To read all about the campsites we stayed in, choose
Click Here for the European
It seemed strange that we feel we know more about
America than our own back yard, and armed with a desire to quit the
UK, what better place to start looking than in Europe. It seemed a
pretty sensible choice, no visas required, easy crossing from the UK
and hey we can take the car!
Having bought the Banana Wagon (pictures available on 2006
Photos)and crammed it full of camping gear, we planned a route that
would take us down through France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and
into Italy and finishing in Venice, before we would come back to the
UK via a long detour around France, and perhaps some idea of where
we fancied living (for five minutes or a little longer perhaps).
The reality worked out a little different. Having reached the Alsace
region of France, we sat directly under a major weather front. Four
days solid rain in a canvas tent is not good for:
Fearing for our sanity and suspecting one of us may resort to murder
shortly we packed up, abandoned the plans and went South to the
French Alps, dried out and replanned on the fly.
Our new route took us through the fantastic (and expensive, €31.90
for a 5 mile one way trip) Mont Blanc Tunnel and into the Italian
Alps. We visited beautiful Aosta and then travelled on to Lake
Garda, enjoying the beautiful Italian landscapes as we travelled.
Italy is certainly a country of contrasting beauty, both in the
people who are warm and friendly and totally different from their
French cousins, to the scenery around what is probably defined as
Northern Italy. We were very taken with it. On then to Venice, our
planned ultimate destination and a chance for a four night break in
this city of romance, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. A
visit is highly recommended.
After soaking up the history and culture in Venice we opted to
follow our original route (pre-rain) back up through Austria and
Switzerland. This was a good plan, we stopped briefly in Austria
near Innsbruck and again we were impressed with the scenery, as we
were with Switzerland, a chocolate box scene visible in most of the
valleys we passed through.
To Craig's delight we then re-entered France driving into the little
known area of the Jura mountains. Although we only stayed a short
while in this area, and cheated (ok Bel so its not camping but hey
it was warm & cosy), the attractions around the area looked very
interesting. Once more dodging the rain we worked our way back north
to the final true tourist destination - Versailles Palace.
Unfortunately we were sadly disappointed with Versailles (maybe the
rain did not help) so we took advantage of a 20 minute train journey
to Paris to revisit a city we visited last together in 1999, then as
Overall we did a whirlwind tour of Europe, getting a flavour of each
area and picking some very specific atttractions to visit. Like
America, Europe is a big area to cover and it would need another 3
month road trip to further explore Europe properly. We didn't feel
we wanted to take that length trip right now so perhaps you might,
and tell us about it, or perhaps one day we will return to Europe.
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