Our grand tour. (1 Viewer)

Sep 10, 2012
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1st stop - on the way to tunnel staying with son & DIL and toddler in Brookwood near Woking.
Brookwood has reputedly the largest cemetery in Europe. Yes it is very quiet around here. When the cemetery's in London got full up the railway company used to run excursions for Londoners to bury their dead here. There was even a siding directly into the cemetery. Can you imagine coaches full of mourners and a couple of trucks on the back full of coffins.
On a lighter note although it almost brought tears to my eyes we walked to the local pub for an afternoon drink. Beer, larger, 2xg&t and carton of juice a mere £33. Could have had a full meal and wine for that in Spain. Needless to say we wont be going to the pub again if I have anything to do with it.
 
Apr 30, 2018
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Motorhoming since 2018.
Enjoy your trip. weather is turning for the worse in Blighty, so your timing is perfect.
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Still in Brookwood gearing up for the m25 tomorrow down to eurotunnel.
3 nights free board and lodging made up for the pub visit but like most kids I got dad - while you are here the downstairs loo keeps running and the garage electrics keep tripping out.
Busy morning replacing a flush mechanism and putting in a garage consumer unit.

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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Tunnel Tuesday uneventful M25 & M20- arrived a touch early and was offered the next train - bonus. No mention of what have you got in your fridge. Only wanted to check the gas was off and that was a fairly cursory told him the tap was off and opened gas locker don't think he even looked inside.
3rd off and away to the Belgium motorways. Now I was expecting the worst having done a bit of research but apart from 1 stretch that was more patched than original they were surprisingly good.
Arrived at Redu about 18:00 and got the last official space of 5. Free spot couple of euros for the borne.
Nice little village apparently twined with Hay on Wye. Don't believe Google there is more than 1 restaurant there (that was closed) but we did. Had some scran and went for a bimble to find another one open. That must have saved a few euros for Switzerland.
Wednesday long boring very wet motorway drive down to Eguisheim.
Fuel in Luxembourg 1.48 for regular 1.61 for super. Treated the van to €100 worth of the good stuff.
Thanks to whoever tipped me off about these stops. Eguisheim is a wonderfully quaint village and well worth a visit. The aire is €20 for 24hrs and loads of space but the camping card campsite is only 3 additional minutes walk from village centre €16.5(no electric).
Expensive pizza for tea but very little choice this early in the season.
Next stop Switzerland maybe.
Bern
 
Nov 19, 2021
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We sometimes do a similar route but cross the Rhine at Strasbourg and stop over at the Aire/ Stellplatz at Breisach at the side of the Rhine before entering Swiss. Both Colmar and Eguisheim are worth a visit.

If you have children or enjoy Theme Parks yourselves, then Europa Park at Rust is brilliant.

Enjoy your trip.
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Think the kids are a bit old for that 35 to 42 and I am a bit long in the tooth as well.
So a question on french mw toll gates? We have a frulli tag and the gate does eventually open but can't see any charges on my online account. So is this a case of a french operator thinking stupid Brits I will let them through and send them a fine or do charges take a while to appear on your account?
We are now parked up at the swimming bath Aire €9 no services in Weil am Rhein and went into Basel on the tram. Stop 100yds from Aire.
Lovely old city but soooo expensive.
Bought some street food and a couple of beers hate to think how much it was ,plastic is your friend .
Went a bit too far on motorway and pulled off just before the vignette was needed. SF45. The girl I purchased it off looked official but who knows.
Quick update on popit SIM. Been working ok until we got here. Don't think it can decide if we are in Germany which we are or in Switzerland which is about a mile away. Could be very weak phone signal or it needs some settings tweaking. Will update if we get an answer.
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Friday 14th that was close don't want to be tempting fate.
Down to luzern today good hours run and fairly uneventful until I mis read the sat nav. Enjoyed (not) the city centre but all good in the end. Staying at camping international for a mere SF47 with no hookup. Free pass for local buses included but we did walk some of the way back along the lake front. Bus for last mile be rude not to use the freeby. Think we will not be seeing anything else in Switzerland at such a bargain price.
City of luzern was interesting lots of squares and grand buildings and we walked across all the old wooden bridges together with the hundreds of other tourists but u have to do these thing once.
Popit SIM started working all by its self with really good speed. I search for the settings needed with the free WiFi at the restaurant last night but don't seem to be required now. Think it must have been a poor mobile signal.
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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15/4/2023 Luzern to Locarno.
Grey overcast and light rain to start the journey. 3 mile queue for the gottard tunnel and the pass was closed so had to just sit there and wait like everyone else. Was expecting to have to pay for tunnel transit but no charge.
Weather better over the other side of the Alps. Warm enough for a walk around in a light jacket.
Stelplatz in Locarno is good enough for an overnight but its still Switzerland so € or SF1 per hour and an ice-cream and a coffee was £9. Locarno is a good place for a wander but if the wife or girlfriend likes to shop leave her in the van although not quite as eye wateringly expensive as further north.
IMG_20230415_143906.jpg

