To Destinations Unknown

grantw Aug 6, 2019

  1. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sarah & Grant’s driving adventure from London to Mongolia (hopefully) and as many countries and cultures as possible along the way in our trusty travel companion Beastie and our trailer tent Maxi. We are hoping our path will take us through France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, (maybe Pakistan & India), some of the 'Stans, Mongolia and then returning via Russia.
     
  2. garygiles1963

    garygiles1963 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not jealous at all ;)

    G.
     
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  3. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So after years of dreaming, months of prep and days of crazy organisation we are finally on the road! A fairly smooth departure yesterday except for getting the departure time wrong by an hour and having to quickly change our time on the website on the way, and only just making it to our new departure time after a quick stop over the Belgian border for the night, we are now in Leek in the Netherlands where we will set up camp for a week whilst getting some extra bits added to Beastie for comfort and convenience on the road! We are excited and nervous and looking forward to our new adventure - thanks for coming along with us in spirit!!
     
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  4. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm duplicating most of these from facebook - so hopefully they make sense and flow well enough here :)

    We and the locals in the caravan park were caught unaware by a super cell storm last night. There was a code orange warning that included medium to very large hailstones, 100 km hr gusts and tornadoes! We missed the warnings as it looks like they were issued late in the day. luckily we didn’t get a tornado or hailstones but we did get the very strong winds and torrential rain. It hit fast and hard going from no rain to crazy torrential rain in a second. A tornado did hit in Germany about 150kms away which was part of the same warning system. Our tent suffered some minor damage as all our guy ropes came loose under the extreme pressure. There have been chain saws going constantly everywhere for the past 10 hours (since 2am) to clean up all the fallen trees. Local roads are expected to stay closed until 6pm tonight as the clean up continues.

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  5. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    13th June

    So we say goodbye to the Netherlands and hello Germany! Our first stop was to visit Gareth 'Stan' Healey, Andrea, Jake and Dexter in their amazing place, and we were kindly offered a pitch in their backyard for a few nights, with obligatory BBQ - thanks so much for having us! We also visited Marburg and Frankenberg, beautiful towns nearby, and are now relaxing in Odenwald (south of Frankfurt) before we head into Switzerland tomorrow.

    Pitched up in the backyard
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    Wonderful BBQ, Grant wants to add this setup to our camping gear

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    Marburg - gorgeous old town, windy cobblestone streets and beautiful buildings

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    Landgrafenschloss Marburg

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    Rathaus Frankenberg - perfect timing! Arrived just in time to hear the glockenspiel ring for the last time of the day.


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  6. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    25th June

    Destination Dolomites: The beauty of this area was a surprise to us, and we didn’t let more rain and thunderstorms get in the way of exploring. First day was the Prosecco Road, where I found a Prosecco Vending Machine .... so of course we had to test it out and buy a bottle! Followed by a small taste testing at Col Vetoraz next door, the view from there was amazing. We just missed the worst of the storm back at our campsite where apparently they had hail the half the size of golfballs!!!! However the tent was no worse for wear, it’s getting used to this crazy weather. As a treat, we headed to a local pizzeria for some of the biggest pizzas we have ever seen, and Prosecco served in a carafe, it was all about the Prosecco!
    After being woken quite early by more thunderstorm warnings, we sat in the car for a bit until we were sure it passed by, this time it went around us, phew! Just to the south of us, Bologna and surrounds suffered major hailstone damage so we were very lucky again. We left the drizzle behind to go searching for the Cheese Road, and whilst the main area was too far away, we found a shop that sold local produce and we managed in a mix of Italian/Spanish & French to taste test a few cheeses; considering how many the shop sold, i think we were quite restrained in our purchases
    Another quiet evening watching the sun go down over the nearby lake and it was time to pack up again and hit the road.

    Another campsite with a lake view, a well earned beer after driving.
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    View from our tent in the Dolomites 65110604_10156490053323932_1071602367645876224_n.jpg

    After dinner walk along the lake

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    Our set up in the Dolomites
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    Early morning waiting for thunderstorms

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    Ohhhh so much cheese!

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  7. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    18th June - This should be before the last .. oh welll

    Switzerland ✅! Walking in the Swiss Alps has been on my list for a while so we stayed a few of nights in the Jungfrau region in a stunning campsite with waterfalls everywhere and the noise of wild rapids lulling us to sleep each night. Yesterday we drove to the Italian part of Switzerland and after failing to squeeze our rig up small mountain roads to stay (and entertaining locals with our trailer reversing skills), we forked out for a picturesque pitch on Lake Lugano instead.
     
