Countries/territories visited: .eng, .ch, .fr, .es, .de, .dk, .se, .fi, .ru, .ax, .es, .pt
The year commences with me in Totnes in Devon - with that classic Devon weather.
Then there is a short visit to Bristol to see the M-Shed, a panto (not very traditional) have some good food and create an animation at the Ardman exhibit @ Bristol.
And Bristol is, of course, the home of Bansky. One of his original works was on the side of a ship. It was later removed and is exhibited in the M-Shed - yep, one of the plates from the ship.
First to Geneva to visit friends and also take a trip to Milosh's dog breeder in Pierre de Bresse in France. It looks like there will be a new puppy in the Summer sometime.
Then to Zurich to stay with my son for a few days and to get the usual "servicing" done, eyes, body, teeth. Visting friends is also a delight this time of year, something to brighten up things even if the weather is pretty poor.
Geneva is next on the list, to see friends. This year I also get to go to The Geneva Motor Show for the first time in many years.
The original, followed by a discussion of the correct color for the new design:
But there is also a sweet little runner on view:
Fiat Spyder, would be interesting to have one on a trailer.
Then off to the South - where there should be sun to lift the mood.
A quiet night in Beausembant
|Beausembant Rest Area||Very nice stop, free.||45.21846||4.833264|
And a cold night in Agde.
|Agde Rest Area||No services, near the port.||43.28614||3.51741|
After a night at a motorway parking (very quiet with hot coffee and Wifi in the morning) I visit a Honeywell colleague in Torrevieja before heading further South.
A few days at the campsite in Motril.
|Playa de Poniente Campsite||Good facilities by the beach, a little dusty.||36.71812||3.54715|
Included was a bike ride around the town,
Then on to Cabopino for a few weeks.
|Cabopino Campsite||Excellent facilities at a reasonable price if you stay long enough.||36.48989||4.74275|
A visit to Màlaga is also part of the programme. Three museums with a bite to eat too.
And, there is a great Irish guitarist making some cool sounds too.
Then back to Motril to see friends.
|Playa de Poniente Campsite||Good facilities by the beach, a little dusty.||36.71812||3.54715|
On the way I pick up a friend.
Next Stop is Sitges
|Aire Sitges||Free, no facilities and sloping.||41.25085||1.81406|
Then by the C31 along the coast and around Barcelona. Then to Jonquera where the wind is quite strong for a rest before heading into:
This turns out to be a long drive (no toll roads) with a great deal of wind and many trucks to Méze where the aire is pretty full.
|Méze Aire||Dusty, but a grey water disposal and plenty of rubbish bins||43.44102||3.59418|
Over the hills to Beausemblant aire again.
|Beausembant Rest Area||Very nice stop, free.||45.21846||4.833264|
and then to see the old town in Cremieu which has an aire which is quiet during the night until the commuters arrive.
|Cremieu Aire||Nice stop, free.||45.72549||5.24641|
Then I decide to take another look at Clermont-Ferrand and go up a delightful valley which used to have a single-track railway (probably for extraction purposes) with that bright Spring, green in the leaves. to the campsite at Auroy.
On the way is a small resturant in the hills - delicious French food at a most reasonable price - €12.5
|Auroy Campsite||Quiet, beside a stream. Good facilities, friendly staff.||45.70080||3.17017|
Then on to a few days in Clermont-Ferrand.
|Clermont-Ferrand Parking||OK, limited facilities. Right adjecent to the tram - 5 stops North to Auchan and 19 stops to the city.||45.77685||3.08166|
This city has been home for Michelin for many years. A visit to the "Michelin Experience" is well worth it, the story of the radial tyre. The company patented the technology in 20 countries and made a name in other areas such as aeronautics and racing cars. It still invests a lot in research.
The first electric car - 2 tons, 70 Km/h and then 100 Km/h
And, of course someone cant be forgotten:
Over the years he has changed:
"Nunc Est bibendum" (Now let us drink!)
There are several test vehicles, including this DS - 2 x chevy V8s - haha!
The latest Bibendum has tyre eyes.
And then on to the "Vizsla Farm" for a short visit. Only 6 around this time, but oh my, what a welcome...
