this year and just the two punctures on the caravan otherwise not a scratch on the van or any problems with the car at all. It was lovely to have company for part of the trip and we had no problems with security  including theft at all.

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