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  8. SteveJB

    SteveJB Well-Known Member Supporter I am in uk

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    That is some traveling adventure you got planned and very much hope the wind you had is your last problem enjoy everywhere you visit on this wonderous journey
     
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  9. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Setting up by the mountain
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    Not a bad view for dinner
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    Right behind our campsite .... the water was freezing, but was our very own white noise machine! 64914721_10156470214938932_8382677174150234112_n.jpg

    Walk to Sefinenfall

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    Sefinen Bridge 64389325_10156470215038932_8260714628523229184_n.jpg


    Wildflowers! 64328290_10156470215193932_2172949488350527488_n.jpg

    Making friends with the locals 64411623_10156470215258932_2683246458437632_n.jpg

    Along the walk to Trachsellauenen
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    End of the walk to Trachsellauenen at 1201m (up from our camp at 900m) 64477518_10156470215378932_3300668077619806208_n.jpg

    Lake Lugano

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  10. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    23rd June

    On from our Swiss adventure, we meandered through the roads of Switzerland & Italy, stopping by lakes, getting told off by Swiss police for not having our lights on during the day, arguing with cafe owners who tried to make us pay for a large beer when we definitely ordered a small and being amazed by the overtaking by aggressive Italian drivers. First stop in Milan to visit Nicki and enjoy aperitivo, BBQ and swims - thanks for having us in your house of fun, until next time, arrivederci!

    Rest stop by a lake 65297764_10156485281603932_1191500739105521664_n.jpg

    New best friend Byron

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    Shopping - the shelves were stacked so beautifully! Left to right clockwise: Beer, pasta, fruit & veg, wine, more fruit and veg ... look at those peppers!
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    Diced venison
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    Gelato 64825831_10156485282283932_8890419562114187264_n.jpg

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  11. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    28th June

    Lunch time stopover - awning has come in handy for the second time this trip

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  12. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    30th June

    Slovenija - part 1! From Italy we decided move away from the motorways and take the back roads, a little longer but a much more beautiful drive. Of course as we crossed the border, rain! But it quickly cleared up and we found a lovely campsite by the Tolminka River. The Soča valley is a beautiful area, with amazingly blue green rivers and lots of waterfalls. We managed to visit three of the main ones, Boka which is 136m tall, Virje which was like a fairytale and Kozjak which we got up early to try and beat the admission fee and missed out by 3 mins! But we were the first to view the waterfall that day, so that was worth the admission fee. Tolmin Gorge was also on our list and again we got up early to to beat the heat. After so much rain, we are now melting in 34-38 degrees so have been getting up early to sightsee and then relaxing in the shade of our set up during the afternoon. On our last day in Tolmin, our campsite neighbours dragged us down the river to dip our feet and beat the heat ... a great idea, except it was so cold I felt my legs went numb ... but not for long. And of course another BBQ to finish off the day. What a great way to end our stay in the Soča Valley!

    First glimpse of the Soča river
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    Set up and ready for a pivo 66029744_10156501655728932_2235739513626296320_n.jpg

    River right behind our campsite
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    Tolminka River right beside our campsite 65853965_10156501655808932_7419430311622082560_n.jpg

    Boka waterfall - a 10 min hike to the viewing platform over rocky terrain; after slipping and scraping my elbow, I’m moving onto hiking books going forward! This waterfall is 136m tall! 65590437_10156501655883932_1662802425506955264_n.jpg


    Virje waterfall - this was my favourite, a 10 min walk downhill to a beautiful sanctuary, which we shared with maybe 15 other people but it felt very serene. 65761575_10156501655983932_8481398114140291072_n.jpg

    Virje waterfall ... some people braved the cold water and went for a swim!

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  13. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our neighbours making use of our air compressor to inflate their bed
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    As a thank you, they invited us for whisky! And of course, schnappa! And convinced us to get up early the next morning for a short walk to a castle

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    Up early and walking to Castle Kozlov Rob

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    Just one more kilometre! 65450510_10156501656908932_4970178679402397696_n.jpg

    Castle Koslov Rob
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    Tolmin Gorge
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    Čevapi! It got to about 38 degrees this day, of course a bbq was in order

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  14. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    River Soča near Kozjak waterfall
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    First to the waterfall, this photo does not capture the beauty or serenity of this enclave

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    Kozjak waterfall
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    Admission booth.... it opened at 8, we were there at 8.03! First ones in! 65805583_10156501657678932_8370547078404767744_n.jpg

    Sarah facing fears on a high bridge over the river (that’s a grimace not a smile)

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    We found a car that makes Beastie look tiny! 65395290_10156501658008932_4235579730931220480_n.jpg
     