Then I get to see a french hospital for a couple of nights. What would we do without anti-biotics?
Then it's off to the dealer near Freiburg, but I have missed the appointment, so will have to go back in August to have all "the little things" repaired.
There is a really good (though busy) site near Heidelberg:
|Nesslewang Campsite||Next to the river, very green and good facilities||47.62005||10.49812|
Then off to the North with a stop just south of Hamburg.
|Luneberg Campsite||Owned by the members. Very good site - including "luxourious services".||53.22517||10.08735|
The ferry at Puttgarten takes me to
For a couple of nights at Mons Klimt, the cliffs are impressive as are the rolling hills.
|Mons Klimt Campsite||Owned by the members. Very good site - including "luxourious services".||53.22517||10.08735|
And on to the site just North of Copenhagen, right on the coast.
|Charlotten Fort Campsite||Owned by the members. Very good site - including "luxourious services".||53.74613||12.58659|
A few people actually swimming - ah!
And I get a few visits:
Then on to
For a quiet night at Grimeton, site of a Low-frequency transmission station - all nicely preserved. A World Heritage Site.
|Grimeton Parking||No services, but quiet and a great location. (Hint: no people.)||57.11264||12.40618|
Then waking up to this delightful sight.
The day simply gets better with a cream-pink Volvo on the motorway - haha. And I listen to Tom Hanks on DID. What a delightful human he is, and I receive a take-away: "Loneliness is one thing, but solitude something else."
The night is spent next to a huge hole:
|Falun World Heritage Mine Parking||No services but quiet.||60.60155||15.61681|
Off early the next morning to Härnösand, parked by the river.
|Härnösand Parking||No services.||62.63610||17.93805|
And then off to good friends in Lulea where it is still a bit chilly even when the sun breaks through. It is light most of the day even if this isn't in the Arctic Circle.
A visit to the Retro Café is a must
And we see this beauty. Steve would have been proud.
And one of the best presidents the US of A has had is in Japan giving a moving speech.
IMHO this is the best place for them
A final view of Lulea from a sports area. 18:00 and it is still 22 degrees. I can see why the vast majority of Swedes are slim:
Then off to the Arctic Circle
Then into Jokkmuk and up to Porjus to see the dams built to capture the waters of the rapids which are no more, instead 1300MW of Hydro Power.
Gällivare no longer has a Mining Museum, well it's closed so I find a place to sleep at Stenbron
|Stenbron Parking||Water services with the background rush of water.||67.10525||20.89920|
Then a long drive on a terrific road surrounded by Silver Birch in that New Spring, yellowish-green. Even saw a few Reindeer.
To Oulu, why does this city always seem so vibrant and fresh to me?
|Oulu Parking||No services, but a great view. Quiet.||65.01882||25.46251|
Strawberries and Peas from the market for supper. There is a strong wind, but the sun is warm, unlike other parts of Europe.
4-JUN - today is Finnish Flagday with a military gun salute in Oulu.
The beach is not popular because it is cold and the school holidays have yet to begin, but lots of people-friendly installations.
And then it's off southwards past a few places I remember from the journey in 2011 with Miloŝ, to Pori and the Yyteri for a couple of nights and to inspect the site and it's surroundings.
|Yyteri Campsite||A tree-filled site (no TV for me) with friendly staff and good services. A bit expensive.||61.56958||21.52621|
It is still cold but the beach is beautiful.
And there is a visitor to the campsite:
After two nights it's then on south to a place I like a lot, Hangö. The café on the point is a place I usually sat with Miloŝ. It is windy here, with a view of a distant lighthouse.
And I spend the night - practically none of those "annoying youngsters in powerful cars with boom boxes".
|Café Parking||No services, just the wind||59.82428||23.00754|
Then on to see good friends for a delightful lunch.
On the way to the capital I spot another one of those package delivery centers.
And on to one of my favourite cities:
Where the industrialists started so much.
Where the trees are at full speed. Ladies without clothes and trees with - must be art!
|Helsinki (Rastile) Campsite||A quality site with all the services except free Wifi. Right next to a Metro station for access to the city.||60.20794||25.12141|
And back again the following day for more sunshine and cold wind.