View of lake Maggiore from about 100 yards from Aire .

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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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What a day today has turned out to be.
1st the head unit display packed up. Sure it's just a loose wire as it works until it fully flips open. Lucky we have other satnav apps.
2nd I managed to catch the kerb on the way to the gas pump and destroyed the step. (What a dick head I feel).
3rd my gas tank was empty and would only accept 12 litre just as it did when newly fitted. Told then that they sometimes do that first fill back - to the installer when we get back.
4th the campsite we were hoping to stay at was full but we found a good alternative. More in a moment.
5th. lost the key to the magnetic catches I fitted to the draws. Turned the van upside down searching and eventually found the spare I had put somewhere safe.
It was a bloody long drive today from locarno to sestri levante. The first hour I was told was very picturesque but all I saw were the rock faces near the mirror and the oncoming buses, coaches and aclass taking up 2/3 of the road which left the other 1/3 for the cyclists and none for me and it's not supposed to be holiday season yet. I thought Switzerland was supposed to be the land of tunnels but Italy has it beaten hands down.
Gas was SF0.99 in Switzerland so that cost me about £25 per litre factoring in the cost of a new step.
Diesel was €1.89 in Italy. Hope that gets a bit cheaper as we head south.
The campsite we found is at 44.279040 9.401759. small compact but convenient for the town and train. Might just get a 7mt coachbuilt in with a squeeze. Wouldn't try an aclass but as I proved today I can't even drive a pvc.
Popit SIM is still performing well.
Check your phone SIM roaming contract as none of our 4 covered Switzerland.
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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What a pleasant day - no driving and no stress (yet? Ever the optimist!)
10min stroll to the station and a train journey to Vernazza €30 return. Beer and a pizza for lunch €20.
IMG_20230417_120244.jpg

View from the castle up hundreds of very steep steeps.
VID_20230417_125049_exported_1330.jpg

Not sure which building is holding the other up with all these flying arches.
Varnazza is supposed to be the prettiest of the Cinque terre towns and word has obviously spread because it was packed with tourists.
Proper little goldmine for the locals but I guess they need something to tide them over winter.
 
Oct 12, 2009
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What a pleasant day - no driving and no stress (yet? Ever the optimist!)
10min stroll to the station and a train journey to Vernazza €30 return. Beer and a pizza for lunch €20.
View attachment 740107
View from the castle up hundreds of very steep steeps.
View attachment 740108
Not sure which building is holding the other up with all these flying arches.
Varnazza is supposed to be the prettiest of the Cinque terre towns and word has obviously spread because it was packed with tourists.
Proper little goldmine for the locals but I guess they need something to tide them over winter.

I hope the local electricians have good professional indemnity insurance. ;)
 
May 7, 2011
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I’m enjoying your thread,especially the photos. And look forwards to the rest of your trip. I hope you have had all your problems and it’s stress free from now on.