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  15. GeekOKent

    GeekOKent Well-Known Member Supporter I am in uk

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    Have a great trip,
     
  16. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    9th July
    Slovenija part 2 - this week has been spent in the company of our good friends in a small town in Slovenia, enjoying way too much good food and drink, and catching with with friends old and new. Whilst this week has been more about getting organised (washing/organising trailer/reducing load/life admin/car and trailer maintenance) we have also managed a bit of sightseeing -a drive through the local forest to find pancakes, a day trip to Croatia to go to the beach and various social outings like the Pivka Farm Games! One of the things we love about visiting friends in different countries is just being part of another way of life, and we always feel so welcome when we come to this part of the world. However we are trying to make sure we keep our hosts happy to have us, and chipping in to help them get all their chores done so we can all relax and enjoy time together. We are still waiting on a few car parts to be delivered so will be here a few days yet, itching to get it all done so we can continue exploring.

    Welcome! Schnapps, blueberry schnapps and beer
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    Just one of a few backyard BBQs


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    The beach! Day trip to Croatia

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    Tomislav! Our favourite seaside Croatian beer
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    On the walkway to the beach, Beach Sv. Ivan, Croatia


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    Great idea! An ice cream shop in an old service station, popular and was great ice cream!


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    Wood carvings in Mašun


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    All about the food - just a few of the dishes we enjoyed (diet starts next week!)


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  17. Bmonck

    Bmonck Well-Known Member I am in england

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    I dont know how i missed the start of this. This is going to be a great trip to follow. best of luck. cheers
     
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  18. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    18th July

    Slovenija - Part 3! Whilst waiting for deliveries, we decided to do a little more sightseeing and managed to catch up with an ex work colleague of Grant’s who was also back in Slovenia on hols, we enjoyed a lovely coffee in Lucija. Then it was onto Piran, a picturesque town on the Slovenian coast where we got puffed walking up to the top for some fabulous views ... you can see both Italy and Croatia on a good day (which we were lucky it was!). Small snag when we couldn’t fit into the only car park as the height restriction was 2.3m. We went down the road, did a little rearranging magic and managed to squeeze in, it was well with the visit. Next to the Škocjan Caves, UNESCO heritage sight with the largest underground cavern in Europe. Whilst worth visiting, we were too late for the second part of the tour, and the first part felt really rushed. The highlight was walking up to the exit via a spectacular green Gorge with waterfalls (of course!). Another highlight of the week was attending the annual “different music” festival up in the forest. Although not all bands to our taste, there was definitely talent-we had a great time, enjoyed some beers and goulash and were home before midnight The saga of waiting for deliveries continued with one lot arriving Thursday but the final delivery didn’t arrive Friday and we needed that first. Whilst Grant was already at the mechanic, Sarah was on hand early Monday morning to accept the delivery, including a ginormous bumper bar which the delivery man asked her how she was going to unload!!!! Luckily he took pity and helped Then we needed to arrange to have them painted ... and our hosts incredibly managed to get this done same day!!! Amazing!!! Tuesday was spent attaching bull bars, winches and tyre carriers, which was a job and a half and the boys were exhausted but did a great job (with Sarah doing some mechanicing but also packing everything back in!) With all that could be done now done, we had one final amazing lunch and then we hit the road!!! Next stop ... Croatia!

    Too tall for the car park? Quick tyre reallocation and off we go, can totally squeeze in!
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    Piran, gorgeous seaside town on the Slovenian coast
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    Piran town square
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    Another Burek, new fave pastry
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    Beautiful back streets of Piran
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    Slovenian coast with Italy in the background ... very windy!

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    Piran from on high
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    Škocjan Caves, another UNESCO listed wonder - not allowed to take photos inside, but amazing caves with the largest underground cave system in Europe! It was pretty cool but the tour was a bit rushed with too many people - my highlight was exiting via the gorge, more waterfall splendour

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    Go left! Exit via the Gorge not the lifts

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    A great view on the way up from Škocjan Caves - just another 200 steps they said

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    More BBQ

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    More čevapčiči

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  19. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You didn't on here at least ... Sarah has just been keeping facebook up to date and i'm just now stealing her work to post onto here to keep you lot updated :)

    Glad you are enjoying.
     
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  20. grantw

    grantw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Deliveries from Wink and MP4x4- finally!!!!! Can now crack on with getting Beastie updated. Just the wink ones took forever to get sorted :(

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    Bull bar and tyre carrier- thanks to the amazing Mateja and Marko, it was organised to be painted same day in 2k paint and ready to install the next. Can’t thank you both enough for all your help.

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    Sexy new bumper and winch

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    Double tyre carriers

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