Then the Alice Neel exhibition at the National Gallery.
And in the permanent collection some beautiful renderings of this country's landscapes and culture:
And back on the Metro - on the wide-gauge Finnish Railways tracks.
In the Scottish "National" there is this:
It will be good to go back there, though I doubt I will experience this type of meeting, just the midges.
Off to Heinola in the country.
A local artist, who died recently was a specialist ceramics designer and sculpurist:
And a day spent "At The Races" in Kouvola with dancing girls in the wet:
The Spanish horse Trébol winning the main event - Olé!
A side trip to
23-JUN A first for me.
With a show on board
Arriving at the port
Straight to a boat ride on the canals
With a view of an original - department store
The church of the Spilled Blood
And a Mosque
The following morning to the Hermitage - The Winter Palace. Lots of stuff in this city from the time of the Zars.
Some amazing articles, pictures and floors.
And in the evening there are fireworks and the sailboat with the red sails drifts by, but there are huge crowds.
and the Naval Museum
And a Russian Cruiser - built by Brits
The final day of the 72 hour visa-free trip includes the Erata Art Museum with a Babuscha Iron Maiden - seriously.
A special exhibition of photos by intrepid Russian climbers
Time to leave. Lots of Soviet-era buildings
Bewick Swans: (Eurasian Sub-species of the North American Tundra Swans)
The Eurasian sub-species of the Tundra Swans, the Bewick Swans, are found in Russia and migrate to parts of Japan. The Bewick Swan is a close relative to the Tundra Swan and has not been recognized as a separate, distinct species of swans.
This swan has a higher, straighter, yellow and black bill, which is more angular near the base and has a longer yellow patch . The pattern of black and yellow bills of the Bewick and Whooper Swans’ are unique to each bird and can be easily misidentified.
Average body length is 48 inches long with a 64 inch wingspan. The Bewick usually has a clutch of 3-4, off-white colored eggs. The clutch size is the smallest of all swan species. Incubation lasts about 30 days.
Freshly picked Finnish Strawberries - yumm!
A visit to one of the Country Estates on a lake - the Urajärvi Manor Museum. Ex-German, Swedish Aristocrats - Lilly and Hugo von Heideman.
And some cool jazz in the Japanese Pavilion.
A boat trip to Lahti
And the return by steam train.
And then from HEL to LGW
6-JUL Summer has come to Totnes
A side trip back to the school I left 50 years ago:
And a cruise ship at Stokes Bay
And a long-awaited visit to the Martyr's Museum in Tolpuddle
Totnes has some new renewable energy - Achimedes would have been pleased.
Back to Tolpuddle to see the Festival for a day. What a mixture of folk.
And a trip to Lyme regis - my first visit.
Where a saxaphone band is playing - Beethoven, yes really.
The Dragon Boat races on the Dart.
Haven't been to Brixham for decades, not too interesting, but I did see this:
27-JUL - today went to Hallsands where some friends bought a derilict house many years ago for £25. It is still standing after many, many holidays there. The view is towards Start Point, one of my favourite places.
30-JUL- today is a sad day, one of the family, my dear brother-in-Law finally gave in. I will always remember his wry smile and many, many exceptional times.
It's a mystery. In all the years I have been coming to this area, I've never been to Greenway.
This American lady, born just 9 miles from this house is known by a huge number of people on the planet.
Her house, with a view of the Dart river:
Murals depicting some of her travels:
The production system:
The facilities, anon back in the day.
Then it's back to LGW for a flight to HEL
After a night in the local Holiday Inn (so many years since I first stayed in one in MA) back to HEL to catch the bus back to Heinola.
Heinola is still lovely, but it's then off to
for some island hopping from Kustavi to Kumlinge
A night spent at a quiet place on Kumlinge - organic breakfast - yumm!
|Hasselbo Camping||Quiet, friendly. Electricity and hot showers. Organic food and lots of "wild" hens.||60.25862||20.83114|
and then the main island of Äland, and from there by a great ferry,
A long drive from Grisslehamn to Kalmar
|Kalmar Port Parking||No services, good location.||56.66345||16.37090|
From there it's down to Abbekäs for a delightful meal with friends. Then over the bridge to
and on the motorway to Rødby and onto the ferry at 11:00 to Putgarten in
The motorway goes all the way past Hamburg, Hannover and Frankfurt to Freiburg and the overnight stay
|Freiburg Parking||No services, good location.||47.99940||7.82566|
Out of the site, turn right and try the deserts at the Gelateria.