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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Today's travels have brought us to camping balisto (ACSI site) just outside montecatini alto. It's been recommended on here before.
Time to get some washing done then off to Pisa. But I don't think the helpful lady in the office ever walks anywhere. 5 minutes she says to walk to the funicolare tram down to town - more like 15 all uphill. But it didn't matter because they were on their extended lunch when we arrived. 15 mins from bottom station to railway station realistically 30.
As we arrived so did the train but we had no tickets and by the time we found the tabac sells train tickets it had departed. couldn't face the return journey so hopped into a cab and now €20 lighter.
Must try to get used to a more laid-back approach when visiting italy and go with the flow.
Tomorrow we have a plan!
IMG_20230418_142245.jpg
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Forgot to say yesterday. Apparently most filling stations have 2 prices and usually different pumps 1 for attended service and 1 self service.
So if you pull in to fill and there's a queue at one set of pumps but the other is empty you now know why.
Explained to us in near perfect English by the attendant.
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Went to Pisa on the train yesterday
IMG_20230419_113147~2.jpg

And people pay to go to the top of it. Must have a death wish - I know it's been there for hundreds of years but its got a serious lean when u are up close.
If u ever go on the train use Pisa st rossore station as it a few hundred yards from the tower. Pisa central across the other side of a very boring city.
On the way back we stopped at Lucca for a walk on the walls and a look around. Even spotted some medieval stone cannonballs left in one of the bastions. (of course they could just be fakes left for the tourists.
IMG_20230419_151113.jpg
Today Thurs we intended to use the train again this time to get to Florence but fate had other ideas. All trains cancelled after derailment. So rushed back to the campsite and checked out then drove over intending to parkup at the stadium buy closed due to football match. Eventually found a spot from p4n down by the river out in the suburbs and caught the local bus. (Whatever did we used to do without Google).
IMG_20230420_155750_1.jpg

Interesting bit of sculpture found on some random street corner.
If it weren't for what felt like a million other tourists milling around I might have enjoyed the visit.
Not wishing to spend the night on the street we are now on a sosta at Monteriggioni (which might be free if the barrier is still up in the morning)
IMG_20230420_204237.jpg

Totally enclosed village within the walls and no external urban sprawl outside.
Wanted to get a glass or two of the local plonk but all upmarket restaurants and the only bar was closed.

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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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2012
So it wasn't free because the barrier was down when we came to leave. All services excluding showers for 50c was €16 for 24hrs.
Next stop Siena €20 in the coach park for maximum 24hrs. Easy walk in to town and 6 escalators taking you up to the town.
VID_20230421_120547_exported_0.jpg

We stayed about 4or5hrs so not cheap parking but easy.
Onward to Buoncovento for a look around and a gelato - to early to stopover and €1.50hr parking till 8pm
Staying overnight for free at Torrenieri although a birthday meal is bound to dent the budget.
The road south of Siena is awful think I might have lost a filling. Now the Romans built straight roads in England but here the one we have been on today #2 is worse than a dogs hind leg. They obviously sent their best surveyors out with the conquering legions.
Noticed that diesel is €1.74 in this area - note to self must fill up before we get to Rome.
Popit SIM still working ok.
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Intended to continue down road #2 today towards Orvieto. Satnav had other ideas and took us on a very scenic route across the hills to get us on to the motorway. It would have been quicker but for the smash delaying everybody for 45mins.
Orvieto is well worth a visit but go straight to the campervan parking everywhere else was full. €2 p/h parking - really pack them in - a little gold mine for someone.
Yeh another funicular ride up to the town perched on its hill.
IMG_20230422_135217~2.jpg

IMG_20230422_121706~2.jpg

Interesting old bell tower but sure that bl°°dy crane wasn't there when I took the photo .
Then on to Bomarzo. We came expecting a quiet little town with some free overnight parking. Turns out it's got the oldest sculpture park in Europe and is a major attraction pulling in hundreds of visitors on a nice fine day like today.
Eventually got a spot in the free carpark by luck and hoping for a quite night.
Diesel today €1.72
Popit SIM not so good today up here in the hills. Must connect up the external antenna for the router when I feel the urge.
Lebara SIM in the phone stopped working after we left Switzerland so I got around to contacting them for a working APN. If it helps anyone it's uk.lebara.mobi user- wap pas- wap.
Oh and it wouldn't work in slot2 of the phone but my Plusnet SIM fortunately was happy in both.
 