Ruth the van needs some work at the dealer in Bad Krozingen where I see the next van - well when the Lottery finaly delivers that is;
before I go to
Where "I" becomes "We" again.
Then back to
to meet up with son Barney and his new Beagle puppy.
Meanwhile Zoltan is having a fine time back in France. (Including swimming - I think not!)
Good morning Zurich
There is a view of the Säntis on the way to Arbon for the night
|Arbon Harbour Parking||Shower because we had the code for the harbour services - thanks to the Open Air||47.51308||9. 43950|
Breakfast at the Wunderbar - what a great place.
Then off to Regensbeg to buy puzzles of course, for cold Winter nights.
A well-preserved old city.
Then to deepest Allgäu
|Isny in Allgäu Campsite||Delightful site, very friendly, natural pond for swimming and very, very quiet.||47.67720||10.03080|
Son #2 with Asi
Then, after searching for places beside the lake, we give up and head into
And a site with a view in a working farm.
|Lots of fun for kids and healthy food for grown-ups as well as walks and a view of the lake. Free Wifi.||47.51036||9.36207|
Then back to Zurich via Wildhaus
Great food at the Alpenrose, been a few years since I was here. Makes man hapy
Back to Zurich - well Stäfa - before doing some chores, meeting friends, watching a couple of films and then heading off back to
Zoltan gets picked up from the breeder, a seriously good breeder near Beaune.
We visit an old friend in the upper valies of the Loire and his lovely wife for two days where there is a huge garden full of flowers (yep, lavendar too) and vegitables. Free-running hens too.
Miloš would have been 13 today, but Zoltan is here, and he is a delight. As the morning bells sound for 07:00 the donkey in the field nextdoor brays his sorrowful tune, the sun rises and all is well with the world.
Leaving we take in the source of the Loire at Mont Gerbier du Jonc - a wonderful scenery all around - and the stars!
Source of the Loire
|No services, just a place to park||44.84175||4.21970|
Then on for an overnight at Mezé
|Just a free stop, scruffy water and rubbish disposal.||43.44102||3.49118|
before heading down the coast to get some provisions and a couple of nights by the Med at Le Barcares
Le Barcares Parking
|A new venture (it seems to me) by campingcarpark.com. €10 the night with Wifi, no showers.||42.80153||3.03259|
Traditional boats in the harbour
Then up into Moltig les Bains to see friends for a couple of nights before heading to
For some cheap booze and Deisel - € 0.865
A long trek across to Lleida and Zaragossa - so many blocks of flats. The N-234 is a delightful, almost deserted road between Calatayud and Soria. So many fields of drooping sunflowers, distant hills peppered with windfarms turning majestically, and the occassional flock of sheep being held in check by a shepard and his dogs..
We pass a line of huge hills with a rolling escarpment
and the Duero river(yep, the one that exits the continent through Porto by then called the Douro) before getting to a campsite by a lake. I have great expectations, but it turns out to be less than average.
|Not worth a visit.|
The following morning we drive over the escarpment and on to the N-122 which is also a great drive. We then complete the journey into
with the final destination of Angeiras where it is 10 degrees cooler because of sea mist. But the sun does come out.
Orbitur Campsite Angeiras
|Vers nice staff and the facilities have been updated. A really good site.||41.26758||8.72012|
Time to have Ruth checked out - annual leakage test and a few other issues to be addressed, mostly by FIAT.
Then Sunday comes around
Then back to FIAT and the outstanding problems seem to be fixed. Then Zoltan has a ball on the beach drinking water coming from the land:
And I get me feet attended to, special too.
And here is where it was done.
To show how Orange really is this years' colour take a look at these sheep.
25-SEP - After a night of mostly rain, the sun shines brightly in the morning. My 67th birthday, Ruth's 2nd and Zoltan is exactly 5 months old. A grand day, off to the beach for a grilled fish lunch methinks.