Jul 7, 2021
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Went to Pisa on the train yesterday
View attachment 741549
And people pay to go to the top of it. Must have a death wish - I know it's been there for hundreds of years but its got a serious lean when u are up close.
If u ever go on the train use Pisa st rossore station as it a few hundred yards from the tower. Pisa central across the other side of a very boring city.
On the way back we stopped at Lucca for a walk on the walls and a look around. Even spotted some medieval stone cannonballs left in one of the bastions. (of course they could just be fakes left for the tourists.
View attachment 741569
Today Thurs we intended to use the train again this time to get to Florence but fate had other ideas. All trains cancelled after derailment. So rushed back to the campsite and checked out then drove over intending to parkup at the stadium buy closed due to football match. Eventually found a spot from p4n down by the river out in the suburbs and caught the local bus. (Whatever did we used to do without Google).
View attachment 741576
Interesting bit of sculpture found on some random street corner.
If it weren't for what felt like a million other tourists milling around I might have enjoyed the visit.
Not wishing to spend the night on the street we are now on a sosta at Monteriggioni (which might be free if the barrier is still up in the morning)
View attachment 741583
Totally enclosed village within the walls and no external urban sprawl outside.
Wanted to get a glass or two of the local plonk but all upmarket restaurants and the only bar was closed.
Don’t forget Sienna actually nicer then Florence 👍
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Just back from a stroll around the old town. Just imagine staggering back from the pub and then having to negotiate the stairs in the photo.
IMG_20230422_194559~2.jpg


We found out that this place has a mini horse race similar to Siena on the 25th hence the flags and decorations. Where they actually run is a mystery since there is not one straight flat road or space.
 
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Heading south and east then Greece. Then north Bulgaria etc.
I think Italy deserves a slower approach to touring than we have allowed. Not having been before and perhaps unlikely having time to visit again we chose the cities mostly but I have enjoyed the smaller places we have been to.
Currently in Rome for a few days as the better half has never been before. Everything is expensive but the site Flamingo village has all the facilities we need and is convenient for the local train into Rome. Pitch sizes are minuscule can't even stand and open arms without touching next doors van.
Went to the Vatican and the queue for the basilica was at least a mile long. Planning on a very early start tomorrow to try to get ahead of the hoards. If you ever want to visit the coliseum book a month in advance as the ticket touts have cornered the market. Hate to think what it must be like at the height of the holiday season trains and buses are already packed in like sardines.
April 23 good old st George's day must be the patron saint of Rome's firemen. They had a massive display taking over a whole square and this old beauty was one of endless displays.
IMG_20230423_134120~2.jpg
One thing I personally like about Rome is the public fountains from the grand trevi masterpiece to one of the lesser ones and the bargain of our visit here 2 x coffee for €3 opposite the turtle fountain which so the story goes was installed in a day so as not to upset the bloke who lived opposite.
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berni109
Sep 10, 2012
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Firstly apologies to any believers out there.
So I think I have totally lost it today because swmbo wants to see inside st Peters. Up at 6 to get to the entry queue as early as possible only to find that it's closed until 11 as the pope speaks to the faithful at 10:30.
After queueing for an hour now sitting in st Peters square with a few thousand of the faithful - why? Only got another 2 hours before he speaks in a language I can't understand. I'm rapidly loosing the will to live surrounded by all the religious maniacs (given where we are thought I should get a fast track to the afterlife whatever that is).
Enough for now before I start getting abusive.

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