The local baker has some delicious rolls, white (unhealthy) ones and brown, both of which are pretty good.
And 60 years after the Hungarian uprising, one Hungarian is on the beach. Oh, and he also gets surprised by a wave - laugh!
And I get down to business.
8-NOV - And then it's off to see a bit more of the country after a walk on the beach by the refinery at Matosinhos. Up the Douro valley past a large tourist boat and onto to M1119 into the hills to the dam.
|Barragem Do Vilar Parking||By the shore of the lake||40.98568||7.53866|
The night is full of stars, the wind gets up, but the morning is sharp with a walk along the lake.
Then it's over the dam and down to the main road to a walled town - Trancoso
and down to a large plain and to Monsanto.
Food is good - lamb chops and then back to the coast at pedrogao.
|Pedrogao Parking||By the shore||39.91682||8.95485|
There used to be more places, but a large area has been closed to camper vans, still plenty of room. What a delight. Long walks on the beach, surf's up!
A couple of nights at the orbitur at San Pedro De Moel with a walk to the lighthouse and a couple of runs in the park.
|San pedro de Moel Orbitur Campsite||Good facilities, quiet||39.758607||9.0264865|
Down the coast to the Natural Reserve with a great restaurant (Cabana Do pescador) and a run on the beach - the mouth of the lagoon.
|Foz Do Arehlo Parking||By the lagoon, €3 a night.||39.42769||9.21947|
And then to the old walled-town of Obidos.
After an "interesting" drive through some of the narrow streets of Lisbon - following and encountering some of the old trams - such fun, we arrive at the next campsite. The sun shines and above is the perigee-syzygy.
|Orbitur Guincho Campsite||In the dunes||38.72229||9.46697|
Zoa seems to be enjoying the beach.
And playing at Sphynix
And one night spent overlooking the ocean with the waves craching. The night walks are full of light, no need for a torch.
|Guincho Parking||By the cliffs||38.72789||9.47590|
Through a quite Lisbon early in the morning to a lovely, quiet village full of single-story houses with gardens and some chickens.
|Comporta Parking||Nice little village and a site just for camper vans||38.37847||8.78578|
Nice walks behind the village in the woods. The drive takes us to the motorway and onto the N263 followed by the N123 down from the plateau. In one of the villages we see this washing place - well preserved.
For the night we stop at:
|Barragem de Santa Clara Parking||Terrific view and almost silent.||37.51295||8.44046|
Down from the dam to the coast for a bit of shopping in Lagos
before entering the campsite.
|Turiscampo Lagos Campsite||Some of the best facilities at any campsite.||37.10216||8.73463|
Sunshine and walks behind the site.
The Barragem de Bravura is well worth a visit:
And so is the Alloro in Luz - for Pizza - yumm!
On the 25-NOV we head off for a few nights wild camping, well sort of in Portimao - €7 for 2 nights hard standing.
|Portimao Parking||Lots of vans, near the marina and a long, sandy beach with one dog on it.||37.11959||8.52954|
The on-site café have found a use for old transport pallettes:
And the setting sun at the beach:
|Parque Do Rio Parking Silves||Renovated, now with Wifi, water even showers. Special offer €25 for a week, then €30.||37.18498||8.44525|
Next door to the site is the municiple swimming pool - 20 degrees! €3 for a swim, sauna and jacousi if you are a pensioner.
It rains a bit and the thunber and lightening is impressive.
1-DEC - today is Portugal's Independence Day, so I celebrate:
4-DEC - time to move on to Albufiera where there are better walks for Zoa, a really practical shopping center, abeach and restaurants in the old town and the new.
|Albufiera Football Club Parking||A bit greener than it was in the past. Free wifi, usable services. 30 nights for €220.||37.09851||8.24313|
There is rain.
Great news. The swimming pool is now heated 27 degrees. Insurance card €8 and then < €2 for a swim. All we need now is some sunshine.
6-DEC Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää!
How terrific it would be to be able to show the Saltire in the same way in a few years.
Go and see "Allies" which is most enjoyable. And Zoa gets to play with a huge Labrador - a serious eater this one - over 40 kilos.
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